Monday, April 23, 2018

Odds and ends

·      What were the main changes during Raul Castro’s presidency? Granma and 14yMedio sum it up and are not very far apart.

·      Profiles of President Diaz Canel, by the New York Times and AP.

·      Faced with the same issues our embassy in Havana faced, Canada’s foreign ministry decides to keep its diplomatic staff in place and withdraw spouses and children. Also in Canada’s statement: “There is no evidence to suggest that Canadian travelers to Cuba are at risk.”

·      In Politico, a nonfiction bodice-ripper from Peter Kornbluh of all people, set in the Kennedy/Johnson years.

·      Granma reports on the Hotel Paseo del Prado, being built at Prado and Malecon, due to open next year. It is being built on a lot that was cleared years ago, at one time awaiting a China-financed hotel that never panned out. Across Prado and a block uphill, there’s the soon-to-open Hotel Packard, a large project that incorporates an old façade that was propped up by scaffolding for about 20 years. Spain’s Iberostar will manage it. From Skift in 2016, here’s a survey of hotel development in Cuba. Hotel construction is proceeding in Trinidad too; on a recent visit I saw two long-stalled projects under way, one a few blocks from the Plaza Mayor, and another way up the hill behind the church on the Plaza Mayor; this one is incorporating the ruins of a very old church that has just a few walls remaining.

·      There's a drop in U.S. travelers that is making many place in Cuba feel like 15 years ago (all Europeans and Asians, no Americans), and overall visits are down seven percent so far over 2017 (ACN). (Preceding sentence is corrected; some media reports noted growth rather than the seven percent decline.) And while some U.S. airlines have dropped out, those who continue to operate Cuba routes continue going to the Department of Transportation to bid for available routes (Forbes).

·      These scientists demonstrated that two ultrasound emissions on conflicting frequencies can cause a screeching sound – but this doesn’t explain any possible injury. Apparently, ultrasound can be used both in listening devices and in devices to interfere with them. Radio interview here.

·      This Kenyan medical school professor wants Cuba’s help not just with doctors, but in organizing the country’s public health system.

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