CUBA BRIEF: “Irma is not responsible for Cuba's economic debacle. The government is.” Tourist industry put profit over the safety of their clients.

The Hill reports that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants reciprocity in U.S. Cuba relations: "I just think it is fair and, and reciprocal for us to require a proportional drawdown of the Cuban Embassy and the Cuban diplomatic presence in the United States," he said.  ABC News reports that Tour companies, airlines, cruises and others in the travel industry will continue taking Americans to Cuba despite a dramatic safety warning issued Friday by the U.S. State Department.

CUBA BRIEF: The Post: U.S. to slash embassy staff, warns travelers. The Times: Cuban Doctors Revolt: ‘You Get Tired of Being a Slave’

When Raul Castro attempted to smuggle war planes to North Korea during the Obama Administration, the State Department response was that it was really not that significant. Ibid. for other anti-American actions carried out by the regime including Russian spy ships back in Havana. There are still Obama holdovers in the foreign policy machinery of the United States, but the sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba could not be swept under the rug after CBS Radio reported the story and the Department of State was forced to acknowledge it.

CUBA BRIEF: Mr. President, Will the bureaucracy act?

Fox says Trump’s Cuba policy stalls perhaps due to lack of resources and staff at Treasury. Why not reassign whatever federal funds are required?  If the holdovers from the previous Administration remain in control, President Trump could issue an Executive Order, just like he did on Venezuela recently.

CUBA BRIEF: Bring U.S. diplomats home. Cuba can’t, and won’t, protect them. Cubans hope for Customs moratorium after Irma.

More than a week after the hurricane caused havoc in Cuba, despite pleas from many for the regime to relax custom fees so that the much needed food, medicine, clothing, foot wear, and supplies to rebuild the country would come in much larger quantities, the government has yet to respond. What the government has done is to sell food to some of the families impacted by the hurricane. There have been protests. We publish here an article "Cubans Hope For Customs Moratorium After Irma" published on the 19th by 14ymedio.

CUBA BRIEF: Trump’s Successful U.N. Speech by Elliott Abrams. A Hurricane Called Communism By Carlos Alberto Montaner

It had both striking rhetoric and a sound argument. In his speech to the United Nations, President Trump very successfully met the political and intellectual challenge he faced. He reminded the delegates that the United Nations was never meant to be a gigantic bureaucracy that would steadily become a world government. Rather, he said, it is an association of sovereign states whose strength depends “on the independent strength of its members.” Its success, he argued, depends on their success at governing well as “strong, sovereign, and independent nations.”

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.