Seven or eight years ago, during a sociology class at Miami-Dade College, the professor asked us to write a sociological history of our lives. It was the first time I thought long and hard about my life in the scheme of history, about the chain of events that brought me to my life in Miami as a Cuban-American.
For people of my generation, you simply could not avoid getting a crash course on Cuban politics and the dream of a free Cuba. The reason we are here. We are here because of him. Because of Fidel.
Back from his recent trip to Havana, rapper Jay-Z quickly released a new song, Open Letter, in which he not only addresses controversy about the trip but speaks his mind in a way that is likely to stir up some of the deep passions Americans have toward Cuba and the communist island's tumultuous relationship with the United States.
Inspiring millions of virtual fans with heartfelt dispatches and persistent calls for greater political freedom, blogger Yoani Sanchez is the most visible symbol of both sweeping change inside Cuba and the modern power of social media to crack some of the world's most closed societies.
After nearly 43 years, John Dorschner has left The Miami Herald, and he will be sorely missed around here.
John's wry manner, and his considerable chops, both in reporting and in voice, have made him the perfect newspaper-to-radio journalist since we began the WLRN-Miami Herald News cooperation a decade ago.
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is an especially tough blow for Cuba, whose feeble state-run economy has been propped up for more than a decade with Venezuelan oil shipments and other subsidies.
The Castro government has declared three days of mourning, calling Chavez "a son" of Cuba, but privately Cubans are quietly fretting about the potential loss of billions in trade and the threat of a new economic crisis.
A handout picture made available Friday by the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his daughters Rosa Virginia (right) and Maria Gabriela reading an edition of Cuban daily Granma, as he recovers from cancer surgery. It was reportedly taken on Thursday.
HEADED FOR THE BLACK LIST: The Latin American School of Medicine is the world's largest medical school. Republicans in the Florida Legislature want to make sure that American graduates of the Cuban school cannot get Florida medical licenses.
A traveler stands at the check-in lobby at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport last year. On Jan. 14, Cuba scraps a much-reviled, decades-old exit permit requirement, easing most Cubans' exit and return.
For the first time in five decades, Cubans will no longer need an "exit permit" to travel. The change, which takes effect Monday, is part of a broader immigration reform by President Raul Castro making it easier for Cubans to go abroad — and also to return.
But critics say the communist government continues to treat travel as a privilege, not a right, and a useful tool to punish dissent.
A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a heart-shaped sign that reads in Spanish "I vote for Chavez!" and a picture of Chavez outside the National Assembly in Caracas over the weekend. On Thursday, Chavez is scheduled to be sworn in for a fourth term. Government officials are suggesting the ceremony could be delayed as the president recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.
In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."
Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.
2012 may be remembered in Latin American for what didn't happen more than for what actually did, especially in Venezuela and Cuba.
The year began ominously for Venezuelan nationals living in South Florida. The U.S. State Department expelled the country's consul-general, alleging she was involved in a cyber-terrorism plot. In January, Venezuela's Miami consulate was shut down by President Hugo Chavez, who was facing a tough reelection campaign.
Today is Nochebuena, Christmas Eve, and for many Hispanics, that means roasting a whole pig. This Christmas tradition scared journalist and author Carlos Frias as a boy. But he got through it with one piece of advice: “Never look a pig in the eye.”
Frias told a version of this story at a Lip Service event: