Daily Briefing – October 12, 2017

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

Cuba assists Thailand’s biopharmaceutical ambitions: Cuba’s CIMAB SA and Thailand’s Siam Bioscience signed an agreement to establish a joint venture called Abinis that will produce drugs for global market from Thailand. The deal builds on a two-year relationship that allowed Siam Bioscience to produce and sell two biopharmaceutical therapies patented by CIMAB SA. Siam Bioscience says global biopharmaceutical revenues will reach $221 billion this year. (Nikkei Asian Review)

The show will not go on: A Cuban theater group will not perform at Chicago’s first international Latino theater festival this month because members of the group faced visa complications. The problems arose after the U.S. State Department withdrew all non-emergency personnel from the embassy in Havana in response to mysterious “attacks” that harmed at least 22 U.S. diplomats and family members. The embassy, which is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma, also announced it will stop processing visas in Cuba indefinitely. (Playbill)

Sin prisa, sigan las pausas: Raúl Castro’s successor has the unenviable task of reforming Cuba’s economy, writes William LeoGrande, co-author of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana. Castro’s attempts to strengthen the private sector, encourage more foreign investment and unify the dual currency system have mostly fallen short. His successor will encounter the same challenges at a time when Venezuelan oil deliveries are decreasing. The aftermath of Hurricane Irma and an unpredictable relationship with the U.S. doesn’t help either. (Americas Quarterly) 

Revealing a more complex Cuba: Young journalists in Cuba have succeeded in telling meaningful stories that are unlikely to appear in state-controlled media outlets. The independent outlets have reported on topics such as the illegal trade of sex toys, the pollution generated by a Havana Club distillery and the poor living conditions of some neighborhoods. Many of the young publications have already earned international praise. El Estornudo won a Gabriel García Márquez Journalism Award. The same publication has had its work published in outlets such as BBC Mundo, Al Jazeera, Univision and The Huffington Post. (EFE and El Nuevo Herald)

Irma recovery continues: People living in Cojimar, the fishing village known for being one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite places in Cuba, is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. One resident told Local 10 that water damage is still visible in his home. The government is helping the community by selling some goods for reduced prices. (Local 10 News)

Travel agents take donations to Cuba: Eight travel agents will travel to Cuba to deliver supplies to areas hit by Hurricane Irma. The U.K.’s Cuba Holidays arranged the trip and collected donations. The Cuban government will distribute the donations in the Cayos, a popular tourist destination on the northern coast of central that was among the hardest hit areas. (Travel Weekly)

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