Daily Briefing – July 16, 2018

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Cuba’s New Constitution to Recognize Private Property: Cuba’s new constitution, the draft of which will be released next week, reportedly will officially recognize private property for the first time since the Revolution. The new constitution will also create the position of prime minister, along with president, state media reported on Saturday. The commission to change the constitution is being headed by former president Raul Castro, 87, who remains head of the Communist Party. Castro has been pushing for economic reform since taking power in 2006. The new changes could also mean enhanced legal protections for entrepreneurs and foreign investors. (Reuters)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Calls for Tougher Stance on Cuba: Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for U.S. Senate, has called for the U.S. to increase sanctions on Cuba. In a campaign rally in South Florida last Friday, Scott said that Cuba should be returned to the list of terrorist states and that former Cuban president Raul Castro should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. At the same time, Scott has championed Florida trade with Communist China and supported talks with Communist North Korea. (WLRN)

Analysis: New Regulations Could Stifle the Private Sector. A compendium of new regulations released last week by the Cuban government will allow for new private licenses and recognizes the private sector, but could strangle free enterprise, according to a Brookings Institute analysis. The new regulations are highly detailed with specific requirements and vastly increased government oversight, which could open the door to heavy fines, extortion, suspended licenses and seized property. They also allow state agencies to regulate the competing private sector, and suppress the accumulation of capital. (Brookings)

Commentary: Sen. Rubio is Communist Cuba’s Best Friend. Under the Obama administration’s policy of engagement, Cuba’s private sector showed strong growth, writes author Neville Williams. Since then, under the advice and pressure of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cold War mentality has returned. The Trump Administration’s anti-Cuba rhetoric has increased the influence of hardline party officials who have resisted free trade, private enterprise, and foreign influence. Rubio and Trump have hurt only the Cuban people, argues Williams, and strengthened government control. (Naples Daily News)

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