Cuba

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

When Donald Trump becomes President on Friday, what we’ll be asking in South Florida is: Will he cancel normalized relations with Cuba? And will he still let Americans travel there?

But here's another question: If Trump does allow Americans to visit Cuba, will they reconsider how they visit the island? Will they think about something Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco told me a couple years ago:

Miami Herald-Jennifer Smits

This week on The Florida Roundup...

The Obama administration repealed the "wet foot, dry foot" policy for Cubans. This ends a special privilege that allowed Cubans who make it to U.S. sand or soil to stay. 

There's a popular saying in Spanish — O todos en la cama, o todos en el suelo. It conveys a selfless commitment to equal treatment, and translates roughly like this: Either we all get the bed, or we all get the floor.

Among many immigrants in the U.S., there's been a feeling that when it comes to the spoils of U.S. immigration policy, the government has given Cubans the bed all to themselves, while it has relegated others — Mexicans, Haitians, Central Americans — to the floor.

Madeline Fox / WLRN News

As it got dark on Thursday evening, Cuban Americans congregated in the light put out by the cafecito window of Versailles, the Cuban café on Calle Ocho, to talk about the sudden end of decades-old policy granting Cuban migrants special status in U.S. immigration.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

The "wet foot, dry foot" policy is over. For more than 20 years, Cubans migrating to the U.S. enjoyed that special privilege, which meant if they made it to dry land here they could stay. President Barack Obama ended it on Thursday– and even most Cubans here agree with him.

President Bill Clinton created the wet foot-dry foot policy in 1995 as a way to appease both the Cuban government and Cuban exile leaders. But since then it’s become a controversial rule that many Cuban-Americans say is antiquated now that the U.S. and Cuba have normalized relations.

Desmond Boylan / AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is ending a longstanding immigration policy that allows any Cuban who makes it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Courtesy Christina Frohock

Among its demands for normalized relations, Cuba wants the U.S. to leave its naval station at Guantánamo Bay on the island’s southeastern tip. But the lease Cuba signed more than a century ago lets the U.S. stay there forever if it wants to.

Deputy John Allen, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

A group of nine Cuban migrants arrived on Grassy Key, at mile marker 57.6 of the Florida Keys, around 2:20 a.m.  Tuesday after a 10-day journey from the island, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. 

Authorities indicated that the group was traveling in a boat that was found later behind the Rainbow Bend Resort.  

All the migrants were turned over to agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Travelers to Cuba get something extra with the cost of their tickets -- health insurance.

Cuba doesn't accept American health insurance, so airlines purchase policies for travelers.

Brittany Peterson / McClatchy via Miami Herald

Only 5 percent of Cuba’s population has home Internet access. It’s one of the world’s lowest connectivity rates – but the island’s communist government may finally be moving this week to rectify that.

Travelers to Cuba should bring lots of mosquito repellant -- not just for themselves.

The Zika virus is being spread by mosquitos in Cuba, so travelers are being told to bring bug spray to protect themselves.

c
Rolando Pujol Rodriguez

When President Barack Obama arrived in Cuba, it was the latest turn in a major shift in US-Cuba relations away from animosity and skepticism.

However, it will take more than a presidential visit to totally defuse the decades-old tension. Leaders of both countries will have to address many existing policies and laws that have not changed for years, including the trade embargo and the quirk in US immigration policy that almost encourages Cubans to migrate here.

Mote Marine Laboratory

A rare species of shark swims past the Florida Keys, Cuba and the Bahamas as it journeys between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, a new study has found.

The study was conducted by American and Cuban scientists working together and provides a rare glimpse at the behavior of the longfin mako shark.

Two sharks were tagged with satellite trackers, one in 2012 and one in 2015.

AP

Cuba’s communist leadership remains reluctant to open the island to more free market reforms and foreign investment. But Cuba’s latest economic data for 2016 might make those hardliners reconsider.

Just a few months ago, Cuba’s economy was forecast to grow 1 percent this year. It wasn’t much; but at least it was growth. This week, President Raúl Castro has admitted even that was an illusion: Cuba’s GDP, he said, will actually shrink 1 percent in 2016 - the first economic contraction in more than 20 years.

R
Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Cuba. The four-letter word carries a lot of meaning here in the United States: Communism. Exile. Cigars. Rum. For the Kennedy administration, it probably just meant ... a four-letter word.

But for many others countries, Cuba means something different. To understand it, all you have to do is change the lens through which you view the country.

Remove the US and a whole different island appears.

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