Construction sector’s recovery ‘dependent on financing through exports’

5th June 2023 Senior officials from Cuba’s construction sector have said that they are attempting to finance its return to viability through developing an income from exports. Speaking on the nightly television programme Mesa Redonda, the Directors of the Ministry of Construction (MICONS) and the GEICON Business Group identified energy supply stability and financing the […]

Mexico to offer visas for Central American workers

2nd June 2023 President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has announced a proposal to allow temporary work visas for Central Americans in Mexico. The visas will enable regional workers to be employed on such projects as the Maya Train. Trades such as welders, blacksmiths and other manual work as well as engineers will be required. […]

Gil says tourism’s return fundamental to Cuba’s economic recovery

29 May 2023 Deputy Prime Minister, Alejandro Gil, the Minister of Economy and Planning, has told Cuba’s National Assembly that “tourism continues to be the fundamental way to stimulate the recovery of the economy.” In a detailed address to Deputies on the country’s economic performance and priorities for recovery, he said that the sector was […]

Focus on security, climate change at UK-Caribbean forum

26 May 2023 British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has visited the Caribbean for the UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum which was dominated by talks on climate change and security. The 11th iteration of the forum, which was held in Jamaica on 18 May 2023, saw attendance of Foreign Ministers and other officials from across the region. They […]

Cuba-Russia business forum agrees measures to significantly strengthen ties

22 May 2023 Russia and Cuba have agreed at a business forum in Havana a series of economic and commercial measures that suggest that investment and trade relations with Russia may now deepen significantly. Remarks made there by Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitri Chernishenko, and Boris Titov, the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights and […]

Regional Transport Ministers Discuss US$52.49bn Integration

19th May 2023 The Council of Central American Transport Ministers (Comitran) discussed the integration of transport networks during a meeting in El Salvador. Having received the master plan for mobility and logistics 2035, officials started the task of investing up to US$52.49bn. The plan, presented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Central […]

Major hotel groups express confidence in recovery of tourism

15th May 2023 Announcements made during and in the margins of Cuba’s recently ended annual tourism fair FITCuba 2023 suggest that international hotel groups invested in Cuba have confidence that visitor numbers will fully return to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Speaking at the fair, Gabriel Escarrer, the Vice Chairman and CEO of Meliá Hotels, said: “We […]

Guyana Government to appeal court ruling on ExxonMobil-EPA agreement

12th May 2023 The Government of Guyana is set to appeal a High Court ruling that the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) erroneously applied insurance obligations in its deal with ExxonMobil subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL). The Court said that the EPA breached its statutory duty by failing to enforce compliance over […]

Russia and Cuba agree to boost investment and trade relations

8th May 2023 Cuba and Russia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to lead to a deepening of Russian private investment in energy, tourism, food production, civil aviation infrastructure, mining, and the development of sugar as an integrated agro-industry. At the end of a three-day visit to Havana, Makim Oreshkin, Presidential Adviser for Economic […]

India Looks to Gain Foothold in Latin America

5th May 2023 Talks between India and Central American representatives in Panama agreed to continue development of solutions to food security, connectivity and renewable energy. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met with counterparts from the Central American Integration System (SICA). An Action Plan will be drawn up to include other areas such as agriculture, IT […]

Serious fuel shortages halt May Day parade, affect wider economy

1st May 2023 In an indication of the seriousness of the fuel shortages presently facing Cuba, the country’s symbolic mass May Day parade in Havana was dramatically downsized and relocated. Announcing this just days before it was due to take place, Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, General Secretary, of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC), […]

“War on guns” declared at CARICOM crime symposium

28th April 2023 CARICOM leaders have come out forcefully against the proliferation of illegal weapons in the region as they met to craft solutions for rising crime at the recently concluded symposium on crime. Themed “Violence as a Public Health Issue – The Crime Challenge,” the regional symposium was held in Trinidad and Tobago over […]

Lavrov says Russia to agree debt restructuring, wheat and oil supply

24th April 2023 Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has said that the terms of the restructuring of Cuba’s debt to the Russian Federation are practically agreed. He was speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Havana during which he discussed the supply of oil, wheat, and other issues with government. “Many goals were […]

