Daily Briefing – December 13, 2017

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

Breaking Cuba’s advertising taboo: In a country where advertising has largely been banned for nearly five decades, openly promoting your own business can feel strange or even scary to many entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, Havana’s La Pegatina advertising company is designing signs, cards, and flyers for private sector clients who are starting to feel the pressure of competition. (Cuba Trade)

Franken’s replacement recently led a trade delegation to Cuba: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton selected Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to replace Al Franken in the Senate. She will run in the 2018 election to complete the final two years of Franken’s term. The appointment happened a week after Franken announced he would resign “in the coming weeks” over allegations of sexual misconduct. Smith led a Minnesota trade delegation to Cuba three days after President Donald Trump announced new restrictions to roll back the Obama administration’s Cuba opening. “I encourage policymakers in Washington to enact reforms that will help create opportunities for American workers and the Cuban people. After 50 years of more of the same, it’s time to try something new that can be a win-win for both nations,” Smith wrote in Cuba Trade after her visit. (Cuba Trade)

The fight for Havana flights: American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are seeking additional flights to Havana. Both airlines submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Transportation requesting extra flights in September, but they recently amended their applications to request even more routes. American applied for seven additional weekly frequencies, on top of the 10 weekly frequencies it requested in September. JetBlue requested seven additional weekly frequencies to launch a Tampa-Havana route, on top of the 21 it requested in September. Delta recently told the U.S. Department of Transportation it will end six of its weekly flights from New York’s JFK to Havana in February. (Flight Global)

Growing pains for household internet: Cuba’s new household internet service had connectivity issues Tuesday night because of “technical difficulties,” according to ETECSA, the Cuban state-controlled telecommunications monopoly. “It’s not working throughout the country and we still have no precise time when service will be restored,” an ETECSA customer service agent told 14ymedio. The Nauta Hogar service was commercialized in September after ETECSA conducted home internet trials in Old Havana in February. (14ymedio)

Addressing economic issues: The National Assembly of People’s Power will address economic issues such as foreign investment, the fight against corruption, and drug shortages at its Dec. 21 plenary session. Government officials will spend two days working in committees to evaluate “vital issues for the socioeconomic development of Cuba” before the plenary session. At the meeting, officials will evaluate the 2017 economic plan and give suggestions for the new year. (EFE and 14ymedio)

Serbian visit to Cuba: Serbian President Aleksandar Vicuc commenced an official visit to Cuba on Wednesday. He is scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raúl Castro and National Assembly of People’s Power President Esteban Lazo. In October, Vucic said there are opportunities for Serbia to collaborate with Cuba in sectors such as agriculture and medicine, according to Cuban state-controlled media. (Prensa Latina)

Chronicling 45 years of Cuban history: A new Netflix documentary explores how Cuba transformed over four decades under the Castros. Jon Alpert, director of “Cuba and the Cameraman,” first visited the island in the early ‘70s and kept going back to document the social changes. He created lifelong friendships, and an unlikely camaraderie with Fidel Castro himself — making him the only American journalist to fly with Castro to New York before his speech in front of the UN. The documentary was released one day before the one-year anniversary of Castro’s death. (Cuba Trade)

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