Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Patria y vida

Written by Javier Maquieira, senior associate 
Edited by David Gaffney, partner
13 July 2021

Good morning,

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets on Sunday to rally against the communist government of Miguel Díaz-Canel. They shouted “fatherland and freedom” on a day that saw hundreds of arrests and violent clashes after the Cuban president urged his supporters (the pro-regime “revolutionaries”) to go out and “fight” the demonstrators.
 
Protests of this magnitude are rare in Cuba, where open dissent isn’t tolerated. In fact, nothing like it had been seen since the so-called “maleconazo” of August 1994. But with the pandemic apparently out of control and the population facing severe shortages of food, medicines, and other basic commodities, the country’s economic and health crisis has deepened.
 
The internet on the island was switched off only hours after the first anti-government rally had erupted, in an effort to keep protesters from sharing photos and videos on social media. However, this didn’t stop thousands of Cuban Americans from protesting in solidarity in Miami, marching down the streets of Little Havana and waving flags.
 
Díaz-Canel’s televised address to the nation followed the next morning. In his speech, the Cuban president accused the United States and social media “influencers” of stirring up public discontent and plotting the overthrow the Cuban regime. Although he conceded some protesters had legitimate concerns over food shortages and blackouts, Díaz-Canel blamed those problems on US sanctions.
 
In response to the accusations, President Joe Biden has called on Cuban leaders to hear its citizens’ “clarion call for freedom” rather than “enriching themselves”, and the White House has denied the US involvement in supporting or inciting the protests, while declining to comment on the impact of the country’s 60-year economic embargoes against the island nation.  
 
If anything, the events on Sunday appear to confirm two things. The first is that Díaz-Canel, whom 90-year-old Raúl Castro anointed as his successor in April, is fully determined to keep a tight grip on Cuban life, harassing and imprisoning political dissenters. The second is that Cuba represents a not insignificant headache for President Biden, who is under pressure to reverse some of Donald Trump’s harsher measures and restore full diplomatic relations with Havana.
 
Washington’s inaction will come at a cost. As the humanitarian crisis deepens, many argue that the Biden administration is missing out on the opportunity to help improve the lives of ordinary Cubans and reopen substantive dialogue with the island nation.

News

Boris Johnson has confirmed 19 July as the date for the lifting of all Covid-19 restrictions in England, despite warnings from the government’s scientific advisers that the “exit wave” could lead to between 1,000 and 2,000 hospital admissions per day. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference yesterday, the UK prime minister said he hoped the roadmap would be “irreversible” but urged “extreme caution” as coronavirus “continues to carry risks”.
 
The health secretary, Sajid Javid, said that while virtually all legal restrictions will be lifted, some guidance will remain in place. Among other things, the wearing of face coverings will still be “expected and recommended” in crowded indoor areas, while nightclubs and other venues with large crowds will be encouraged to use Covid-19 status certification.
 
The prime minister of the Netherlands has apologised for scrapping most coronavirus restrictions in the country three weeks ago. Mark Rutte, whose apology comes after the European country recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in a single day since December, said the decision to open up was “an error of judgement”. Curbs on bars, restaurants, and nightclubs were reimposed on Friday.
 
Democrats in the Texas legislature have fled the state en masse as part of an effort to block Republicans from passing new voting restrictions. The move comes amid a wave of measures to make it harder to vote in Republican-led states, including new identification requirements on mail-in ballots, and bans on 24-hour and drive-thru voting. The Democrats fleeing Texas plan to advocate for federal voting legislation while in Washington.

Business and economy

Virgin Galactic plans to sell up to $500m of shares after its billionaire founder, Sir Richard Branson, reached the edge of space over the weekend on one of the planes the company has been developing. Following the share sale announcement, Virgin Galactic’s stock experienced a volatile day, reversing early gains to close 17% lower by the end of trading. Sir Richard and his Virgin Group currently hold a 24% stake in the company.
 
