Airbnb has agreed to settle with the U.S. government on allegations that it violated U.S. OFAC sanctions imposed on Cuba. Y más.

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

A man sells garlic on the streets of Cuba. Photo: Alamy

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.

Panties and Beer: The Fembolers Fútbol Club of Havana

Al Jazeera: Biden administration slaps US travel bans on 8 Cuban officials

Thousands of Cubans protested in July 2021 in anger over shortages of basic goods, curbs on civil liberties and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic Photo: Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters

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.

All I Want for Christmas Is (an on camera interview with) Ana de Armas

Mall Santa, all I want for Xmas is to interview Ana de Armas. That’s all I need to believe in the miracle of the 1995 shopping mall Santa.

Miami Herald: Airbnb, a flagship of U.S. engagement with Cuba, fined for ‘apparent’ embargo violations

Airbnb is the most efficient way to book a stay at a casa particular in Cuba. Photo: Airbnb

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.

What Do You Want to See in Our Cuban Food Film?

Reuters: Cuba tightens border controls as coronavirus infections rebound

People walk under a Cuban flag at a commercial area amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Havana, Cuba. Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

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.

The Secrets of Havana’s Bronze Statues

Some statues are of well-known personalities like John Lennon and Ernest Hemingway. Others are mysterious characters known only to a few.

The Hill: Coast Guard returns 119 migrants to CubaUS condemns Cuban trials of anti-government protestors

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

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)

The Latest From Startup Cuba

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LA Times: Cuba’s Informal Market Finds New Space as Internet Access Grows

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The Continued Effort to Restore Havana’s Historic Neon Glow

A Thanksgiving Recipe: Mojo Turkey With a Mofongo Stuffing

Hola todo el mundo. Sometimes our stories are sourced from multiple people on our team. Or, we like to keep you guessing... You know... anonymous. And, for that, soy el escritora; "El Equipo." We exist to amplify the voices of writers, photographers, and content creators in the space between the United States and Cuba, and we also feature stories from Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the Latinx community in the US. Topics of interest are personality-driven and include pop culture and music, featured current events, climate and the environment, and travel and tastemakers. Oh, and of course we're always 100% independent. No governments, businesses or other influencing factors play a role in our work.

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