Here’s a chronology
of Cuba’s economic reforms that I will update from time to time.It will appear as an appendix to a paper on the economic
reform process that will be published next week.Comments welcome.
Late to this one, but for the record...Repsol found no oil in Cuba, but the rig it built will be passed to
other companies, starting with Malaysia’s Petronas to continue searching for a
deep-water reservoir in Cuba’s part of the Gulf.Reuters story here.
(Correction: I was wrong to
say in an earlier version of this post that Repsol would be leaving Cuba.Press reports have the company deciding what
to do.See BBC and Argus.)
After granting a visa
to gay rights advocate Mariela Castro, Havana historian Eusebio Leal, and
others, the Administration has taken some heat from Capitol Hill and seems to
have put the brakes on the granting of a number of visas for Cubans seeking to
attend an exciting convention of academics who concentrate on Latin American
The Washington Post covered
the story here
and weighs in with an
editorial that strangely calls the Cubans “refuseniks,” which makes you
wonder how much the writer really looked into the views of the Cubans who are
being denied visas.
Still, I agree with
the thrust of the editorial that the U.S. conveys “weakness, not strength” in
refusing the visas. Regardless of their
views, they should be welcomed at the conference to state their views and
Update: As Republicans bash the Administration for “rolling out the red
carpet for the Castro family” by granting a visa to Mariela Castro, the State
Department confirms that she visited the United States three times during the
George W. Bush Administration (Herald).
Friends of jailed
USAID contractor Alan Gross who are pulling for his release want the Obama
Administration to consider negotiating for his release, perhaps with some
concessions regarding the Cuban Five that would fall short of a five-for-one
The Administration continues
to assert that Gross’ arrest and conviction were unfounded, the Cuban legal
system is a sham, he should be released unconditionally, and there will be no
negotiation because his activities in Cuba and those of the Cuban agents here
are not comparable.
Ronald Halber of
Washington’s Jewish Community Relations Council says the Administration should act
in our “national interest.” He is starting a good debate; even if one buys
all the Administration’s arguments, it’s hard to see how its position helps get
Mr. Gross out of jail.
Meanwhile, the Jewish
Exponent reports on the visit to the United States of Mayra Levy, head of
Havana’s Sephardic synagogue, who encourages American Jews to visit. From the story: “Levy said the
community received Gross warmly. ‘But he broke the Cuban laws,’ she said,
adding that members of the community visit Gross from time to time.”
Dow Jones:The “Section 211” case, named after a
1998 law that invalidated Pernod-Ricard’s registration of the Havana Club
rum trademark in the United States, came to an end in the U.S. Supreme
Court.Pernod lost and, cutting its
losses, announced the “Havanista” trademark for a Cuban rum that will
enter the U.S. market when the embargo ends.Cuba’s foreign
ministry, citing a WTO decision in Pernod’s favor, continues to call
on the U.S. government to register the trademark.
on the voting propensities of younger-generation Cuban Americans.
University admissions in Cuba are down 26 percent, the national statistics
office reports.In today’s Granma,
a story on the priority being given to technical education.
In large numbers, Cubans are updating and registering the titles to their
homes, and in spite of the streamlined process government workers are
straining at the workload.A clean
title is prerequisite to any sale or transfer of a property.
on the “mystery” of the undersea fiber optic cable that connected Cuba and
Venezuela last year and seems not to be working.
A Cuban official tallies the distribution of idle state lands since 2008:
1.5 million hectares to 163,000 producers, with 79 percent of that land
now in use and 59 percent being used for livestock.
Romney issued a Cuban independence day statement charging that the
late Damas de Blanco leader Laura Pollan died “at the hands of the
Raul Castro declared
as early as 2007 that Cuba needs more foreign investment, and the Communist
Party’s economic reform blueprint reiterated the point: more foreign
investment, from more countries, with projects evaluated more promptly and
according to broader criteria.
But not a great deal
has happened, as Reuters
reports.One long-time investor,
Unilever, is pulling out, and the golf course projects remain in the “any
minute now” status where they have been for years.
The current reforms
are being rolled out on a timetable that extends to 2015, so maybe everything
is right on schedule.One wonders if the
iffy health of Hugo Chavez is causing a re-assessment of the timetable.
Meanwhile, the Economist reports on the
arrest of a British subject some weeks ago, and El Universal reports on foreign
capital flowing in to invest in houses and businesses.