Americas

Alan Diaz / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

In June I moderated a Miami panel on renewed U.S.-Cuba relations. The panelists, all  Cuban-Americans, represented the pro- and anti-normalization sides. But the normalization team had the momentum.

Washington-Havana détente “is the new normal,” one pro-engagement panelist assured the audience. “There’s no going back,” he insisted.

Except there is.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA – In a eulogy last week in Havana for his brother Fidel Castro, Cuban President Raúl Castro often saluted los jóvenes – young people. But it couldn’t hide the fact that communist Cuba is still run by much older people. Like Raúl, who’s 85.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA - Hundreds of thousands of Cubans filled Havana’s Revolution Square Tuesday night to bid farewell to Fidel Castro, who died Friday. We can’t know how many of them will actually miss the communist leader. But some of the mourners are not who you’d expect.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA - When the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba in more than half a century touched down in Santa Clara in August, the JetBlue plane from Fort Lauderdale was met with cheers and water-cannon salutes.

When the first commercial flight between Miami and Havana in more than half a century landed at José Martí International Airport Monday morning, the American Airlines 737 taxied quietly to the terminal and unloaded 125 passengers wearing complimentary straw fedoras.

No confetti. No music. And it felt remarkably fitting.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA - While Miami mostly celebrated Fidel Castro’s death, in Havana the mood is much more somber – nine days of duelo, or mourning. 

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

News of Fidel Castro’s death sent Cuban exiles old and young into the streets of Little Havana early this morning. Both generations recall Castro with a sense of betrayal - and his demise with a sense of hope.

80-year-old Ana Celia watched fellow Cuban exiles dance a conga line in front of the Versailles restaurant in Little Havana - some of them holding signs that read, "Go to Hell Fidel."

Luis Choy / Special to the Miami Herald

Next month marks the second anniversary of normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba – and things couldn’t look more uncertain. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to cancel normalization unless Cuba delivers more democratic reform. But even before Trump’s election, Cuba seemed to be closing rather than opening the door to U.S. business.

Marco Ugarte / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

You’ve heard of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program, right?

Don’t worry, neither have most Americans – even though what TAA does should have been front and center in the presidential campaign. More important than Hillary’s crafty emails. More significant than Donald’s creepy libido. Sorry, the President-elect’s creepy libido.

Robin Thom / Insight Cuba

Last month they ran the Key Biscayne Half Marathon – with a big new prize.

“They said, 'You’re gonna go to Cuba,'" says Elliott Mason, who won the race and gets a paid trip to run in the Havana Marathon this Sunday. “I had no idea that Havana had a marathon.”

But like a growing number of U.S. runners, now that he knows, he wants to get to the starting line.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

If you’re a U.S. presidential candidate – and you’re running against Donald Trump – it takes complacency or cluelessness or both to underperform with Latino voters.

Hillary Clinton seems to have pulled it off.

From the moment Trump launched his campaign – when he branded Mexican immigrants “rapists,” “killers” and “drug-traffickers” – he dragged Latinos through the bigoted mud, scapegoating them for America’s ills.

Tom Hudson / WLRN.org

When the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations two years ago, hope sprang eternal that Americans could now do business on the island. But we got another reminder this week that it may also require eternal patience.

Last February, President Obama approved plans by an Alabama enterprise to build the first U.S. factory in Cuba in more than half a century.

Esteban Felix / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I understand why Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is outraged at Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

Ortega’s a strongman, autocrat, caudillo, whatever authoritarian label you want to give a guy who’s mugged Nicaragua’s democracy and turned much of the impoverished Central American country into his fiefdom.

Univision

Before Wynwood was the heart of hipster Miami, it was a Puerto Rican enclave. So Puerto Rican community leaders and business owners recently gathered there at Jimmy'z Kitchen for a campaign fundraiser.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

Last December – when Venezuela’s opposition demolished the ruling socialists in parliamentary elections – a lot of folks got ready for an Andean Spring.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

On Labor Day there was a good Puerto Rican party on Hollywood Beach – classic Willie Colón salsa music playing on the boom box – hosted by a South Florida group called Boricuas Realengos.

Boricua means Puerto Rican, and so the group’s name translates to “Far-Flung Puerto Ricans.”

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