Cuba

Thousands of small and medium-sized Cuban businesses will be allowed to incorporate in the coming months, in one of the most important economic reforms taken by the island's Communist government since it nationalized all enterprises in the 1960s, Reuters reported. The reform, details of which came to light this week, will permit small and medium-sized businesses for the first time since 1968, putting an end to the legal limbo in which many have existed for years in the Soviet-style economy.
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Exxon Mobil Corp. can move forward with a U.S. lawsuit seeking $280 million from two Cuban companies as compensation for a refinery and other assets seized from the oil giant after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, a judge in Washington said, Bloomberg News reported. The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta keeps alive Exxon’s suit against a Cuban government-owned conglomerate, Corporacion Cimex SA, and state-run oil company Union Cuba-Petroleo, known as Cupet. Over the years, the U.S.
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Cuba’s already cash-strapped economy shrank 11% in 2020 due to the pandemic, tougher U.S. sanctions and domestic inefficiencies, Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said on Thursday, forecasting 6% to 7% growth for next year, Reuters reported. Addressing a year-end session of the Communist-run country’s parliament, Gil said it would take the next two years for the state-run economy to recover from this year’s sharp contraction.

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Wealthy nations grouped together in the Paris Club of creditors have waived Cuba’s annual payment for restructured debt but plan to impose a penalty on the Communist–run island, according to five Western diplomats with knowledge of the situation, Reuters reported. This year marks the first time Cuba has missed the entire payment due by Oct. 31 since the restructuring agreement was signed in 2015, though it fell short of full payment last year as well. The accord, signed in tandem with the U.S.

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Investment firm CRF I Ltd. sued Cuba in a London court in an attempt to force the island’s communist government to repay commercial debt that it defaulted on more than three decades ago, Bloomberg News reported. CRF, which has held Cuban debt for more than a decade, said the claim was filed in U.K. High Court against the government and state-owned Banco Nacional de Cuba. It stems from credits two European banks extended to the Cuban bank in 1982 and 1984, according to a copy of the claim seen by Bloomberg.

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Cash-strapped Cuba has begun paying a fourth installment on its renegotiated $2.6 billion debt to 14 creditor nations, and its chief debt negotiator, Ricardo Cabrisas, told Reuters this week that all payments would be made, even if a bit late, Reuters reported. Communist-run Cuba reached an agreement in 2015 with members of the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations that forgave $8.5 billion of the $11.1 billion in debt it defaulted on through 1986, as well as charges.

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An investment fund that’s seeking a payout from the Cuban government on more than $1.3 billion in defaulted debt and back interest has hired the lawyer who won a settlement for hedge funds in a long-running legal battle against Argentina, Bloomberg News reported. CRF I Ltd. contracted Matthew McGill, a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, to represent it in its claim against Cuba “including potential litigation,” according to a letter from the firm provided to Bloomberg News by a fund investor.
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Cuba paid the second installment on a renegotiated $2.6 billion in debt to 14 wealthy creditor nations this week, diplomats from a number of the countries said, as some creditors prepare to swap debt for an equity stake in local development projects, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the payment showed the importance Cuba attaches to an agreement it reached in 2015 with the Paris Club group of major creditor nations.
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Cuba has reached a deal with its creditors where the county will pay $2.6 billion in arrears over an 18-year period while $4 billion of its debt will be forgiven, The Wall Street Journal reported. The deal comes after months of negotiations between the Communist nation and the Paris Club, an informal group of developed creditor nations. The talks stem from Cuba’s lingering $16 billion debt which it defaulted in 1986.
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Cuba and the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations are working to resume talks over billions of dollars of official debt in a new sign the communist government is interested in rejoining the global economy, Reuters reported. A Paris Club delegation quietly travelled to Havana late last year to meet with Cuban bank officials, who were prepared with various proposals and appeared eager to strike a deal, according to Western diplomats.
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