Daily Briefing – May 16, 2018

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Venezuela Buying Foreign Oil for Cuba: Unable to produce sufficient oil for export from its own reserves, Venezuela has been buying Russian crude oil and shipping it directly to Cuba, according to an exclusive report by Reuters. The news service documented purchases of some $440 million worth of Russian Urals crude by Venezuela, which it then delivered to Cuba for prices as much as $12 less per barrel than it cost. Cuba pays for the oil with goods and services rather than cash, under a 2000 agreement signed by late presidents Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. (Reuters)

Cuba and China Sign Pharmaceutical Production MOU: BioCubaFarm Chairman Eduardo Martinez signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with a Chinese investment group in Beijing to produce Cuban drugs in China. Cuba produces several important patented medications that should find a vast market in China, says officials from both countries. The MOU envisions the production in China of these drugs, as well as other joint ventures that will include production in the Mariel Special Development Zone for distribution in Latin America. (Prensa Latina)

EU and Cuba to Sign Renewable Energy Deal: Cuba and the European Union are looking to increase cooperation in the face of U.S. pressure to isolate Cuba, according to European news sources. One key agreement, expected to be signed next week in Brussels, will be for a $21.5 million project to support Cuba’s target of producing one quarter of the nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2030. The EU has long held that the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba is both obsolete and illegal. (AFP)

Kenya Government to Subsidize Cuban Doctors: Despite opposition from its national medical union, Kenya is proceeding with plans to accept 100 Cuba doctors by the end of May. In addition to salaries, the state will provide furnished homes, air fares for holidays, and paid utilities and transport in addition to salaries for the Cuban MDs. The government says the doctors, half of whom are specialists, are needed for understaffed hospitals. Kenya’s doctors-to-patient ratio is one to 16,000, according to officials; the U.N. World Health Organization recommends one doctor per 1,000 patients. (Business Daily)

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