Daily Briefing – August 7, 2017

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

Backpedaling on the economic opening: The Cuban government ordered the closure of a fast-growing accounting and business consulting cooperative, according to the cooperative’s founder and director. The cooperative has until Dec. 31 to completely liquidate. The closure announcement came several days after the government announced it is suspending the issuance of new permits for some of the country’s most lucrative private sector professions. The moves have created fears that the Cuban government is backpedaling on its plans to create a more open economy. (AP and Washington Post)

Stupidity, not socialism, behind the private sector crackdown: The Cuban government’s decision to shut down a successful cooperative is not rooted in socialist ideology, but rather economic incompetence, argues Forbes contributor Tim Worstall. He says cooperatives are an entirely socialist organization, so the decision to close a successful cooperative must be aimed at hurting productivity. It’s a strategy with little logic, Worstall argues. (Forbes)

The government’s contradiction on the private sector: The government is contradicting itself by limiting the growth of the private sector, all while using them as an example of progress created by Raúl Castro reforms, argues 14ymedio’s Reinaldo Escobar. The latest crackdown on the private sector is an admission from the Cuban government that it fears the advance of entrepreneurship, says Escobar. (14ymedio)

The harm behind Trump’s restrictions on US travel to Cuba: The Trump administration’s new restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba will intimidate potential travelers and disadvantage the island’s private sector, argues Cuba Educational Travel President Collin Laverty. Despite the restrictions, Cubans will continue welcoming visitors and travel groups will continue sending U.S. travelers to the island. (Cuba Trade Magazine)

Nervousness about Trump’s Cuba policy: A husband and wife who transport visitors on a fleet of classic American cars through the streets of Havana say they are nervous about President Donald Trump’s new restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba. They say U.S. visitors are the mainstay of their business, and that a reduction in U.S. arrivals will make it harder for them to pay their staff.  (Euronews)

A Tampa take on maintaining ties with Cuba: The U.S. should continue to develop ties to Cuba despite tightened restrictions from the Trump administration and a crackdown on Cuba’s private sector from the Castro government, argues the Tampa Bay Times editorial board. Improved relations are important for the U.S. because they are “an opportunity to influence the post-Castro age, while the Cuban government needs to see them as a durable tool for sustaining the next generation.”  (Tampa Bay Times)

Havana and Tehran discuss solidarity: Iranian President Hasan Rouhani met with a Cuban delegation in Tehran. The two parties discussed the need for “unity” between their government against “sanctions and pressures” from the U.S., according to EFE. (Diario De Cuba)

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