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Opinion
12:37 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

The Cuba Illusion Has Vanished – And Now The Embargo Should Too

Cuban women walk by wall graffiti in Havana.
Credit Flickr

In the wake of the historic Cuba policy changes President Obama ordered yesterday, Congress will now debate whether to scuttle the failed, 52-year-old trade embargo against the communist island.

Capitol Hill should indeed ditch it – and if it’s looking for reasons, it should consider some of the repulsive folks Washington has had to engage this year.

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Opening Cuba
12:27 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Obama's Cuba Move Shows How Anti-Castro Passion Still Burns In Miami's Exile Hearts

OLD SCHOOL ANGER With a protest sign that could have been made decades ago, anti-Castro demonstrators break for lunch at Little Havana's Versailles Restaurant.
Credit Rick Stone

President Obama's announced opening to Cuba this week touched off vehement reactions in parts of South Florida's Cuban community. But it also exposed generational rifts that may have put time limits on the political potency of the Cuba issue.

Many in the traditional exile community believe the president caved to the Castro government and gave away much more than the U.S. would receive for opening diplomatic relations and scaling back the embargo.

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#CubaPolicy
10:23 am
Thu December 18, 2014

How Social Media Reacted To The Cuba Announcement

Lazaro Lozano, center, protests against President Obama's decision to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States while at Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho in Miami on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014.
Credit 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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Politics
7:35 am
Thu December 18, 2014

New Era For Cuba? Voices From Miami And Havana

Anti-Castro protester Lazaro Lozano (left) argues with an unidentified pro-Obama supporter in the Little Havana area of Miami on Wednesday.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:22 pm

Just hours after the United States and Cuba announced they were moving toward normalizing relations, crowds gathered in Havana and Miami trying to come to grips with a historic shift.

NPR covered the reaction in those two places with two pieces on Morning Edition.

NPR's Greg Allen reported from Miami:

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Politics
6:17 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Cubans On The Island See New U.S.-Cuba Relations As A Major Breakthrough

President Barack Obama announced a new approach to U.S.-Cuba relations on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014.
Credit Julio Cortez / AP

Earlier today, President Barack Obama proclaimed that the policies toward Cuba over the past 50 years have not worked and announced major changes in U.S.-Cuba relations.

Obama reiterated that opening travel, financial exchanges, and telecommunications between the two nations will allow American values to be more easily shared with the Cuban people.

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Cuba 2014
5:55 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Tell Us What You Think About U.S. Plans To Normalize Relations In Cuba

President Barack Obama spoke to the nation today about U.S.-Cuba relations.
Credit YouTube

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

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Politics
5:43 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Live Chat: Special Program On U.S.-Cuba Relations Post-Alan Gross

Tonight at 6 p.m., WLRN-Miami Herald News will host an hour-long special program on President Obama's announcement regarding normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba.

You can participate in the live chat below and listen live on 91.3 FM, WLRN.org, the official WLRN app in the App Store, or by listening to the show through iTunes.

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Latin America Report
2:33 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Why Latin America's Richest Man Still Needs To Raise His Giving Game

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim (right) with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (center) and Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos at the Future of the Americas conference.
Credit Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

When I met Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim six years ago, he was the world’s richest man.

Slim, however, wasn’t the world’s most generous giver. He was called the Latin American Scrooge because he’d steered such a relatively small share of his then $65 billion fortune to philanthropic causes. In our interview at his Mexico City office, he said he was correcting that – and he read a passage from “The Prophet” by the Christian philosopher Kahlil Gibran:

“Give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.”

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News
12:52 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Seismic Shift In U.S. Policy Toward Cuba Involved Pope And An Unknown Spy

Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba in 2009. He was released today and returned to the United States.
Credit 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.

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Developing
9:26 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Everything You Need To Know About Alan Gross And U.S.-Cuba Relations Now

Alan Gross was released from a five-year imprisonment in Cuba on Wednesday, Dec. 17.
Credit Jeff Flake

U.S. government contract worker Alan Gross was released Wednesday morning after a five-year imprisonment in Cuba.

The 65-year-old, now in poor health, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Cuban court in 2011 for bringing telecommunications devices onto the island.

WLRN has reported on Gross' trajectory with the Cuban government and you can read those stories here.

At noon Wednesday, President Barack Obama also announced his new approach in U.S.-Cuba relations.

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Food
5:52 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Jewish Cuisine — It's Not Just Chopped Liver

Chocolate-Cinnamon Babka (Daniel Lailah)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:33 pm

You may think Jewish cooking can be summed up with a few dishes like chicken soup, knishes, chopped liver and gefilte fish.

But there once were Jewish communities all over the world — most of which no longer exist and all of which had a distinctive cuisine.

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Politics
5:49 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Florida Files Petition to Keep Gay Marriage Ban

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:14 am

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an emergency petition on Monday seeking to keep the state's ban on gay marriage in place past Jan. 5.

Bondi and attorneys in her office filed the request with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas oversees emergency appeals from Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

The move by Bondi comes after a federal appeals court in Atlanta refused to keep on hold a ruling that declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. That decision brought same-sex weddings one step closer to reality in the state.

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News
5:45 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Cannon From Miami Dredge Being Restored In Tallahassee

An early 18th century cannon was discovered during work on the Miami Harbor Deepening Project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivered the cannon to the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research in Tallahassee.
Credit Grady Caulk, USACE

A cannon believed to be from the early 18th century was uncovered during work on the Miami Harbor Deepening Project last August.  Now, it's being readied to go on display as an artifact of the state.

We don’t know much about this cannon. But there’s a record of salvaged cannons being used as anchors near the Port of Miami.

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Politics
1:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

What Jeb Bush's Announcement Means For The 2016 Race

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said on Facebook Tuesday that he was considering a presidential run in 2016.
Credit CM Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is basically running for president now, giving him instant frontrunner status and implicitly pressuring other Republicans to decide whether to run for the White House against him in 2016.

“I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States,” the Republican said on Facebook and Twitter Tuesday morning.

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News
1:44 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Miami Beach Lawmaker Wants Tax Break On Artwork

A sculpture shown at this year's Art Basel in Miami Beach.
Credit Alicia Zuckerman

A lawmaker from the city that hosts Art Basel Miami Beach says a tax break on art work would help stimulate the economy statewide. 

State representative David Richardson of Miami Beach just filed a bill that would exempt works of art from the state's sales tax. 

To qualify, the artwork would have to be original, as well as signed and sold by the artists. It would have to cost at least $1,000.

Richardson says said the measure is important because artwork in Florida is under a double-taxation:

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