Daily Briefing – August 24, 2017

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

Sonic attack in Cuba worse than first reported: A U.S. doctor diagnosed U.S. and Canadian diplomats working in Havana with conditions as serious as mild traumatic brain injury, with likely damage to the central nervous system, according to medical records reviewed by CBS News. The latest diagnosis came after diplomats complained about symptoms such as hearing loss and nausea. Investigators are looking into whether the diplomats fell ill because of a sonic weapon attack. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters earlier this month that he holds “Cuban authorities responsible for finding out who is carrying out these attacks.” Cuba has denied any involvement in the attack, and has allowed FBI and Royal Canadian Mounted Police to travel to the island. (CBS News)

Making it easier(?) to send goods home: In a move to try to reduce dissatisfaction among Cuban professionals working for the state abroad, the government announced it will allow them to pay for the tariffs of goods they send home in CUP, under certain circumstances. (El Nuevo Herald)

What it was like to deal with Fidel: Vicki Huddleston, head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana from 2000 to 2002, spoke to Cuba Trade about dealing with Fidel Castro, her experiences during the Elián González custody saga, and the impacts of President Donald Trump’s Cuba policy. (Cuba Trade Magazine)

Mexico angling to supply Caribbean countries oil if Venezuela falls: Mexico’s government is studying the possibility of replacing Venezuela as the main supplier of oil to Petrocaribe countries if the Maduro government falls, according to officials who spoke to Reuters. Petrocaribe countries receive oil supplies from Venezuela under a flexible credit mechanism, which makes them pay cash for every shipment, and finance the rest at low interest rates. It also allows them to pay for oil with goods such as clothes and food. Cuba, Venezuela’s closest ally, receives an even more preferential deal. Oil deliveries to Petrocaribe countries have plummeted due to a collapse in oil prices and the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela. (Reuters)

Elián González hopes for reconciliation: Elián González said he hopes to visit the U.S. one day to reconcile with his Miami relatives and thank the people who supported his father’s fight to return him to Cuba. CNN will air “Elian,” a documentary on the custody battle over González that turned into an international incident, at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday.  (CNN)

Boat carrying Cubans intercepted: A boat carrying a group of Cuban migrants was intercepted near the shore of Dania Beach, Fla. on Wednesday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Chief Petty Officer Crystal Kneen said the migrants will not be brought to shore, and will be sent back home. Previously, Cuban migrants who reached U.S. soil without being intercepted had a pathway to permanent residency through an immigration policy known as “wet foot, dry foot.” Former President Barack Obama abolished the policy on Jan. 12. (Sun Sentinel)

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