Weekly Cuba News Roundup: January 7th, 2022
It’s officially our first Weekly News Roundup of 2022. For us here at Startup Cuba, this is a big deal; we’ve got lots of new and exciting content to share with you as the year ramps up. In the meantime, as we look back at the past week’s headlines, there’s more of the same (another 119 migrants have been returned to Cuba), and some updates to previous stories.
For instance, Airbnb has officially settled with OFAC and agreed to pay a $91,172.29 fine to settle potential violations of sanctions against Cuba. If you’ve traveled to Cuba, you know that the best way to book a casa particular is typically through Airbnb. This of course, puts Airbnb into that gray zone that anyone doing business in/with Cuba risks falling into. Cuba’s borders have tightened in the face of the most recent Coronavirus surge and the current garlic scarcity on the island hints at larger problems. It’s all below.
By the way, none of the opinions in any of the stories shared on this page represent ours; we’re just sharing them with you. If you are a journalist or you have seen a story that you’d like us to consider for future weekly news roundups, please send us a note and a link to the story here.
The Economist: Why it is so tricky to buy a bulb of garlic in Cuba
If you want to make money in Cuba, buy garlic,” says a farmer in Artemisa province, in western Cuba. Garlic, known as “white gold” for its value, is critical to the unique sazón, or seasoning, of Cuban food—which often has to be made with a few ingredients imaginatively thrown together. As with so many things on the communist island, however, it is in short supply. A lack of fertiliser and pesticide makes it especially hard to grow. And it is harvested only once a year, in January. Read more at economist.com.
Al Jazeera: Biden administration slaps US travel bans on 8 Cuban officials
The United States has barred eight Cuban government officials from entering the country, accusing them of being implicated in the repression of peaceful protesters last July. Read more at aljazeera.com.
In the first of our new series, where we introduce you to nuestros escritores, we’re excited for you to meet Kate Oberdorfer.
Miami Herald: Airbnb, a flagship of U.S. engagement with Cuba, fined for ‘apparent’ embargo violations
Once the symbol of U.S. economic engagement with Cuba under the Obama administration, vacation rental company Airbnb has been fined by the Treasury Department for apparent violations of the U.S. embargo, the Office of Foreign Assets Control said Monday. Read more at miamiherald.com.
Reuters: Cuba tightens border controls as coronavirus infections rebound
Cuba tightened border controls on Wednesday as the Caribbean island nation moved to tamp down a growing wave of coronavirus infections while keeping doors open for its economically vital tourism industry. Read more at reuters.com.
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The Hill: Coast Guard returns 119 migrants to CubaUS condemns Cuban trials of anti-government protestors
Two Coast Guard cutters returned 119 Cuban nationals to the communist island in an operation that included 12 interdictions at sea between Thursday and Saturday. Read more at thehill.com.
(Hero Image: Yamil Lage AFP/File)