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HAVANA, Feb. 26th (CMC) – A therapeutic vaccine aimed at reducing the viral load of patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is currently in phase one of a clinical trial, in which its safety is studied. Read more

HAVANA, Feb 23.- Cuba’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Rogelio Sierra, and Germany”s Maria Bohmer, revealed in Havana the good state of the political and commercial relations between the two countries, it was reported here today. Read more

HAVANA, Feb. 18th
Cuba is officially a secular country, but a growing community of Muslims is literally gaining more space to practice their faith.

The city of Havana is soon to witness the construction of the country’s first mosque.

TRT World’s Anelise Borges met with some members of the Read more

HAVANA, Feb. 18th Smoke rises overhead, the plumes from marinated chicken sizzling on a blackened grill. A group of teenaged boys torments girls passing by, and a life-sized Read more

HAVANA,Feb.10th American travelers have never been so enamored with Cuba; thanks to direct flights from the States, this Caribbean island nation, while not technically legal for US tourists, is more accessible than ever. Read more

HAVANA, Feb 10 (PL) Cuba’s ambassador to China, Miguel Angel Ramirez and the head of the Shinework Picture film company, Jonathan Shen, agreed here today to expand cooperation in the film industry Read more

HAVANA,Feb. 8th Since 2015, when former President Barack Obama asked Congress to lift the nearly 60-year-long trade and financial embargo with Cuba, the tropical Caribbean island has been on the top of everyone’s list of must-see Read more

HAVANA, Feb. 6th Cuba is interested in Azerbaijani investments, said Cuba’s Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Georgia Alfredo Nieves Portuondo.

The ambassador made the Read more

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Cuba’s former President Fidel Castro (R) meet in Havana, September 25, 2016.

HAVANA, Feb. 6th Thousands of Chinese living in Havana’s Barrio Chino will welcome closer relations between Cuba and China.
Chinese first settled in Cuba 170 years ago. And their influence is still strong.

Both countries are socialist and China is Cuba’s second largest trading partner.

Many Chinese Cubans have a strong affinity with their ancestral Read more

HAVANA,Feb. 4th  In search of hidden Porsche gems: A four-day road trip worthy of the silver screen. Frosty relations between the United States and Cuba have finally thawed after more than half a century. Read more

LA HABANA, Feb. 2th (DDC) La aerolínea American Airlines inauguró su oficina comercial en Cuba el miércoles y sus directivos dijeron que, pese a desconocer las medidas que el nuevo presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, planea dictar para la Isla, continuarán con su apuesta de Read more

HAVANA, Jan. 27th Term-limited Florida Gov. Rick Scott has found a new hobby horse: Cuba.

First, there was the post-presidential election, post-Fidel death letter to Raúl Castro in December asking the Cuban leader to “allow a new era of Read more

HAVANA, Jan. 23th (Bloomberg) We’ve just tied our skiff to the mooring line at Farallón, a dive site 50 miles off the southern coast of Cuba, when Ramón, our wiry boat captain, points behind me. “Shark,” he says, smirking Read more

HAVANA, Jan. 20th Sailing teams racing monohulls and multihulls are to compete in races from the Florida Keys to two Cuban cities during the 13-day Conch Republic Cup. The event, also known as Key West Cuba Race Week, starts Read more

HAVANA, Jan. 19th (AP) President Barack Obama on Thursday blamed Congress for his failure to keep a promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying there’s “simply no justification beyond politics” Read more

HAVANA, Jan. 18th The Hershey Company and its multi-billion non-profit Hershey Trust eventual return to Cuba can truly reset US-Cuban relations and let President Donald Read more

f621502ff3c028b30eb9a9019de818d1HAVANA, Jan. 13th Cuba is famous for many things. Rum. Cars. Cigars. Che. Food isn’t one of them.
Aside from the staples (every Cuban citizen receives a regular supply of rice, sugar, coffee, meat, eggs and bread), food supplies are often limited and can run out without warning. Partly due to this, many meals are based around meat or fish with rice and beans as filler.

Traveling the world as a vegetarian, Cuba was the country I thought would prove hardest to eat well in — or even moderately well. Its vegetarian food has a reputation for being either “completely uninspired” or “uniformly terrible” — but is the vegetarian food in Cuba really so bad?
In a word, no. Definitely not. But I wouldn’t call it great, either. Let’s explore.

HAVANA
The first stop in Cuba is usually Habana Vieja, or Old Havana. As the vibrant and historic hub of the city, Old Havana is known for its striking colonial beauty, art galleries and museums, and countless restaurants offering authentic and traditional Cuban meals. In Habana Vieja, this almost always means meat or fish.

