Plus a guy named Ernesto gassed up a jet ski and tried to make a run for it to his native Cuba, to avoid U.S. tax fraud charges.

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.

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.

ABC News: Cuba sugar harvest only half of expected; sector in ‘crisis’

Farmers use machetes to weed a sugar cane field in Madruga, Cuba. Photo: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File

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

Is the Face of Havana Changing?

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

The Hill: 26 Democrats call on Biden to expand vaccine cooperation with Cuba

US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikipedia

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

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.

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

The Secrets of Havana’s Bronze Statues

Al Jazeera: Cuba sanctions nearly 400 people over anti-government protests

Amid rising food costs, medical shortages and other socioeconomic problems, thousands of people took part in anti-government protests in Cuba in July of last year. Photo: File: Yamil Lage/AFP

The Cuban government has sanctioned 381 people for participating in rare, anti-government protests on the island last year. Read more at

The Guardian: Stars align for Cuban migrants as record numbers seek better life in US

The number of Cubans leaving the island will reach an all-time high this year, analysts predict. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

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

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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. Photo: Local 10 News

 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

LA Times: Q&A: Cuban foreign minister discusses Summit of the Americas exclusion

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez speaks during a news conference in Havana in 2019.
Photo: Ismael Francisco / Associated Press

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

Washington Post: Florida fraud suspect tried to flee to Cuba on a Jet Ski, feds say

An aerial view of Jet Skis in the Maldives. Photo: Vladyslav Danilin/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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

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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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