Cuban embargo

Carolyn Kaster / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Here’s a flashback from the Cold War tape loop we used to call Cuba policy:

In 2004, then U.S. President George W. Bush tightened the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, including stricter limits on how often Cuban-Americans could visit family on the island. The aim was to pressure the communist regime in Havana to adopt democratic reforms.

“We’re not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom,” Bush said, “we are working for the day of Cuban freedom.”

Samuel Goldwyn Films

In 1959, there was a certain sport in Cuba that the newly triumphant Castro regime declared "elitist" and "dangerous."

Consequently, car racing was outlawed.

But now a new documentary examines Cuba's underground auto racing culture and the renaissance of the forbidden sport.

“Havana Motor Club,” opening April 8 at Miami Beach’s O Cinema, follows the attempts of a group of racing fans trying to organize the first government-sanctioned race in Cuba in more than 50 years.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

freedigitalphotos.net/Arvind 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.

How Social Media Reacted To The Cuba Announcement

Dec 18, 2014
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.

YouTube

Fill in this form to share your take with us. We're compiling local reactions for WLRN programming and Miami Herald reports.

AP

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.

A group of businessmen and former high-ranking U.S. officials is asking President Obama to relax the embargo on Cuba. They want the President to ease travel and investment restrictions to help Cubans with their economic and social needs.

A letter sent last week by the group had 44 signers including former intelligence chief John Negroponte, former foreign policy advisor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Jorge Perez, CEO of the Related Group.

#CubaNow

This year has seen a growing chorus of polls, studies and statements calling for an overhaul of U.S. policy on communist Cuba. On Monday a new group called #CubaNow added its voice -- and signaled the growing generational shift among Cuban-Americans.

#CubaNow, based in Miami and Washington, D.C., is comprised mostly of younger Cuban-Americans who feel that a half-century of isolating Cuba has failed. They favor more open economic engagement as a way to help democratize the island.

Real Time With Bill Maher / HBO

What does Charlie know that we don’t know?

Charlie Crist, Florida’s ex-Republican governor and now its leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate, assumed a real political risk this month: He called on Washington to lift the 52-year-old U.S. trade embargo against communist Cuba.

In an interview with WLRN, Crist insisted his changed stance is a matter of common sense.

Pages