Daily Briefing – January 12, 2018

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

Showcasing Cuba’s natural splendors to baby boomers: An adventure company from Idaho has made it their business to take baby boomers from Cuba’s tour buses and put them onto bikes, into kayaks, and onto mountain trails for immersive tours of the island’s stunning and varied terrains – all with the particularities of U.S. customers in mind. Cuba Unbound sprang from parent company Row Adventures shortly after U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba were relaxed in 2015. “Now here we are going into Year Three, and it’s looking really good,” said Row Adventures managing director Brad Moss. (Cuba Trade)

Managing director of Cuba-focused oil company steps down: Australia’s Melbana Energy Limited announced that managing director Peter Stickland will step down immediately because of health reasons. Robert Zammit, the company’s executive manager of commercial and business development, has been appointed CEO. Melbana says it plans to commence drilling in Cuba in mid-2018. (Melbana)

Two Spaniards diagnosed with Zika after Cuba visit: Two Spanish women who traveled to Cuba together were diagnosed with the Zika virus, according to the government of Spain’s northeastern Aragón region. The women visited a clinic three days after returning to Cuba. They have been advised to use condoms and avoid pregnancy during the next six months. Spain has reported 325 cases of Zika since it became an epidemic in 2015. It only reported 12 cases in 2017. (14ymedio)

The changing nature of Cuban migration: A year has passed since the Obama administration ended the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that gave Cubans who arrived on U.S. soil without visas a pathway to permanent residency. According to the State Department, the number of Cubans who attempted to reach the U.S. by boat dropped by 71 percent in fiscal year 2017, which ended in October. The number of Cubans who tried to reach the U.S. by land fell by 64 percent during the same time period. (EFE and 14ymedio)

A blow to Latin America’s moderate left: Outgoing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s visit to Cuba was a huge blow to the “remnants of a democratic, human rights-conscious and globalized left in Latin America,” according to Miami Herald columnist Andrés Oppenheimer. He says the Bachelet government’s claim that the trip was aimed at improving Chilean-Cuban business ties sounds like a joke since Cuba is not a growing economy and bilateral trade is close to nothing. (Miami Herald)

A McCartney statue in Santiago de Cuba: A life-size statue of former Beatles star Paul McCartney will be inaugurated near Castillo del Morro in Santiago de Cuba on Saturday. The statue will be located in the El Morro restaurant where McCartney lunched 18 years ago. Communist-run Cuba once banned Beatles music, but the Santiago de Cuba restaurant appreciated his visit so much that they still treasure the utensils he used. Staff are hopeful he will return because he wrote “very good, I’ll return” on a napkin. (EFE and 14ymedio)

Fidel’s cigars sell for almost $27,000: A signed box of Trinidad Fumadores cigars from Fidel Castro’s personal collection sold for $26,950 on Thursday at an auction in Boston. Trinidad Fumadores cigars were produced exclusively for Castro starting in 1980. Until 1998, the boxes were only allowed to leave the island if they were gifts to foreign leaders. (Associated Press and New York Post)

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