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Unforgettable by Alexis Esquivel
"Unforgettable" - Alexis Esquivel
US - Cuba Relations

Cuba y dos puertos de un estado en EEUU pactan convenios de colaboración  2/20/2017 Nuevo Herald: "El senador republicano por el estado sureño, William Thad Cochran, presidió la firma de los nuevos memorandos, rubricados por el director general de la Administración Nacional de Puertos de Cuba, Manuel Pérez, y representantes de Pascagoula, Mark McAndrews, y de Gulfport, Jonathan Daniels."

Senador aliado de Trump en delegación de congresistas a Cuba  2/19/2017 Café Fuerte: "El senador republicano por Mississippi,Thad Cochran, quien ha respaldado decisivamente a Trump en el Senado, figura en la delegación, que aparece encabezada por uno de los principales promotores de la normalización de relaciones con Cuba, el senador demócrata Patrick Leahy (Vermont), según informó el Consejo Económico y Comercial Cuba-EEUU."

Alabama Port Authority announces deal with Cuban counterpart  2/3/2017 AL.com: "Alabama's Port Authority announced that state and Cuban officials met Thursday in Tampa, where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding described as the first Cuban ports agreement signed on U.S. soil since 1959. The five-year cooperative agreement is based on "a mutual interest in facilitating trade growth," according to the ASPA. The two agencies agreed to collaborate on "port and cargo marketing studies and strategies, engaging in promotion and exhibition activities, and sharing data to the mutual benefit of their respective seaports.""

“El futuro para los emigrantes cubanos va a ser muy difícil”  1/29/2017 On Cuba: "Creo que creará una segunda categoría de cubanos aquí, de cubanos con órdenes de deportación que no van a poder legalizarse. Creo que aumentará mucho las deportaciones a Cuba y que el futuro para los emigrantes cubanos va a ser muy difícil."

Trump's Cuba Negotiator Has Ties to the Island Nation  1/27/2017 Cuba Journal: "Greenblatt himself traveled to Cuba between 2012 and 2013, Businessweek reported in July, to scout future investment potentials for Trump’s company."

Obama and Cuba post White House  1/27/2017 On Cuba: "From the United States, the public relations executive and founder of the CubaOne Foundation, Giancarlo Sopo, also considers that one of the biggest achievements of Obama’s policy toward Cuba was the boost given to Cuban entrepreneurs. He said that under his mandate the country saw a greater expansion of its private sector in more than half a century and that at the start of Obama’s presidency there were 114,000 Cubans registered as self-employed and today there are more than 500,000, and added that that growth wouldn’t have been possible without the measures he initiated in 2009, mainly the expansion of the right to travel and the sending of remittances to Cuba.”"

Trump’s New Cuba Negotiator Fought For Stronger Cuba Ties  1/24/2017 BuzzFeed: "Until December, Jason Greenblatt served as a senior vice president at the Trump Organization and acted as the corporation’s chief legal officer. He was sworn in on Sunday as the White House’s “special representative for international negotiations.” Among that remit will be, according to CNN at the time the position was announced, “working on Israel-Palestinian peace process, the American relationship with Cuba and trade agreements.”

More U.S.-Cuba memorandums  1/18/2017 On Cuba: "The document establishes carrying out technical exchanges on questions of mutual interest and defines the fields where there will be joint work. These include the struggle against terrorism, drug trafficking, the trafficking in persons and cybercrimes."

Top diplomatic negotiator in Cuba warns Trump: 'aggression doesn't work'  1/17/2017 The Guardian: “Aggression, pressure, conditions, impositions do not work with Cuba. This is not the way to attempt to have even a minimally civilised relationship with Cuba,”Josefina Vidal, a foreign ministry department head, told the Guardian."

‘Marielitos’ Face Long-Delayed Reckoning: Expulsion to Cuba  1/14/2017 NYT: "On Thursday, President Obama announced the immediate end of the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allowed Cuban migrants to stay in the United States if they reached its shores, special treatment that drew the ire of the Cuban government. The flip side of the deal got far less attention, but it effectively closed one chapter in the tortured relationship between the two countries: Cuba agreed to take back up to 500 criminal Mariel refugees."

Will Trump Be Better for Latin America than Obama?  1/13/2017 CEPR: "Asked which US presidential candidate would be better for the region, Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa didn’t hesitate: Trump … because he is so crude that he will generate a reaction in Latin America which will build more support for progressive governments. … We have a US government that has changed little in its policies and has done practically the same as it always has, but has a charming president in Obama."

Is the U.S. Opening to Cuba Dead in the Water?  1/13/2017 Foreign Policy: "But given the members of the transition team, it seems likely that it will be rolled back as far as possible, even at the risk to U.S. security. How far, though, remains unclear."

Cubans Stranded On Mexican Border After Obama’s 11th-Hour Change  1/13/2017 Huff Post: "But by around 4 p.m., something was wrong. When official word came down that the Obama administration was scrapping the so-called wet foot-dry foot policy that allowed Cuban migrants, Rodríguez said American immigration authorities laughed, cheered and applauded. The officials assured Rodríguez that everyone in line would make it through. But the line barely moved. And by 9 p.m., U.S. authorities at the border said no more Cubans would be allowed to cross."

Cuban-Americans at odds over 'wet foot, dry foot' repeal  1/13/2017 USA Today: ""So many people who have come in these last few years come for different reasons," said Vilches, 68, a retired factory worker. "They come with a different mentality now." That kind of response has angered other beneficiaries of "wet foot, dry foot.""

Cuba’s Raul Castro meets with U.S. Chamber of Commerce president  1/13/2017 Reuters: "The chamber has been urging the Cuban government to sign a number of agreements with major companies such as General Electric (GE.N), negotiated over the last 18 months, before President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20."

Obama Administration Ends Refugee Policy That Favored Cubans  1/12/2017 NPR: "Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, released a statement saying the existing policy needed to be revamped, not ended. In particular, he said he wanted Donald Trump to reverse the cancellation of the medical professional program when he becomes president next week. Rubio added that he had spoken with Vice President-elect Mike Pence this evening and was "heartened by the fact that in a week we will have a new administration committed to discarding the failed Cuba policy of the last two years."

Miami’s Cuban Jews ponder the meaning of Trump’s pick for international negotiator  1/10/2017 Miami Herald: "“My philosophy, in both business and in life, is that bringing people together and working to unite, rather than to divide, is the strongest path to success,” Greenblatt said in a statement released by the Trump transition team. Nearly 95 percent of Cuba’s Jewish population left the island for the United States after Fidel Castro seized power and established a communist government in 1959."

Trump's Homeland Security Chief Wants to Share Guantanamo Base with Cubans  12/27/2016 Cuba Journal 

A musical bridge from Cuba to the United States  12/24/2016 On Cuba: "Throughout the two years since Havana and Washington announced the reestablishment of relations, art and culture has been one of the spheres with the greatest exchange. Cuban artists have talked to OnCuba about the benefits they have perceived from this."

China-Cuba Relations: Assessing US Stakes  12/24/2016 The Diplomat: "However, if the Cuban government undertakes reform at structural levels as did Vietnam and China years ago, then China’s investment interest toward Cuba could grow suddenly. Above all, because in a scenario like this, the U.S. could quickly lift the embargo on the island and Cuba could automatically become the main tourist destination in the Caribbean. This would involve multi-million-dollar investment projects in infrastructure that Cuba needs, where Chinese companies could compete in the market against U.S. companies."

Cuba-U.S. Relations in Trump’s Era: Reserved Forecast  12/18/2016 On Cuba: "The majority of U.S. citizens, Cubans and the Cuban-American community support the dialogue and exchange processes with Cuba. The ties woven between Cuba and Miami have today reached a critical mass that guarantees a rejection in Florida of any policy aiming to separate the two principal communities from the Cuban nation."

Reversing Cuba policy seen as a punch in the gut to Latin America  12/17/2016 Miami Herald: " One of the most significant effects of the U.S. détente with Cuba had less to do with relations between the two countries than with helping stop the “pink tide” that was pulsing through Latin America. That’s the message the White House is delivering to the Trump transition team as it warns against rolling back a Cuba policy that has made it easier to work with Latin American nations and undercut the spread of the leftist movement known, for its founder Hugo Chavez, as “chavismo.”"

'The Cubans are sh------ themselves' over Trump  12/3/2016 Miami Herald: "He’s 100 percent a freedom fighter,” said former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, whose Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute honored Pence in 2010. “He’s met with former political prisoners. He knows the issue.”

Threatening Cuba Will Backfire  11/29/2016 NYT: "If Mr. Trump’s Cuba policy matches his latest rhetoric, cooperation is likely to wane. That would only embolden hard-liners in the Cuban regime who are leery of mending ties with the United States and are committed to maintaining Cuba as a repressive socialist bulwark. In Mr. Trump, they may find the ideal foil to stoke nationalism among Cubans who are fiercely protective of their nation’s sovereignty and right to self-determination."

Trump has threatened to rip up the “deal” with Cuba. Would that work?  11/29/2016 WaPo: "Cuba itself has never been interested in opening its doors to U.S. businesses, despite what Cuban officials claim. During the Cold War, Cuba was comfortable trading with the Soviet bloc — it was, after all, subsidized trade. Since then, Cuba has profited from the embargo. The government doesn’t have to make concessions to U.S. businesses, and more important, the embargo gives Cuba leverage when dealing with other foreign investors: The government can offer other nations a business environment free of U.S. businesses."

A U.S.-Cuba Breach Presents an Opportunity for China  11/29/2016 WSJ: "While U.S. remittances total more than all Cuban exports, Beijing’s trade with island is growing fast "

Donald Trump’s Threat to Close Door Reopens Old Wounds in Cuba  11/28/2016 NYT: "Reversing some of Mr. Obama’s decisions could be legally difficult. Companies like JetBlue, Starwood and Airbnb have invested millions of dollars in time and resources to enter the Cuban market, and did so with the American government’s blessing. “In theory, Donald Trump has the ability to reverse almost everything Obama has done,” said Matthew D. Aho, an adviser on Cuba at the New York law firm Akerman. “In practice, that reversal would be far more complicated from a legal process than most observers realize."

