Weekly Cuba News Roundup: April 22nd, 2022
For the first time in four years, the US and Cuba held migration talks. These talks were, prior to the Trump administration’s cancelation, held twice a year. Record numbers of Cubans are being arrested at the border, with 32,000 in March, 2022, alone. The Biden administration hopes that talks can help ease logistical and political strains along the border. Let’s see what happens.
In other news, thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, import costs to Cuba are rising, making the already stressed economy feel more pain than it already was. But of course, have no fear (i.e., fear much), Russia just donated 20,000 tonnes of wheat to the island nation. But wait, that’s not all; Russia is also launching MIR cards on the island claiming that the payment cards will be an important step to resuming tourism. In the meantime, migration organizations in Miami are slammed and if you’re a baseball fan, check out the Blue Jay’s latest signing. All this and more below.
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Blue Jays Nation: The Blue Jays are reportedly signing Cuban RHP Rafael Sanchez
According to Francys Romero, the Blue Jays have signed Rafael Sanchez, a right-handed pitcher out of Cuba, to a deal with a $350,000 signing bonus. Read more at bluejaysnation.com.
Havana Club is Cuba’s top selling and most popular rum but three other brands are also competing for the island’s #1 spot.
Reuters: Analysis: Ukraine-related price jolts threaten Cuba’s already tepid recovery
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is making Cuba’s three-year-old foreign exchange crisis worse as import costs jump, undermining an incipient recovery and threatening more hardship for residents, according to economic experts and businessmen. Read more at reuters.com.
Havana’s modern “international” architecture has Cuba’s urban planners worried.
NBC News: Organizations in Miami grapple with soaring number of Cuban migrants
After seeing three of his closest friends in Cuba receive prison sentences after planning a protest in a WhatsApp group, Alex, 25, decided it was time to leave. “Someone had already warned me I would be next,” said Alex, who spoke on condition of anonymity since he fears his statements could have repercussions for his family in Cuba. Read more at nbcnews.com.
OnCuba: Russian payment cards to be available in Cuba
The Tourism Counselor of the Cuban embassy in Moscow, Juan Carlos Escalona, pointed out that the launch of the MIR cards on the island “constitutes an important step” for the reopening of Russian tourism in the country, and added that visitors from the Eurasian country will be able to pay for their services in Cuba with them “as soon as flights between the two countries are resumed.” Read more at oncubanews.com.
Washington Post: Cuba and Us Take Tentative Step With Talks on Migration
Cuba and the United States took a tentative step toward unthawing relations and resuming joint efforts to address irregular migration, a senior Cuban official said Friday following the highest-level talks between the two countries in four years. Read more at washingtonpost.com.
Reuters: Russia donates wheat to ally Cuba as grains prices soar globally
Russia on Thursday donated nearly 20,000 tonnes of wheat to political ally Cuba, a welcome gift to the Caribbean island nation beginning to feel the pain of soaring global prices for grains following the war in Ukraine. Read more at reuters.com.