Steven Andrew Garcia

My mother says I’m American.

I was born in Miami, Florida, so she is technically correct. But like many other Latin Americans who grew in up the United States, I carry with me the values and traditions of my ancestors.

So I’m Latin-American --I’m a mixture of my mother’s Cuban heritage and my father's  Peruvian heritage.

Thanks to them, my American upbringing had a pinch of Latin spice to it --like literal aji amarillo, or yellow pepper, with some sweets too like my favorite red guava jelly.

Facebook via Miami Herald

Since the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations almost two years ago, Cuban migration here has surged. But a new study shows us just how dramatic that wave has become.

St. Petersburg appears to be out front in a bid to become home to the first Cuban consulate in the United States in more than five decades.

Advocates Press Hillary Clinton For Cuban Support At Rally

Jul 23, 2016
Teresa Frontado / WLRN

There were plenty of people handing out flyers at Saturday’s rally for Hillary Clinton at Florida International University (FIU).


But, only one group sponsored a plane to fly overhead that read: “Hillary stop Castro beating Cuban women now.”  


Frank Calzon is the executive director at the Center for a Free Cuba.


“The election is months away, and I think the time for her to speak out is now,” he said.


Carolyn Kaster / AP via Miami Herald


Here’s a flashback from the Cold War tape loop we used to call Cuba policy:

In 2004, then U.S. President George W. Bush tightened the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, including stricter limits on how often Cuban-Americans could visit family on the island. The aim was to pressure the communist regime in Havana to adopt democratic reforms.

“We’re not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom,” Bush said, “we are working for the day of Cuban freedom.”

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Three groups of Cuban migrants, totaling 29 men, arrived in the Keys  Sunday and Monday. 

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, 13 men came ashore on Key Largo near mile marker 99 at 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

Felipe Marrou / WLRN TV

Billy Causey has a keen eye for recreational boaters doing dumb things around vulnerable coral reefs in the Florida Keys.

Especially on heavy boating holidays like the Fourth of July.

“Lookee there,” says Causey as his boat heads out from Big Pine Key. He points to a nearby cluster of party boats. “A lot of them are up on the sea grasses and people are walking around on top of small colonies of coral.”

Spencer Parts

 A Florida bank is now offering credit cards that work in Cuba. Stonegate Bank, based in Pompano Beach, began accepting applications for the cards on Tuesday night.

Previously, no U.S. bank offered credit cards that worked on the island, which meant that American businesses, professors and tourists had to carry wads of cash to pay for everything from hotel stays to teacher salaries.

They call her Cuba's Julia Child.

You may not have heard of Nitza Villapol, but for millions of Cubans both on the island and abroad, her recipes offer an abiding taste of home. In many Cuban-American homes, dog-eared, decades-old copies of her cookbooks are considered family treasures.

The Department of Transportation has authorized six U.S. airlines to schedule round-trip flights from the U.S to Cuba — starting as early as this fall.

Star Cuban Ballerinas Ready for Their U.S. Debut

Jun 8, 2016
Spencer Parts

Three of Cuba’s best dancers will make their U.S. debuts in the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami’s performance next Saturday. The dancers came to the U.S. for the chance to expand their repertoire beyond classical ballet, but they start next Saturday with Giselle, a classic romantic ballet they knew well in Cuba.

Mayrel Martinez and Masiel Alonso were soloists in the Cuban National Ballet before they defected last month during a Cuban National Ballet tour in Canada. They arrived in the U.S. on May 9th. 

Surge In Cuban Migration Shows Up At MDC

May 31, 2016

The wait began long before daybreak: By sunrise, more than 100 people had shown up. At 8 a.m., the line stretched down past the end of the building and snaked across the parking lot. Tickets to Hamilton? The new Star Wars movie?

No. The prize today was a coveted spot in English classes through Miami Dade College’s REVEST program, or Refugee/Entrant Vocational Education Services Program. George Delacruz brought his wife to sign up at 4:30 a.m. “Everybody knows, you know, ‘Hey, you have to be early. If not, you’re out!’”

Tim Padgett /

Last month we thought Cuba’s communist hardliners had put the brakes on growing the island’s private sector. But you never know with Cuba.

Today Havana issued a hopeful reform that Cuba’s half a million fledgling entrepreneurs – or cuentapropistas – have long waited for. The island’s communist government announced that small private businesses may now become genuine legal entities.

  The St. Petersburg Museum of History wants residents’ personal photos of Cuba for their upcoming exhibit “Experience Cuba.”

Tim Padgett /

Few entrepreneurs straddle the Florida Straits as masterfully as Hugo Cancio.

Cancio arrived in Miami from Cuba 36 years ago during the Mariel boatlift. Today he's one of America’s most high-profile business liaisons to the island. His flagship company, Fuego Enterprises, deals in publishing – it's launched a new magazine, ART OnCuba – as well as music promotion, telecom and finance.