Cuba: Now That Fidel is Gone What Comes Next?  11/28/2016 Alternet: "“Why can’t Spain or Mexico give Raúl Castro political asylum?” a source inside the Trump campaign asked in March 2016, a clue as to where Trump’s advisors are thinking: Cuba without the remaining Castro—and without a one-party government, the Communist Party of Cuba. The implication is that Trump’s advisers do not rule out military intervention—and military occupation—of Cuba to achieve this “opening” and move to “democracy” on the island nation."

Not Afraid To Ruffle Feathers: How Michael Flynn Became A Trump Confidant  11/18/2016 NPR: "Those countries include, certainly, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, countries like Cuba, certainly China. And their national security [strategies], if you will; how they view the world... And what I've seen in the last couple of administrations is just a real failure to truly connect strategic dots around the world."

¿Mensaje a Trump las maniobras militares que Cuba anunció hace siete meses?  11/16/2016 Cubainformación: "El diario español “El País”, por su lado, en un trabajo titulado “Maniobras militares y políticas en Cuba”, sentenciaba que “las maniobras militares anunciadas por Cuba (...) parecen subrayar que el régimen también está dispuesto a regresar a las barricadas ideológicas” (4). Curioso. Porque estas “maniobras militares” cubanas -el llamado “Ejercicio Estratégico Bastión 2016”- nada tienen que ver con el triunfo electoral de Donald Trump (5). Se realizan en la Isla cada cuatro años, siempre en el mes de noviembre. Y la fecha exacta para este año fue anunciada por el Presidente Raúl Castro, el pasado 16 de Abril (6). Es decir, ¡hace siete meses!"

A Trump attempt to reverse Obama’s Cuba policies could be complicated and costly  11/10/2016 Miami Herald: "In recent weeks, Trump has said he can reverse Obama’s executive orders and will “unless the Castro regime meets our demands. Not my demands — our demands. Those demands will include religious and political freedom for the Cuban people, and the freeing of political prisoners.” In an effort to win Cuban-American votes, he repeated that message in Miami just a week before the election. But on previous occasions he said normalization was fine — although he thought Obama’s policies didn’t go far enough in pushing U.S. interests and that he intended to get a better deal. “During the campaign he also said 50 years of the same policy was enough, and then he started fund-raising and came to Miami and was convinced to take a different approach,” said Gutierrez, who is now chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group and favors engagement with Cuba."

Cuba Ventures on Why an Incoming Trump Administration Will be Good for U.S.-Cuba Rapprochement  11/10/2016 Cuba Ventures: "Even the Trump-friendly corporate lobbying group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has called for the normalization of U.S. trade relations with Cuba, which would be consistent with its free market agenda."

Cuba Calls Military Exercises after Trump Victory in USA  11/9/2016 Havana Times: "During the long campaign, at first Trump assured that the thaw with Cuba was positive and that it was necessary to continue the rapprochement between both countries. However that position began to change when Trump traveled to Miami and threatened to reverse the rapprochement between Washington and Havana. “The next president can change that policy and that’s what I’m going to do unless the Castro regime lives up to our demands,” Trump said during a speech in Florida in September."

Cuba announces military exercises after Trump elected U.S. president  11/9/2016 Reuters: ""His most recent statements indicate that he may not immediately reverse commercial, economic and political engagement, but may increase conditionality as a cost of expansion," said John Kavulich, head of the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council Inc. In a mid-October interview with CBS in Miami, Trump said he would do anything necessary "to get a strong agreement" with Cuba's government, without providing specifics."

Trump win prompts fear, uncertainty in Cuba  11/9/2016 France 24: "However, Cuba will probably not be a "priority issue" for Trump, said Michael Shifter, head of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank. "It's not clear if he will try to roll back policy toward Cuba that is fairly popular, according to polls," he said. One thing is certain: with the Republicans retaining control of Congress, the 54-year-old embargo is probably not going away anytime soon."

Cubans Fear Trump to Reverse Opening, Army Drills Announced  11/9/2016 AP: "The first Bastion Strategic Exercise was launched in 1980 after the election of Ronald Reagan as U.S. president, according to an official history. The announcement by Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces in red ink across the top of the front page of the country's main newspaper Wednesday said the army, Interior Ministry and other forces would be conducting maneuvers and different types of tactical exercises from the 16th to the 20th of November. It warned citizens that the exercises would include "movements of troops and war materiel, overflights and explosions in the cases where they're required." Speaking of Cuba's leaders, Communist Party member and noted economist and political scientist Esteban Morales told the Telesur network: "They must be worried because I think this represents a new chapter.""

Trump Presidency Could Affect US-Cuba Policy  11/9/2016 NBC Miami: "There was a rousing cheer in Little Havana on Election Night as Donald Trump stumped Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House. Many Cuban-Americans believe a Trump presidency means a return to a hardline policy against Cuba."

U.S. subversion against Cuba continues  10/24/2016 Radio Cadena Agramonte: "Even while the ink of Barack Obama’s new Presidential Directive on Cuba is not yet dry, an announcement for new subversive projects against the island, containing all usual ingredients of the typical aggressive and interventionist policies of the past, was published on the U.S. State Department website on October 21. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, is offering funding opportunities for projects which supposedly promote “democratic changes” in the spheres of civil, political and labor rights in Cuba."

Trump on Cuba  10/23/2016 CBS4: CBS4 Interview

Foro Online: Ponerle rostros y nombres al bloqueo  10/19/2016 Invasor: "“El componente psicosocial de los efectos del bloqueo, también es tenido en cuenta y se han desarrollado investigaciones que lo refieren. Pudiéramos citar la realizada por especialistas de la Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, en la que se refieren no solo los daños que este ocasiona a los profesionales cubanos, sino, también, a los bibliotecarios norteamericanos. Instituciones como el Centro de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Sociológicas (CIPS), han desarrollado proyectos investigativos en los que son abordados directa o indirectamente dichos impactos."

Trump’s Cuba policy could prove a setback for travel industry  10/16/2016 Travel Weekly: "In stark contrast to Trump’s remarks, Obama said during his Havana visit that relaxed travel restrictions were already helping the Cuban people. “Since we’ve made it easier to travel to Cuba, a lot more Americans are visiting the island, you may have noticed,” Obama said in Havana. “More Americans coming to Cuba means more customers for your businesses. More Americans using the dollar will mean that they will spend more, as well. There will be more channels for you to import supplies and equipment. More Americans will be able to buy your arts, crafts, food, Cuban-origin software as well as, of course, Cuban rum and cigars.”"

Donald Trump’s Cuban-American Problem  10/4/2016 Huff Post 

Clinton And Liberal Media Scandalized That Trump Explored Doing Business With Cuba  10/4/2016 The Daily Caller: "In brief, Trump’s “crime” consisted of this: back in 1998 (when the Clinton Administration in their push to end the embargo, was urging American companies to partner with the Castro regime) Trump Resorts and Hotels hired a consulting firm named Seven Arrows headed by Richard Fields to explore the possibility of opening a hotel in Cuba. In other words, while unconvinced of its merit, Trump was willing to at least explore business opportunities then being promoted by the Clinton administration."

With Cuban exile leaders mum, Clinton launches Miami radio attack ad over Trump's embargo-breaking  10/3/2016 Politico: "In a sign of the “uncomfortable” spot Donald Trump has put them in, the Miami Republican leaders who support a hard line on Cuba don’t want to talk about a news story detailing how one of the GOP presidential nominee’s companies helped violate the U.S. embargo of the communist island. So Hillary Clinton is making sure voters hear all about it in South Florida — home to a sizable population of pro-embargo Republican Cuban-Americans — in a 30-second radio ad called “Two Trumps.”

A New Cuba: President Obama’s plan normalized relations. It may also transform the nation.  10/3/2016 New Yorker 

Report That Donald Trump Did Business in Cuba Ups the Ante in Florida  10/1/2016 NY Times: "“Trump’s business with Cuba appears to have broken the law, flouted U.S. foreign policy, and is in complete contradiction to Trump’s own repeated, public statements that he had been offered opportunities to invest in Cuba but passed them up,” Mr. Sullivan said."

PayPal Froze My Account After I Bought A Cuban Cigar  8/18/2016 Forbes: "According to the new rules, U.S. citizens traveling abroad are allowed to consume Cuban goods. A tourist visiting Mexico City can buy a glass of Cuban rum or an expensive Cuban cigar and pay for the purchase with a major credit card such as MasterCard or Visa. Current restrictions place a $100 limit on Cuban cigars brought back to the U.S. by people visiting Cuba. The ban has been lifted on goods purchased and consumed by tourists traveling outside of the U.S.\r\n\r\nI’ve written about Amazon successfully entering Mexico’s e-commerce market. In a country with low credit card penetration PayPal has a chance to expand its business in Mexico’s e-commerce market.\r\n\r\nMy account, however, is still frozen. So, apparently, PayPal is still figuring out how to do business in Latin America when it comes to allowing users to purchase and enjoy Cuban goods."

Paypal halted a transaction because it contained the word "Cuba"  8/17/2016 BoIng Boing: "The lesson: don't use forbidden words when sending someone money via PayPal. Better yet, use Bitcoin instead."

Shaq Shoots for Diplomacy in New Role as Sports Envoy to Cuba  6/25/2016 Cuba Journal 

Cuba-U.S. Relations Facing New Challenges  6/14/2016 Havana Reporter: "Vidal outlined during a press conference to review the meeting that further expert meetings in the fields of hydrology, the environment, law enforcement and compliance and the battle against both people and drug trafficking would also be held."

The Washington Post: No a compromisos con los represores uniformados del pueblo cubano  5/31/2016 Café Fuerte 

Reentry Through Resistance: Détente with Cuba was Accomplished Through Resistance and Solidarity, Not Imperial Benevolence  5/31/2016 Counterpunch: "While the White House may want the public to believe that Cuba is reentering the system of states because the U.S. has decided to be benevolent in ending a harmful policy, the real reason is that the U.S. government no longer had a choice in the matter. After a half-century of attempting to overthrow Cuba’s communist government, the U.S. has failed to decimate the culture of resistance that exists in Cuba."

On U.S.-Cuba military cooperation, proceed with caution  5/30/2016 Washington Post: "Legislation pending in Congress would block full military-to-military normalization until Cuba democratizes. At a time when Cuba’s beleaguered civilian democracy activists need unequivocal U.S. moral support, the administration and outside supporters of its Cuba policy should not be eager for potentially compromising relationships with the Cuban people’s uniformed oppressors."