Northern Triangle Banks Promise 2 million Job Creation

21st April 2023 Banco Cuscatlán, Banco Industrial and Ficohsa signed an agreement with the HUGE (Honduras, USA, Guatemala, El Salvador) Business and Investment Council to promote the generation of two million new jobs. Employment opportunities are viewed as key to halting migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America to the US. The deal was […]

US$214mn of spending flagged in Guyana’s audit of ExxonMobil

14th April 2023 The Government of Guyana says that oil giant ExxonMobil must justify as much as US$214mn of the company’s cost oil claims. This comes after a report of a 2019 audit completed by British firm IHS Markit (IHSM) of Exxon’s cost oil expenses between 1999 and 2017 flagged some US$214.4mn of the company’s […]

High court rules €72mn debt case can proceed against Banco Nacional

10th April 2023 The High Court in London has ruled that the Cuban State has no direct responsibility for €72mn (US$78.5mn) of accumulated Cuban debt held by CRF I Ltd, but that the Banco Nacional de Cuba (BNC) is responsible for meeting the claim (Background Cuba Briefing 6 February 2023). In a 94-page judgement, Judge […]

Dollar Diplomacy is Over says Taiwanese President

7th April 2023 Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen concluded a three-day official visit to Guatemala stating the days of dollar diplomacy are over. In March, Honduras became the latest country to switch allegiances to China, leaving 13 countries officially recognising Taiwan. Guatemala will receive US$150mn in aid from Taiwan during the 2013-2025 period. Taiwan remains the […]

Russian private sector to play a larger role in Cuban economy 

3rd April 2023 Together with Cuba’s state owned Corporación CIMEX SA, Russian private sector interests are to open a wholesale supermarket selling Russian goods, and with Russian government funding will develop a first hotel for Russians. Additionally, a joint Russia Cuba Centre for Economic Transformation is expected to be established, and a new financial settlement […]

CARICOM states join Mexico’s anti-gun lawsuit in the US

31st March 2023 Several CARICOM countries have signed on to an anti-gun lawsuit filed by Mexico in the US. Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, The Bahamas, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago have joined an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief filed by Mexico appealing a decision in US court to […]

Gil details priorities and programme of economic change

27 March 2023 Cuba is relying on “the dynamic recovery of tourism,” the resuscitation of the productive sector, changes to state enterprises, and a better currency allocation system to deliver growth of 3% this calendar year, according to Deputy Prime Minister Alejandro Gil, the Minister of  Economy and Prices (MEP). In remarks made to the […]

Honduras officially recognises China

24 March 2023 Honduras have announced that they will recognise only one China, breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan that have existed for 82 years. In return, finance and expert assistance will be provided in the construction and operation of dams in Honduras. Diplomatic relations will begin between the two countries before the end of 2023. […]

US says open to receiving imprisoned protestors and dissidents

20th March 2023 Speculation is growing in the US that some imprisoned Cuban protestors and dissidents may soon be released, possibly into exile, leading to an easing in relations with the US. Reports from well-placed US NGOs and in mainstream media outlets including CNN, suggest that negotiations to this end continue. They cite the recent […]

CTO upbeat about 2023 Caribbean tourism outlook

17th March 2023 The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is voicing optimism on the region’s tourism prospects for the remainder of 2023. Speaking in Barbados during the organisation’s launch of the 2022 “Tourism Performance and Outlook Report,” Acting Secretary General of the CTO, Neil Walters declared that the Caribbean had one of the quickest recovery rates […]

Antilles Gold strikes new high-grade copper and gold deposits

14th March 2023 The Australian miner, Antilles Gold, has said that it has confirmed the presence of high-grade copper in samples taken from its El Pilar oxide concession in central Cuba. An expanded drilling programme will start in April 2023. This, it said, will focus, “on the copper-gold oxide domains and on a cluster of […]

Nicaragua Formally joins Regional Stock Market

10th March 2023 Nicaragua has formally joined the EL Salvador-Panama Integrated Stock Market and will now have access to a US$54bn market. The overall plan is for a regional stock market but will require legislative fine tuning in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras. A CABEI-backed regional debt market is hoping to begin operations this year. […]

