Cuba

Mark Hedden / For WLRN

When he was young, Jim Hale told a friend he was going to move to Key West and become "the pigeon king." His friend, a budding comedian, thought that was an excellent joke. But Hale was serious.

He did move to the Keys, 30 years ago, and he started keeping and breeding racing pigeons. He's been successful with that, and he's got an unexpected sideline: rescuing the racing pigeons that wind up in the Keys after they're blown off course from Cuba.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8065/8266066249_2bac85a7c5_z.jpg
Don McDougall / flickr Creative Commons

Today on the Florida Roundup, how Carnival Corporation got the go-ahead from the U.S. to cruise to Cuba and how it will affect the island. 

RELATED: HOW AMERICANS CAN TRAVEL TO CUBA

Cuban dissidents are still experiencing violence on the island, but is it a sign that Obama's normalization policy is not working?

How Americans Can Travel To Cuba

Jul 8, 2015
Carnival Corporation / Courtesy

The Cuban travel market bandwagon has recently gotten fuller.

The latest entrant, Carnival Corporation, joins multiple ferry companies and airline companies working to offer trips to the island.

Here's a list of all the ways people dreaming of Havana nights can travel to Cuba, how much they cost, and possible destinations.

HOW TO GET THERE

1. Carnival cruises

Carnival Plans To Begin Cruising To Cuba

Jul 8, 2015
Miami Herald

The world’s largest cruise line is the latest entrant to the Cuban travel market. Carnival Corporation announced Tuesday that it had received permission from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Department of Commerce to launch cruises to Cuba beginning in May 2016.

Jose A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

President Obama’s announcement last week that the U.S. will restore diplomatic relations with communist Cuba on July 20 – and will open an embassy there a few days after – is angering South Florida lawmakers.

Their options to stop the Administration are limited. But they’re moving against Obama’s new engagement policy nonetheless, and it’s shaping up as one of the summer’s big political battles.

The rhetoric from the Cuban-American congressional caucus is rising with the humid temperature in Washington, D.C.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that the U.S. has agreed to formally restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were severed 54 years ago.

It is the first major piece of the plan Obama laid out on December 17 to normalize ties with the communist island.

The U.S. and Cuba have also reached an agreement to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to be in Cuba to open the U.S. embassy.

Al Diaz / AP

It was the first major story I ever covered here in Miami.

The first – and quite possibly the worst. But it’s worth recalling because it led us to the Cuba moment Miami is living right now.

This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the end of the Elián González drama – the ugly international custody battle that gave the cable news networks bizarre fodder for seven long months in 1999 and 2000.

Most Floridians see manatees as cute, roly-poly animals that hang out in crowded springs and get too close to boats. Travel south a bit - to Cuba - and their plight is very different. There, the animals often end up as somebody's dinner. WUSF recently traveled with a Sarasota-based conservation group  to the island, where their groundbreaking trip tried to find ways to save this iconic creature.

freedigitalphotos.net

Today on the Florida Roundup, the state of affordable housing in Miami: More than a third of the population is spending more than half of their income on housing, according to a New York University study. Some experts worry that this will contribute to brain drain in South Florida. 

The Florida House is expected to reject the Senate's modified health care plan on Friday, leaving the legislature where it's been for the last few months -- deadlocked.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

I’m waiting any moment now for Marco Rubio to demand that President Obama recall our ambassador to China and shut down our embassy there.

Courtesy Peter Zimble

Part 2 of Cuba Online

Some people visit Cuba to drink up rum mojitos. Peter Zimble goes there to dream up web services.

“The woman who runs the apartment where I’m staying was lamenting that she had to walk my visa to a government office to register me as a guest,” Zimble told me by phone from Havana’s seaside Malecón. “It would be so much easier if there were an app for that.”

Miami Community Reacts To Cuba Removal From Terrorism Blacklist

May 30, 2015
Balint Földesi / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

On Friday, the U.S. State Department announced that Cuba had been dropped from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Removal from the list means Cuba will no longer face certain sanctions related to foreign aid, defense sales and banking.

Cuba’s removal from the blacklist may also now give the “green light” for American businesses to pursue opportunities there. 

“The fact that Cuba was on this list would normally cause a person to hesitate,” said Augusto Maxwell, chair of the Cuba practice at Akerman LLP.

University Of Miami Honors Cuban Sculptor Roberto Estopiñán

May 27, 2015
Alejandro Anreus / Courtesy

Cuban-born sculptor Roberto Estopiñán used his island’s tumultuous decades as his muse.

His art reflected Cuba's political turmoil during the 1950s and later became more naturalistic during his exile.

Also a printmaker and draftsman, Estopiñán was a pioneer of direct carvings using wood and of welding techniques in Latin America. He is also recognized for his 1980s bronzes of the female torso.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Part 1 of Cuba Online

When Cuban bikini maker Victor Rodríguez visited Miami this month, he was on a pilgrimage – not just for bathing suits but for bandwidth.

The most important stop on Rodríguez’s schedule was lunch in Wynwood, Miami’s high-tech district, with Mel Valenzuela, who owns the online swimwear store Pretty Beachy.

Feedback: Cubans Do Listen To Radio Martí

May 21, 2015
Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

  This is a reader-submitted response to our May 20 story titled "Radio Martí Turns 30 -- But Is Anyone In Cuba Listening?"

I strongly disagree with the characterization in Wilson Sayre's May 20 radio report that "only sketchy data exists" on Radio Martí's audience. Independent research confirms that 20 percent of Cubans report listening to Radio Martí in the last seven days. Further, we have numerous testimonials from Cubans on the island about our programs.

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