CUBA BRIEF: U.S. imposes first economic sanctions against Maduro. Don't play down attack on diplomats says The Washington Post. NPR reports on diplomats brain damage.

Earlier today, the Miami Herald reports that “the U.S. imposed its first economic penalties against Venezuela, hitting the South American country’s financial sector in an attempt to starve President Nicolás Maduro’s government of cash. The Trump administration banned trades of Venezuelan debt, prohibiting Maduro’s government and its state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA, from selling new bonds to Americans or in U.S. financial institutions. President Donald Trump signed an executive order approving the sanctions Thursday.” 

CUBA BRIEF: Don't miss new section: UM-Watch:Cuba. Mexican Foreign Minister asks Cuba for help; expands Castro's credit line by $26 million Euros. Havana suspends more self employment licenses

Looking for “the forgotten Caribbean paradise,” a professor, writing in The Hill, discovers that in Cuba, time did not stand still – it went backward.”

Quoting newswire services, Havana based 14ymedio said on 16 August 2017that “The effect of the Venezuelan crisis on the Cuban economy is greater than expected, judging by the latest data from the National Statistics Office (ONE) that reveals a 70% fall in trade between the two countries in only two years.” 

CUBA BRIEF: Five Cubans wounded in Barcelona terrorist attack. Maduro's unannounced trip to Cuba. Three dissidents in prison for their July 26 protest receive visitors

CubaBrief: The latest episode on the University of Miami soap opera can be summarized as follows: Dr. Julio Frenk, UM President, met with a group of prominent Cuban Americans today which included writer Carlos Alberto Montaner, Facts About Cuban Exiles’ Sam Verdeja, business entrepreneur and civic leader Diego Suarez, Humberto Arguelles president of the Brigade 2506, and others. The meeting went over serious concerns by the Cuban American community about the future direction of Cuban Studies at the university. Later in the day UM released a statement indicating that the university will not establish exchanges with Cuban universities. 

CUBA BRIEF: State Department hides details on Havana's attack on American diplomats, Cuban resistance statement on UM scandal, Peaceful protesters sentenced to 5 years in prison

In this CubaBrief: Ben Rhodes, President Obama's fomer speech writer says that"“It just doesn’t strike me as something the Cuban government would do” about the sonic attack on the U.S. diplomats in Havana while The Washington Free Beacon reports that the State Departmenthideskey details of mystery attacks on American diplomats in Cuba from Congress.

CUBA BRIEF: Economic crisis deepens. Castro’s protégé ordered Senator Rubio killed. Cuba spends less on healthcare despite aging population.

In this CubaBrief: 

  • Cuban economic crisis deepens, Raul Castro reneges on some reforms.

  • Raul Castro’s protégé ordered Senator Rubio killed.

  • Cuba Spends Less on Healthcare Despite the Aging of the Population.   

  • The Spurious Goals of Cuba’s ‘Free’ Health And Education

Will UM President help college student expelled by regime from Cuban school after speaking at UM?

CUBA BRIEF: On Cuba, Venezuela, plot to kill Rubio, more on American diplomats under health attack in Cuba, and foolishness of Obama's outreach

In this CubaBrief: 

  • Cuba’s assault on US diplomats proves the foolishness of Obama’s outreach,The New York Post, August 13, 2017
  • VP Pence Says US Won't Stand By as Venezuela 'Crumbles,' The New York Times, August 14, 2017
  • Obama’s foreign policy haunts Trump and the United States, The Washington Post, August 14, 2017
  • Venezuelan leader may have launched Rubio assassination plot, Politico, August 13, 2017
  • Diplomats under ‘health attack’ in Cuba were treated by Miami doctors. The Miami Herald, August 13, 2017

CUBA BRIEF: Canadian diplomats also targeted in Cuba. Members of Congress react to Havana’s hostility towards American diplomats.

CubaBrief: The University of Miami Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies released this afternoon an urgent appeal on behalf of a Cuban university student expelled from his school after he visited Florida and spoke at the University of Miami. According to Professor Jaime Suchlicki, director of the Institute, “The deteriorating situation at Cuban universities should be a matter of concern, especially to American academics engaged in exchange programs with schools on the island.”  Dr. Suchlicki asked that “polite expressions of concern about Felix Llerena be sent to General Raul Castro, President of the Republic of Cuba, Plaza de la Revolución, Havana, Cuba.”

CUBA BRIEF: US expels 2 Cuban diplomats. Castro is calling the shots in Caracas. Is Maduro Turning Venezuela Into a Dictatorship? ICCAS-gate at UM: It’s the Cover-up that Gets You

CubaBrief: The Washington Post published this afternoon an Associated Press story about two Cuban diplomats who were expelled in May “after Americans in Cuba ‘reported incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms.’" During previous Administrations American diplomats were targeted by Cuban secret police: their windshields were broken after they had met with Cuban dissidents and the American diplomatic pouch was repeatedly compromised. It is not uncommon for regimes hostile to the United States to test American resolve after a new president is elected. 

CUBA BRIEF: Venezuela Reported False Election Turnout. Cuba reins in entrepreneurs

CubaBrief: The House of Representatives “”overwhelmingly backs intelligence Bill, according to an Associated Press storypublished Friday (July 28) by The New York Times:  “The bill states that it's the sense of Congress that agencies should submit prompt, written notification to the intelligence committees after becoming aware that an individual in the executive branch has disclosed classified information outside established channels to an official of North Korea, Iran, China, Russia or Cuba.”

CUBA BRIEF: U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties: What a difference two years and a new president makes.

CubaBrief: The controversy between the University of Miami and outgoing Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies Director, Dr. Jaime Suchlicki is a matter of concern in the Cuban American community, according to an article by Nora Gámez Torres just published by El Nuevo Herald. The Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 Veterans Association in a letter to Julio Frenk, UM’s president, compliments the outstanding work of the ICCAS and its efforts focusing on “the real history of Cuba during all these years.” 

CubaBrief: Two Cuban parish priests offer mass in HQ of the Ladies in White in Havana. Witnesses testify at hearing on Castro regime’s crimes against humanity

CubaBrief : Cubanet and Diario de Cuba reported today online that two Catholic Cuban parish priests officiated a mass at the headquarters of the Ladies in White, the courageous women who every week try to attend mass all dressed in white, part of their campaign to obtain the release of Cuban political prisoners unjustly in jail.

CUBA BRIEF: The Fourth of July and Cuban Women

On the eve of this 4th of July, I think about our servicemen and women whose lives are at risk defending U.S. interests and the cause of freedom around the world. I also think about Cuba, so close to the United States, where a despotic regime continues to misrule; and about the Ladies in White, a group of women—mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives of Cuban political prisoners, punished for desiring the same freedoms that Americans will celebrate this weekend.