Habanos says that its cigar sales reached US$545mn in 2022

6th March 2023 Habanos SA, has said that its revenue from cigar sales in 2022 was US$545mn, an increase of  2% on the previous year. In a presentation to the media at the start of the recently ended Habanos Festival, the company’s Co-Presidents Luis Sánchez-Harguindey Pardo de Vera and Maritza Carrillo González, told journalists that  […]

Haiti unrest, Canadian aid dominate CARICOM Summit

3rd March 2023 The ongoing unrest in Haiti and the announcement of a major aid package from Canada dominated the narrative as the CARICOM Heads of Government met in The Bahamas for the 44th Regular Meeting of the bloc. The summit, held over 15 to 17 February 2023, was expected to deliver a plan of […]

Cuba struggling to deliver its reduced 2022-23 sugar supply target

27th February 2023 Cuba is struggling to produce the 0.4mn tons of sugar it needs from its 2022-23 campaign needed to deliver the quantities required for domestic consumption and export. A report in Granma quoted Ángel Ríos, the General Director of Azcuba’s Productive Chain as saying that as of mid-February that there was a deficit […]

Burkhan World Investment begin US$1bn Costa Rican investment

24th February 2023 Burkhan World Investment has announced an alliance with Costa Rican real estate company Stone Alliance worth up to US$1bn. A range of projects will be considered with Burkhan World Investment beginning with sustainable investments in Marina Tambor and Cobano Preserve on the Southern Nicoya Peninsula. The portfolio consists of mixed eco-development including […]

New law will require state enterprise to be ‘efficient and effective’

20th February 2023 A new law applicable to Cuban state enterprise is in preparation.  The document which is expected to be far-reaching is likely to be approved when the country’s National Assembly meets in December. Reporting that discussions on a new business law are underway, the Cuban News Agency ACN quoted Deputy Prime Minister, Alejandro […]

Global UN early warning system launched in the Caribbean

17th February 2023 The Caribbean has become the first area in the world to witness a regional launch of the UN’s Early Warnings for All initiative (EW4ALL). The initiative, which calls for investment across disaster risk knowledge, observation, forecasting, preparedness and response, and communication of early warnings, especially in vulnerable communities, was launched in Barbados […]

Cuba says willing to advance dialogue with Vatican to find ways to resolve problems

13th February 2023 President Díaz-Canel has been quoted in Granma as saying  that Cuba has the will to advance relations with the Vatican and continue building “with mutual benefit”, roads for “the solution of the expectations of both parties.” The report which followed a meeting between Cuba’s President and  Cardinal Beniamino Stella, who was visiting […]

Panama to open two new Tax Free Zones

10th February 2023 Panama President Laurentino Cortizo has authorised the establishment of two new tax free economic zones. The Tech Valley Free Zone and Panama Digital Gateway will be able to house up to 740 companies. Hyundai has already been confirmed as one of the new arrivals. The total investment is believed to be around […]

Outcome of Cuban €42mn ‘sovereign debt’ related trial awaited

6th February 2023 The case before the High Court in London to determine whether an offshore Cayman company, CFR I is a legitimate creditor of the Cuban Government and the Banco Nacional de Cuba (BNC), has now ended. It is unclear when any ruling in the high-profile trial may be made public. The case revolves […]

US waives Venezuela sanctions on Dragon gas field for Trinidad

3rd February 2023 The US Government has approved a request by Trinidad and Tobago to waive ongoing sanctions against Venezuela to allow for the development of the Dragon gas field. “The US Government has today approved Trinidad and Tobago’s development of the Dragon Field via an OFAC Waiver from sanctions with specific terms to be […]

Deficit budget aims to start gradual process of economic recovery

30th January 2023 Cuba’s Minister of Finance and Prices, Meisi Bolaños, has said that the most significant challenge facing Cuba this year will be delivering economic growth while continuing to deliver the country’s social provision and system of subsidies. Speaking with other ministers about the 2023 budget on the flagship television and radio programme, Mesa […]

World Bank warns Worldwide Recession would have effect on region

27 January 2023 The World Bank has warned that the Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras face economic difficulties. According to analysts, El Salvador and Honduras faced 2022 with negative growth rates of 8-9%, with Guatemala’s around 2%. Should a worldwide recession become a reality, investment would be more complicated and the cost […]

