Daily Briefing – March 13, 2018

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

Different takes on Cuban election turnout from Miami, Havana: Cuba’s Sunday elections had a lower turnout — 82.9 percent — than any vote since the first Popular Power elections in 1976, Miami’s el Nuevo Herald reported Monday. That marked an eight-percent drop compared to 2013 despite the historic nature of the vote. In April, lawmakers elected Sunday will select President Raul Castro’s successor. The transition will give Cuba its first leader not named Castro since the 1959 revolution. First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Castro’s presumed successor, called the election a chance for Cubans to show unity and defend the island’s sovereignty in the face of worsening relations with the U.S. Cuban officials said turnout remained near traditional levels around 85 percent, and noted that Miami elections have far lower participation. (El Nuevo Herald, EFE in 14ymedio)

Cuba participates in Moscow tourism fair: Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism announced Monday that it would have a delegation at the 25th Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition from March 13 to March 15. Russia was the 10th biggest source of tourists to Cuba in 2017, with 105,946 Russian visitors. The Cuban delegation, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Alexis Trujillo Morejon, will provide information on Cuban beaches and international-quality hotels, as well as cultural, health, and eco-tourism opportunities on the island. The delegation also will include representatives of the main Cuban hotel chains and travel agencies, as well as international partners such as Meliá International, Iberostar, Roc Hotels, Sercotel Hotels, and Accor Hotels. (Prensa Latina)

Thousands of Cubans apply for repatriation in growing trend: Media attention usually focuses on people leaving Cuba, but Cuban government figures showed that 11,176 Cubans applied for repatriation in 2017, The Miami Herald reported Monday. The trend has grown since Raúl Castro launched migration reforms in 2013. Applicants interviewed by el Nuevo Herald gave various reasons for wanting to go back. One activist said she wanted to encourage Cubans to stand up for their rights. Another, a 78-year-old widower in Miami who arrived in 2004 as a political refugee, simply doesn’t want to feel lonely. “In Cuba, life is different,” said the man, identified only as Rene. “You move around and you talk to people. Here, you can spend a month and not see your neighbor.” (The Miami Herald)

Kenyan president visits Cuba for embassy inauguration, talks: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly plans to visit Cuba this week to inaugurate his country’s embassy and meet with Cuban authorities. Kenyatta is scheduled to arrive in Havana on Wednesday and stay until Saturday. Kenyatta will pay tribute to Cuban national hero Jose Marti and meet Cuban officials for high-level talks on Thursday. The African nation’s embassy will be inaugurated on Friday. (Prensa Latina)

Cuba, Venezuela sign cooperation accord on legal matters: Cuba and Venezuela on Monday reached a cooperation agreement on justice matters aiming to help prevent transnational crimes and administrative corruption. The pact was signed in Havana by Cuban attorney general Darío Delgado and his Venezuelan counterpart Tarek William Saab, who is in the country for a legal conference. Under the deal, the two countries will exchange technical information. The Venezuelan official said the agreement would serve as an “action guide” for a joint fight against corruption, drug trafficking, and money laundering. (EFE in 14ymedio)

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