Daily Briefing – June 13, 2018

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President of India to Visit Cuba: Ram Nath Kovind, the president of India, will embark this weekend on an eight-day journey to Greece, Surinam and Cuba, it was announced yesterday. It will be the first time an Indian president has ever visited Cuba. On the agenda for meetings with Cuba’s President Miguel Diáz-Canel are four agreements to be signed in the areas of biotechnology and traditional and alternative medicine. Partha Satpathy, India’s joint secretary for Latin American and the Caribbean, says that Kovind’s visit reflects a new emphasis on “South-South” ties with Latin America. (Business Standard)

Texas Man Charged with Trying to Smuggle Electronics to Cuba: The trial of a Texas man accused of trying to smuggle sensitive electronics gear into Cuba is now underway in Miami. The man, 46-year-old Bryan Singer, is accused of trying to smuggle $33,000 worth of network modems from Key West aboard his boat. His indictment says that the modems had military potential. Bryan says he was attempting to help the Cuban people. (Miami Herald)

Cuba Declares Commitment to More Internet Access: Cuban Communications Minister Maimir Mesa said yesterday that Cuba is committed to expanding Internet access and information technology to help accelerate economic development. Mesa made his comments yesterday at the opening of the Sixth Latin American Telecommunications Congress, which is taking place in Varadero east of Havana. He said that immediate growth will take place via mobile telephony with 3G and 4G technology, which will increase 20 percent annually. Currently 4.5 million Cubans can access the Internet, albeit through slow and expensive connections. (Xinhua)

Florida’s Governor Critical of Cuba but Mum on North Korea: Gov. Rick Scott, a vocal critic of engagement with Cuba, has fallen silent on President Trump’s attempt to make a deal with North Korea. Scott has frequently attacked former President Obama’s opening of relations with Cuba because they did not tie any deals to human rights issues. Kim Jong Un, dictator of North Korea, has a well-known record of brutality towards his people. Gov. Scott even attacked Cuba for allegedly supplying weapons to North Korea. But he has endorsed Trump’s North Korea engagement even though it does not address similar issues. (Orlando Sentinel)

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