Recent Articles

October 2014
14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Warsaw, 21 October 2014 -- Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa had an agreement that death annulled. The two would go to Havana when the democratic transition occurred to support the process of political and civic reconstruction in our country. The "Cuban change," however, has been too long delayed and the Czech died before realizing his dream. The Solidarity leader, meanwhile, has only been able to have contact with the island through dissidents visiting Poland.
Latin America and the Caribbean require a closer involvement of the United States, and Cuba has been an obstacle in recent years, when the leaders of the region promote its inclusion in their organizations and meetings, such as the Summit of the Americas to be held in Panama in 2015. President Obama must be there to express the ideals of democracy and human rights, contribute to solving the most urgent problems and strengthen ties with neighbors. Russia, China and others are advancing in Latin America, seeking to displace the United States.
THE OTHER day, Fidel Castro wrote an opinion column for Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, as he has done periodically from retirement. He lavished praise on an editorial in the New York Times that called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. But Mr.?Castro had one complaint: The Times mentioned the harassment of dissidents and the still-unexplained death of a leading exponent of democracy, Oswaldo Payá, and a younger activist, Harold Cepero, in a car wreck two years ago.
On 19 October 1960, less than two years after Fidel Castro swept into Havana, the United States announced its economic embargo of Cuba. It has been in place ever since but now it is under scrutiny again. In a recent editorial, the New York Times called for the embargo to be lifted. The newspaper outlined a host of ways in which it says the measure had been counter-productive to US interests and those of the long-suffering Cuban people.
Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines of the pandemic, Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus.

How Business Can Change Cuba

October 17, 2014

Yamina Vicente has lived in communist Cuba her whole life. But it didn’t take her long to learn one of capitalism’s handier skills: creating market demand. Baby showers were practically unheard of in Cuba until last year, when Vicente started an event planning company called Decorazón. She learned about the gift-giving parties from American women visiting Cuba, then persuaded some of her clients in Havana to throw their own.
The former editors of one of Cuba's few non-government controlled media outlets have quietly restarted efforts to spur debate about the nation's future, launching a series of public forums and plans for a new journal addressing the island's most urgent problems.
Cuba will gradually introduce a more modern, durable and secure ID card starting Oct. 29, the island's media reported, citing government officials.
Fidel Castro, who was once omnipresent in state media and notorious for delivering hourslong speeches in packed halls, has largely vanished from public view in Cuba. But the 88-year-old former president has not altogether abandoned the business of telling Cubans what to think since he handed the reins of power in 2008 to his brother, Raúl.
HAVANA — Fidel Castro has reprinted a New York Times editorial calling for the end of the U.S. embargo on Cuba. In an unusual move, the 88-year-old Cuban leader quotes the 1,057-word article almost word-for-word in his own editorial printed in state media Tuesday, omitting only one sentence about his government’s release of political prisoners and another about U.S.-Cuban cooperation.
The wrath of Cuban exiles was so fierce in the 1990s that Hugo Cancio needed police protection. Death threats and firebombs were hurled at anyone who dared placate, rather than denounce, Fidel Castro’s government. And that is what Miami hardliners believed the concert promoter was doing as he brought Cuban musicians over to perform in Florida.
Let's avoid all the rhetoric about Cuba and focus on the facts. The first relevant fact is that Cuba trades with 99 percent of the world. Thus, the poor health of the Cuban economy is due to the disastrous policies of the Castro government and not because it is deprived of trade.
Human rights abuses continue in Cuba and U.S.A.I.D. contractor Alan Gross remains in prison. But it is precisely for that reason that President Obama needs to continue to lift the veil of isolation the U.S. has placed over Cuba – doing so will promote a greater flow of information and independent activity that has led to political opening across the world. It’s no coincidence that there’s never been democratic change in a country under as tight as an embargo as the one the U.S. has had on Cuba for 53 years; and it's no coincidence that it has failed.
In March 2013, the Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez told me she was impressed with President Obama’s support for the rights of Cubans to determine their future and his expansion of family visits and "people-to-people" travel to the island. Then, she half jokingly compared Obama’s hints at "changing" U.S.-Cuba policy to Raúl Castro's recent efforts at “reforming” the economic workings of Cuban socialism. Like Raúl's reforms, she said, Obama's measures are so far not deep or audacious enough to get us where we need to go.
Scanning a map of the world must give President Obama a sinking feeling as he contemplates the dismal state of troubled bilateral relationships his administration has sought to turn around. He would be smart to take a hard look at Cuba, where a major policy shift could yield a significant foreign policy success.
*Currently displaying the latest 15 records. Use the select boxes from the filter bar above to view more records.