Report suggests outlook for Cuban rice production bleak

23rd January 2023 Granma has published an interview that suggests that Cuba will be hard pressed in the coming years to achieve its objective of  producing domestically over 0.6mn tons of rice. This is the volume it requires if it is to deliver from domestic production alone enough rice to cover the regulated family food […]

Significant investment fraud uncovered at SSL Jamaica

20th January 2023 Financial regulators in Jamaica have issued enhanced oversight directives after massive employee fraud was allegedly uncovered at Stock and Securities Limited (SSL). “The directions impose strict reporting requirements on the entity and prevent the entity from disposing of any assets. Based on the FSC directions, SSL is barred from issuing funds to […]

Cuba’s Central Bank says €72mn debt claim to be heard soon in UK High Court

16th January 2023 Cuba’s Central Bank (BCC) has confirmed that legal proceedings will shortly begin in London before the commercial division of the High Court in a case relating to a debt recovery claim for €72mn (US$78mn) made against the Banco Nacional de Cuba (BNC) and the Republic of Cuba. In a statement issued on […]

Central America sees 7.15% fall in homicides

13th January 2023 According to official sources from each country, the total amount of violent deaths in 2022 fell 7.15% from 10,487 in 2021 to 9,737. El Salvador, which has embarked on a social crackdown that has seen over 2% of its adult population jailed, saw its homicide rate of 7.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. The […]

Biden announces curbs on undocumented migrant flows from Cuba

9th January 2023 President Biden has announced that the US is to expand restrictions introduced during the COVID pandemic, to rapidly expel Cuban, Nicaraguan, and Haitian migrants caught illegally crossing the US-Mexico border.  The decision extends what are known as ‘Title 42’ restrictions, the legality of which are eventually expected to be ruled on by […]

Massy Group makes more major acquisitions

6th January 2023 Trinidad-based regional conglomerate Massy Group has spent big on three major new acquisitions during the final month of 2022. During December 2022, different segments in the Group announced that they had entered into agreements to purchase Air Liquide International in Trinidad and Tobago, IGL (St Lucia) IBC Ltd. in Jamaica and Rowe’s […]

Economy Minister forecasts gradual economic recovery in 2023

19th December 2022 Cuba’s Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil, has said that he anticipates the country’s economy will grow by a minimum of 3% at constant prices in 2023. The figure compares with a lower than expected GDP growth outcome of 2% this year. This compares to an initial forecast of 4%  (1.3% […]

Caribbean facing insurance premium hikes in 2023

16th December 2022 Regional insurance companies are warning the Caribbean to brace for insurance premium hikes beginning in 2023. The issue is being raised by at least three insurance associations including Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago following talks with their reinsurers. Reinsurance involves local or regional insurance companies having policies with reinsurance companies to […]

France to improve Cuba’s international telecoms access

13th December 2022 Just days after the US Justice Department recommended the US Federal Communications Commission deny an application seeking the installation of a direct submarine telecommunications cable connecting Cuba and the US, Cuba and France have announced that a French company is installing a subsea cable between Cuba and Martinique. The agreement between the […]

Friends of all, satellites of none

Speaking in 1967 on joining the United Nations, the late Errol Barrow as Prime Minister of Barbados made clear that Barbados and the Caribbean “will be friends of all, satellites on none.” In this his last regular column  David Jessop, reflects on a much-changed world and why the region’s young people need to continue to […]

Japan recommends US$8.5bn investment in El Salvador infrastructure by 2035

9th December 2022 A regional study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) suggested that El Salvador spend up to US$8.5bn in mobility by 2035. Of this, US$3bn would go towards the country’s road system. This would include the expansion of the Pan-American highway and Coastal highway. The rest would be spent on ports, airports […]

US Justice Department recommends against direct undersea telecoms link

5th December 2022 A US Department of Justice led committee has recommended to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that they deny an application seeking the installation of a direct submarine telecommunications cable directly connecting the US with Cuba. The new undersea cable was intended to carry internet, voice, and data traffic. The Justice Department […]

