04-07-19 Latin American Weekly Report
Mercosur seals EU trade deal but political trials lie ahead
It almost certainly won’t all go smoothly, but for now, things are moving fast. On 17 December US President Barrack Obama lifted his country’s 53year old freeze on full diplomatic relations with Cuba. On 15 January Cuba honoured an undertaking to release 53 detainees considered political prisoners by the US. On the same day, United Airlines said that it would look to begin direct US-Cuba flights, subject to expected changes in US federal legislation. On 16 January the US treasury and commerce departments published the details of the new changes announced by President Obama, including allowing the authorised categories of US travellers to Cuba to bring back small quantities of cigars and rum and to use their credit cards while on the island, as well as green-lighting US exports of telecoms and ICT equipment, building materials for residential construction, and agricultural equipment for small farmers. Permitted remittances from American citizens to Cuba have also been increased sharply. The question is: where is it all heading?
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