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The Biden Administration's Response To Cuba, Surfside Investigation, And Save The Bay

Thousands of people showed up July 2021 at Southwest Eighth Street near Versailles Restaurant in support of anti-government protests in Cuba.
Daniel A. Varela
Miami Herald
Thousands of people showed up July 2021 at Southwest Eighth Street near Versailles Restaurant in support of anti-government protests in Cuba.

What role should the U.S. play as protesters continue to defy the Cuban government? A new investigation of the Surfside tower tragedy and the design flaws in buildings that are decades old. Plus, a PSA campaign to save Biscayne Bay.

On this, Tuesday, Aug. 10, episode of Sundial

Biden Administration On Cuba

It’s been nearly a month since historic protests broke out in Cuba and sparked a movement.

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Since then, the Biden administration announced new sanctions, politicians from Miami to Washington D.C. have called on the leadership to take down the communist state and, on Friday, the Cuban government announced that small and medium-sized businesses can begin to operate privately.

Former Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has been in conversation with the Biden administration, operating as an unofficial advisor on United States-Cuba policy.

“One of the most important things we must do in the United States [is] work on a multilateral basis, we can’t do this alone. You have countries like Spain, Canada and other countries that continue to do business with Cuba,” Mucarsel-Powell said.

She argued the U.S. must continue to target economic sanctions on members of the Cuban government. Furthermore, she supports the program of Cuban reunification to ensure Cubans living here can be reunited with their families.

Biden Administration On Cuba

Surfside Investigation

A new investigation from the Miami Herald explores the design flaws that may have contributed to the Surfside Champlain Tower South's collapse.

The building was constructed more than 40 years ago and, after reviewing the original designs with engineers, they found changes could have significantly reduced the amount of damage done.

“We don't have access to the site. Very few engineers do. But there's a lot that can be learned just from those blueprints,” said Sarah Blaskey, a data specialist on the Miami Herald's investigative team. “They should have known that these columns were overcrowded with rebar, that they should have been bigger in order to accommodate that reinforcement and they weren't. And so there are a lot of questions about how many people signed off on a design that ultimately, at the time, was inadequate.”

Find the full investigation here.

Surfside Investigation
Damage at the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, 8777 Collins Avenue, after the early morning collapse in Surfside, Florida, Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Save The Bay

Biscayne Bay is an essential resource for millions in South Florida, having a positive impact on the community ecologically, economically and socially.

But pollution and persistent algae bloom have the bay at risk. To raise awareness, Oolite Arts created the Save The Bay competition — where filmmakers were called to create a public service announcement video.

“We have our own carbon sink here in our backyard that is contributing to the mitigation of climate change and yet we’re not allowing it to thrive,” said Shireen Rahimi, who is one of the filmmakers participating in the competition. “If we can take care of this ecosystem, it will take care of us.”

Eight final videos are now in the running for the People’s Choice Award. You can watch the videos and vote for the winner here.

The last day to vote is Wednesday, Aug. 11.

Save The Bay

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.