Cuba News - A Daily Roundup

We are not here to lecture
This week, as Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona got ready to reintroduce his legislation to legalize travel to Cuba for all Americans, the bill had 54 cosponsors. He then got the word that Senator Dean Heller of Nevada had just agreed to formalize his support, growing the list of cosponsors from 54 to 55. It’s […]

You Can Never Go Back: Update on the Cuba Policy Review
It is altogether fitting that Little Havana, the community in Miami which has long been a stronghold of support for the embargo against Cuba, is getting its own museum. The community has no doubt catalogued, and oftentimes shaped, U.S. policy toward Cuba in all its complexities. Perhaps the museum’s first exhibit will be designed in […]

Perhaps a Patient and a Pope Will Persuade the President
We will forever remember “D-17” as a day of magic. D-17 is code for December 17th, 2014. On that day, Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro made choreographed statements to their astonished publics who had no idea they’d been negotiating with each other. An American, Alan Gross; Cuba’s “Three Heroes”; a long-imprisoned U.S. intelligence agent; […]

Carnal Delights in Cuba
A friend celebrated his 40th birthday a few days ago and invited his closest amigos for a party – one of those blow outs with a guy posted at the door to keep out crashers, a DJ spinning cool sets, … Continue reading

On Russia and a Retirement
In this space last week, we paid special attention to the letter written to the White House by 16 retired and highly respected U.S. military officers. If the new administration fails to uphold our existing policy of engaging politically and economically with Cuba, they wrote, “it is certain that China, Russia, and other entities whose […]

“100 Days of Disquietude”: Will Trump Meet Milestone Without Messing With Cuba?
We start with a “hat-tip” to the editors of Project Syndicate, for invoking Gabriel García Márquez in an edition marking the Trump administration’s first hundred days. Admittedly, it’s Day 99 and we don’t want to jinx our chances. But since we anticipated that the new administration would keep its promise to cancel the Cuba policy […]

Mr. President, can we have 10 minutes of your time?
Engagement, listening, and freely exchanging views can change minds. Just ask President Trump. When he met last week with President Xi Jinping of China, President Trump said China “could easily take care of the North Korea threat,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “But then Mr. Xi explained the history of China and Korea, Mr. Trump […]

The Bay of Pigs, Presidential Promises, and the Cuba Policy Review
One thing that makes Americans cynical about politics is that sources of mainstream opinion get euphoric when political leaders break their promises. “Scarcely 12 weeks into his presidency,” the Los Angeles Times observes, “(President) Trump has backed off or reversed many of his most provocative campaign promises on foreign policy.” Simply hearing President Trump say […]

Food as a weapon
For a century, the United States has provided food to nations out of the belief that hunger and famine undermine stability and threaten our values and our security. After attempts by Presidents Ford and Carter to embargo grain shipments to the Soviet Union backfired, it has been an article of faith that the U.S. would forswear […]

Waiting for Godon’t
This is Day 71 of the Trump presidency. During the presidential campaign last year, Mr. Trump promised to reverse President Obama’s new policy toward Cuba “until freedoms are restored.” Later in the campaign, as reported, Governor Mike Pence assured Miami-Dade County Republicans, “When Donald Trump and I take to the White House, we will […]

Horse-Trading on Health Care Put Cuba Opening at Risk
Earlier today, leaders from Congress and the White House tried to find a majority to pass a major overhaul of the U.S. health care system. On a close and controversial issue like this, just one vote can make a difference. That’s how a proposal to end President Obama’s opening to Cuba got kicked into play […]

Tourism: Killing the Cuban Encanto?
First came the packs of drunken jailbait to the Fábrica de Arte, snapping selfies while the Cuban band played their hearts out. Then came the frat boys so blasted they lay unconscious in the street and had to be taken … Continue reading

El Paquete: Opiate of the Cuban Masses
I’m not a particularly heavy consumer of the “package” (love the typically Cuban double entendre) but I know what I want, my ‘Paquete’ guy knows what I want, and I stray only for research and on recommendation. Samantha Bee; Transparent; … Continue reading

Trumped Cubans
Everyone’s talking about it, stunned still. Cubans and foreigners alike are godsmacked by Trump’s victory and Republican control of Congress. A steady stream of locals and Yuma have been making their way to Cuba Libro, dazed, incredulous, tears in their … Continue reading

Havana, We Have a Problem: Stray Cats & Dogs
If you’ve been to Havana, you’ve seen them. The poor bitch in heat lying prostrate on the sidewalk trying – unsuccessfully – to prevent another macho from mounting her. Packs of roving cats scouring garbage night after night. Bony and … Continue reading

Communicating from Cuba?!
One of my oldest, closest friends is having a tough go of it lately. Man problems, work-life balance problems, health problems. In a nutshell, she’s living life, which, as Hobbes observed, tends to be nasty, brutish, and short. All I … Continue reading

In the Summer, In the City
It may be hard to believe (or all too easy, depending on your experience and perspective), but there are days I rue my decision to live here. You’d think 14 years would be time a-plenty to know whether a place … Continue reading

Cuba, a Country Frozen in Time
My land is an insular museum, stuck between the Iron Curtain and the industrial capitalism of the 1950s, and visitors view us an exotic species.

Amid Grim Economic Forecasts, Cubans Fear a Return to Darker Times
Recent calls to cut energy usage, along with the faltering economy in Venezuela, which provides much of Cuba’s oil, have left Cubans worried about fuel shortages and blackouts.

Competing on Good-Will Tour in U.S., a Cuban Team Sends Mixed Signals
On a tour of North America, Cuba’s baseball federation showed signs of old-world stubbornness despite pronouncements that it welcomed the thawing of relations with the United States.

Cuban Defector Yulieski Gourriel Is Declared a Free Agent by M.L.B.
The 32-year-old former star for the Cuban national team could be a target for the Yankees and the Mets, who both need offensive help.

Your Man vs Mine
It’s confession time. I confess I really didn’t like living in San Francisco – loved the access to nature, but the striving, wannabe, hipster attitude? Not so much (besides, I’ll take a hippie over a hipster ANY day). However, my … Continue reading

The Y’s and Wherefores of How Cubans Name Their Children
Many born during the Cold War were given first names beginning with Y. Experts differ as to whether it was in tribute to the Soviet Union, or in rebellion.

From Cuba to Miami by Providence and a Homemade Boat
A motley group of Cuban refugees risked their lives at sea for five days to reach the United States and a new future. Many others are not so lucky.

Cubans Trying to Reach U.S. End Standoff in Lighthouse Near Key West
The episode, which lasted about eight hours, comes at a time when many Cubans are fearful that the United States’ immigration policies may change.

That Time of the Month in Havana (AKA Periodo Especial)
So the KKK deigned us with a visit. Not the white hooded racists, but the Prada-clad Kardashian clan. By all accounts, they hated Havana. They are not alone. Reasons to dislike my adopted city abound – the vicious gossip and … Continue reading

Cuban Ballet: Proud Past, Promising Future
The country long-closed dance system may flourish even more with new relationships.

Details in Smuggling Case
Baseball players paid a South Florida-based smuggling ring more than $15 million to leave Cuba in secretive ventures.

Cardinal and Longtime Catholic Leader in Cuba to Step Down
Jaime Ortega y Alamino has been a savvy political operator who aided the Vatican’s secret efforts to broker détente between Washington and Havana.

Living the Dream: The Stones in Cuba
“I am about to see the Rolling Stones. In my hometown. In my lifetime.” Proclaimed with equal parts conviction and awe by a Cuban I hold in certain esteem, we headed off on foot to Ciudad Deportiva. The Day had … Continue reading