Daily Briefing – September 5, 2017

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

Cuba puts out warning for Hurricane Irma: Hurricane Irma is already a real threat to Cuba and many islands in the Caribbean, according to Cuban state media. The hurricane, which strengthened to a Category 5 storm early Tuesday, is projected to hit eastern Cuba on Thursday, followed by central Cuba on Friday. Several projections show the storm hitting Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Florida and other parts of the U.S. East Coast. (Cuba Debate)

What Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith learned after visiting Cuba: There has never been a better time for U.S.-Cuba engagement, according to Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. She visited the island with a trade delegation three days after President Donald Trump announced new restrictions on trade and travel to the island. Smith says Cuba holds tremendous opportunities for Minnesota farmers, educators and business leaders. (Cuba Trade Magazine)

Cuba begins political transition period: Cubans began a five-month political transition period on Monday that is expected to end with the naming of a successor to Raúl Castro. Cubans will meet in local communities in September to nominate municipal election candidates. The #Otro18 civil society group said it intends to nominate 170 candidates for municipal elections. The group says many of its candidates have already been met with intimidation from security forces. Once the municipal elections conclude, the country will select leaders for the national assembly. The national assembly picks members of the Council of State, who selects the president. Cuba’s electoral process has been criticized for discrediting government opponents and not allowing the participation of parties other than the ruling Communist Party. (AP and ABC News)

New developments on mystery attacks on diplomats: Nineteen Americans are suffering various symptoms including hearing loss and mild traumatic brain injury due to a mysterious attack on diplomats in Havana, according to the State Department. The State Department previously said only 16 Americans were affected. A spokesperson also confirmed that a new incident was reported in August. Investigators, including the FBI, are trying to determine whether a sonic weapon using inaudible sound was responsible for the attacks. Cuba has denied any responsibility for the attacks. (ABC News)

JetBlue opens Havana ticket offices: JetBlue Airways signaled confidence in Cuba by opening two ticketing offices in Havana on Friday, despite a rollback of the Obama-era opening by President Donald Trump. The ticket offices were opened one year after JetBlue flew the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba in decades. American Airlines and Delta Airlines also have ticket offices in Havana. (Reuters)

Missing out on teaching Afro-Cuban legacy: Even though Cuba claims to have made strides in racial equality, some educators say they have faced challenges in trying to teach Afro-Cuban history. Some educators argue that more emphasis on Afro-Cuban studies may help reveal why Black Cubans continue to be discriminated. (NBC News)

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