Cuba News - A Daily Roundup

Cuban entrepreneurs go to Washington
Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the U.S. and Cuba restoring diplomatic relations. Though the weather in D.C. closely resembled that of July 20, 2015—those who were present that day at the Cuban Embassy’s flag-raising ceremony will vividly recall the sweltering heat—we find ourselves in a very different policy environment. On June 16, President Trump […]

Trump: The Laughingstock of Cuba
Let’s get this out of the way – US travelers can still come to Cuba. Nothing has changed, despite what that fool-tool of a President (and his minions) want you to believe. New regulations for travel to Cuba have yet … Continue reading

Cuentapropismo en Cuba
Yamina Vicente, a former professor of economics at the University of Havana who now owns a party planning and decorations business in Cuba called Decorazón, is this week’s featured contributor to the Cuba Central News Brief. Yamina will join other Cuban entrepreneurs next week in meetings with U.S. policymakers, recommending ways for U.S. policy to […]

Support for the Cuban People
Earlier this week, in the spirit of summertime backyard barbecues, NPR ran a story about Cuban charcoal. It’s a remarkable tale about ingenuity and small but meaningful advances to connect our two countries. In short, Cuban farmers took an invasive weed – one that ransacks huge swaths of Cuban farmland – and turned it into […]

The Twilight Zone(s)
  Daniel Whittle, Senior Attorney and Senior Director of the Cuba Program at the Environmental Defense Fund, is this week’s guest contributor to the Cuba Central News Brief. He directs EDF’s work to advance conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems in Cuba. He works with Cuban scientists, lawyers, and resource managers to identify and implement […]

Notes from Havana: One Step Forward, Then 20 Back
Within 12 hours of President Trump’s announcement that he plans to limit travel to and trade with Cuba, Julio Álvarez and Nidialys Acosta had received three cancellations from groups of American visitors. Julio and Nidialys founded Nostalgicar, a private taxi and classic car repair shop in Havana, in 2012, and now employ 10 drivers and […]

“It hurts to be going backwards”
Today, President Trump – surrounded by the architects of his new policy – told the world what he thinks is a “better deal” on Cuba. We’ll get straight to the point. President Trump’s partial rollback of engagement, to adopt the President’s parlance, is a bad deal. In a National Security Presidential Memorandum signed Friday in […]

Demand to know: What’s the case for reversing the Cuba policy reforms?
Click HERE to support our work! Just before publication time, we learned that President Trump is set to visit Miami a week from today to reveal his administration’s new policy toward Cuba. If the President reverses the last 30 months’ worth of progress produced by engagement with Cuba, the people of the United States and Cuba will […]

White House Decision-Making: Policy and Politics
Click HERE to support our work! Policy debates should be decided on the merits. But U.S. policy toward Cuba has long been held hostage by politics. We may soon see that grasp loosen. In the critical weeks before the administration’s new Cuba policy is finalized, we are seeing the political winds in favor of normalization picking up […]

Inside a Cuban Posada
Brothels, bordellos, madams and the prostitution profession in general have long intrigued me. Even prior to writing about Heidi Fleiss (the Hollywood Madam), one of my first paid gigs as a scribe, I was a proponent of legalizing and regulating … Continue reading

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 […]

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

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.

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.