Lawyer: Fugitive loyal to Cuban revolution  5/19/2016 Along the Malecon: "In late March of 2016, Huck Magazine published a lengthy article that contained numerous inaccuracies regarding Mr. Hill, an African-American human rights activist who was forced to flee the United States in 1971 due to political repression. Mr. Hill has since resided in Havana as a guest of the Cuban government. The Huck Magazine article so egregiously mischaracterizes and misstates Mr. Hill’s positions that we are necessarily compelled to immediately enter into litigation against Huck Magazine for fraud, libel and false light. Neither Mr. Hill nor his undersigned attorney were duly notified by Huck Magazine of their intent to publish this article."

Cuban security officials toured Key West drug-war center  5/4/2016 Miami Herald: "That officer, Lt. Cmdr. Derek Cromwell, escorted the four-member Cuban security delegation on a familiarization tour of the so-called Joint Interagency Task Force South, or JIATF-South, at the Truman Annex of the U.S. Navy base in Key West on April 21, according to Tidd’s spokeswoman, Army Col. Lisa Garcia. They got a briefing on the work of the multi-agency, multi-national organization that has been described as Southcom’s command center in the war on drugs, toured the Joint Operating Center there and met with representatives of 18 different countries assigned there."

Deportaciones a Cuba, el tsunami que viene  4/22/2016 Marti Noticias: "Unos 28.400 cubanos con antecedentes penales están en indefinida espera para ser deportados de Estados Unidos, muchos de ellos bajo la supervisión de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas."

Renowned Cuban Pro-Reform Economist Fired as Chill  4/21/2016 AP: "Reached by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Perez confirmed his dismissal by center director Humberto Blanco for having unauthorized conversations with foreign institutions and informing "North American representatives" about the internal procedures of the university. The dismissal letter described Perez, 56, as "irresponsible" and "negligent" for continuing to engage in unauthorized activity after warnings from his superiors. It also accused him of receiving unauthorized payments for a study of the South Korean economy and said he was barred from returning to work for at least four years."

U.S. Government Cultural Mission arrives in Cuba today  4/18/2016 OnCuba: "Usher, Dave Matthews, William “Smokey” Robinson, actor and producer Kal Penn, and Cuban-American dancer Lourdes López are some of the members of a U.S. delegation that will pay a 4-day visit to Cuba as part of a cultural mission. The group, which will start its visit today, includes the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) co-chairs George Stevens, Jr. and Margo Lion; National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu; National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William Adams; and Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton."

Cuba calls Obama visit 'an attack' as Communists defend ideology  4/18/2016 Counterpunch: "President Raul Castro referred to the United States as "the enemy" in the opening speech of the party congress over the weekend and told Cubans to be alert to U.S. attempts to weaken the revolution. The congress, held every five years, must make decisions about the future of Cuba's elderly leadership and the progress of market-style economic reforms adopted in 2011 that allowed more small businesses. The measures have been only partially implemented, amid resistance from hard-liners who distrust market economics and fear detente with the United States at a time when Cubans are increasingly vocal about their needs."

Proyecto del Departamento de Estado se parece sospechosamente a un plan de infiltración  3/30/2016 Cubadebate: "¿Están el Departamento de Estado y la Casa Blanca en la misma longitud de onda? ¿Coexisten en el mismo gobierno? ¿La misma ciudad? ¿La misma constelación? La pregunta surge porque, menos de una semana después que el presidente Barack Obama asegurara personalmente a su homólogo cubano, Raúl Castro Ruz, que Washington “no tiene ni la capacidad ni la intención de imponer un cambio en Cuba” y que Estados Unidos “no impondrá nuestra política o sistema económico a ustedes”, el Departamento de Estado ha anunciado que va a dar a alguna organización emprendedora de EE.UU. $753 989 dólares para entrenar hasta 30 “jóvenes líderes emergentes de la sociedad civil cubana” […] “para dirigir y hacer crecer organizaciones de la sociedad civil que apoyen activamente los principios democráticos en Cuba” –exactamente el tipo de gobernancia que la Habana no quiere que le hagan tragar."

The economic impact of changes in U.S.-Cuba relations  3/23/2016 On Cuba: "Some time ago, the sustained affirmation that the blockade was the largest external obstacle to the country’s development was sometimes questioned by different sectors inside and outside of Cuba. However, what has happened since 17 December 2014 seems to show the weight of that argument."

La primavera cubana: proxima estacion del tren Obama  3/22/2016 AfroCubaWeb: por Roberto Zurbano - "El pensamiento institucional y político de la Revolución están siendo impactados por la velocidad, el peso y el alcance histórico de tales propuestas, pero no reconoce ni incorpora los análisis y propuestas del pensamiento crítico social más reciente, que ha elaborado visiones defensivas y proyectivas de la futura sociedad cubana, cierto es que desafiantes y críticas con el pensamiento político más público y formalizado en Cuba, pero buena parte de ellas resultan complementarias y renovadoras de las bases originales de este propio pensamiento oficial, por su afán participativo, emancipatorio y anticapitalista. Las propuestas de Obama demandan muchas, urgentes y novedosas respuestas cubanas, no solo gubernamentales, combinándose a corto, mediano y largo plazo, dentro y fuera de la isla y del propio Estados Unidos."

In speech to Cubans, Obama seeks to bury Cold War rivalry  3/22/2016 USA Today: "I am here to bury the last remnants of the Cold War in the Americas. I am here to extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people," Obama said."

Obama and Raúl Castro’s Awkward Embrace in Cuba  3/22/2016 New Yorker: "The cognitive dissonance of what is taking place in Cuba cannot be understated. On Monday, President Barack Obama and his delegation, which includes Secretary of State John Kerry and national-security adviser Susan Rice, stood at attention in Havana’s Revolution Square as the Cuban military band played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with enormous murals of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos behind them. Obama laid a wreath at the foot of the square’s memorial to José Martí, the nineteenth-century poet and national hero who has long been considered the “apostle” of Cuban independence. Later, presiding over an American-style town-hall meeting with the reporter Soledad O’Brien at a Havana microbrewery, the President asked questions and dispensed advice to new Cuban entrepreneurs and introduced them to Brian Chesky, the youthful co-founder of Airbnb, getting him to boast, for the audience’s edification, that his eight-year-old Internet-based company was valued at an astonishing twenty-five billion dollars. The message was clear: the future is yours."

Full Transcript: US President Obama's Speech to People of Cuba  3/22/2016 VOA 

Obama's Visit to Cuba: Dangers and Benefits to The Cuban Revolution  3/21/2016 Real News: "One of the very first things that Raul Castro said is that if the embargo were moved today, Cuba would still have tremendous internal difficulty through its own fault. So Cuba has been involved in deep reflection and debate of looking at the differentiation between the party, the state, the government, and the people. It has been involved in a lot of self-critical reflection of the irony of having educated one of the world's most educated populations by all of the [inaud.] of the UN and the independent bodies on their children scoring high in math and science, and great cultural production. A major country in the world on biotechnology and cancer vaccines, and all of this."

Entrevista exclusiva a Luis Silva sobre la conversación de Pánfilo con Obama  3/20/2016 CiberCuba: "Con un insólito “as” sacado de debajo de su manga, rompiendo todas las barreras del protocolo mas esteril, o de la arenga vacía, la Casa Blanca ideó la posibilidad de una conversación telefónica “real” entre el Presidente de los Estados Unidos de América y Pánfilo, ese inteligente y empático personaje humorístico creado por el actor Luis Silva para el popular espacio semanal “Vivir del Cuento”, y que ha devenido en la representación más genuina del cubano de a pie."

PRESIDENT OBAMA CALLS CUBAN COMEDIAN (Panfilo)  3/19/2016 YouTube: "President Obama just answered Luis Silva Pánfilo's call from Havana! Pánfilo has one of the most popular comedy TV shows in Cuba, and he regularly attempts to call the President — but never seems to get through. Here Panfilo is talking to the President and cant believe his luck. President Obama is the first President to visit Cuba since 1928."

La agenda de Obama en Cuba  3/17/2016 On Cuba: "Adicionalmente, Rhodes adelantó que se espera el anuncio de acuerdos bilaterales durante los tres días de la visita. “Queremos hacer irreversible el proceso de normalización y queremos usar el viaje para acelerarlo y crear más oportunidades de contacto con el pueblo cubano”."

EEUU permitirá más viajes y operaciones con dólares a Cuba  3/15/2016 CaféFuerte: "El paquete de medidas, que entrará en vigor este miércoles, amplía la capacidad de los estadounidenses de viajar a Cuba, impulsa los intercambios comerciales y reduce las barreras para que los cubanos realicen operaciones bancarias y financieras en dólares, incluyendo a bancos que desde terceros países pueden transferir dinero a cuentas en entidades estadounidenses a nombre de cubanos residentes en la isla."

Obama trip to Cuba shows move away from focus on dissidents  3/11/2016 AP: ""The fact of the matter is we don't have any expectation that Cuba is going to transform its political system in the near term," said deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, one of the architects of Obama's Cuba policy. "Even if we got 10 dissidents out of prison, so what? What's going to bring change is having Cubans have more control over their own lives."

Ningún analista serio en EEUU apoya los programas de “promoción de la democracia” para Cuba  3/7/2016 Cubadebate: "De eso hablamos en Washington con dos expertos estadounidenses de incuestionable independencia de opinión frente a lo que dice o hace el gobierno de la Isla, y de asombroso nivel de información sobre la realidad cubana, optimistas frente a los acontecimientos recientes en las relaciones Cuba-EEUU, pero sin arrebatos triunfales. Se trata de Fulton Armstrong, quien fuera el superpoderoso coordinador de Inteligencia Nacional para América Latina – el analista de más alto rango de la Comunidad de Inteligencia de EE.UU-, y Geoff Thale, director de programas en la Oficina de Washington para América Latina (WOLA), quienes aceptaron la invitación de Cubadebate para conversar con franqueza sobre los asuntos que están en la agenda de los dos países."

How Obama Could Bring Internet to Cuba  2/18/2016 Inverse: "After meeting twice with Cuban officials in Havana, Daniel Sepúlveda, the U.S. point man working to get telecom into the country, told The Miami Herald that “at this point, the biggest thing that is missing is trust.”"