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Cuban bruschetta. Image by www.selenenelson.co.uk

Restaurant staff linger outside their establishments, trying to draw you in by tapping their menus and describing their dishes with an almost feverish passion. Mention you’re vegetarian, however, and even the most enthusiastic waiters usually give up. Sometimes they’ll try to act as though the rice and beans accompanying the meat are the real draw of the meal, but usually the response is just defeated disappointment. I actually started to feel quite bad for them.

After bypassing many restaurants without a vegetarian main course, I wandered into O’Reilly 304. A tiny, trendy restaurant specialising in gin cocktails and contemporary Cuban cuisine that’s unassumingly sandwiched between two shabby buildings on the outskirts of Habana Vieja, it’s easy to walk past altogether. But it’s clear from first entry that here is something quite different.

Framed glowing reviews from the Miami Herald hang proudly on the walls, cool bartenders shake up incredible-looking cocktails, and the menu offers several meat-free plates. From pumpkin soup with Cuban blue cheese and cilantro to soft veggie tacos stuffed with beans and seasonal vegetables, O’Reilly 304 reflects the developing restaurant scene in Cuba.

One thing I discovered at O’Reilly 304 is that Cubans love bruschetta. It’s on the menu at any half-decent restaurant, and O’Reilly 304 is no exception. But Cuban bruschetta is a little different than what may strike you as familiar.

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Diced fresh Cuban pumpkin. Image by www.selenenelson.co.uk

The onion is sweet, and spring onion and chives usually make an appearance, too. Also unlike traditional bruschetta, the onion outweighs the tomato in quantity, and an added splash of vinegar makes for an unusually sweet yet tangy appetizer. Cuban bread isn’t good, but when it’s lightly toasted and doused in oil, garlic and vinegar, it’s great.

The quality of food at O’Reilly 304 is excellent. The banana chips come served with the most delicious dipping sauce I’ve ever had — so good that I embarrassed myself trying to wipe up every last drop of it and had to write down every discernible ingredient to try to replicate it later (it definitely contained ginger, chili, sugar, coriander, onion, garlic and vinegar).

TRINIDAD
The food choices picked up, unexpectedly, in Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the foot of the Escambray Mountains. Walking through this beautiful town, with its cobbled streets and perfectly preserved colonial buildings, really is like stepping back in time. The prospect of getting any good vegetarian food in a town that wasn’t even connected to the rest of Cuba until the 1950s didn’t seem too realistic. But I was wrong.

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Stuffed tomatoes filled with sautéed vegetables. Image by www.selenenelson.co.uk

At Giroud, a bizarrely cool place where you sit on old TV sets and beer crates and chairs hang upside down from walls, there was a whole variety of meat-free, tapas-style dishes: stuffed peppers and tomatoes packed with cheese and sautéed vegetables, pumpkin cream, vegetable bruschetta, diced pumpkin with onion and herbs, and cooling gazpacho. Serving beautiful and great-tasting dishes, Giroud is another example of Cuba’s emerging avant-garde food scene.

The standout in Trinidad for me was Taberna La Botija, a lively 24-hour restaurant where the country’s Spanish and Latin influences seamlessly merge with traditional Cuban cuisine. The sweet corn fritters, served with a creamy garlic dip with a hint of dill, were lovely, but the fried Cuban cheese balls were incredible. I had two portions, one right after the other.

While I would never cite Cuba’s food as one of the reasons to return, in the face of its rapidly developing gastronomic scene, its reputation for truly terrible vegetarian food now seems a little undeserved.

It may take a while before it can be considered “veggie friendly” (and vegans would certainly struggle), but the meat-free options are expanding. Changes are being made, and attitudes are adjusting. Embargoes may even be lifted. The wheels on this classic Cuban car are in motion, however slowly they may be turning.
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/selene-nelson/where-to-find-vegetarian-_b_14140712.html

sfl-wetfoot-dryfoot-policy-20131126HAVANA, Jan. 12th (Reuters) – The Obama administration is ending a policy that granted residency to Cubans who arrived in the United States without visas, several congressional sources said on Thursday. Read more

234e557d-f2a1-44fa-a03d-a445d26ca0b1_w987_r1_sHAVANA, Jan. 4th Alaska Airlines launches a daily flight Thursday morning from the West Coast to Havana. The new service comes as the Obama administration’s opening to Cuba gives way to an uncertain future.