FTX collapse puts Antigua and The Bahamas in the spotlight

2nd December 2022 The eyes of international financial regulators and investors are on Antigua and Barbuda and The Bahamas following the collapse of crypto giant FTX. Up until recent weeks, FTX – a digital currency exchange platform where people can buy and sell digital assets – was the second largest cryptocurrency exchange globally worth US$32bn […]

Díaz-Canel concludes ten-day visit to China, Russia, Turkey, and Algeria

28th November 2022 President Díaz-Canel has returned home from an intense four nation ten-day visit to Algeria, Russia, Turkey, and China. Official reporting suggests that there were significant immediate outcomes in China and Algeria but less so in Russia and Turkey. The visits were aimed at deepening political and economic relations through in-person dialogue about […]

Trio agree to open stock market access

25th November 2022 El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama have agreed to an integration of their security markets. The Superintendency of the Financial System of El Salvador (SSF), Superintendency of Banks of Nicaragua (Siboif) and the Superintendency of the Panama Stock Market (SMV) agreed to let investors acquire and negotiate securities registered in any of the […]

President begins energy-led visits to Algeria, Russia, Turkey, and China 

21st November 2022 President Díaz-Canel has begun a ten-day intense programme of visits to Algeria, Russia, Turkey, and China, during which he is expected to discuss with his counterparts, Cuba’s problems with power generation, its need to develop new trade mechanisms, and the economic challenges the country faces. In an indication of the significance of […]

‘Loss and damage’ on the agenda as Caribbean leaders attend COP27

18th November 2022 Despite limited progress since COP26, Caribbean leaders gathered with over 100 of their counterparts in Egypt for the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP27). The conference, being staged from 6 to 18 November 2022, is expected to depart from previous COP meetings which primarily focused on reducing carbon emissions to mitigate climate […]

The US, Florida politics and Cuba

11th November 2022 The outcome of the mid-term elections in Florida suggests that US policy towards Cuba will continue to be driven by domestic political considerations, restricting serious bilateral dialogue. David Jessop asks why no one is discussing the danger of serious instability in the Northern Caribbean if  thinking about Cuba does not change. Just […]

Havana International Fair returns with a large Spanish presence 

14th November 2022 After a two-year break because of the pandemic, the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) will in the coming week again take place with more than sixty countries represented, multiple official delegations, and a substantial business presence from Spain. Speaking about the thirty eighth FIHAV, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo […]

El Salvador and China discuss free trade agreement confusion over debt

11th November 2022 El Salvador and China discuss Free Trade Agreement; confusion over debt Discussions have already started on a free trade agreement between El Salvador and China. President Nayib Bukele stated that the FTA would help end international isolation and the agreement would be fast tracked to be signed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, […]

Azcuba seeks to calm workers fears about sugar sector restructuring

7th November 2022 Cuba’s state sugar producer Azcuba has confirmed that the 2022-2023 sugar campaign will  start in mid-November utilising just twenty-three of the country’s fifty-six functioning sugar mills. The objective it said, is to better use limited resources, increase efficiency, and stabilise future levels of production. In an interview with Granma, Dionis Pérez, the […]

Massy rocked by one of the Caribbean’s largest ever data breach dumps

4th November 2022 Regional conglomerate Massy Group has launched an investigation into a major alleged data breach at the company. Reports are that the Hive Ransomware group has leaked online some 87,550 folders and 704,047 corporate files, allegedly belonging to Massy Stores Trinidad and Tobago. The hackers released staff salaries, photos, personal details, copies of […]

Díaz-Canel says Cuba open to dialogue with Washington

31st October 2022 President Díaz-Canel has told a group of visiting North American and Cuban-American businessmen that Cuba is open to dialogue with the US. If it is based on respect, there could be “a narrowing of relations, regardless of the ideological differences that we have,” he said. Speaking during an informal meeting at the […]

Britain’s new Prime Minister facing multiple challenges

28th October 2022 After weeks of political chaos Britain has a new Prime Minister.  The challenges he faces are daunting if he is to save the UK from further economic decline and restore its credibility. David Jessop writes that the Caribbean should take note if it still has a strong long-term interest in a deeper […]

Regional judges warn about political interference

28th October 2022 Central American judges have issued a plea for independence to carry out their functions. Supreme court elections are currently ongoing in Costa Rica and Panama against a backdrop of interference in El Salvador and Guatemala. Of the 25 members of Guatemala’s judicial service that have fled the country in the past 18 […]