Ryanair will recruit 2,000 pilots over the next three years as the airline takes delivery of more than 200 Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The company, which received its first 737 Max planes from Seattle last month and plans to take delivery of more than 50 this summer, is hoping to start ramping up schedules and rebuild passenger numbers next year.
 
Flipkart has seen its value increase by $3.6bn to $37.6bn in its latest fundraising round ahead of an expected stock market debut. The Indian e-commerce giant plans to invest the money in expanding its operations and its grocery, fashion and delivery service. The new valuation is more than double the amount the American retail chain Walmart paid for a majority stake in Flipkart three years ago.

Columns of note

Writing in The Guardian, David Olusoga celebrates the version of England that Gareth Southgate and his team have embodied during the Euros: a united, youthful, diverse, and instinctively forward-thinking nation that stands in stark contrast to the cult of bitter, backwards-looking jingoism permeating its fanbase. Despite the gulf between these two versions of England, Olusoga welcomes this new form of English patriotism as another way of being together “during an era in which politicians mobilise our worst instincts and darkest fears.”
 
Kirsty McNeill and Roger Harding argue in The Times that politicians have the power to order ceasefire in culture wars. They conclude that voters deserve better than clickbait in their feeds and the toxic division promoted by politicians on the right and the left. (£)

Cartoon source: The Times

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks finished in a mixed state on Monday, as investors mulled the confirmation of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in England from 19 July. The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.05% at 7,125.42, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.06% at 22,895.86. Meanwhile, sterling was weaker against the dollar by 0.14% at $1.39 but stronger versus the euro by 0.04% at €1.17.
 
In the US, stocks started week on a subdued note ahead of earnings results. Wall Street’s blue-chip S&P 500 closed 0.4% higher, and the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite moved up 0.2%.
 
In company news:
 
Admiral Group rallied 3.94% after the insurer said it expected a higher-than-anticipated first-half profit due to an “unusually positive” development in the cost of UK motor injury claims.
 
Tate & Lyle was up 0.03%, after the food and beverage supplier agreed to sell a controlling stake in its primary products business in North America and Latin America to private equity outfit KPS Capital Partners for $1.3bn.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Omega Dia
Solid State
Zoo Digital

AGMs
British Land
Evgen Pharma
LondonMetric
Mode Global Ho.
Polarean Imag.
Vianet Grp

UK economic announcements
(00:01) Retail Sales

Int. economic announcements
(13:30) Consumer Price Index (US)
(13:30) Retail Sales (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Humans are born with two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. The rest are learned. (source: @8fact)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
 
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Electric Vehicle Charging Points (New Buildings)
 
Legislation
The Armed Forces Bill: Remaining Stages
 
Motions
Motion to Approve the Draft Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021
 
Motion to approve a Statutory Instrument relating to terrorism
 
Motion relating to English votes for English laws
 
Motion Relating to the Appointment of Chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
 
Adjournment
70th anniversary of Randolph Turpin winning the World Middleweight title

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Narrowing the gender pensions gap
 
Outcome of the government consultation on the proposal to add folic acid to flour
 
Supporting people on Universal Credit
 
Costs and benefits of the proposed new royal yacht
 
Debate
Procedure and Privileges Committee report: ‘Procedural adaptations arising from the hybrid House; Interim option of voting using PeerHub; Ongoing virtual participation by disabled members virtual participation by disabled members’ – motion to agree
 
Motions relating to working practices of the House from 6 September – motion to amend
 
Orders and regulations
Early Years Foundation Stage (Miscellaneous Amendments) and Childcare Fees (Amendment) Regulations 2021 – motion to regret
 
Merchant Shipping (Cargo Ship) (Bilge Alarm) Regulations 2021 – motion to regret

Scottish parliament 

The Scottish parliament is in recess until 30 August but will be recalled on 13 July and 3 August for Covid updates.

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