Weekly Cuba News Roundup: June 3rd, 2022
The Biden administration is starting to make policy changes, including allowing flights to resume to destinations in Cuba other than Havana. This is the reversal of policy implemented by Donald Trump in 2019. There is no timeline for when these changes will take place but the order by Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote that scheduled and charter air services could resume “effective immediately” once the department took action.
In other news, Cubans are arriving in the U.S. in numbers not seen in decades, selling everything they have to fund their trips. Despite not being invited, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel says he won’t attend the Summit of the Americas. Cuba’s deputy foreign minister says that Cuba won’t sacrifice socialism. On the pandemic beat, masks are being lifted after vax rates are high and death rates are low. The US says that trials of Cuban artist-activists were neither fair or free. All this plus more, below, in this week’s Weekly Cuba News Roundup.
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NPR: There’s an exodus from Cuba happening
Cubans are coming to the U.S. in numbers not seen in decades. In April, nearly as many Cuban migrants were apprehended at the U.S. southwest border as in all of last year. This, as Cuba is facing its worst economic downturn in decades. And as NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports from Havana, Cubans are selling everything they have to fund their way off the island. Read more at npr.org.
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.
The Hill: Cuban president says he won’t attend Summit of the Americas
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said Wednesday that “under no circumstances” will he attend the Summit of the Americas set to be held in Los Angeles in June. In a thread on Twitter, Díaz-Canel said that “it is known that the United States had conceived early on that the Summit of the Americas would not be inclusive.” “I can assure you that, under no circumstances, will I attend,” wrote Díaz-Canel. Read more at thehill.com.
Havana’s modern “international” architecture has Cuba’s urban planners worried.
Al Jazeera: Fernandez: Cuba is not ready to ‘sacrifice’ socialism
Leaders of the Americas prepare to gather in Los Angeles on June 6 for their ninth regional summit. But Washington has announced Cuba will be excluded, arguing the Caribbean nation does not meet the required democratic standards. Read more at aljazeera.com.
Reuters: Cuba lifts mask mandate as vaccination rate soars and deaths plummet
Cuba on Tuesday lifted a mask mandate in place for two years following a successful vaccination drive that health officials say has contributed to a sharp drop in cases and nearly three weeks without a single death from COVID-19. Read more at reuters.com.
AP: Renewed hopes but more delays for Cubans seeking US visas
Like many Cubans before him, Roberto De la Yglesia left most of his family behind when he made his way to the United States with only his son in 2015, hoping that he could soon bring his wife and daughters to join him. Read more at apnews.com.
Reuters: U.S. embassy says trial of Cuban artist-activists ‘neither free nor fair’
The U.S. Embassy in Havana on Wednesday criticized the trial of two Cuban artist-dissidents as neither “free nor fair” on social media, fueling a growing standoff over human rights just weeks after Washington moved to ease sanctions on the island nation. Read more at reuters.com.
NY Times: Cuba Steps From Amateur Glory Into the Prize Fighting Chase
Fernando Galván charged forward and threw a looping right uppercut. Arlen López, the Cuban boxer who won the light-heavyweight gold medal at the Olympics last summer, took a half-step back and countered with a quick, clinical left hook. Read more at nytimes.com.
Washington Post: Biden’s revised Cuba policy creates more options for U.S. travelers
Americans who want to travel legally to Cuba will have more options after the Biden administration announced it was undoing some of the restrictions President Donald Trump imposed before the pandemic. Read more at washingtonpost.com.