A daily look at deals, events, and transactions of note for trade and investment in Cuba.
Ex-presidents of Bolivia, Colombia say Cuba denied them entry: Former Colombian President Andres Pastrana and ex-Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga said Wednesday that Cuba had prevented them from entering the country to receive an award from a local dissident group. Pastrana and Quiroga, both conservatives, said they had been detained at the Havana airport and sent home, without being allowed to accept the award. “The Cuban dictatorship deported us today from the island for defending the democratic principles of the region,” Pastrana wrote on Twitter. Cuba says dissidents are funded by enemy governments and exiles to destabilize the government. (Reuters)
Cuban vice president says computerization key for economy: The Cuban first vice president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, visited a Havana computer center on Wednesday and called for continued work to expand computer use and automation on the island, saying the effort is critical for Cuba’s economy. “We have made a lot of progress in computing, but we must focus on electronics, too,” he said. He praised the late Fidel Castro for establishing youth clubs that have been instrumental in fostering computer interest and skills in young Cubans. Díaz-Canel is considered likely to be chosen as Cuba’s next president in April by the National Assembly being elected Sunday. (CubaTV, Havana Times)
Miami group says social media bots spread pro-Havana posts: The Miami-based Directorio Democratico Cuba said Wednesday that it had detected seemingly bogus social media accounts that appear to be Russian-style bots promoting Cuban government messages. “I am absolutely convinced the Castro regime is behind it,” said Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat, a spokesman for the organization, which advocates political diversity in Cuba. The group said it had found dozens of Twitter accounts that promote hashtags with messages favorable to the island’s government, and post idyllic images of the late Fidel Castro and his Venezuelan ally, the late Hugo Chavez. (WPLG)
Museum exhibit looks at Hershey’s history in Cuba: The Hershey Story Museum in Pennsylvania is opening an exhibit on Friday exploring chocolate-company founder Milton Hershey’s influence in Cuba. Hershey visited Cuba as a tourist in 1916, and months later bought his first plantation and mill there. He built a railroad and a community for employees, establishing the town of Hershey, Cuba, which still exists, the Hershey Foundation said. In 1926 he added Cuba’s first sugar refinery, according to the foundation. Competition and increased tariffs led to declining sales, and Hershey’s Cuban interests were sold in 1946, after his death. The exhibit will include such artifacts as manufacturing equipment and a batboy uniform from the Hershey Sports Club baseball team. (ABC27.com)
Scientists collaborate on protecting marine life: Specialists from the French Research Institute for Development and the Cuban Meteorology Institute announced Wednesday that they would collaborate on efforts to fight the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. They have jointly organized a meeting taking place in Havana for meteorologists, biochemists, biologists, and ecologists to exchange insights on the subject. Amilkar Calzada, national coordinator of the event, told Prensa Latina that the participants in the meeting agreed on a joint project involving Brazil, France, and Cuba to foster training on updating technologies to promote the protection of marine species. (Prensa Latina)