Dozens of Cuban migrants are lucky to be alive after a U.S. Coast Guard plane spotted their boat Wednesday morning as it took on water in the Atlantic off Boca Raton. But it was just the latest drama in a remarkably intense week – and year – for rescuing Cuban rafters.
The Coast Guard C-130 aircraft was already engaged in a search for two Cuban rafters reported missing earlier this week. But about seven miles off the coast of south Palm Beach County, here’s what it found instead:
“Taste this, Siomara, and tell me that this doesn’t taste like Cuba.”
“Mom, I don’t know what Cuba tastes like.”
-- from “The Cuban Spring” by Vanessa Garcia
The national media are heavy at the moment with The Cuban Debate. This month The New York Times called on President Obama to end the failed, 52-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and try engaging the repressive communist regime for a change as a way to reform it.
Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 8:34 am
For five decades, the official U.S. policy on Cuba was one of silence. But the real U.S. relationship with Havana involved secret negotiations that started with President Kennedy in 1963, even after his embargo against the island nation, say the authors of the new book Back Channel to Cuba. In fact, nearly every U.S. administration for the past 50 years has engaged in some sort of dialogue with the Cuban government, they say.
Migrant smuggling is big business in the Caribbean – and it’s a gold mine if you’re smuggling a top Major League Baseball prospect from Cuba. Now a Miami businessman has been charged with smuggling one of the most lucrative talents of all.
Cuban baseball star Yasiel Puig defected to Mexico two years ago. He eventually went to the United States and now plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But federal prosecutors in Miami say the way Puig got to the big leagues is a long and even violent criminal story.
On the Florida Roundup, Steven Sotloff, from Pinecrest, is the second American journalist murdered by the Islamic State. Florida Senator Bill Nelson wants to give President Obama authority to use air strikes against the group in Syria.
José has experienced policy failure both communist and capitalist.
José asked that I not use his last name to protect his family back home in Cuba. He arrived in Florida two weeks ago on a homemade raft, the kind of illegal exit that makes you a counter-revolutionary – a gusano, or worm – in the eyes of the communist dictatorship there.
Economic despair in Cuba was the main thing that compelled José to float away. “Every day you feel like a needy person,” he told me.
In the five years since travel restrictions to Cuba were eased, Cuban-American air travelers have been taking about $2 billion worth of products a year to their relatives who still live on the island.
Now Cuban authorities are limiting the amount of goods that can be brought in and have also increased customs duties on many items still allowed. The Cuban government says the new rules are meant to curtail the illegal operations of so-called "mules" who import items for black-market businesses.
When you’ve spent your entire life on a communist island where staples like eggs and chicken are rationed, lunch in Miami can be overwhelming.
Ask Sandra Aldama, a Cuban mother and former special education teacher who made her first visit to the United States this month. Settling into a downtown Italian restaurant as waiters whizzed by with plates of fettuccine alfredo and veal parmesan, Aldama was almost certainly reminded of what the average Cuban can’t get at home.
A fledgling private sector is taking root in communist Cuba. Last week a group of Cuban entrepreneurs made an unprecedented visit to Miami to learn how to run a business -- and to convince Americans they’re the real deal.
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist told the Miami Herald editorial board that he wants a special session to try and convince lawmakers to expand state-run health care coverage for low-income residents.
Three generations of Diaz-Balarts in political office: from left, grandfather Rafael was a mayor and legislator in Cuba; father Rafael was also in the legislature and an undersecretary of the interior in Cuba; and Lincoln and Mario have both served in the state legislature and U.S. Congress.
Credit Miami Herald, Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart
When immigrants leave their country, they usually leave their connections and name recognition behind. But that doesn’t apply to Cubans in South Florida, which is home to almost half of the U.S. Cuban population.