Weekly Cuba News Roundup: June 17th, 2022
El Bocadito: Could you imagine thinking that you can get on a jet ski and escape to Cuba (to avoid tax fraud in the U.S.) without getting caught? That’s what Ernesto Cruz Graveran did this week. He had a supply of food and water, made sure he was traveling on a Jet Ski equipped with a supercharged fuel cell and hired a smuggler to ferry him the roughly 90 miles from Key West to Cuba. His jet ski broke down. He got caught. Sorry Ernie.
In other, more important news this week, reports continue about Cuba’s sugar sector crisis. this year’s harvest is expected to be half of what was project. Democrats want Biden to send vaccines to Cuba. Bureaucracy is making it harder for Cubans to travel while at the same time record numbers of Cubans are arriving in the United States. A mother’s video showing living conditions in Cuba went viral, almost 400 people were sanctioned for last year’s rare protests, and Cuba’s foreign minister discusses his country’s exclusion from the Summit of the Americas.
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ABC News: Cuba sugar harvest only half of expected; sector in ‘crisis’
Cuba, once legendary for its sugar cane, produced only about half the sugar it had hoped to this season, and authorities acknowledged that while they will cover internal demand they will not be able to meet their international commitments. Read more at abcnews.com.
The plural “Families” that has replaced “Family” in the new code is a recognition that today Cuban families take many different forms, beyond the nuclear family dominated by a male father figure that was once idealized in Cuban law.
The Hill: 26 Democrats call on Biden to expand vaccine cooperation with Cuba
A group of House Democrats is urging the Biden administration to further soften sanctions against Cuba to aid distribution of the Caribbean nation’s COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. Read more at thehill.com.
Inspired by the Rolling Stones’ visit to Havana, BandEra Studio was created to support the Cuban rock scene and prop up new musical talent. Where do things stand today?
Reuters: Doors are closing fast for Cubans seeking to travel
“There are too many barriers,” Palenzuela says, shaded from the summer Caribbean sun beneath a mango tree. “It’s as if they don’t want us Cubans to travel.” Read more at reuters.com.
Al Jazeera: Cuba sanctions nearly 400 people over anti-government protests
The Cuban government has sanctioned 381 people for participating in rare, anti-government protests on the island last year. Read more at aljazeera.com.
The Guardian: Stars align for Cuban migrants as record numbers seek better life in US
One morning last spring, 22-year-old Ernesto Hernández set out from the outskirts of Havana on a rickety boat hoping to cross the Florida Straits. The plan was to leave behind a dilapidating communist-ruled island in which he saw no future, and sail into an American dream. Read more at theguardian.com.
Local 10 News: Video of mother frustrated with living conditions in Cuba goes viral
A mother of three children frustrated with living conditions in Cuba goes viral. Amelia Calzadilla urges other Cuban mothers to speak up in her post on Facebook. In the video she talks about her high electricity bill and her long list of grievances against the Communist government on the island. So far, the video posted last week has been shared more than 15,000 times. Read more at local10.com.
LA Times: Q&A: Cuban foreign minister discusses Summit of the Americas exclusion
The Summit of the Americas, a major gathering of the region’s leaders, was held in Los Angeles last week, the first time the United States served as host since its inaugural session in 1994 in Miami. But the event, which is convened every three or four years, was plagued with controversy, including no-shows of prominent leaders and serious doubts over the health of democracy throughout the hemisphere. Read more at latimes.com.
Washington Post: Florida fraud suspect tried to flee to Cuba on a Jet Ski, feds say
Ernesto Cruz Graveran needed to get from Florida to Cuba and, having been stripped of his passport, he planned his escape accordingly, federal prosecutors said. Read more at washingtonpost.com.