• February 13, 2018

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

Trump proposes slashing funds for democracy promotion in Cuba: President Trump’s budget proposal, which the White House unveiled Monday, calls for cutting the 2019 State Department and USAID budget by $17 billion to $37.8 billion, or roughly 30 percent. The plan would reduce the allotment for promoting “democracy, human rights, and freedom” in Cuba by 50 percent to $10 million. State Department officials said Trump’s budget would “advance peace & security” while “making efficient use of taxpayer resources.” There is bipartisan opposition in Congress to deep cuts for the State Department, however, so many lawmakers said Trump’s reductions would not pass as is. (14ymedio, ABC News)

Cuba, U.S. discuss cooperation to prevent money laundering: Cuban and U.S. officials on Monday held their second meeting to discuss cooperating on fighting money laundering, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said. Cuba’s representatives expressed a desire to step up efforts to work together on the issue, particularly through the United Nations.  The Cuban delegation included representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, Banco Central de Cuba, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The U.S. team included officials from the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, Health and Human Services, and Treasury, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said. (Cuba’s Representative Office Abroad)

British-Chinese group to build second biomass plant in Cuba: A British-Chinese group is stepping up its investment in Cuba to produce electricity in Cuba from sugar-care waste and the invasive week marabu. HE Ltd., formerly known as Havana Energy, already has a 62-megawatt biomass plant under construction at the Ciro Redondo sugar mill in central Cuba’s Ciego de Avila province, with a total cost of $200 million. Now the group has decided to invest another $140 million in a 62-megawatt plan at Cuba’s newest sugar million, Mario Muñoz in western Matanzas province. Groundbreaking on the two-year construction project is scheduled for later this year. (Cuba Trade)

Port Tampa Bay gains traffic as cruise companies expand Cuba trips: Port Tampa Bay is gaining cruise-ship traffic thanks largely to Royal Caribbean’s expansion in departures to Cuba. Carnival also added Cuba sailings. In 2017, traffic rose to 961,000 cruise guests, and it is expected to close in on the 1 million milestone with the addition of year round service of the Carnival Miracle. “The cruises to Cuba added excitement and generated demand for more,” said Greg Lovelace, director of marketing and business development. The cruise lines have showcased the area’s Cuban roots in Ybor City as the Cuba sailings opened. (Cruise Industry News)

Cuba, Ghana team up to intensify fight against malaria: Officials from Cuba and Ghana committed to working together to fight malaria after meeting in Accra on Monday. Ghana Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said his government would renew discussions with the Cuban government about building a biolarvicide factory in northern Ghana. “Deaths from malaria are avoidable, and we want this facility to help eradicate it not just in Ghana but the whole of West Africa, if not the entire continent” Dr. Bawumia stated. He noted that the project would build on health-care cooperation between the two countries that has included the Cuban Medical Brigade Assistance Program, which has health-care workers in remote parts of Ghana, and the training of more than 3,000 students from Ghana in Cuba. (Ghana News Agency, Myjoyonline)

Cuba to publish Chinese president’s books in Spanish: Cuba plans to publish the Spanish edition of at least two books on the thoughts and ideas of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The agreement was signed by Chinese publishers and Cuba’s New Millennium publishing house at the 11-day 27th edition of the Havana International Book Fair, which ended Sunday. Hermes Moreno of New Millennium said 5,000 to 10,000 copies would be printed. (Xinhua)

Higher education conference Universidad 2018 opens: The 11th International Congress on Higher Education, Universidad 2018, opened in Havana on Monday. More than 2,500 delegates and guests from 60 countries gathered for the event in Havana, which was organized by the Ministry of Higher Education and Cuban higher education institutions. Dr. José Ramón Saborido Lloidi, minister of higher education in Cuba, said during the opening session that “maintaining a quality university, defending it as a public good and a fundamental human right represents one of the objectives for Cuba and Latin America.” (Cubadebate), Prensa Latina)

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