Sherritt signs innovative agreement settling debt and future operations

24th October 2022 The Canadian miner and refiner of nickel and cobalt, Sherritt International Corporation, has signed agreements with its Cuban partners settling C$362mn (US$265mn) in outstanding debt over five years. It has also agreed the terms on which it undertakes future mining and other operations in Cuba. Under the agreement, beginning 1 January 2023, […]

Growing calls for armed foreign intervention in Haiti

21st October 2022 A growing number of countries and organisations are calling for armed external intervention in Haiti as the country struggles with violence and social unrest. One of the most high-profile figures to support foreign boots on the ground in recent weeks is UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “The Secretary General urges the international […]

Cuba to seek foreign investment in health tourism and well-being

17th October 2022 Cuba is hoping to bring together its experience in tourism and its capabilities in medical research and health care to become an international centre for health tourism and well-being. The intention is to seek foreign investment to develop the concept. According to Dr Yamila de Armas, President of the Comercializadora de Servicios […]

A new regional agenda for tourism

14th October 2022 Caribbean visitor arrivals in some countries are almost back at pre-pandemic levels. However, there are economic storm clouds on the horizon. David Jessop writes this should be the time governments and the industry come together to develop regional strategies to future-proof the sector. No one should be in doubt. A toxic economic […]

Julia leaves dozens dead in region, repair bill in billions

14th October 2022 Hurricane Julia’s path through Central America caused an expected level of havoc, leaving dozens dead, millions affected, and repair bills estimated in the billions of dollars. The Honduran government alone reported needing at least US$ 2bn for its recovery efforts. With hundreds of roads and bridges affected, infrastructure repairs will be of […]

Cuba struggling to restore post hurricane stability in west of country

10th October 2022 Cuba is continuing to mobilise support and resources from around the island to try to restore power and water to the western province of Pinar del Rio and to parts of Artemisa following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian which hit the  island on 27 September. State media reporting indicated that at […]

Caribbean leaders highlight development issues at UNGA

7th October 2022 Caribbean leaders have used the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to highlight key challenges facing the region. Staged under the theme ‘A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges,’ the annual meetings saw world leaders converge at UN Headquarters in New York City from 20 to 26 September 2022. Speaking at […]

Cuba struggling to recover from impact of Hurricane Ian

3rd October 2022 One week after Cuba was hit by a category three hurricane, Havana and some parts of the country are gradually beginning to return to normal. However, swathes of the island remain without power, adding significant pressure to the Government which is already under criticism for increasingly frequent power outages and shortages of […]

Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean

As the traditional foreign investment partners look for better returns elsewhere, the region may have to turn to newer sources. David Jessop writes that the country now showing great interest in the Caribbean is Saudi Arabia, creating a potential alternative option to China’s continuing drive into the region. There is no sign that the war in Ukraine […]

Heavy rains cause chaos in Northern Triangle, dozens dead

30th September 2022 Prior to the effects of Hurricane Ian, Honduras had already implemented a state of emergency as heavy rains battered Central America. Guatemala was considering issuing a similar decree with El Salvador also suffering loss of life and structural issues. Sinkholes have appeared across Guatemala causing the deaths of at least two people. […]

New emphasis placed on developing alternative forms of tourism

26th September 2022 Cuba’s Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero, has said that while Cuba will continue to promote itself as a sun and beach destination it will be placing greater emphasis in future on nature and other alternative forms of tourism. Speaking at the opening of Turnat 2022, Cuba’s annual tourism and nature event, Marrero, who […]

IATA issues travel cost warning to the Caribbean

23rd September 2022 The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned Caribbean countries that they are pricing themselves out of the global tourism market. The caution came at the recent Caribbean Aviation Day in the  Cayman Islands on 14 September. Staged under the theme ‘recover, reconnect, revive,’ the event saw government ministers, industry experts, and […]

State media details concerns about bread and medicine supply

19th September 2022 Cuba’s state media has begun to carry reports about shortages of bread and medicines and to publicly voice the concerns of many Cubans. In an unusual departure, the official publication Cubadebate has criticised the scarcity, high price, and quality of bread in Cuba, and the absence of any response from the ministry […]

