Plus crypto continues to take hold, the 45th and final body has been recovered from Hotel Saratoga, $100 cigars, and Ukraine's continued impact on Cuba.

Weekly Cuba News Roundup: May 13th, 2022

We’re overwhelmed to see the number of stories to cover this week; each of equal importance (well almost). For starters Patrick Oppmann tells the story of the island’s expanding migration crisis which, at its current rate is on track to exceed Mariel . With the cost as high as $10,000 for a trip off the island, opportunistic smugglers are preying on people desperate to leave. Ed Augustin reports on Crypto’s rise in Cuba spurred largely by Donald Trumps discontinuation of Western Union remittances to the island, “When Western Union ceased to exist, there was a big rise in remittances via cryptocurrencies.”

For those interested in cigars, Cuba posted records sales in 2021. Don’t get too excited though. Prices are climbing (as with everything else in the world) and $100 Cohibas look to be around the corner. France and Cuba’s trade unions are strengthening ties. The 45th and final body has been recovered from Hotel Saratoga. Russia’s war on Ukraine continues to put pressure on the island. And, Mexican President “AMLO” (also known, on his day off, as Andrés Manuel López Obrador) says that if Cuba’s not invited to the Summit of the Americas… He. Will. Not. Go. But wait, there’s more; see 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.

Cigar Aficionado: $100 Cohibas Coming As Cuban Cigar Prices Going Up

Photo:Cigar Aficionado

While rumors have been circulating around the industry, today it’s official—Cuban cigars are about to get more expensive the world over. According to Cuban cigar distributor Habanos S.A., all of its brands will see an increase in prices in every global region. Read more at

Here’s How You Can Support Art Brut Cuba: Cuba’s Outsider Artists

Samuel Riera’s Art Brut Cuba opens channels for Outsider Artists to sell their art when they otherwise couldn’t earn a living from their work.

Bloomberg: AMLO Vows to Skip Summit of the Americas If Cuba Is Snubbed

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Photo: Camilo Freedman/Bloomberg

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador he won’t attend the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles next month if all Latin American leaders aren’t invited, in a challenge to the Biden administration. Read more at

Is the Face of Havana Changing?

Havana’s modern “international” architecture has Cuba’s urban planners worried.

NBC News: In Cuba, cryptocurrency gains momentum

Young Cubans connect to the internet from their mobile phones in Havana, on June 6, 2019. With more than 5 million Cubans using mobile internet, the number relying on cryptocurrencies has increased exponentially. Photo: Yamil Lage / AFP – Getty Images file

When it comes to money, Cubans are between a rock and a hard place: clamped between a hawk-eyed Communist Party jittery about the accumulation of private wealth, and the effects of decades of U.S. sanctions that lock them out of the global financial system. Read more at

The Secrets of Havana’s Bronze Statues

Financial Times: ‘Now it will only get worse’: Cuba grapples with impact of Ukraine war

Vegetable vendors in a street in Havana. The country suffers from triple-digit inflation, caused in part by demand for scarce goods. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images

Russia’s longtime ally is already struggling with food and fuel shortages and a collapse in tourism. Read more at

CNN: Cubans are arriving to the US in record numbers. Smugglers are profiting from their exodus

Cubans that have just crossed the US-Mexico border huddle near a fire in Yuma, Arizona in February. Photo: CNN

As Cuba confronts the worst shortages of food and medicine in decades and runaway inflation, a new exodus of the island’s citizens is underway. Read More at

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Prensa Latina: France and Cuba strengthen trade union ties

The secretary general of the Cuban Workers’ Confederation (CTC), Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, on Thursday wound up a visit to France, where he strengthened relations between unions from the two countries. Photo: Prensa Latina

As part of his agenda in France, he met with Philippe Martinez, secretary general of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), one of the most important trade unions of this country. Read more at

Reuters: Puffed with pride: Cuba’s legendary hand-rolled cigars post record sales in 2021

Cigars from Cuban luxury tobacco brand Cohiba are on display at a tobacco shop in Hanau, Germany, May 12, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Cuba’s state cigar monopoly, Habanos S.A., said on Wednesday it logged record sales of its famous hand-rolled smokes in 2021, rebounding strongly after two years of pandemic-induced sluggishness. Read more at

The Guardian: Cuba explosion: last body recovered from Havana hotel ruin, taking toll to 45

Rescue workers in front of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana which was wrecked by a blast on 6 May. Photo: Ramón Espinosa/AP

Cuban rescue workers have recovered the body of the 45th and last person believed missing after an explosion blew the sides off a luxury hotel in historic Havana. Read more at

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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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