Entries by Havana Live

US eases Cuba embargo Friday, island open to greater trade and travel

HAVANA, 15 January (By Bradley Klapper AP)  The Obama administration is putting a large dent in the U.S. embargo against Cuba as of Friday, significantly loosening restrictions on American trade and investment. The new rules also open up the communist island to greater American travel and allow U.S. citizens to start bringing home small amounts […]

Cuba expanding Wi-Fi

HAVANA,15 January (AP) Cuba’s telecommunications company says that it will offer Wi-Fi service in a public park in the country’s far east but only for access to the island’s restricted Cuba-only intranet. Cuba’s official journalists union said Monday that the government would offer Wi-Fi internet access in a park in the city of Santiago for […]

Canadian Hotel Chain Beings Operations in Havana

HAVANA,Jan 15 (acn)  With the management of Memories Miramar Havana and the Monte Habana aparthotel, the Canadian firm Blue Diamond now focuses on tourists traveling to Cuba for business reasons or conferences. After four years of encouraging results with the sun and beach modality with products aimed at families, weddings and honeymoons, the hotel division […]

Is Castro still alive? Just ask Maradona

HAVANA, 13 January  So what does one do if prolonged public absences have the world thinking that you might secretly have died? Obviously you write to Diego Maradona. Or at least you do if you are Fidel Castro. The letter, revealed by the football superstar on Latin American TV, marked the first reported word from […]

Cuba releases 53 dissidents, part of US deal

Recently released dissidents Aide Gallardo (l.) and Sonia Garro hold the Cuban national flag during a march in Havana January 11, 2015. Cuba has released all 53 prisoners it had promised to free, senior US officials said, a major step toward détente with Washington. The release of the remaining prisoners sets a positive tone for […]

India fails to keep bus promise to Cuba

HAVANA, 12 January  India failed to honour its commitment of donating 50 buses to Cuba under the grant-in-aid programme for improving the public Latin American country, with which New Delhi has a long history of ties steeped in nostalgia as well. The failure is seen as the result of US sanctions on Cuba. The offer […]

Dissident groups report more opposition activists freed

Reinier Figueredo (L) reacts while holding his father Angel’s hand at their home in Havana, January 8, 2015. Angel Figueredo and his wife Haydee Gallardo (not pictured), who is a member of the “Ladies in White” dissident group, are among eight detainees who were freed today, dissidents said on Thursday.  HAVANA,10 January (Reuters) – Cuba […]

Cuba to reopen twin of US Capitol building as relations warm

HAVANA, 9 January (ANDREA RODRIGUEZ AP)  Fidel Castro’s rebels swept into Havana 56 years ago this month and went to work purging the U.S. legacy from a capital that had been a virtual outpost of Washington. The Havana Hilton became the Havana Libre. Neon Coca-Cola signs were torn down. And the new government moved Cuba’s […]

US-Cuba talks in Havana set for Jan. 21-22

HAVANA, 8 January (AP) — The United States later this month is sending its highest level delegation to Cuba in decades for talks on migration and normalizing ties. The State Department says Roberta Jacobson, America’s top diplomat for Latin America, will lead the U.S. delegation to Havana for the talks on Jan. 21-22. State Department […]

Travel Interest to Cuba from the US increases by 180%

HAVANA, 8 January   Following President Obama’s statement on 17th December, hotel searches to Cuba made by US users increased by 180 per cent, according to hotel search website trivago.co.uk. US Searches Increase by 180% When the week preceding Obama’s statement (9th – 16th December) was compared to the week following the speech (17th – […]

Could be Cuba a new filming location ?

HAVANA, 8 January  (Peter Caranicas Deputy Editor) President Obama’s announcement last month that the U.S. would ease some restrictions on commerce with Cuba raises a key question for American producers: Will the island develop into a filmmaking destination? The temptation is there. After all, what better location than Cuba, a short hop from Florida, to […]

Wife of freed Cuban spy gives birth after artificial insemination

HAVANA, 7 January  The seeds of U.S.-Cuba diplomacy have born fruit.  The wife of a Cuban spy freed by the United States three weeks ago gave birth to a baby daughter in Havana on Tuesday, the result of efforts to bring about a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations that included an unusual case of artificial insemination. […]

De Zurda program broadcast from Havana, says Maradona

HAVANA, 7 January  (PL)  Argentina’s former soccer star Diego Maradona is in Havana to prepare new releases of his TV program De Zurda, said the program presenter himself. In a promotional announcement issued by Telesur, Maradona invited all Latin American viewers on January 10, when he will reprise the successful program in which he commented […]

Havana comes in from the cold

HAVANA, 5 January  The US government’s historic agreement to end more than 50 years of diplomatic freeze between the two countries has put Cuba firmly on the travel bucket list. Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald is already planning to change Caribbean itineraries to include Havana, as soon as US cruise ships are permitted to sail […]