The Commonwealth and the monarchy

16th September 2022 The late Queen Elizabeth was widely revered for her sense of duty, her wisdom, advice, and the continuity she provided. As Head of the Commonwealth and as Britain’s monarch she represented selflessness and dedication rather than self-interest. She believed in the higher authority to whom she is now accountable. This and her […]

Odebrecht corruption case starts in Panama, a test for the country’s judiciary

16th September 2022 Panama’s judicial system is under the spotlight with the opening of the Odebrecht case.Considered the largest corruption scheme in the country’s history, the preliminary hearinghas opened and will spend days being read out. A total of 48 people are accused of moneylaundering and corruption including former presidents Ricardo Martinelli and Juan CarlosVarela. […]

Cuba hoping for smaller but more efficient 2022-23 sugar harvest

12th September 2022 President Díaz-Canel has told a meeting to evaluate the preparations for the 2022-2023 sugar campaign, that the harvest which is due to begin in mid-November will involve just twenty-three sugar mills, must be efficient, and have a level of resources that guarantees stable production. Speaking by videoconference to the Communist Party and […]

Barbados hosts inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum

9th September 2022 After months of planning, Barbados has delivered on its promise to host the first ever AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF). The forum, which ran from 1 to 4 September 2022 was put on by the Government of Barbados and the African ExportImport Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union Commission, […]

Cuba to open wholesale and retail sectors to foreign investment

5th September 2022 Cuba’s Deputy Trade Minister, Ana Teresita González, has confirmed that foreign investors will in future be allowed to own local wholesalers and establish public/private ventures in retail. The measures which are subject to various restrictions and controls, effectively opens the door for the firsttime since the Cuban revolution in 1959 to foreign […]

Caribbean food security and the private sector

Delivering Caribbean Governments’ ambitious plans to reduce the Caribbean’s huge food import bill will require significant levels of private sector investment. David Jessop writes that this may be difficult to achieve unless governments do much more to facilitate intra-regional investment. Gervase Warner, the Chief Executive Officer of Massy Holdings, was direct. Speaking in Trinidad at the second regional Agri-Investment Forum as Chairman of the CARICOM […]

Costa Rica becomes first Central American country to apply to trans-Pacific trade bloc

Photo by Alexander Aguero  12th August 2022 Yesterday, President Rodrigo Chaves announced that Costa Rica had officially applied to jointhe Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),becoming the first Central American country to do so. The CPTPP currently consists of elevencountries across Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. “The CPTTP will allow Costa Rica to sharecommercial […]

Central America at the forfront of global aviation sector rebound

Photo by Luka Slapnicar  29th July 2022 According to a study released this week by ForwardKeys (a Spanish firm that monitors travel industry trends), Central America (along with the Caribbean) are the “recovery pacemakers” of the aviation sector, seeing as flights to Central American destinations have risen across the board year-on-year and are projected to keep […]

Gil says economic recovery gradual, inflation must be better addressed

Photo by Charles Corbin 25th July 2022 The Cuban economy is expected to grow by 4% this year, according to Alejandro Gil, the Minister of Economy and Planning. Addressing members of Cuba’s National Assembly, Gil said that up to the end of March the economy grew by 10.9% compared with the same period in 2021 but […]

Food security – the ultimate test of CARICOM’s relevance

Photo by Jacopo Maia Most Caribbean citizens want positive regional outcomes that touch their lives. David Jessop writes that if CARICOM is to demonstrate it has a future, its focus should be on rapidly delivering food security In 2023, CARICOM will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. Plans are underway for what may be a year-long celebration. Most […]

Latest Meeting of CARICOM Heads: Limited Progress and CSME Disappointment

Photo by Christian Lendl 22nd July 2022 CARICOM Heads of Government have identified limited progress on several key objectives during its recent 43rd Regular Meeting held in Suriname over the 3 to 5 July 2022. The meeting, which coincided with the 49th anniversary of the signing of the founding Treaty of Chaguaramas, was expected to see […]