Obama to meet Raul Castro, dissidents on historic trip to Cuba  2/18/2016 Reuters: "He’ll be meeting with dissidents, with members of civil society, including those who certainly oppose the Cuban government’s policies," Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters."

Cuba returns dummy Hellfire missile mistakenly received  2/13/2016 AP: "The government statement said the missile had come to Cuba as a result of "error or mishandling" in its country of origin. "For Cuban authorities, the arrival in the country of U.S.-made military equipment that hadn't been declared as such on the cargo manifesto was worrying," the government said. The equipment was "duly conserved and taken care of" and once the U.S. government officially informed Cuba that the missile had been shipped there by mistake and the U.S. wanted to recover it, Cuba began proceedings to return the missile, the government said. A team of U.S. experts traveled to Cuba to inspect the missile and brought it back to the U.S. on Saturday, the government said."

What Do Cubans Think of Normalization With the United States?  2/9/2016 The Nation: by Sujatha Fernandez - "They’re divided, by generation and class, over whether it will be a good thing."

Frank Mora lays out counterinsurgeny plan for Cuba  2/7/2016 Quotha: "Democracy's nemesis, Frank Mora, is once again using FIU's pseudoacademic, SOUTHCOM-funded Latin American and Caribbean Center (which a colleague in Florida once aptly described to me as a gusanera) to promote counterinsurgency plans against Latin American democracy. See here for resources on FIU's "Strategic Culture" program to label all left-leaning countries in the hemisphere infantile and in need of (further) U.S.-led militarization, which would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous. Click the photo below to see the article titled WHINSEC may train Cuban students. And go to SOA Watch's website and read a little bit about SOA/WHINSEC if any of this sounds like hyperbole to you."

La variable Agresividad Mediática en el conflicto Cuba - Estados Unidos  2/2/2016 Esteban Morales 

Cuba to attend security conference with U.S. for first time  1/12/2016 Miami Herald: "The Cuban government’s decision to accept an invitation to the Caribbean Nations Security Conference in Jamaica this month follows other relatively small but symbolic forms of military engagement between countries that normalized relations in December 2015, said Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, the commander of Southern Command. “We’ve normalized now and, regardless of how we think of each other in terms of politics, we have very, very common challenges,” Kelly said in an interview two days before he ends his tenure as commander of U.S. military operations in the Southern Hemisphere."

Cuban negotiator says US presidential election may endanger thaw in relations  1/12/2016 Guardian: "Vidal said she had read many opinions by academics, intellectuals and even members of the US Congress saying that the detente is “irreversible” but she insisted that “it isn’t that absolute”. Among things Obama could do before he leaves the presidency, she said, would be to allow the use of the American dollar in bilateral business and permit direct financial transactions between banks in the United States and Cuba. Vidal said Obama could also eliminate policies that he has power over as chief executive, such the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allows Cubans who step on American soil to stay in the US and apply for permanent residency."

Budget for Cuba programs: As clear as mud  12/12/2015 Along the Malecon: "The short version of the story is that it doesn't appear that lawmakers have decided how much to spend on democracy promotion programs in fiscal 2016, which began on Oct. 1. At least I couldn't find any public documents spelling it out. Senate and House appropriations bills have proposed spending from $15 million to $30 million on Cuba programs in fiscal 2016, but none of the proposals have been put into law. In June, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would had the National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, the State Department and the Agency for International Development sharing $30 million in Cuba democracy funds."

Obama’s Half-Hearted Cuba Détente  11/1/2015 Consortium News: "President Obama’s “normalization” of relations with Cuba have been more tell than show, with much of the half-century U.S. embargo left in place and some “relaxations” designed to coerce Cuba into “privatizing” its economy, as Art Heitzer and Marjorie Cohn describe."

'Lejos de mejorar, la situación de bloqueo a Cuba ha empeorado'  9/30/2015 El Mundo: entrevista con Esteban Morales - "Lo que necesitamos es que Estados Unidos libere el dólar y las inversiones. Que dispongamos de créditos de los bancos norteamericanos, y potenciar la actividad del turismo. No podemos echar a andar sólo con nuestro capital. Y que se elimine la ley Helms Burton. Si echas abajo esa ley, echas abajo el bloqueo.- "Lo que necesitamos es que Estados Unidos libere el dólar y las inversiones. Que dispongamos de créditos de los bancos norteamericanos, y potenciar la actividad del turismo. No podemos echar a andar sólo con nuestro capital. Y que se elimine la ley Helms Burton. Si echas abajo esa ley, echas abajo el bloqueo."

Hillary Clinton Remarks At Florida International University  8/1/2015 #CubaNow: “Unfortunately, most of the Republican candidates for President would play right into the hard-liners’ hands. They would reverse the progress we have made and cut the Cuban people off from direct contact with the Cuban-American community and the free-market capitalism and democracy that you embody. That would be a strategic error for the United States and a tragedy for the millions of Cubans who yearn for closer ties. “They have it backwards: Engagement is not a gift to the Castros – it’s a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession – it’s a beacon. Lifting the embargo doesn’t set back the advance of freedom – it advances freedom where it is most desperately needed."

The Rising Wave of GOP Support For Ending the Embargo  7/30/2015 #CubaNow: "In another sign of the rapidly changing landscape of U.S.-Cuba policy this week, House Republican Tom Emmer of Minnesota introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2015, legislation that would lift the embargo on Cuba. “I understand there's a lot of pain on both sides of this issue that goes back many decades,” Emmer told USA Today. “But I believe this is in the best interests of the Cuban people. This isn't about the Cuban government — it's about people on the street looking for more opportunity and to improve their quality of life.”"

Stonegate Bank-Cuba Agreement will reduce transaction costs  7/25/2015 OnCuba: "In the difficult art of coming to an understanding with Cuban institutions, a couple of elements have worked in Stonegate Banks’s favour. The most important is probably the bank’s step forward in responding to a request of the Department of State in early 2015, when they were looking for a bank willing to provide services to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, at a time when that diplomatic mission was sort of “untouchable”, financially speaking, in U.S. territory."

Esteban Morales: Cuba under no illusions regarding United States ties  7/22/2015 Indo-Asian News Service: "Esteban Morales, a Cuban writer, political observer and economist, said, “Cuba is under no illusions regarding their relations with the US.”"Reopening embassies will simply make it easier for the two governments to communicate formally after five decades of hostility,” Xinhua reported quoting Morales, founder and director of the University of Havana’s Center for Hemispheric and US Studies."

United States Reopens Embassy in Havana  7/20/2015 OnCuba: "The Embassy will continue its diplomatic operations from the Embassy building on the Malecón. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the most senior official at the embassy, will act as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. According to a press release issued today, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cuba later this summer to celebrate the re-opening of U.S. Embassy Havana and raise the U.S. flag."

Cuban Embassy Inaugurated in Washington  7/20/2015 OnCuba: “Most of the people were saying they wanted to see the flag,” reported OnCuba’s special correspondent in Washington, Tahimi Arboleya. “They think that this will mean better living conditions for Cubans who reside on the island, which according to them is the most important.”

Cubans brace for the coming wave  7/18/2015 Boston Globe: “The situation today is heightening a standing racism in Cuba,” declared Robert Zurbano, a prominent advocate with the Casa de las Americas cultural center in Havana. “Now, the small black businessman cannot compete with the coffee shop or the beauty salon because he doesn’t have the capital that those getting remittances have.”

Bloqueo entorpece reincorporación de Cuba a instituciones financieras internacionales, asegura exsecretario de comercio  7/16/2015 Cubadebate: "El exsecretario de Comercio de Estados Unidos, Carlos Gutiérrez, reconoció que el bloqueo a Cuba entorpece el apoyo que la Casa Blanca pudiera dar a su reincorporación a organismos crediticios internacionales. En declaraciones citadas hoy por Progreso semanal y otras publicaciones, el exfuncionario señala que la isla deberá iniciar un proceso de reinserción en los principales organismos económicos multilaterales como el Banco Mundial (BM), el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI) o el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID)."

Why the U.S. should be wary of Cuba  7/14/2015 Stratfor: "Havana will also likely plant listening devices in hotel rooms, taxis and rental cars to monitor on the U.S. diplomatic mission. Operatives will take photographs of the embassy staff as they come and go, locate employees’ homes and even plan honeypots and male raven operations, during which an undercover agent acts like a love interest to collect intelligence. In short, with a reopening embassy, the Cubans will have ample opportunity to undermine U.S. national security."

Expertos rusos en política desconfían de las intenciones de EEUU en Cuba  7/7/2015 Contrainjerencia: "Según Shmelev, Cuba se encuentra en una difícil situación económica, “así que podemos suponer que Estados Unidos está considerando la posibilidad de organizar una ‘revolución de colores’ en la Isla a fin de llevar al poder a fuerzas que estén orientadas hacia Estados Unidos –una aparente alusión a disidentes dentro del gobierno."

"A New Chapter": After Half a Century, U.S. and Cuba Unveil Reopening of Embassies & Restored Ties  7/2/2015 Democracy Now: "Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive at George Washington University. He is co-author of the book, Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana."

The Potential of Diplomatic Normalization  7/1/2015 Havana Note: "President Obama has a lot of potential power to bring us closer to the full normalization of relations."

¿Quién está detrás de Engage Cuba?  6/17/2015 El Mundo: "Se presenta como un grupo de presión sin partido que promueve el fin del embargo económico a la isla comunista. Pero detrás de 'Engage Cuba' se encuentran poderosos intereses económico y financieros cuyo único objetivo es ampliar sus negocios. Al grupo lo respaldan empresas gigantes, como la agroindustrial Cargill, la distribuidora de productos para el hogar Procter&Gamble y la constructora de maquinaria pesada Caterpillar, y al frente está el abogado y cabildero James Williams, quien, al mismo tiempo, es director del 'súper' Comité de Acción Política 'New Cuba'."

US and Cuba to reopen embassies and restore full ties in early July, reports say US and Cuba to reopen embassies and restore full ties in early July, reports say  6/12/2015 Guardian: "The Obama administration is expected to announce an agreement with Cuba in early July to reopen embassies and restore diplomatic relations severed more than five decades ago, US sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. The two sides hope to conclude the deal by the first week of next month, clearing the way for secretary of state John Kerry to visit Havana soon afterwards for a flag-raising ceremony to upgrade the US interests section to a full-scale embassy, the sources said."

