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August 2014
MIAMI – Cuba is a land that remains a mystery to most Americans. Are the economic changes instituted in recent years by President Raul Castro working? Can the dissident movement ever gain enough traction to overthrow the Communist government? Just how good is its acclaimed but flawed health care system? How many superstar baseball players are left down there? But when looking to the future of the island – a post-Castro period that is often contemplated by American government officials, business owners eager to explore that market and Cuban-Americans curious about their role in the island's future – one question intrigues me most: What kind of human capital is left in Cuba?
NPR Morning Edition host David Greene spent a week in June reporting from Cuba, the country that few Americans have had the chance to visit—even though new "people-to-people" trips make it legal to tour on certain itineraries. Greene shared his memories of the trip—and his tips for those visiting for the first time—with Condé Nast Traveler in an interview shortly after he returned to the U.S.
Internet users in Cuba — the few who have access to the web, that is — can now download Google's popular browser Chrome.Google announced that it made Chrome available in Cuba on Wednesday, blaming the delay on U.S. export controls and sanctions against the communist country.
Google today announced the release of Chrome in Cuba. Citizens of the country can now grab the browser directly from Google.com.cu. The block was originally enforced in accordance with US export controls and economic sanction regulations. The company didn’t explain why Cubans can suddenly download Chrome starting today, but it did say, “As these trade restrictions evolve we’ve been working to figure out how to make more tools available in sanctioned countries.”
Good news for Beyoncé and Jay Z, in the midst of fending off toxic rumors: Their fifth wedding anniversary visit to Cuba last year was legal, despite questions raised by some Republicans in Congress.
When you’ve spent your entire life on a communist island where staples like eggs and chicken are rationed, lunch in Miami can be overwhelming. Ask Sandra Aldama, a Cuban mother and former special education teacher who made her first visit to the United States this month. Settling into a downtown Italian restaurant as waiters whizzed by with plates of fettuccine alfredo and veal parmesan, Aldama was almost certainly reminded of what the average Cuban can’t get at home.
It seemed like old times: In Havana in early July, Castro, the revolutionary leader of Cuba, embraced the current occupant of the Kremlin—once upon a time the isolated Communist island’s sugar daddy—together gleefully sticking a finger in the eye of their Cold War rival in Washington.
HAVANA — Yet another revolutionary tradition has been broken in Cuba: A lawmaker voted “no” in parliament. And it wasn’t just any lawmaker. Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro and niece of Fidel Castro, gave the thumbs-down to a workers’ rights bill that she felt didn’t go far enough to prevent discrimination against people with HIV or with unconventional gender identities.

Damn Yanquis

August 19, 2014

The idea of "democracy promotion" sells well in Washington -- it's practically untouchable. But yet another investigation into the covert action programs targeted against Cuba, published on Aug. 4 by the Associated Press, shows in vivid detail how amateur and feckless they are. Despite public statements about seeking a "new beginning" with Havana, U.S. President Barack Obama has continued -- even ramped up -- the clandestine activities on the island started by his predecessor, bringing the total resources wasted on the Cuba programs to well above a couple hundred million dollars.
For the first time since Fidel Castro’s rebel army overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Cuba will see the construction of a new Catholic church.
HAVANA -- Cuba marked Fidel Castro's 88th birthday Wednesday with tributes in official media, a concert and a photo exhibit in the capital and a newly inaugurated restoration of the home where he was born.
What the administration can do is remove obstacles to the incipient Cuban private sector. Let’s start with the Internet. The United States should do everything we can to facilitate Internet access for Cuban citizens. Ordinary Cubans wait for hours to purchase Internet time at Cuban telephone company offices, the closest thing there is to Internet cafes.
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba has shifted its focus away from offshore oil, concentrating on renewable energy and improving output from onshore wells due to a lack of interest by foreign companies for further deepwater exploration, sources close to the industry say.
If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, perhaps a significant economic and social opening might gain footing in Cuba with the success of Sandra Aldama’s soap micro-business, or Marianela Pérez’s Pizzeria Nella.
A fledgling private sector is taking root in communist Cuba. Last week a group of Cuban entrepreneurs made an unprecedented visit to Miami to learn how to run a business -- and to convince Americans they’re the real deal.
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