Cuba and Mexico hoping to intensify their economic relationship

Photo by Wolf Shcram 18th July 2022 Cuba and Mexico are hoping to significantly deepen their investment and trade relations following a two-day Cuba-Mexico Business Forum held in Havana. The event was attended by some 80 Mexican and 150  Cuban companies including independently managed Cuban MSMEs. It saw 14 cooperation agreements signed in the areas […]

Mitchell toppled in Grenada election

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 8th July 2022 Long-serving Prime Minister of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Keith Mitchell has lost his bid for another term in office. Keith Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP) were defeated by a margin of 9 to 6 seats by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by political newcomer Dickon Mitchell in the […]

Restoring PetroCaribe

Photo by Delfino Barboza July 8th 2022 CARICOM Governments are hoping the US will lift its sanctions on Venezuela so that the region  can benefit from the resuscitation of its concessional oil initiative, PetroCaribe. David Jessop writes this will not be easy as Washington remains concerned about the spread of Venezuelan influence in the Caribbean.  Venezuela is hoping to […]

Tourism arrival numbers gradually improving

Photo by elCarito 27th June 2022 Cuba has reported a continuing gradual increase in visitor arrival numbers. This is despite the almost total loss of the Russian market after March because of western sanctions following President Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. The Cuban National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI) has published figures showing that the […]

US influence in the Americas is waning

Photo by ActionVance June 24th, 2022 David Jessop writes that although the recently held Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles opened welcome new windows of opportunity for the Caribbean, it indicated more generally that US influence in the hemisphere is waning. The recently ended Summit of the Americas will likely be best remembered for the US […]

Progress at Summit of the Americas despite exclusions

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo 24th June 2022 Despite the tension leading about country snubs up to the Ninth Summit of the Americas hosted by the US in Los Angeles, progress has arguably been made on securing the region’s future. “There’s a lot that I think we can and should do. This is a partnership.  My intention is to […]

Ministers explore development challenges facing independent MSMEs

Photo by Max Letek 20 June 2022 A week-long series of meetings held between Government and those running independent medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) have indicated both the significance of their future role, and the complexity of their development in a planned economy. Jornada Econômica Produtiva Cuba 2022, organised by the National Association of Economists […]

Trinidad pushing increased gas output even as energy transition intensifies

Photo by Karsten Würth 10th June 2022 Trinidad and Tobago is predicting constrained natural gas production for the next five years before improvement in 2028. Speaking at the Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference and Trade show 2022 hosted by Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister Keith Rowley discussed the outlook for the oil and […]

The Americas summit needs to reflect hemispheric reality

Photo by Jen Theodore 16th May 2022 David Jessop writes that differences over who is invited to the Summit of the Americas indicate that the time has come for Washington to find new ways to embrace change in the hemisphere, and for new institutions to emerge. After a prolonged period in which Washington’s economic role and political […]

López Obrador criticises US, says Mexico will deepen ties with Cuba

Photo by Filip Gielda 16 May 2022 During an official visit to Cuba, Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has indicated that Mexico intends continuing to deepen its ties with Cuba. The three-day visit saw him deliver a major speech recognising the historic importance of the Cuban revolution, the need for more equitable relations in the […]

BVI rocked by Premier’s arrest, calls for direct British rule

Photo by Aleks Marinkovic 13th May 2022 The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is reeling from the fallout of Premier Andrew Fahie’s arrest and calls for British direct rule. Fahie was arrested at a Miami airport along with the Managing Director of the territory’s Ports Authority, Oleanvine Maynard, and her son Kadeem Maynard on charges of money […]

Marrero says tourism expected to complete full recovery in 2022

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger 9th May 2022 Cuba’s Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero, has said that he expects tourism to complete its full recovery in 2023.  Speaking during Cuba’s annual tourism fair, FITCuba 2022, which returned this year after a two-year break after the pandemic, Marrero said that Cuba was now benefiting from the sector’s global recovery. […]

Panama Canal experiences growth amid Ukraine crisis, China lockdowns, & inflation

Photo by Rikin Katyal  6 May 2022 This week, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which governs the waterway, announced the continuation of its record growth. The Canal witnessed its “highest-ever shipping flows in fiscal year 2021.” During the first half of this new fiscal year, ACP reported that “new tonnage rose 0.8%, container ship tonnage rose […]