In Cuba, a ban on imported vehicles has kept the roads full of classic American cars. But those famously vintage-looking streets could get a modern makeover next year. Today, the Cuban government announced it will lift restrictions on imported cars for the first time in 50 years. The country, which has no car factories of its own, will soon open its borders to imported automobiles, vans, trucks, and motorcycles.
During the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela, as tens of thousands gathered in the FNB stadium in Johannesburg and millions more watched on television, an entirely different story emerged: the ten-second interaction between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.
Some Republicans and Cuban-American lawmakers are criticizing President Obama for shaking President Raúl Castro’s hand at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Their reaction to a gesture of common courtesy should come as no surprise given Washington’s senseless commitment to a failed 50-year policy toward Cuba.
During Tuesday's memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela, as tens of thousands gathered in the FNB stadium in Johannesburg and millions more watched on television, an entirely different story emerged: the ten-second interaction between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban president Raul Castro.
Diplomats often speak with purposeful ambiguity, to please multiple audiences and to not give away their hand prematurely. But a careful parsing of diplo-speak can offer valuable clues in anticipating future policy moves. In what was billed as a major statement on U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, earlier this week Secretary of State John Kerry included four substantive paragraphs on Cuba — which were largely misinterpreted by the U.S. media.
Cuba closed dozens of home-based movie theaters on Saturday and reaffirmed its plans to end the private sale of imported goods as communist authorities pressed for "order, discipline and obedience" in the growing small business sector. A government statement issued through official media said home-based theaters and video games will "stop immediately in any type of self employment," a local euphemism for small business.
Cuba has approved a plan to gradually eliminate its dual monetary system as part of reforms aimed at improving the country’s economic performance, a communique carried by official media on Tuesday said. “The Council of Ministers has adopted a chronogram of measures that will lead to monetary and exchange unification,” the government statement said, giving few details.
Most Cubans remain cut off from the Internet but are still using creating ways to access and spread information online, a dissident blogger told journalists from around the Americas Sunday. Yoani (YO'-ahn-ee) Sanchez gave a largely grim report of the state of the press in Cuba at a meeting of the Inter American Press Association in Denver. She said President Raul Castro's regime has been aggressive in arresting and beating people who speak out against the government and has failed to document those actions, as his brother Fidel did. However, she said neither is better than the other.