Cuba.- EU.- El gobierno de Cuba salva la vida de Reagan  6/7/2015 Tercera Informacion: del Dr. Néstor García Iturbe

How will financial ties with Cuba change now that it’s off the terrorism list?  5/30/2015 PBS: "CARLA ROBBINS: It means more than anything else, that U.S. banks can have relations with Cuban banks, which will make it much easier to follow through on the easing of financial relations that Obama is promoting, and the Cubans said it was the biggest precondition for reestablishing direct diplomatic relations and opening the embassies."

U.S. Officially Removes Cuba From List Of State Sponsors Of Terrorism  5/29/2015 Radio Havana 

Cuba-U.S. Expect to Announce Embassy Openings Next Week  5/29/2015 Adelante: "The announcement is expected to come from their respective capitals, following Friday's anticipated announcement of Cuba's removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuba will be formally removed from the list 45 days after President Barack Obama announced his intention to remove the Caribbean state, which came in mid-April."

U.S. drops Cuba from list of state sponsors of terrorism  5/29/2015 Reuters: "The United States formally dropped Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism on Friday, an important step toward restoring diplomatic ties but one that will have limited effect on removing U.S. sanctions on the Communist-ruled island."

Going Way Back With Cubans, Tampa Leads Push Forward  5/2/2015 NYT: "Now Tampa officials are even pushing to open a Cuban Consulate here — something Miami leaders view with antipathy. In April, the Tampa City Council approved the idea of a consulate, as has the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, a longtime advocate of strengthening ties between Cuba and Tampa. Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story The Council also voted to offer Tampa as the place where the United States and Cuba would sign any official accord. While some of Tampa’s 80,000 Cuban-Americans disagree with rapprochement on Cuba, most do not, officials said."

Engage Cuba Advocates Normal U.S.-Cuba Relations  4/27/2015 OnCuba: "James Williams will be president of Engage Cuba, an advocacy group that will be launched in May to get as many votes as possible in Congress in favour of normalizing relations with Cuba. The organization has been described by The Wall Street Journal as “a group of heavy-hitting political operatives” who are “setting up a new campaign to press Congress to repeal the long-standing trade and travel embargo with Cuba.”"

La experiencia de una cumbre  4/20/2015 Esteban Morales: "Por tanto, no se trataba en la cumbre de conversar con gentes de ideas diferentes a las nuestras, eso se hizo con creces en todos los foros en que la delegación salida de Cuba participo; sino de ocupar el mismo techo con criminales o gente que no tiene el menor pudor en fotografiarse junto a criminales y hacerse acompañar por ellos."

Cuba’s Removal From Terrorism List  4/15/2015 Counterpunch: by Code Pink - "It was President Ronald Reagan who put Cuba on the terrorism list. He sought to blacklist Cuba’s support for leftist movements in Central and South America, movements that challenged US hegemony in the region. And after denouncing Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism, Reagan pursued his own campaign in Central and South America—funding the extreme right, conducting covert military actions, brokering illegal arms deals, and attempting coup d’etats."

Cuban scholar: 'We have a common history'  4/15/2015 Daily Star, Oneonta, NY: "On Wednesday night, Hartwick hosted scholar Gisela Arandia of Cuba for a presentation on race, ethnicity and human rights that drew more than 50 students and community members. With the help of a translator, Arandia told listeners that President Barack Obama’s recent decision to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism filled her with “joy,” “wonder” and “huge emotion.”"

Barack Obama says his first meeting with Cuban president Raul Castro is a 'turning point'  4/13/2015 Independent: "In his speech to summit leaders, Mr Castro recalled the slights against his nation and the revolution begun by his brother, Fidel, but admitted admiration for Mr Obama, saying he had read both his memoirs. “I have told President Obama that I get very emotional talking about the revolution and the sanctions that followed,” he said. “I apologise to him because President Obama had no responsibility for this.”

Esteban Morales: El pueblo cubano aún desconfía de Estados Unidos  4/11/2015 teleSUR: "En entrevista para teleSUR, el analista cubano Esteban Morales, expresó que en el pueblo cubano hay muchos años acumulados de prejuicios, desconfianza y a los ciudadanos les cuesta trabajo pensar que Estados Unidos puede cambiar su posición con Cuba."

Experto califica como cínico discurso de Obama sobre Cuba en Cumbre panameña  4/10/2015 Venezolana de Television: ""Y como refiere, además, al foro de la sociedad civil, la expresión es más cínica todavía…", espetó Esteban Morales, sobre Obama quien dijo estar satisfecho por presencia de Cuba en el encuentro continental"

Fox News Latino: How a Hashtag Helped Thaw U.S.-Cuba Relations  3/25/2015 #CubaNow: "At LabMiami, a technology business incubator located in Miami’s trendy Wynwood neighborhood, Ric Herrero wages a national campaign using traditional and social media that has played a significant role in thawing frosty relations between the United States and Cuba. As executive director of #CubaNow, Herrero is the public face of an organization backed by prominent Cuban-American businessmen in Miami who want to end the embargo…"

5 Things Cuba Can Do to Speed the Normalization of Relations With the United States  3/21/2015 OnCuba: "...there a number of things Cuba can do to move the normalization process forward without compromising its sovereignty. The steps below flow directly out of the 18 months of secret talks between Washington and Havana. Except for the last, they are things to which Cuba has already agreed in principle but has not yet done."

USA prioritizes opening embassy in Cuba  3/17/2015 OnCuba: "The State Department wants to give its Interests Section in Havana the title of embassy ASAP. Preferably it wants it done before the Summit of the Americas in Panama. A senior official of the State Department expressed it in a conference call where he answered questions from the press, prior to the third meeting in Havana between a Cuban delegation and the one headed by Roberta Jacobson."

Chomsky on Cuba: After Decades of U.S. Meddling & "Terrorism," Restoring Ties is Least We Could Do  3/4/2015 Cuba Si: Amy Goodman interviews Noam Chomsky.

Cuban Delegation on Round Two of Talks with the USA  2/28/2015 Havana Times: "While many other issues will be on the table in future talks (extradition treaty, Cuban Adjustment Act, the US embargo, the Guantanamo Naval Base, human rights, property expropriations, etc.) there seems to be agreement that the official restoring of relations and the opening of embassies is the first order of business. This with an eye to making considerable progress before the Summit of the Americas on April 10-11 in Panama, when presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama will be on the same venue. Parralel to that, Cuba continues to press that it be taken off the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism and the US State Department says it is reviewing the designation to make a recommendation to Congress. The following is the press release issued by the Cuban Delegation following the talks on Friday."

Cuba: the Weight of a Long History  2/27/2015 CounterPunch: "During the 1930’s and 40’s, the ambition to control Cuba’s destiny continued—if somewhat more subtly and without troops. The U.S. sent Sumner Welles as a special envoy to Cuba in the 1930’s to ensure that the outcome of a populist insurrection against Gerardo Machado, then Cuba’s dictator, did not steer the island away from U.S. tutelage. This intervention gave rise to the U.S. support for Fulgencio Batista, which lasted until his overthrow in 1959 by the Revolution. As our ambassador to Cuba at the time, Earl T. Smith, asserted during a Senate hearing in 1960: “Until Castro, the U.S. was so overwhelmingly influential in Cuba that the American ambassador was the second most important man, sometimes even more important than the Cuban president.”"

Josefina Vidal: El respeto fue la clave del éxito que condujo a los anuncios del 17D  2/27/2015 CubaDebate: "La Directora General de Estados Unidos de la Cancillería cubana trae la sonrisa fresca, la calma con la que ha hablado unos minutos antes en el Departamento de Estado. De pie, en el salón de la Oficina de Intereses de Cuba acondicionada como sala de prensa -la primera vez que ocurre en muchísimos años-, contesta ahora todas las preguntas que nos hacíamos en esta jornada, y aquellas que surgieron al calor de la conversación con la que cierra nuestra presencia en Washington."

The Cuban economy and Obama’s new policy  2/12/2015 OnCuba: "Even without eliminating the embargo, the announced measures could begin to gradually benefit the Cuban economy. Some effects will be more direct and tangible and will be appreciable in tendencies of tourism, remittances and goods and services that arrive in Cuba from the United States, while other effects will be more indirect, depending on what kind of signal is sent to the international economic and financial community and the restoration of U.S.-Cuba relations."

Cuba-USA Try to Skirt Dead Ends  2/12/2015 OnCuba: "Some politicians from the Cuban émigré community demand that Havana hand over fugitives from US justice like Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, an African-American woman who was a Black Panther leader and is sought by US authorities for the murder of a police officer in the 1970s. They seem to be unaware of the fact that an extradition agreement is reciprocal and would force the United States to deport many Cuban exiles accused of crimes, including Luis Posada Carriles, sought for the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner that killed 73 people."

Castro: End US embargo, normalize Cuba relations  2/10/2015 The Militant: "“Our U.S. counterparts should not plan on developing relations with Cuban society as if there were no sovereign government,” he continued to applause."

Cuba and USA Today: Miscellaneous  2/10/2015 OnCuba: "In short lines, we present some news about the path that is taking the process of restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States"

US, Cuba Relations 2015: End of Cuba Embargo May Bring Lawsuits, Competition to Miami's Tobacco Industry  2/8/2015 Latin Post 

Obama’s Policy Reforms: The Congressional Counteract Begins  2/6/2015 Cuba Central: "Ms. Soler’s answer — no, it didn’t happen that way — was not the response Senator Rubio was looking for. But the advice that followed would be well-taken for someone considering a run for the presidency. At another juncture, Mr. Rubio asked the panel if they all supported a continuation of the Helms-Burton program that gives financial assistance to dissidents in Cuba, some of whom benefit from U.S. support and still denounce the Obama policy. To his apparent surprise, two of the witnesses — Miriam Leiva and Rosa María Paya — didn’t agree with him on that question either."

Cuba-US in time of changes: criteria on the Cuban side  2/5/2015 OnCuba: "Nearly a week after Cuba and the United States began to officially dialogue in Havana, entrepreneurs, bloggers, filmmakers and Cuban intellectuals gathered in Washington for two days (January 27 and 28) to exchange with US and Cuban American politicians, diplomats, journalists , businessmen and academics, in a meeting organized by the Possible Cuba Project and the Cuba Research Center."

