Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Odds and ends

  • While Cuba has removed restrictions on its citizens’ foreign travel, Cubans still have to get visas from the countries that they intend to visit.  Ecuador is one of the few countries that allows Cubans to come without a visa, and as a result a Cuban community has grown in Quito in recent years, and many Cubans go there as the first stop in a journey to Mexico, and then the United States.  But as of next Monday, there’s a new requirement: for each Cuban who visits, a citizen or legal resident of Ecuador must present a letter of invitation.  The letter must be notarized, and the signer must demonstrate “economic solvency” and commit to cover the Cuban’s food, lodging, and medical expenses.  A host may “invite only one Cuban in a twelve-month period” and the Cuban is limited to a 90-day visit.  (AFP)

  • A Venezuelan government statement says President Chavez is “conscious,” talking with visitors, and “his general clinical evolution in the past few days has been favorable.”

  • Reuters on CIMEQ, the Havana hospital where President Chavez is being treated.

  • The Atlantic: Julia Sweig on Chavez’ legacy in the region.

  • The blog Punt de Vista reports that “in parallel with the negotiations to free Angel Carromero,” the Spanish government has provided 354,000 Euros in grants to organizations in Spain that work in “solidarity” with the Cuban government.

  • Rafters who were intercepted and repatriated by the Coast Guard tell their story in this video from Hablemos Press.

  • Calling on Senator Menendez to oppose the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin quotes Senator Rubio saying that Cuba has posed a “severe security threat” to the United States for the “last half a century.”  Actually, if Hagel were to enter the Pentagon and spout that view, they would think he’s as crazy as Captain Queeg. 

  • Tampa Tribune: As of next month, there will be three weekly flights from Cuba to Tampa instead of five.

  • Tracey Eaton reports that the U.S. government’s response to the $60 million lawsuit filed by jailed USAID contractor Alan Gross is to claim immunity and to ask the court to dismiss the suit.

  • It’s fair to grant that Spanish Partido Popular activist Angel Carromero may have something to say in Spain that he would not say in Cuba regarding the accident that killed Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero in his car last July.  But it’s time to put up or shut up, argues this editorial in Diario de Cuba, and I agree. 

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