U.S. airlines Read more

renewable-energyHAVANA,Dec. 18, The US Department of State says delegates from the United States and Cuba discussed regional developments related to clean energy during the first Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Working Read more

aerolinea-southwestHAVANA, Dec.13 Southwest Airlines launched flights to its third Cuban destination on 12 December – Havana (HAV). Read more

1480828676843HAVANA, Dec. 4 (AP) President Raul Castro announced that Cuba will prohibit the naming of streets and monuments after his brother Fidel, and bar the construction of statues of the former leader and revolutionary icon in keeping with his Read more

2835HAVANA, Dec. 3th Interest in travel to Cuba is experiencing an unprecedented surge – but at least four British operators have stopped taking bookings to the country as its infrastructure struggles to cope with demand. Read more

bn-ra174_1130us_im_20161130175646HAVANA, Dec. 1th  General Electric Co. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit are among firms U.S. officials believe will secure agreements to operate in Cuba as the Obama administration presses Havana to complete pending deals Read more

marabana-havana-marathonHAVANA, Nov. 17th A record number of runners have registered for this year’s Havana International Marathon, Read more

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Cuba’s President Raul Castro and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau review troops during a welcoming ceremony at Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (Enrique de la Osa/Pool via AP)

HAVANA,Nov. 16th  – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Cuba on Tuesday evening, where the country’s president told him the island nation will not progress any faster than it already is.

Cuban President Raul Castro, the younger brother of legendary Cuban leader Fidel Castro, warned that others have gone through reforms too quickly without regard to the needs of the people, leaving their citizens jobless.

“Even though I have said we have to move slowly, you can go too fast. I have said slowly, but steady,” Raul Castro said through an interpreter.

The message to the Canadian prime minister in a grand room in the Revolutionary Palace in Havana came as Trudeau tries to open up trade opportunities for Canadian companies who want to cash in on the Cuban government’s decision to loosen restrictions on foreign investment.

And to the north is the shadow of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump and his tough talk about rolling back a thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba that has sent a Cold War chill through the island.

Touting Canada, Trudeau said Canadians can be pleased that they have played a positive role in Cuba through the years.

Trudeau tried to strike a more personal note just before media were ushered out of the room where the meeting took place.

“The friendship between your family and mine is long and deep, but it’s nothing compared to the true friendship between all Canadians and all Cubans and I look forward to continuing to build on that,” Trudeau said.

The official meeting came hours after Trudeau landed in Havana, the first visit by a Canadian prime minister in two decades.

On Wednesday, state diplomacy turns to soft diplomacy when Trudeau meets with students at the University of Havana.

“It’s in the people-to-people world … where Canadian-Cuban relationships are the most significant,” said Karen Dubinsky, who teaches in a joint Queen’s University-University of Havana course that brings Cuban students to Canada and sends Canadian students to Cuba.

“Cuba is good at that, at using soft diplomacy, and I think what I’ve learned from our experiences working with Cuba is they only want to do more of that.”

Cuban graduate student Freddy Monasterio, who studies Canadian-Cuban relations, said the excitement of the December 2014 announcement of renewed ties with the United States has started to fade. The prime minister’s visit could make Canada an alternative for Cubans leery about the style of capitalism the United States wants to export, he says.

“Usually when people talk about different ways for Cuba to get out of a crisis and open up a little bit, people immediately associate the U.S. as the logical, and only alternative,” Monasterio says. “We want to show that there are other alternatives and Canada for me is one of them.”

Statistics Canada says about 1.3 million Canadian tourists visited Cuba in 2015.

Cuba’s national statistics office reported last month that of the 2.1 million tourists during the first half of the year, more than 777,000 – just over a third – were from Canada. That put Canada at the top of the visitors’ list, with the United States sitting in third with 187,073 travellers.

The Terry Fox Run in Cuba is the largest held outside of Canada.
http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/trudeau-meets-castro-havana/

havana-live-cat-trapHAVANA, Nov. 13th  Have you all heard about Trap-Neuter-Release programs for street cats? Well, we’re about to try it in Havana. But we need some big help. The first step isto TRAP the cats, and Aniplant needs traps. Of course, it’s Read more

the-cuban-audis-heading-to-havana-in-search-of-auto-union-and-dkw-two-strokes-5473_15108_969x727Against the odds, a group of Cuban enthusiasts have joined forces to keep their 1950s two-stroke DKWs and Auto Unions on the road

HAVANA,Nov. 11th (David Lillywhite)  We know Read more

havana-live-atelier-900x600-terrazaHAVANA,Nov. 10th. (AP) — Cuba says it has begun to grant licenses to new private restaurants in Havana after a brief freeze to help authorities grapple with the rapid expansion of one of the most important openings in the state-run economy.

Isabel Hamze is the acting vice president of Read more

havana-live-cuba-military-exerciceHAVANA, Nov. 10th (Reuters) Cuba on Wednesday announced a week of pre-scheduled nationwide military exercises to prepare for “enemy actions,” the day after the United States elected Donald Trump, who has threatened to unravel the U.S.-Cuban detente, as president. Read more