Wednesday, October 27, 2010


“Something has to change, the same thing can’t happen to my generation as happened to that of my parents.”

“The U.S. embargo of Cuba should end as soon as possible and the blockade that the Cuban government puts on its own people should also cease.”

– Yoani Sanchez, two tweets from earlier this week

Odds and ends

· Reuters: For the 19th time, the UN General Assembly voted to call on the United States to end its embargo of Cuba. 187 voted in favor, the United States and Israel voted against, and the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau abstained.

· Agree with him or not, one has to admit that Cuban foreign minister speaks very clearly. From his UN speech yesterday: “The European Union is dreaming if it believes it can normalize its relations with Cuba, with the Common Position in existence.” Most of his speech was about U.S. relations.

· EFE: Spain will request extradition from Cuba of ETA member Jose Angel Urtiaga in connection with a Madrid court investigation of “the supposed collaboration between ETA, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the government of Venezuela.”

· Likely Florida Senator-to-be Marco Rubio’s closing appeal warns about the risk that America could become more like Cuba, but his script has Politico confused as to which Cuba – Batista’s, or Castro’s? Watching the video, it seems clear to me that he means both.

· AP: The wife of detained USAID contractor Alan Gross says telephone contact with her husband has become more frequent since her letter to Raul Castro.

· From South Florida Daily Blog, a wonderful slice-of-Miami-life video about a food palace called El Palacio de los Jugos.

· In Washington, we now have the “Epcot version of Havana,” according to this reviewer’s take on the new downtown restaurant Cuba Libre. “The real showstopper was the Arepa Rellena, a corn cake filled with short rib and mozzarella,” she says. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The reforms take effect

Here’s the Gaceta Oficial with the new regulations on trabajo por cuenta propia, including the tax system and many other matters. (H/t El Yuma.)

This is going to take some time to plow through. In the meantime, here are two good summaries from AP and La Jornada.

Odds and ends

· Tracey Eaton did a written Q&A with USAID about the Cuba program and publishes it here. Not the most informative answers in the world, but that’s not Tracey’s fault, and it’s a start.

· Catholic News Agency: The new seminary outside Havana is apparently set to open, and a delegation of U.S. bishops will be there for the occasion.

· New York Times: Arturo O’Farrill, son of arranger and Dizzy Gillespie collaborator Chico O’Farrill, will play in Havana in December.

Monday, October 25, 2010


As her husband’s case approaches one full year of pre-trial investigation in Cuba, the wife of detained USAID contractor Alan Gross gave an interview to Reuters.

According to the Reuters story, Judy Gross wrote last August to Cuban President Raul Castro to express regret, sort of: “To the extent his work may have offended you or your government, he and I are genuinely remorseful,” she said in the letter.

Later the report paraphrases her saying that Cuba is holding Mr. Gross “as an example of a foreigner who broke their laws.” And a “source close to the case” is quoted speculating that Cuban authorities are seeking “recognition that their sovereignty was violated.”

Guillermo Farinas, very confusing

What to think about Cuban activist Guillermo Farinas, about whom there is no unanimity of opinion, even among Cubans?

Trinidad gets started

European Union foreign ministers decided today to keep the 1996 “Common Position” regarding Cuba and to have EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton meet Cuban officials to look for ways to re-set the EU-Cuba relationship. (Coverage from El Pais and DPA in English.)

El Pais calls it a “posthumous victory” for former foreign minister Moratinos and says his successor Trinidad Jimenez carried his arguments “passionately.”