Daily Briefing – July 11, 2018

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Private Sector Licenses to Renew, With Added Controls: The Cuban government announced yesterday that it would resume the issuing of licenses for private business in December, following a 16-month hiatus. The government also acknowledged that the private sector was vital to economic growth. However, the resumption of licensing comes with new controls, including strictly limiting one business per citizen and requiring all transactions to move through state-run banks. All private businesses will also be required to pay taxes. There are currently 591,456 licensed private enterprises in Cuba. (CTV NewsNBC)

Venezuela Continues Oil Shipments to Cuba: Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA reportedly shipped 500,000 barrels of crude oil to Cuba this week, as the cash-strapped South American nation continues its commitment to supply oil in exchange for professional personnel, intelligence services and political support. It is estimated that Venezuela ships $1.2 billion in oil to Cuba annually, down from a high of $5 billion a year under former president Hugo Chavez. Venezuela itself still produces 1.3 million barrels a day, of which an average of 55,000 barrels a day goes to Cuba. (Miami Herald)

Bishops Vote Unanimously to Admit Cuban Diocese: The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, meeting in Austin, Texas, voted unanimously yesterday to re-admit the Episcopal Church of Cuba as a diocese of the Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Cuba will become part of Province II of the church, which includes dioceses in New York, New Jersey, Haiti and the Virgin Islands. In response to the political climate of the time, the House of Bishops in 1966 voted to separate from the Episcopal Church in Cuba. The Bishops noted that the Cuban government has in recent years become more tolerant of churches, which came under attack after the Revolution. (ENS)

Tropical Storm Beryl Hits Eastern Cuba: Tropical storm Beryl, which was downgraded from a hurricane this past weekend, is drenching eastern Cuba today. While damaging winds are not expected, there will be enough rain to cause flash flooding and mudslides. Beryl is expected to be weakened further by the mountains of eastern Cuba before it turns north and moves along the U.S. Atlantic coastline. (Accuweather)

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