Monday, July 11, 2011

Odds and ends

  • AP: A Cuban bank says it has extended credits to more than 13,000 farmers at interest rates ranging from three to seven percent. That figure refers to the number of new private farmers who have received one or more loans; see this interview in Juventud Rebelde with bank President Ileana Estevez.

  • New York Times: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in Beijing talking with our friends in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, keeping our differences in mind but working for now on the “shared vision” thing.

  • The New York Times looks up close at Americans’ people-to-people travel experiences under President Obama’s new rules.

  • Reuters: PSA International of Singapore will operate the container terminal at the renovated, expanded port facilities in Mariel. The project is being financed by Brazil, and former President Lula da Silva toured the site with Raul Castro last month (see stories from AP and El Pais). Also, here’s a ten-minute Cuban promotional video about the project, which also describes the improvements to Havana’s bayfront when port and industrial activities are moved from there to Mariel.

  • The United Kingdom and Cuba signed a statement that signals British interest in doing business in Cuba’s tourism sector and supporting the process of economic reforms.

  • Reuters: Cuban cell phone usage, now at one million lines, has tripled since 2008.

  • AP on Cuba’s black market.

  • Hugo Chavez’ illness caused lots of thinking about where Cuba would be without him, and without the economic relationship with Venezuela. A sampling: from the Economist, from Professor Stephen Wilkinson of London Metropolitan University, and from the AP.

  • Some dissidents spoke up in Cuba in opposition to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s effort to repeal President Obama’s policy that allows Cuban Americans to visit family and send remittances as they wish. They also called for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to the Damas de Blanco, Oscar Elias Biscet, and Oswaldo Paya, something I had missed until I read the blog of Paris-based writer Zoe Valdes, who chided them for seeking a Nobel as if they were asking for “little tubes of deodorant from the ration book booth.”

  • EFE: Seven of the former Cuban political prisoners that are now in Spain went on a hunger strike last month to protest the living conditions afforded them by the Spanish government and relief agencies. They were expelled from their facility June 30, the wire service reports, after “physical aggression among themselves and threats to the personnel” of the facility where they were staying.


Anonymous said...

and one wonders why these dissidents can not be taken seriously. next stop miami no doubt

Antonio said...

Good article on the black market's continuing presence. I think that as much economic reform that Cuba may have undergone, it all seems to have been a lot of small steps. Only in comparison to North Korea do Cuba's reforms seem massive.