Monday, August 1, 2011

Odds and ends

  • A Canadian company claims that it has Cuban government agreement to allow it to develop a golf course/real estate project in Holguin. Reportedly, homes will be sold to foreign residents “in perpetuity” as opposed to the previously reported concept of 99-year leases. It is also reported that buyers will get special visas to allow long-term stays, and that the company will be able to import easily food and other goods for residents’ consumption. Here’s coverage from Cuba Standard and El Universal, and here’s information from the company itself. Any guesses as to which gets finalized first…this deal or the new rules that will allow Cubans to sell and buy homes?

  • USA Today: The Cuba trips advertised by the travel company Abercrombie and Kent are “on hold,” the company says, until it clarifies a few things about Treasury’s rules.

  • Granma: Flights from the United States have two new destinations in Cuba: Manzanillo and Santa Clara. Another new development was a July 31 Washington-Havana flight, but it was unplanned.

  • Ariel Hidalgo defends family visits to Cuba in two op-eds in El Nuevo Herald, here and here. Restrictions such as those promoted recently in Congress, he writes, are “a great service rendered to the Havana regime.”

  • From Radio Reloj, July 29: “Finance minister Lina Pedraza pointed out that all sectors met their budget plans in the past two semesters, as did entrepreneurs’ contribution to the national budget through the tax system.”

  • La Jornada: Remittances to Cuba are increasingly coming from sources other than the United States and are supporting many small entrepreneurs. Among recipients, 23 percent have a little business and 34 percent want to have one, according to a survey conducted by Katrin Hansing and Manuel Orozco.

  • Herald: The freeze on the latest $20 million in U.S. government democracy program funds for Cuba has been largely lifted. Granma reports that in the recent National Assembly sessions, there was discussion of USAID’s operations in Cuba and the need “for a response of a legislative character.”

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