Cuba

Tim Padget / WLRN.org

COMMENTARY

This week a Twitter troll with the typically (and typically cowardly) anonymous handle of @Jesus78773335 came after me online.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images via Miami Herald

A Coral Gables business consultant watched one day in June as Cuban authorities carried out chairs, tables, plates, sound systems and bottles of imported liquor from a popular private restaurant near the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

“They took everything except the drywall and loaded it into a green truck,” said Saul Cimbler, president of U.S.-Cuba Business Advisory. He happened upon the scene outside El Litoral — a stylish paladar known for its high-end cuisine and customers — just as officers from the Technical Department of Investigations were carting off its fixtures.

Fears of a dictatorship forming in Venezuela seemed borne out early Tuesday  when the government hauled opposition leaders to jail. But this is shaping up to be a bad week for democracy and free enterprise across the Caribbean.

Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, had promised to jail many of his opponents once a new constituent assembly was elected on Sunday. That body will now rewrite Venezuela’s constitution to give Maduro sweeping new executive powers that critics call a dictatorship.

Going 'Home' To A Place They've Never Been: Cuba

Jul 31, 2017
CubaOne

For a lot of first-generation Cuban-Americans, Cuba is almost a myth. Grandparents talk about it at family gatherings, always insisting the music, the beaches and even the sugar was better there.

Donna E. Natale Planas / Miami Herald

They are teachers, engineers or farmers, all seeking freedom in the United States. But after an unexpected policy chance and an end to special treatment that allowed the majority of Cuban migrants to remain legally in the country, more than 1,300 are now being held at detention centers across the country awaiting their fate to be decided by immigration judges.

Courtesy of ruthbehar.com

A few years after Ruth Behar and her family arrived in Queens, New York from Cuba in the early 1960's shortly after Fidel Castro took power, they were in an awful car accident that killed five teenage boys and left her in a full-body cast for most of the next year. She was nine years old, and spent her 10th birthday in that cast. 

Key West Art & Historical Society

Twenty-five years before the Spanish-American War,  the two countries bristled at each other across the Florida Straits, with a show of American Naval force assembled in Key West.

The Virginius Affair centered around the 1873 capture of an American ship that was helping Cuban rebels during the Ten Years War, an unsuccessful attempt to throw off Spanish rule from the island.

The Virginius was originally a Confederate blockade runner during the American Civil War. In the 1870s, it was carrying weapons to Cuban rebels. It was crewed by American and British citizens.

Isabella Cueto / WLRN News

It wasn’t at a fancy Calle Ocho hangout or even at a Cuban restaurant that the ten travelers on Cuba One Foundation’s next voyage met. It was at the childhood home of poet Richard Blanco, one of the guides who will be leading the literary trip to Cuba alongside anthropologist and writer Ruth Baher.

When President Donald Trump came to Little Havana to announce revisions to the United States policy toward Cuba travel, he never mentioned Key West by name. But the Southernmost City was in the speech.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Dominoes. The game is played throughout South Florida and Latin America at parties, in backyards and at parks.

Now, for a few weeks, you can play it in an art gallery in a show with some real Miami flavor.

Pérez Art Museum Miami has a new show called Spots, Dots, Pips and Tiles: An Exhibition About Dominoes, which takes the game as a launch point for art.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Note: This story was first broadcasted on Jan. 16, 2017. 

In recent years, a growing number of news and political websites have popped up in Cuba. Some are taking advantage of what they say has been a small but vibrant opening afforded them since former President Obama reestablished U.S. relations with Cuba. But others worry that President Trump's harder line toward the Communist Castro government could have a chilling effect on the independent media movement afoot.

A Woman's Place In Cuba's Boxing Ring

Jun 30, 2017
Jordyn Heck / University of Florida

HAVANA – The fading yellow-green walls are chipping, and someone’s rooster crows loud enough to be heard over the whistles and punches.

The Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo in Havana, Cuba, has tall buildings on either side which frame the outdoor practice facility. 

Courtesy of Simone Dinnerstein

An orchestra from Cuba is making its South Florida debut amidst changing relations between it and the U.S.

The Havana Lyceum Orchestra is on its first tour throughout the U.S. and will be performing Friday at the New World Center in Miami Beach.

The orchestra is one of the country’s most prominent classical music groups composed of conservatory students, graduates and music teachers.

With about half of the members of the orchestra, violinist Maiin Hau has been touring the east coast: New York, Philadelphia, Boston, now Miami Beach.

Sebastian Ballestas / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

President Trump's speech in Little Havana last Friday wasn’t about remaking America’s Cuba policy. It was about reliving the Cuban-American past.

It was an exile Woodstock reunion, a nostalgic return to a time when Miami Cubans (and their impressive voter turnout) convinced Washington to isolate communist Cuba. Back to the years when they tightened the economic and diplomatic screws until the head slots stripped – certain it would drive the Castro dictatorship from their mother island.

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