La nueva política hacia Cuba revitaliza a donantes anticastristas de la Florida  2/5/2015 Café Fuerte: "Pero los nuevos documentos presentados ante la Comisión Federal de Elecciones (FEC, la agencia independiente que regula el financiamiento de las elecciones a nivel nacional), que cubren el período en el que Obama anunció su nueva política, muestra que el US-Cuba Democracy PAC, el más prominente comité de cabildeo que representa a la comunidad anticastrista, vio un salto significativo en donaciones."

EEUU preocupado por aumento de balseros; 890 cubanos se lanzaron al mar desde octubre  2/5/2015 Café Fuerte 

Cuba cancela visita de congresistas de EEUU a la isla  2/5/2015 Café Fuerte: "Según la información, los viajes de los congresistas fueron pospuestos hasta al menos mediados de abril. Obama y Raúl Castro deben encontrarse a mediados de abril en Panamá durante la Cumbre de las Américas a la que ambos han confirmado ya su asistencia. Un portavoz de la Oficina de Intereses de Cuba en Washington DC negó la versión de AP, y dijo que está prevista la visita de algunas delegaciones en los próximos días. Pero eso no es lo que creen Morán y Flake. Moran dijo que la delegación estaba compuesta por senadores republicanos que “tienen la mente abierta sobre cambiar la relación con Cuba” y quieren entender mejor los asuntos que afectan al país. El senador cree posible reprogramar su visita a la isla."

Sen. Marco Rubio Pushes Against Obama's Cuba Changes In Hearing  2/3/2015 NBC 

Cuba–US Talks and the Fate of Assata Shakur and Nehanda Abiodun  2/2/2015 Havana Times: "Unlike Assata (whose whereabouts are unknown and is believed to be at a secret location, owing to the US police effort to capture her), since the 90s Nehanda has organized a series of campaigns in her home to encourage the creation of a black and Afro-Cuban awareness movement. Her home has become a center for cultural and socio-political projects and the venue of Cuba’s first hip hop gatherings. She has also organized debates on contemporary issues and African history which have seen the participation of activists and artists, such as the Cuban rap band Anonimo Consejo."

U.S. Editorial Says Law Favoring Cuban Arrivals Is Challenged  2/2/2015 Radio Havana 

Goodbye to Radio and TV Martí?  2/2/2015 OnCuba: "In presenting her proposal to the Capitol, the lawmaker said that in the last three decades stations have spent over 770 million dollars. Each year, the US government provides thirty two million and in 2014, its activities were covered with nearly 27 million. However, contrary to the intention of cutting costs and budgets for Radio and TV Martí, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) the US government signed over 100 contracts worth almost a million dollars for their transmissions to Island since last December 17, when the government announced that both sides begin to renew diplomatic ties."

US Lawmakers proposed a Freedom to travel to Cuba Act  1/31/2015 OnCuba: "Eight Democratic and Republican senators introduced this week to Congress a bill to lift the restrictions imposed in a 2000 and 1996 on travel to Cuba by US citizens and residents, as reported by AFP. The project, known as the Law of Freedom to travel to Cuba, would alleviate the effects of the US blockade against Cuba from 1962 to also allow banking transactions related to these movements."

Free trade with Cuba  1/29/2015 Amsterdam News: by Rep Charles Rangel - "The United States Chamber of Commerce is one of the strongest supporters of ending the embargo, which estimates it could create 6,000 American jobs and restore $1.2 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The economic embargo stifles an extra $250 million in potential annual exports of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and tractors. Ultimately, ending the embargo will, in addition to creating an estimated 6,000 American jobs, generate billions of dollars in revenue."

Take Cuba off the Terrorist List  1/29/2015 CounterPunch: by MEDEA BENJAMIN

Cuba Détente  1/28/2015 CounterPunch: by ROBERT SANDELS and NELSON P. VALDÉS - "Until now only agricultural and some medical and educational materials could be sold to Cuba. The new regulations allow for an increase in the kinds of goods that Cuba can import from the United States such as construction and agricultural tools and machinery. However, these can only be sold to non-state sectors such as co-ops and private entrepreneurs. Thus, certain sectors of the U.S. corporate world will be given preferential treatment. OFAC is also giving Cuban entrepreneurs in the private sector an advantage over the state, but the Obama administration also wants U.S. information technology corporations to invest in Cuba’s telecommunications infrastructure, which means selling services, software and equipment to the Cuban government."

South Florida Democrats walk fine line on Cuba  1/26/2015 Sun Sentinel: "South Florida's Democratic members of Congress are caught between a rock (President Barack Obama) and a hard place (their Cuban-American congressional colleagues) when it comes to rapidly changing U.S. policy toward the island nation."

What is the Real Reason Behind Obama’s New Cuba Policy?  1/21/2015 Black Agenda Report: "Obama is reacting to occurrences that pose a significant geopolitical challenge to American hegemony in the Western hemisphere. The Russians and the Chinese have come knocking on America’s back door. From July 11 to 17, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled through a multi nation Latin American tour ending with a summit of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in Fortaleza, Brazil. These nations are among the fastest developing economies in the world, and their combined efforts have been posing significant geopolitical challenge to America and its European allies all over the globe. This is particularly the case since the 2008 economic crash."

Cuba-U.S.: Between candy and salty water  1/19/2015 Cuba Now: "This group of aged enemies of Cuba is led by doubly small Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Marco Rubio and Mario Díaz-Balart. Once again, they represent the outmoded promoters of bitter hatred against independent Havana. But they are confronted by those who dismiss such behavior and prefer to achieve their goal without aggressiveness."

Travel to Cuba E ases, but Airlines Will Miss Initial Rush  1/16/2015 NYT: "But before airlines can schedule direct flights to Havana and other airports, the two countries must still negotiate a new air service agreement. Until that happens, travelers will have to rely on charter flights booked through specialized travel agencies, and that is not expected to change for the next 12 to 18 months, according to travel experts and industry officials. The timeline could be further complicated by opposition in Congress as well as the presidential election next year, which could delay matters in unpredictable ways."

New measures of the United States to Cuba become effective  1/15/2015 OnCuba: "The Obama administration made known last Thursday the entry into force of several of the measures announced on December 17, 2014, for the easing of relations with Cuba. Jacob Lew, US Treasury Secretary, said “these regulations, along with those issued by the Department of Commerce, will implement policies for relaxation of sanctions related to travel, remittances, trade and banking.”"

United States Cuba Relations: The Genie Is Out Of The Bottle  1/15/2015 US Cuba Politics: "FACT SHEET: Treasury and Commerce Announce Regulatory Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions"

How Obama Could End The Cuban Embargo  1/12/2015 CounterPunch: "So to undo the embargo Congress would seemingly have to repeal the Helms-Burton Act, otherwise the President’s hands would be tied. Except in reality the regulations the President is ordered to enforce are not valid, and should not be legally binding on him. This is because there is no legal merit for the regulations against Cuba, which are written based on the application of enemy status to Cuba. But Cuba does not meet the definition of an enemy. According to the TWEA, an “enemy” is defined as “any individual” or “the government of any nation with which the United States is at war.” The act specifies that the “beginning of the war” is “midnight ending the day on which Congress has declared or shall declare war or the existence of a state of war.”"

McCaskill to travel to Cuba, says lifting embargo would benefit Missouri agriculture  1/7/2015 KC Star: "Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri announced on Wednesday that she will take a trip to Cuba next month to explore how farmers and other businesses in her state might benefit from opening Cuban markets to U.S. agriculture products."

Defeating the Tyranny of Failed Ideas - How to Break the Embargo on Cuba  1/6/2015 CounterPunch: "The normalization of relations with Cuba – a long-delayed measure – offers the opportunity to lift the embargo on the island that so many negative consequences has had for the Cuban people. An initial measure could be to open the medical communication channels between American and Cuban doctors."

NESTOR GARCIA ITURBE / ¿Qué es lo que quiere Obama?  1/3/2015 Contringerencia: "Considero que este párrafo, el primero de su discurso tiene dos aspectos a resaltar. Se plantea que “están cambiando sus relaciones con el pueblo de Cuba”, cuando el cambio es con el Gobierno de Cuba, que es el representante del pueblo. Debemos observar si en el resto del discurso se habla del Gobierno de Cuba. Plantea que van a poner fin a un enfoque anticuado que durante décadas no ha podido promover los intereses de Estados Unidos. De esto se desprende que todo lo que harán será para promover sus intereses. ¿De qué intereses está hablando Obama?"

Spy wars: a wilderness of mirrors in U.S.-Cuba swap  1/1/2015 Miami Herald 

United States Cuba Relations: A Transformative 2014 and the Promise of 2015  12/31/2014 US Cuba Politics: "For this end of year posting we interviewed Antonio C. Martinez II., Attorney, Political Consultant, and Editor of USCubaPolitics.com to discuss the historical moments of December 2014 and what bodes next for Cuba policy in the U.S. Congress, the Obama Administration, and the 2016 elections on the horizon:"

Look toward a brighter future with Cuba  12/31/2014 Daytona Beach News Journal: 'Working with Cuba can help us erase an ugly and painful past, strengthen our economy and transform Central Florida into a world-class educational, health, culture and sports mecca, where our children will be proud to be."

Blacks Should Support Normalizing Relations with Cuba  12/29/2014 The Skanner: Written by Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA Columnist

Will it be the end of USAID´s spells?  12/29/2014 OnCuba: "Curiously Los Aldeanos didn’t need be “bought” to be critical. For years their songs questioned the Cuban reality without mincing words, making their messages to have enough weight in certain sectors of youth. But USAID polluted them with their money and although they did not know where it came from, that shadow will inevitably create doubts about the integrity of Los Aldeanos and the honesty of their criticisms, reducing the influence of their messages."

Everyone in Cuba is Talking About the Same Thing  12/29/2014 Havana Times: "Everyone is talking about the same thing: the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. Though some are optimistic and others skeptical, the truth is that the news has stirred everybody up."

The Forgotten History of U.S.-Cuba Friendship  12/29/2014 Huff Post: "Black Americans have demonstrated a special interest, extending all the way back to Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., forcing the Eisenhower Administration to embargo arms shipments to Batista in 1958. Throughout the 1960s, many leaders in the civil rights and Black Power movements visited Cuba, to see for themselves how it overcame widespread poverty and discrimination, followed later by leading black Members of Congress. Even in the 1990s, Fidel Castro packed out Harlem's most famous church, Abyssinian Baptist. African Americans knew well what Mandela had said: that the 1988 defeat of white South Africa's vaunted army by Cuban troops backing the revolutionary Angolan government was a decisive blow against apartheid."

