Daily Briefing – January 31, 2018

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

Trump directly addresses Cuba in his first State of the Union: During Tuesday’s speech, president Trump said his administration “imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.” He said those two countries, as well as North Korea and Iran, are rogue nations that the United States must and will continue to confront. Writer Franco Ordoño likened Trump’s comments to Former President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil,” a term Bush first used in his 2002 State of the Union speech to describe countries his administration considered state sponsors of terrorism.  (The Kansas City Star)

Guantanamo Bay to remain open: During last night’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump announced that he had signed an executive order to keep Guantanamo Bay open indefinitely. Former U.S. president Barack Obama promised to close the prison nine years ago, but he was unable to do so because of political opposition. (Washington Post)

Former U.S. foreign policy advisor responds to Trump’s Guantanamo Bay executive order: 

U.S. food exports to Cuba are rising:  Despite U.S. sanctions on Cuba, recent numbers released this week by the U.S.-Cuba Trade Economic Council show U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba were over $250 million in 2017. This is a $50 million increase from the previous year. Topping the list of ag sales were chicken, soybean, and corn. (KTIC)

Greek cruise line pulls out of Cuba: In February, Celestyal Cruises will stop its Cuba services until at least 2020. Celestyal was one of the few lines that offered travel the entire way around Cuba. Its ship Celestyal Crystal was based in Havana for five years. According to a statement from the company, the cruise line wants to shift its focus on the increasing demand for cruises within Greece. (Cruise Critic)

How digital art reaches remote areas of Cuba: Since 2015, a collection of media files has been traveling across Cuba’s urban centers and even into remote rural areas through a person-to-person file sharing system known as El Paquete Semanal (The Weekly Package). Featuring as many as 18,000 files per edition, El Paquete Semanal helps Cubans access music videos, soap operas, magazine articles, and even contemporary art, despite limited Internet access. On Thursday, El Paquete’s art curator Nestor Siré will pay a visit to Manhattan’s New Museum to discuss a new bilingual download of the product. (Hyperallergic)

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