Cuban embargo

Joyce Tenneson

When President Obama was sworn into office for his second term in January 2013, it was Miami-raised writer Richard Blanco who read the inaugural poem.

He was the first Latino and first openly gay inaugural poet in U.S.  history. And now Blanco, a child of Cuban immigrants, will put his poetic stamp on another historic event -- the re-opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Blanco, now a resident of Maine, was chosen to read his new poem during the re-opening ceremony before a crowd of Cuban officials and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Peter Andrew Bosch / Miami Herald

As recently as just a few years ago, this would have been unthinkable: A U.S. presidential candidate coming to Miami and calling for an end to the U.S trade embargo against Cuba. But Hillary Clinton did just that on Friday.

In a speech at Florida International University, the Democratic president front-runner said U.S.-Cuba relations are at a "crossroads," and that she'll "double down" on President Obama's policy of engaging the communist island: “The Cuba embargo," Clinton declared, "needs to go once and for all.”

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.

Dr. Milagros Bello

Just think of it as the Cuban version of Art Basel.

Since late May, art ­collectors and dealers from all over the globe have been flocking to Havana for the month-long exhibition called the Biennial.

Balint Földesi /

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. Balaraman

A promise that travel to Cuba would be easier for Americans was part of President Obama’s historic announcement this week that he’s taking steps to normalize relations.

What will the easing of sanctions against Cuba mean for the average traveler -- as well as for people who want to do business there?

We asked reporter Mimi Whitefield, who covers the Latin American economy for the Miami Herald.

Here are a few things you need to know.

Below is an edited transcript.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

President Barack Obama shook up a half-century of U.S.-Cuba relations Wednesday, announcing the two countries had agreed to start normalizing relations. Obama wants to set up an embassy in Havana, loosen travel restrictions and allow more trade between the two countries.

South Florida's Cuban-American delegation in Congress criticized the announcement -- calling Obama the "Appeaser-in-Chief." Protesters shouted down the president in Little Havana.


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The most tectonic shift in U.S.-Cuba relations in half a century – and the release of a U.S. citizen from a Cuban prison – were brought about thanks largely to the most famous man in the world (the Pope) and to a man whose identity we may never know.

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.