Barack Obama busca apoyos de la derecha  12/28/2014 Progreso Semanal: "De ahí que dos de los lobbies más activos en favor del deshielo sean la Cámara de Comercio de EE UU y la Federación de Oficinas Agrícolas Americanas. La primera es el principal lobby empresarial, enfrentado a Obama en cuestiones como la reducción de las emisiones contaminantes y la reforma sanitaria. La segunda es el lobby rural, y su aplauso al presidente refleja la esperanza de que la nueva etapa permita aumentar las exportaciones de productos agrícolas. No es casualidad que sea en el Medio Oeste, el granero de EE UU, donde la iniciativa del presidente cuente con mayores complicidades."

Big changes coming to Cuba tourism with us opening  12/27/2014 Progreso Weekly: "The new Treasury Department rules have not yet been released, but a White House statement suggests that educational travel to Cuba will now be covered by a “general license,” which means tour operators – and perhaps individuals, depending on how the regulations are written – will be able to head to Cuba and simply give the U.S. government their word that they’re not engaging in ordinary tourism."

The US-Cuba agreement in five major economic issues  12/27/2014 OnCuba: "Part of Obama´s reforms will allow US telecommunications firms to start working with Cuba to expand its communications infrastructure, which will help Cuban economy and will set the basis for financial transactions more sophisticated in the future."

What Are Young Cubans Saying about US-Cuba Relations?  12/26/2014 Havana Times: "Though opinions on this differ, the truth is that the vast majority of young people in Cuba are optimistic. The first thing many friends and acquaintances thought was: “the island is going to fill up with gringos!” Evidently, young people in Cuba do not feel any particular resentment towards the people or culture of the United States. The relief that this will mean for our depressed economy is, without a doubt, something people anxiously await. The possibility of US investors settling in Cuba and offering a broader scope of jobs and higher wages is something most hope for."

Cuba Will Not Renounce Its Ideas  12/26/2014 CounterPunch: by Raul Castro

Why real change in Cuba won't come easy or fast  12/26/2014 LA Times: "Republicans are also threatening to block Obama's policy by attaching Cuba amendments to must-pass appropriations bills. That strategy won't become available for almost a year, however, when the next appropriations bills come up. By then, the new relationship with Cuba may be so well established that even Republicans would be loath to turn back the clock."

Marco, Ted and Bob: Fishes out of water  12/26/2014 Progreso Weekly: "History has passed judgment on them and has tossed them overboard. Like fishes out of water, Rubio, Cruz, Menéndez and others like them can do nothing but gasp desperately for breath to keep from dying."

How travel to Cuba might change  12/24/2014 Boston Globe: "What is the hotel room/accommodation situation in Cuba now? “There is a lot, but at the high end, there are only a couple of good properties,” Diaz said. “People don’t go to Cuba for the luxury — they go for the music, culture, and arts scene.” But if Cuba opens up to US tourists and their penchant for luxury accommodations, “you’re going to see American hoteliers doing their best to find potential properties in Cuba,” Loucks said."

Despite Warming Relations, Cuba Will Not Hand Over Assata Shakur  12/23/2014 Vibe: "Josefina Vidal, head of Cuba's North American Affairs told the Associated Press the country has no plans of giving Shakur up despite warming relations between the two nations who were once at odds for nearly half a century. "Every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted. ...That’s a legitimate right,” Vidal said. “We’ve explained to the U.S. government in the past that there are some people living in Cuba to whom Cuba has legitimately granted political asylum. There’s no extradition treaty in effect between Cuba and the U.S.,” she added."

Reflections from Former Chief of U.S. Interests Section  12/23/2014 CIP Americas: by Wayne S Smith - "As the announcement of restored relations came through Wednesday morning, there was utter joy and elation among the Cuban people in the streets, there were cheers and applause – this is what they have been waiting for, too. This change came at a critical moment. The Obama administration had to come to it or risk a further deterioration of relations with the rest of the hemisphere. There were questions in Latin America about our relations with Cuba and what that said about our policy in the hemisphere. Now those questions have been set aside and we can move forward to focus on improved relations with all."

The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations  12/23/2014 Stratfor: "Cuba was the key. In the hands of a hostile foreign power, it was as effective a plug to the Mississippi as taking New Orleans. The weakness of the Spaniards frightened the Americans. Any powerful European power — the British or, after 1871, the Germans — could easily knock the Spaniards out of Cuba. And the United States, lacking a powerful navy, would not be able to cope. Seizing Cuba became an imperative of U.S. strategy."

Cuba Won’t Hand Over Assata Shakur  12/23/2014 The Root: "Vidal pointed out that the U.S. has also sheltered wanted Cuban citizens. “We’ve reminded the U.S. government that in its country they’ve given shelter to dozens and dozens of Cuban citizens,” she said. “Some of them accused of horrible crimes, some accused of terrorism, murder and kidnapping, and in every case, the U.S. government has decided to welcome them.”"

New poll: Majority U.S. support for change in Cuba policy  12/23/2014 Progreso Weekly: "Even republicans, who not long ago were against the measures, now support allowing trade and travel. “In 2009, 36 percent of Republicans said the United States should end the trade embargo and 40 percent favored an end to travel restrictions,” reported Clement. But those numbers have skyrocketed in favor with 57 percent now supporting trade with Cuba and 64 percent supporting travel between the countries. “Republicans continue to split on establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba overall, with 49 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing the idea — a similar split to 2009,” said Clement."

Cuba: America's most wanted woman Assata Shakur will not be extradited  12/23/2014 AP: "“We’ve explained to the US government in the past that there are some people living in Cuba to whom Cuba has legitimately granted political asylum,” Vidal said, noting also that the two countries have no extradition treaty in effect. Vidal’s comments in a Monday interview were the clearest sign yet that Cuba has no intention of extraditing Assata Shakur – formerly known as Joanne Chesimard – following a historic detente announced by last week by President Barack Obama and Raúl Castro of Cuba."

Historic Turn on Cuba. Professors Ruth Behar and María Isabel Alfonso in Radio Bilingüe.  12/22/2014 Café por Cuba 

America's Cuba  12/22/2014 CounterPunch: "In the United States, events like the Bay of Pigs invasion are typically portrayed as reactions to Cuban instigation, but the chronology belies this framing. In fact, the causality runs in almost exactly the opposite direction: US hostility wasn’t a response to Cuba’s Communist ties; Cuba’s Communist ties were a response to US hostility."

Cuba says it has a right to grant asylum to US fugitives  12/22/2014 AP: "Obama’s announcement included a very general list of reforms and left a series of open questions about how far the U.S. could go to create deeper economic ties with Cuba. The Commerce and Treasury departments are expected to begin publishing details of the new measures in coming weeks, changes that will include relaxation of the stringent rules governing American travel to Cuba."

TV Martí Blew Its Coverage of Historic U.S.-Cuba Moment  12/22/2014 Miami New Times: "Yet when the biggest Cuban-American story in a half-century broke -- Barack Obama and Raúl Castro's announcement that they'd move to normalize diplomatic relations -- the Miami-based network was caught in utter disarray, employees tell New Times, exposing the systemic disorganization and poor leadership that have blighted the network for years."

What the Cuba embargo teaches us about economic sanctions  12/21/2014 News, Australia: "There are cases when sanctions are effective, but circumstances are important. Sanctions like the Cuba embargo, which aimed to foment a revolution or topple a regime, aren’t successful very often. “When they do have a better track record is when you’re asking for more tangible concessions,” Daniel Drezner, a political scientist at Tufts, prolific foreign-policy blogger, and author of The Sanctions Paradox, told me. He points to the US sanctions on Iran, which have clearly played a role in pushing Tehran to the nuclear negotiating table, and are likely more effective because it’s “clear [the Obama administration] isn’t looking for regime change.”"

Do Cubans Really Want US Style Internet Freedom?  12/21/2014 Sujatha Fernandez: "For all the talk about bringing Internet freedoms to Cuba, could it be that Cubans have themselves created an alternative to the corporate-driven World Wide Web by coming up with their own alternative networks for consuming and sharing information? In contrast torecent depictions of Cuba as a technological backwater, frozen in time, deprivation has yet again spurred Cubans to new creative heights. When considering the enormous opportunities that will be created by Obama’s announcement of historic policies, it will be important to keep in mind what Cubans want and need—and not what we think they do."

Christie Wants Obama to Push Cuba to Return New Jersey Trooper’s Killer  12/21/2014 NYT: "Mr. Christie asked that she be returned to New Jersey before any further consideration is given to restoring diplomatic relations."

How Barbara Lee’s 30-year Cuba campaign paid off  12/21/2014 SF Chronicle: "Lee and her delegation met that day for five hours with President Raul Castro in the first face-to-face session between U.S. lawmakers and Cuban leaders in at least five years. Both brothers, Lee recalled, expressed hope that the newly elected President Obama would change history and restore ties between the two countries. Last week, as she touched down on U.S. soil from another trip to Cuba — her 21st — the Oakland Democrat got the call: Obama was announcing a thawing of relations, an exchange of prisoners and the freeing of American Alan Gross, whom Lee had visited several times during his five-year Cuban captivity."

Cuban Tourism in the Age of Détente  12/20/2014 New Yorker: "Under the new rules, people will still have to travel for one of twelve pre-approved purposes, but these, including educational trips, will all be covered by general licenses. It’s unclear exactly what this will mean for travellers—the Obama Administration has said that it will be weeks before the details become available—but Popper and others expect that, at the very least, it will open up travel to Cuba to more Americans."

A Chance to Breach Divide for Young in Cuba and US  12/20/2014 ABC: "For Cubans like Martinez, it may mean that becoming a doctor won't limit her to a meager state salary. For others, there is the hope of Internet access and an end to the desperation that leads thousands to migrate each year. Cuban-Americans, meanwhile, see the possibility of starting businesses in their homeland, connecting with their roots and putting aside the bitterness of parents and grandparents who were arrested, exiled or had property seized in the revolution."