Santeria priests hail U.S. detente in New Year forecast

HAVANA, Jan 3 (Reuters Rosa Tania Valdés) Priests offering New Year’s prophecies from Cuba’s Afro-Cuban religion urged old Cold War foes Havana and Washington to continue rebuilding relations, and forecast that detente would bring economic benefits in 2015. U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced last month they would move to renew […]

The story behind Alan Gross

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) embraces Alan Gross at Joint Base Andrews. (photo credit:REUTERS)HAVANA, 4 January  The activities of American Jew Alan Gross, who was released from prison by Cuban authorities three weeks ago, put the Cuban Jewish community in a precarious position, jeopardizing its relations with the Castro regime. Gross was arrested […]

Currency “D-Day” expected in the first quarter

HAVANA, 3 January (By Sabrina Valle and Anatoly Kurmanaev) Cuba will need international loans to fund its plans for a currency “D-Day” — the transition to a single exchange rate system — said Omar Everleny Perez, a professor of Economics at University of Havana. The government has told companies to adapt their accountancy systems for the […]

Ricardo Porro passed away on Christmas Day

The architect Ricardo Porro on the grounds of the National Art Schools in the film Unfinished Spaces Courtesy Unfinished Spaces HAVANA, 2. January (now part of the Instituto Superior de Artes, or ISA), created with architects Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi. Porro designed two of the National Art School buildings, the School of Plastic Arts […]

More background – the Vatican and Havana

HAVANA, 2 January (By Andrew Stuttaford) With the latest crackdown in Cuba showing just how Havana has ‘read’ Obama’s policy shift towards the Castro, this new Foreign Affairs article by Victor Gaetan giving some background to the Vatican’s involvement in the deal that was eventually struck makes timely reading. Here’s an extract (my emphasis added): […]

Old Havana under restauration

HAVANA, 31 December (Havana Times  Elvira Pardo Cruz)  Some time ago, we published a photo feature titled “Old Havana under Repair”, in reference to the underground infrastructure that is being repaired in Havana’s old town. This is one of the many projects aimed at improving the quality of life of those who live in this […]

Compensation issue revived in Cuba

HAVANA, 29  December  (David Phillips) The United States and Cuba appear to be moving to normalized relations and the end of more than 50 years of trade embargo, Bloomberg noted last week that the issue of compensation for those individuals and corporation’s whose property was seized in the 1959 revolution is still in play. Under […]

Cuba’s golf revolution

HAVANA, 29 December  Barely days after the fall of the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, two of the world’s most famous revolutionaries, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, walked into Havana Golf Club and, still dressed in military fatigues, proceeded to mock a bourgeois pursuit of the rich: they played golf. The pair putted, swung […]

U.S. Embassy in Havana prepares to reopen

HAVANA,28 December  (AP) – A half-century after Washington severed relations with Cuba, the United States’ seven-story mission looms over Havana’s seaside Malecon boulevard as the largest diplomatic outpost in the country. Cuban guards stand at close intervals on the street outside, and islanders line up by the thousands each year for a shot at a […]

The Pope may visit Havana in 2015

HAVANA, 27 December The Cuban Catholic Church does not rule out the possibility that the pope Francisco made a brief stop in Havana during his trip to Latin America. The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cuba, Orlando Marquez, said that although no known formal invitations, the possibility exists. “It is known that the pope Francisco […]

Cuban’s worry that fast track to U.S. residency will go

HAVANA,26 December (BEN FOX,ANNE-MARIE GARCIA AP) Like tens of thousands of Cubans, Gerardo Luis wants to get to the United States and he’s suddenly worried that time may be running out. Across an island where migrating north is an obsession, the widespread jubilation over last week’s historic U.S.-Cuba détente is soured by fear that warming […]

Cuba rush intensifies

Hotel Parque Central Havana HAVANA, 25 December  The mad rush to Cuba just became even more intense. Before President Obama’s speech last week indicating a move toward normalization of relations with Cuba, the demand for travel to the forbidden island was so strong, tour operators were selling out every departure almost as quickly as they […]

What’s on the horizon for Hollywood in Havana?

Filmlocation in Havana for Havana Club RumHAVANA, 24 December  As the U.S. and Cuba move towards normalizing relations following more than half a century of diplomatic enmity, eyes are turning to the Caribbean island to assess its potential value to the film and TV businesses. Research group, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, estimates U.S. […]

U.S. travel, trade with Cuba may start in 2015

HAVANA, 23 December  With glasses raised, some Cuban exiles still hopefully toast “Next Year in Havana” as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. It is a ritual that has gone on for decades, ever since the 1959 Cuban Revolution brought Fidel Castro to power. Now, for the first time in a long time, […]