She’s worried – and gosh, we can’t imagine why – that left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is giving his people the wrong impression about Obama’s ill-advised announcement on Monday that Venezuela is a “national security threat” to the U.S.
In my interview this week with Fort Lauderdale philanthropist Stanley Goodman, he made a simple but salient observation about Latin American art:
“Latin America is more than Cuba.”
That fact still surprises some people in Miami-Dade County. But in Broward County – where Goodman and his wife Pearl are two of South Florida’s most prominent art collectors – it’s a less shocking idea.
The United States hasn’t imported a thing from communist Cuba in 53 years. Today the Obama Administration set out the rules for changing that.
But you won’t see any of Cuba’s famous cigars arriving at PortMiami just yet.
The new trade regulations, announced by the State Department, are President Obama’s latest step toward normalizing relations with Cuba. They allow independent Cuban entrepreneurs to export goods and services to the U.S. – something that hasn’t happened since Washington established a trade embargo against Cuba in 1962.
Kudos to British comedian John Oliver for his hilarious smackdown of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa this week.
The host of HBO’s satirical “Last Week Tonight” skewered – impaled, really – Correa and his juvenile social media war against anyone who dares criticize him. Oliver told the infamously thin-skinned presidente to “stop Googling yourself” and advised him that “being a world leader might not be for you.”
It seems as though every week we report on a new product shortage in Venezuela, from rice to toilet paper to breast implants. Now the western hemisphere's most oil-rich country has an acute lack of condoms. But this latest scarcity to emerge in Venezuela’s economic crisis could be deadly to more than just romance.
Thanks to a national currency crisis, Venezuela doesn’t have enough dollars to import the contraceptives. They’re so rare in Venezuela that a standard pack of 36 now costs more than $750 at the official exchange rate.
Today concluded three days of U.S. congressional hearings on President Obama’s plan to restore diplomatic relations with communist Cuba. The administration faced tough skepticism – at times some outright hostility – but the new policy came out largely unscathed.
Senate and House committee members from both parties questioned President Obama’s efforts to normalize Cuba relations. Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio warned Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson the policy change “will not be effective” in democratizing Cuba.
As President Obama moves ahead to normalize relations with communist Cuba, Congress is weighing in with its own measures. The first big bill was introduced today in the Senate – a measure to eliminate the Cuba travel ban – but its passage is hardly certain.
The legislation would end all restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba, which have been in place since 1963. Right now Americans can legally visit the island for certain reasons like cultural exchanges. But tourism remains prohibited.
Here’s one indicator of how much things have changed between the United States and Cuba:
When President Obama announced last month that he planned to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba’s communist regime after a half-century of bitter estrangement, no one heard from former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. And no one really cared.
This past weekend, the top U.S. negotiator in the talks to normalize relations with communist Cuba stopped in Miami on her way back from Havana.
She briefed journalists from the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and WLRN about the historic negotiations – but she seemed more impressed by what she saw at lunch.
Roberta Jacobson is the assistant U.S. secretary of state for the western hemisphere. Last week in Havana, she and her delegation kicked off talks with Cuban officials to restore diplomatic ties, which were severed 54 years ago.
The U.S. and Cuba have wrapped up the first round of historic talks to re-establish diplomatic relations. But the lead U.S. negotiator stayed on in Havana today to meet with dissidents and address Cuba’s human rights record.
Like Michael J. Fox struggling to power his DeLorean back to the future, the United States and Cuba on Wednesday start the labor of propelling their relations out of a Cold-War time warp and into the 21st Century.
Senior officials from both sides will meet in Havana to make history. They’ll launch talks to re-establish diplomatic ties that were severed 54 years ago in the wake of Cuba’s communist revolution.