Castro insists Cuba won’t abandon communism despite deal with U.S.  12/20/2014 WaPo: "“This makes it so much easier for the U.S. to relate to its allies and friends in the region,” said Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas."

The “Pure Evil” Hypocrisy - Marco Rubio’s Rabid Campaign Against Cuba  12/19/2014 CounterPunch: "Rubio called these developments “another concession to a tyranny” rather than “a defense of every universal and inalienable right that our country was founded on and stands for.” But, how exactly does continuing the embargo and maintaining a supercilious, egotistically aloof distance from Cuba sound an “American” defense of its values abroad? Rubio averred, in sum, that “these changes…will significantly set back the hopes of freedom and democracy for the Cuban people.” To dismiss the revolutionary successes, though, to outright deny the bravery, the endurance, the incredible struggle, and epic human perseverance of the Cuban people in the face of one of history’s greatest instances of adversity reeks of disrespect and unawareness. Ultimately, it gives voice to the pure evil of Rubio’s anti-Cuban hypocrisy."

Here's Why the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign Needs to Think About Cuba  12/19/2014 Identities.mic: "The #BlackLivesMatter campaign might begin to redirect its attention southward, after the U.S. agreed to "normalize" talks with Cuba in order to re-establish diplomatic relations. The reason? Assata Shakur."

The US and Cuba: What Really Happened, What Will Change?  12/19/2014 CounterPunch: "It isn’t full normalization. It isn’t completely free travel to Cuba that is promised to all US citizens by our constitution. It isn’t the lifting of a policy of economic strangulation decried universally every year at the UN. It doesn’t allow unlimited investment in Cuba’s nascent private sector or completely remove limits on remittances sent to family and loved ones on the island. At least, not yet."

After US and Cuba Announce Normalized Relations, Law Enforcement Officials Eager to Bring Assata Shakur Back to US  12/18/2014 Atlanta Black Star: "“We view any changes in relations with Cuba as an opportunity to bring her back to the United States to finish her sentence for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973,” Col. Rick Fuentes, head of the state’s largest law enforcement agency, said in a statement. “We stand by the reward money and hope that the total of two million dollars will prompt fresh information in the light of this altered international relationship.” Fuentes told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview that he has already discussed the issue with federal law enforcement officials. “Chesimard isn’t the only fugitive down there wanted for a violent crime, and she’s already been convicted, so it’s a matter of bringing her back and sending her back to jail,” he said. “There’s other people that surround her that Castro has taken a liking to and it’s been very, very difficult in their particular cases to have discussions to get them out.”"

Transcript: Obama’s remarks on U.S.-Cuba relations  12/18/2014 Progreso Weekly 

Speech by Cuban President Raul Castro on re-establishing U.S.-Cuba relations  12/18/2014 Progreso Weekly 

Sen. Rubio and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: Change Cuba Policy or Give China Its Money Back  12/18/2014 Daily Kos: "Sara Stephens, Director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, notes in Huffington Post a Story from the Tampa Bay Times that details stances of the freedom loving, anti-communist stalwarts of morality in Florida, Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen."

What Does Ending The Cold War With Cuba Mean For Afro-Cubans And African Americans  12/18/2014 News One: "Listen to Martin and the “NewsOne Now” panel featuring Rep. Charles Rangel, Roland Roebuck, Kim Brown, Lenny McAllister and Avis Jones-DeWeever discuss the political and economic impact the normalizing of relations with Cuba will mean for African Americans and Afro Cubans below. Let us know if you think ending the Cold War with Cuba was a good move."

Warming US-Cuba Ties Will Boost Exchange Of Arts, Culture Between Countries, Artists Say  12/18/2014 International Business Times 

New Jersey hopes Cuba-US relations thaw will help extradite former Black Panther  12/18/2014 The Guardian: "“We remain ever hopeful in our resolve to bring Joanne Chesimard to justice,” said Paul Loriquet, a spokesperson for the New Jersey attorney general’s office. He said his office is working closely with federal authorities to secure Shakur’s “rightful place in a New Jersey prison”."

Pope Benedict Helped Free American From Cuba  12/18/2014 AP: "Pope Francis rightly got credit for helping bring the U.S. and Cuba together and free U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross. But it was Francis' predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who made the first high-level Vatican manoeuver to release Gross, spurred in part by an unlikely group of papal lobbyists."

As U.S.-Cuba tension thaws, the fate of a fugitive is in question  12/18/2014 MSNBC: "Whether or not Cuba decides to extradite Shakur, of course, remains to be seen. The country has had an extradition treaty with the U.S. since 1904, but it hasn’t really been enforced during the Castro reign. There’s also a clause in the treaty that says a fugitive criminal shall not be surrendered if the “offense in respect of which his surrender is demanded be of a political character,” which could apply to the Shakur case, said Douglas McNabb, an international criminal defense lawyer who specializes in extradition. But “any state can do anything they want, even if there is an extradition treaty,” said McNabb. “From a policy standpoint, Cuba is going to have to make a decision.” Stephen Vladeck, an expert on national security law at American University College of Law, echoed that sentiment, saying “So much of extradition law Is just politics. The real question is whether the Cuban government decides it’s in its interest to cooperate with New Jersey through the Justice Department.”"

US-Cuban Friendship Might Mean Prison for Assata Shakur  12/18/2014 Jezebel: "Hopefully in this time of cops shooting black men with their hands up, choking them to death on camera and gassing those speaking out, President Obama and the U.S. State Department can think of a better use for their diplomatic conversations than 'Hey, let's finally imprison that woman America framed nearly 50 year ago.'"

Obama Announces New US Approach on Cuba  12/17/2014 Havana Times: "Remittance levels will be raised from $500 to $2,000 per quarter for general donative remittances to Cuban nationals (except to certain officials of the government or the Communist party); and donative remittances for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, and support for the development of private businesses in Cuba will no longer require a specific license. Remittance forwarders will no longer require a specific license."

Se acabó el bloqueo contra Cuba  12/17/2014 Progreso Semanal: "Con declaraciones de Raúl Castro y Barack Obama comienza hoy una nueva era en las relaciones entre Cuba y EE.UU. El cambio ha comenzado con un gesto humanitario que podría indicar el sentido de las políticas entre ambos países en los próximos meses. Alan Gross ya está en EE.UU., los tres cubanos, Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio, ya están en Cuba. Todavía queda un camino por recorrer en el Congreso para dar marcha atrás a leyes y normas que han impedido durante más de 50 años unas relaciones entre Cuba y EE.UU. constructivas para ambos pueblos, pero el camino ya ha sido señalado por los dos gobiernos. Estamos asistiendo al comienzo del fin del bloqueo contra Cuba."

President Obama's new Cuba policy: What we heard, and what we didn't  12/17/2014 The Havana Note: "What’s interesting about today’s announcement is what we didn’t hear. We didn’t hear a president constrained by political calculations. President Obama said he looks forward to an “honest and serious” debate with Congress about lifting the embargo – a not so subtle hint about what the debate has largely lacked so far. And while he acknowledged the contribution to our country and the “passion” of Cuban exiles who might not like his policy changes, the wide-ranging – and long-awaited - moves announced today were clearly decided without a fear of political retribution."

DeWayne Wickham: Obama action on Cuba burnishes legacy  12/17/2014 Baxter Bulletin: ""We think the best way to bring Cuba into the 21st century is through openness, not isolation," National Security Adviser Susan Rice told me moments after Obama announced his decision to gut the embargo, which can only be formally ended by a vote of Congress."

Why USAID Could Never Spark a Hip Hop Revolution in Cuba  12/16/2014 Sujatha Fernandez: "The documents secured by the AP reveal a frightening level of manipulation of Cuban rappers by USAID. Like with ZunZuneo, the failed Cuban twitter project also engineered by USAID, the actions of this agency put Cubans at risk of state repression and threatened a closure of the critical spaces that rappers had already built and defended. USAID realizes the power of culture to provide a powerful political voice for young people. What it doesn’t realize is that in a society shaped by successive generations of revolutionary projects, any attempt to engineer a U.S.-affiliated movement from above is destined to be revealed for the farce that it is."

Obama's Historic Move  12/15/2014 Chomsky.info: "Some, to be sure, have felt that such delicate means are not enough, for example, Nixon cabinet member Alexander Haig, who asked the president to "just give me the word and I'll turn that f--- island into a parking lot." His eloquence captured vividly the long-standing frustration of US leaders about "That infernal little Cuban republic," Theodore Roosevelt's phrase as he ranted in fury over Cuban unwillingness to accept graciously the US invasion of 1898 to block their liberation from Spain and turn them into a virtual colony. Surely his courageous ride up San Juan Hill had been in a noble cause (overlooked, commonly, is that African-American battalions were largely responsible for conquering the hill)."

Esteban Morales on Cuba-US Relations  11/20/2014 Havana Times: "One of the issues we have to talk about is the blockade, particularly its financial aspect, which leads to things as absurd as the US $ 8 billion fine applied on a French bank. Cuba could also ask for US citizens to be allowed to travel to Cuba freely, because that would have a significant impact on the growth of tourism. We could address the lifting of restrictions on a number of medications we need and the US currently does not allow us to buy. We can negotiate the rules of trade with the United States, which today force Cuba to pay in advance and in cash. There are a number of things we can do."

Cuba, sorprendida por las intenciones "destructivas" de Kissinger  10/7/2014 Milenio: "Néstor García Iturbe, quien representó al gobierno de La Habana en las primeras negociaciones entre ambos países en 1976, afirmó desconocer que el entonces secretario de Estado de EU propuso atacar la isla."

Chinese government pays for trip by aides to Rubio, Ros-Lehtinen  8/29/2014 Tampa Bay Times: "Top aides to Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, two of the most vehement anti-Communist voices in Washington, took an all expenses paid trip to China this month courtesy of the Chinese government."

The Confessions of Antonio Veciana  3/12/2010 Counterpunch: "Antonio Veciana described three failed assassination plots he directed against Fidel Castro – with the help and encouragement of the CIA. In 1960, Maurice Bishop, aka David Atlee Phillips, had recruited Veciana for CIA dirty trick operations in Havana. Veciana described how the Agency, working with the Catholic Church, forged a Cuban “law” in which the revolutionary government would substitute for parental authority. Using this forged document, CIA agents circulated the story throughout Cuba, and included an offer by the Catholic Church to spirit the propertied classes’ children, ages 8-19, to the United States."


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