Daily Briefing – May 22, 2018

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Cuba Aims to Double Rum Exports: The Cuba Ron Corporation, the makers of such brands as Havana Club, Santiago de Cuba and Cubay, intends to double current export levels by 2030. Company president Juan Gonzalez announced the goal at a press conference just prior to the annual Rum Festival to be held May 23 and 24 at the Pabexpo exhibition center in Havana. Cuba Ron currently exports 3.2 million cases of rum annually, of which 90 percent is Havana Club. Emphasis will be place on promoting their other brands to global markets. (Prensa Latina)

Charter Company in Cuba Airline Crash Suspended: Aviation authorities in Mexico have suspended the Mexican charter company that owned the passenger jet which crashed in Cuba Friday, killing 110 people. The temporary suspension will give authorities the time to review legal compliance by Aerolineas Damojh, which goes by the commercial name Global Air. The Cuban government is investigating the cause of the crash, and both Mexico and the U.S. have announced they would send experts to Cuba, as would Boeing. (Fox News)

Foreign Investment in Food Sector Targeted: Cuban Deputy Minister Betsy Diaz said yesterday that the government will accelerate its approval process for foreign investment projects in the food industry. Diaz said there are currently 32 new projects valued at $760 million under review, and that approvals were likely for the construction of a water and soft drink plant, a brewery in the Mariel Special Development Zone, and for aquatic farms cultivating shrimp, eel and sea cucumber. Cuba currently imports $2 billion in food annually, and seeks to become more self- sufficient. (Prensa Latina)

U.S. LGBT Advocates Participated in Cuban Pride Events: U.S. advocates for equal rights for LGBT people joined fellow activists in Cuba for pride events on the island, reports the Miami Herald. A delegation from the U.S. included Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith and Freedom to Work founder Tico Almeida. Thousands of members of Cuba’s LGBT community staged a parade through Havana last week, including Mariela Castro, daughter of Raúl Castro, who heads Cuba’s National Sexual Education Centre (CENESEX). Cuba’s homosexuals were persecuted in the 1960s and 1970s, but that policy has been slowly reversed over the last decade. (Miami Herald)

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