Daily Briefing – August 11, 2017

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A daily look at deals, events and transactions of note for trade and investment in Cuba.

Canadian diplomat’s hearing loss complicates alleged sonic weapon attack on US diplomats: The Canadian government said Thursday that at least one of its diplomats in Cuba has been treated for hearing loss. The announcement came shortly after several U.S. diplomats in Havana suffered hearing loss. U.S. officials believe the hearing loss was caused by Cuba using an advanced sonic device, and the State Department responded by expelling two Cuban diplomats from their embassy on May 23. Cuba has denied any involvement in the alleged attack. Officials say investigators are looking into whether the incident was carried out by countries such as Russia. (Time and AP)

Anti-Castro politicians sound off: Cuban-American Republican lawmakers from Miami say the hearing loss of U.S. diplomats in Havana is a sign the Castro government cannot be trusted. “The Cuban government has been harassing U.S. personnel working in Havana for decades,” Sen. Marco Rubio said. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise the Castro regime can’t guarantee the safety of our diplomats,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo said. “The Castro regime has a long and documented history of acting in a manner adverse to U.S. national interests,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said. (Miami Herald)

Huddling with Russia and Venezuela: Cuban leaders have been making public overtures to Russia and Venezuela at a time when U.S.-Cuba relations appear to be souring. Josefina Vida, who served as the country’s chief negotiator with the U.S., traveled to Moscow in late July to meet with deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced. Ryabkov also met with the Cuban ambassador to Russia on Wednesday. Few details are known about those meetings. Cuban President Raúl Castro also congratulated Venezuela on its controversial election to establish a new constituent assembly filled with Maduro loyalists—even as countries across the Americas blasted the power grab. (Washington Examiner)

Spinning the Venezuela chaos: Cuba’s state-controlled media has characterized Venezuela’s recent constituent assembly election as “an exemplary victory” for President Nicolás Maduro, while the country’s massive street protests are “acts of violence” backed by the U.S. Many Cuban state media outlets have also made little mention of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez recently. (Miami Herald)

Missing out on business: U.S. businesses are missing out on lucrative opportunities because of economic boycotts on Cuba, Iran, and Russia, argues the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board. Having normal business ties to those countries can play a positive impact on bilateral relations, added the editorial board. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Seeing Cuba from a yacht: A South Florida-based nonprofit is helping yachters comply with Cuba travel rules by connecting them with scientists researching Cuba’s pristine marine ecosystems. The arrangement allows yachters to explore the island and contribute to marine conservation at the same time. (Cuba Trade Magazine)

Off-season training in Cuba: The Siena College women’s basketball team will travel to Cuba on Monday for a six-day trip that will include games against the Cuban national team and two other opponents. NCAA teams are allowed to take an international trip every four years. The team’s coach said she chose Cuba because of cheap direct flights from New York and safety concerns about open borders in Europe.  (Albany Times Union)

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