Cuba

Ariel Cecilio Lemus / Www.Granma.Cu

For 60 years, the U.S. government has sought to punish Cuba's communist regime through a commercial, economic, and financial embargo – known on the island as the bloqueo. But in that same time, a group of U.S. citizens has also traveled every year with aspirations to work alongside Cubans in sugar cane fields and praise their communist institutions. 

Ismael Francisco / AP

Cuba's economy continues to sink. In the past year the island has seen increasing food shortages, utility outages and fuel scarcity. On Thursday Cuba's communist government took a drastic step. But it's one that economists say could backfire.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

COMMENTARY

During the Cold War, the U.S. quip about almost any Latin American dictator was that “he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

Ramon Espinosa / AP

In the U.S. today we use hashtags to hash out everything in our lives, from women’s rights to cancelled flights. But in Cuba, socialism has kept social media out of people’s lives.

Until now.

Courtesy of Marisol Blanco

For the last 12 years, Marisol Blanco has been fighting against numbers. 

Specifically, she has been hard at work dispelling the notion that dancing Salsa is about counting steps and following a mechanical style. "That's just atrophying the brain of dancers," she says.

 

For this Havanera, who hails from the the culturally rich Guanabacoa neighborhood, it's all about understanding the African history of Cuban music, how it has created its percussion and steps. Then the rest – and the body – just follows. 

Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino Dies In Havana

Jul 26, 2019
Javier Galeano / AP

Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, who promoted the presence of the Catholic Church in the communist country and who was a key figure in the reestablishment of relations between the United States and the island, died on Friday at the age of 82 in Havana, following a battle against cancer, according to church officials.

Jaime Lucas Ortega Alamino was born on October 18, 1936, in Jagüey Grande, Matanzas. He entered the seminary in 1956, and in 1964 he was ordained as priest.

A close look at the brains of 40 U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba who developed mysterious symptoms has found no evidence of injury. The State Department has said the employees were hurt by some sort of attack.

JOE RAEDLE GETTY IMAGES

In Florida, immigration is a hot-button issue for voters. And during two nights of Democratic debates last week, many of the 20 candidates repeatedly leveled criticism of Trump’s immigration policies and his handling of the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Some even spoke in Spanish. 

But was that enough to satisfy Florida Democratic voters? 

At least one prominent Florida Republican called out the debate’s moderators and the candidates for failing to bring up the immigration issues that most affect the state.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

It’s no surprise the Democratic presidential hopefuls in Miami for debates this week want to reverse President Trump’s Cuba policy. But it’s not completely certain most Cuban-American voters will want that.

Credit Niall Macaulay / cheer.productions@mac.com

It used to be that Cuban artists from the island who performed in Miami had to be ready for backlash from anti-Castro exile groups.

In 1999, for example, Miami officials tried to prevent the Cuban dance band Los Van Van from performing in the city. When the band eventually got to perform, they were met with thousands of demonstrators. They were against Los Van Van and considered the group loyal to the communist government.

Credit Niall Macaulay / cheer.productions@mac.com

The Grammy-winning Cuban band Los Van Van celebrated their 50th anniversary last month at Miami’s Studio 60 club with a sold-out show. One of the island’s most popular post-revolutionary salsa ensembles kept the crowd dancing into the early hours under sparkling disco balls.

But now fans in Miami are wondering whether they’ll ever be able to see the band play again.

Donna E. Natale Planas / Miami Herald

The number of Cuban nationals being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has sharply risen over the last few years, according official data from the federal agency obtained by WLRN through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Roberto Koltun / El Nuevo Herald staff

In a move to end a "one way cultural exchange" with Cuba, the Miami city commission unanimously passed a resolution last Thursday asking Congress to allow states and local governments to ban contracting with Cuban artists and performers who do business with or are funded by the Cuban government. 

The commission seeks legislation that would prevent Cuban artists from performing in city-owned venues as a reciprocal response to Cuba’s policy of prohibiting American artists or Cuban expatriate artists from performing on the island. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The recent U.S. ban on cruise ships traveling to Cuba has had a ripple effect on South Florida's cruise industry. Yet not all of it is bad news.

In fact, it's bringing more attention to the southernmost port of call for these big ships in the continental U.S.

President Trump has resumed talks with Major League Baseball owners after his administration blocked a historic agreement that would have allowed Cuban baseball players to join MLB teams without having to defect.

But the White House made clear that in exchange for revisiting any decision, it wants MLB, like other groups with ties to the island, to urge Cuba to reduce its long-standing cooperation with Venezuela's socialist government.

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