Cuba

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

Last week President Trump dealt another blow to the U.S. policy of engagement with communist Cuba. He banned U.S. people-to-people travel to Cuba – and also cruise line travel, which last year carried an estimated 800,000 passengers to the island. It was just the latest rollback of the normalization of relations that Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, began five years ago. And it raises the question: Does U.S. engagement with Cuba have a future anymore?

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

On Tuesday the Trump Administration further tightened U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. This time the changes are heavy – and a potential blow to an important South Florida industry.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

The Trump administration on Tuesday ended the most popular forms of U.S. travel to Cuba, banning cruise ships and a heavily used category of educational travel in an attempt to cut off cash to the island’s communist government.

YouTube

During heavy rains last year in a small town outside Havana, people saw something remarkable. Large freshwater catfish called claria were swimming in the flooded streets. In a video posted on YouTube, excited locals splash out to grab them.

But that happy scene was also an environmental alert. Claria are an invasive species in Cuba. They’re supposed to be confined to aquaculture fisheries, where they’re bred for food. Outside those farms – as these claria obviously were – they’re notorious for devouring anything in their paths.

Desmond Boylan / AP

COMMENTARY

Four years ago this month I sat in a Wynwood restaurant with a bunch of rookie Cuban entrepreneurs and watched their eyes bug out.

Associated Press

The days of depending on designated Wi-Fi areas and being persecuted by police for using illicit private internet devices in Cuba may soon be over after state-run media announced that private use of Wi-Fi and other forms of internet access will be legalized on the island this summer.

Associated Press

Cuba is legalizing private Wi-Fi networks and the importation of equipment like routers, eliminating one of the world's tightest restrictions on internet use.

The measure announced by state media Wednesday provides a legal status to thousands of Cubans who created homemade digital networks with smuggled equipment that was illegal but generally tolerated by authorities in recent years. It also appears to allow private businesses to provide internet to customers, the potential start in Cuba of internet cafes that are virtually unknown here.

Jose A. Iglesias / Miami Herald

When we talk about security in the Americas these days, Venezuela dominates the conversation. That was the case Wednesday at Florida International University – where the top U.S. military official here addressed the debate over U.S. intervention in the Venezuela crisis.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Cuban ambassador to the United States is visiting Key West and he's doing a lot of the things that tourists do: lunch at a waterfront seafood restaurant, a trolley ride, waiting in line to have his photo taken at the Southernmost Point.

But José Ramón Cabañas is also scheduled to meet with city commissioners at several events on the island.

"There's a large Cuban-American population in Key West. We know we have many friends. And that we will have the opportunity to meet local officials, business people and our Cuban community here," Cabañas said Tuesday afternoon.

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COMMENTARY

Here’s the most surprising – and most amusing – development after last week’s failed attempt to stoke a military uprising in Venezuela.

According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S. and Cuba may actually sit down to negotiate a solution to the disastrous and dictatorial rule of socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

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A sex education center headed by the daughter of former Cuba ruler Raúl Castro has canceled a lively street parade known as Conga Cubana that is a key part of the island’s annual set of events against homophobia and transphobia.

“There will not be a Conga Cubana against Homophobia and Transphobia this year, because of certain circumstances that are not helpful to its success,” the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), led by Mariela Castro, said in a statement Monday.

Carnival Corporation / Courtesy

The first lawsuits against a corporation have been filed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act — a tool unleashed by the Trump Administration as part of a multi-pronged strategy against the Cuban government.

Desmond Boylan / AP

Last week, National Security Advisor John Bolton came to Miami to announce President Trump is unleashing a tool of the Cuban embargo: Title III.

“Americans who have had their private and hard-earned property stolen in Cuba will finally be allowed to sue,” Bolton, to resounding applause, told hundreds of mostly conservative Cuban exiles at a luncheon for Bay of Pigs veterans.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

President Trump’s national security advisor came to Miami on Wednesday to announce more get-tough measures on Cuba. But some re-tightening of Cuba policy - particularly a cutback in remittances to the island - will get more jeers than cheers from many Cuban-Americans.

EMICHOT@MIAMIHERALD.COM

The Trump administration is tightening restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba, reversing the engagement policies of the Obama era while increasing pressure on the island’s government in response to its support of the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela.

The changes were announced during a speech by National Security Advisor John Bolton at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables Wednesday afternoon.

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