Cuba

Alicia Alonso, The Grande Dame Of Cuban Ballet, Has Died

Oct 17, 2019
Associated Press

Alicia Alonso, the revered ballerina and choreographer whose nearly 75-year career made her an icon of artistic loyalty to Cuba's socialist system, died Thursday at age 98.

Miguel Cabrera, an official at the National Ballet of Cuba founded by Alonso, said she died at a hospital in Havana.

As founder and director of the National Ballet of Cuba, Alonso personified the island's arts program under Fidel Castro's communist rule and she kept vise-like control over the troupe past her 90th birthday despite being nearly blind for decades.

YAMIL LAGE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Cuban government announced economic measures this week to seek dollars in a bid to stay afloat in the midst of an acute financial crisis triggered by its dependence on Venezuelan oil and new U.S. sanctions.

On Tuesday, Cuban Vice President Salvador Mesa and several ministers announced on television that the government was going to lower the prices of household appliances and other items on the condition that Cubans pay in dollars.

The move is an attempt to obtain a larger percentage of remittances sent from abroad.

Associated Press

As expected, Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel will continue holding the title of president of Cuba, according to the results of a vote in the National Assembly on Thursday. However, some “historical” members of the Fidel Castro-led revolution lost their positions in the government.

ALEJANDRO ERNESTO / EFE

The United States sanctioned Raúl Castro and his close family members on Thursday for their involvement in “gross violations of human rights,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Twitter.

“The Cuban regime’s disregard for human rights and use of violence to prop up the former Maduro regime are responsible for the ongoing crises in Cuba and Venezuela,” he added.

Raúl Castro ceded the presidency in April 2018 to Miguel Díaz-Canel, but remains at the head of Cuba’s Communist Party, the armed forces and in charge of the most important government decisions.

Sam Turken / WLRN

José Ramon López Regueiro says he has watched private companies profit for several decades from property that was forcefully taken from his family.

Now, as the Trump administration has begun enforcing Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, López Regueiro is fighting back.

CM Guerrero / Miami Herald

Celia Cruz's music is timeless. 

In her iconic La Vida Es Un Carnaval, she sings  – "You don't have to cry … life is a carnival … it's more beautiful to live singing." When it plays in Miami nightclubs, people hit the dance floor.

Screenshot from Cornell University archives

Most people don’t know the name Anne Kingsbury Wollstonecraft. She was a botanist in Cuba in the 19th century and one of the first to document many of the plants native to the island country.

Susan Walsh / AP

COMMENTARY

When he was Undersecretary of State in the early 2000s, John Bolton insisted communist Cuba had an “offensive biological warfare research and development” program.

Cuba did have an advanced genetic engineering, biotech and vaccine complex. And Cuba was still ruled by Fidel Castro, a despot capable of such nefarious doings. Still, there was no evidence, and none ever surfaced, that cash-strapped Cuba was exporting anthrax instead of vastly more profitable meningitis vaccines.

But that sort of hawkish illusion, or delusion, is what the world came to expect of Bolton – whom President Trump fired this week as his national security advisor.

The U.S. military court and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have cost more than $6 billion to operate since opening nearly 18 years ago and still churn through more than $380 million a year despite housing only 40 prisoners today.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Arnold Donald says he planned to be in federal court on June third in Miami. That was the date of a hearing in front of a judge overseeing the probation of the company he leads -- Carnival Corporation.

 

DAVID J. PHILLIP / Associated Press

Immigration officials deported 120 Cubans on a single flight last week as part of one of its “largest” Cuba repatriation missions in recent history.

Last Friday’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement charter flight from New Orleans to Havana was one of many to come, two federal sources say, noting that officials have been quietly ramping up their efforts to detain and send undocumented Cubans back to the island.

Facebook

In the past year, Cuba’s communist government has finally granted its citizens mobile internet access and legalized WiFi in their homes and businesses. The media are now fond of saying the island is getting wired for the first time ever.

But in reality, Cubans have had their own online platform for most of this century. Now, Cubans like Denisse Delgado are worried the state is taking it away.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Andy Vila’s mother remembers her son as a bright, rebellious child who enjoyed Harry Potter books and dressing up as the U.S. president. But when he began to embrace the same ideology his family had fled in socialist Cuba, she pleaded in vain for him to stop his political activism.

RAMON ESPINOSA / AP

These days it is not necessary to be a dissident to be arrested in Cuba. Just using a Cuban flag or playing on an intranet with your friends can get you in trouble with the authorities.

Users of SNET, a wireless network created on the island by video-game enthusiasts, have complained on social networks how the state security apparatus has threatened them to silence their protests after the government made their network illegal through a new decree that authorizes only private networks smaller than SNET.

Carl Juste/ HavanaHaiti / Iris PhotoCollective

Miami Herald photographer Carl Juste has been capturing life in Cuba for 30 years, on assignment and on his own time. He, along with a group of award-winning photographers from Miami and Washington, D.C., traveled to Cuba in March 2019 on a five-day journey and took moving images of prominent Havana  neighborhoods. 

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