The administration further relaxed economic restrictions on Cuba Friday, allowing more collaboration on medical research, the approval of Cuban drugs for import and the lifting of monetary limits on cigars and rum imports.The moves make the U.S. openings to Cuba "irreversible," President Barack Obama said in a statement.
The Cuban government announced today it is sending a medical team to Haiti for the relief of the victims after the devastating hurricane “Matthew”, local media reported. “A brigade of 38 Cuban doctors specialized in disaster situations will leave for Haiti,” said an official note read on Cuban television.
A month earlier, the blossoming mood of rapprochement was given a sprinkling of goodwill when a New York Cosmos team including Brazilian legend Pele in their delegation traveled to Havana to face Cuba in a friendly. It highlighted the role sport has played to thaw hitherto chilly relations between the two nations, a strategic tool the United States has made use of repeatedly for decades.
There have been wonderful, detailed accounts of this historic visit, and its function (cultural diplomacy), nature (friendly and collaborative), and outcomes (artistic and financial commitments), so I won't rehash those here. What I'll focus on instead is the immeasurable component of art itself in the rebuilding of relationships at a people-to-people level.
Headlines focused on the use of music diplomacy in bridging the gap between cultures
Cuba is in a position where it could use some soft power appeal, particularly on the same social issues—like unemployment or the treatment of Afro-Latinos—that neighboring countries are going through. If Cuba is aiming to have a rap scene with actual international appeal beyond the club circuit, the state should relax its hold.
Rap, once disdained in Cuba for its American origins, is being appropriated by the state to push a pro-party line. But the state would win more by allowing artists to work freely.
The first direct commercial flight between the US and Cuba landed today in the city of Santa Clara, in the center of the island, after more than half a century of restrictions. It marked a further step in the normalization process between the two countries, reported dpa news.