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Cuban Cigars Just Got Much Easier to Obtain

Obama lifts restrictions on the smokes as well as rum

(Newser) - Good news for lovers of Cuban cigars and rum: The White House said Friday it's eliminating a $100 limit on the value of those items that American travelers can bring back from the island, reports AP . Cuban rum and cigars will now be subject to the same duties as... More »

Donald Conducted Illegal Business in Cuba: Newsweek

Report says Trump's secret business venture in Havana in late '90s broke trade embargo

(Newser) - First Kurt Eichenwald dove into Donald Trump's business ties abroad . Now, in a new éxposé for Newsweek , the writer reveals Trump's company secretly conducted business in Cuba in the late '90s, even though such dealings were illegal under the American trade embargo. Based on interviews with... More »

JetBlue Touches Down in Cuba in Historic Flight

It's the first commercial trip in more than 50 years

(Newser) - Milestone: The first commercial flight between the US and Cuba in more than a half century landed in the central city of Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, re-establishing regular air service severed at the height of the Cold War, reports the AP . The jaunt from Fort Lauderdale took only 45... More »

Fidel Castro Celebrates 90th by Criticizing Obama

He has words for the president in his 90th-birthday letter

(Newser) - Fidel Castro thanked Cubans for their well-wishes on his 90th birthday Saturday and criticized President Barack Obama in a lengthy letter published in state media. In his letter, Castro accompanied his thanks with reminiscences about his childhood and youth in eastern Cuba, describing the geology and plant life of the... More »

Fly to Cuba Starting Next Month for $99

JetBlue first domestic airline to offer commercial flights, with others soon to follow

(Newser) - For the first time in more than half a century, a domestic airline will be offering commercial flights to Cuba, and the price looks right. Consumerist reports that starting Aug. 31, JetBlue will be hosting three-times-a-week puddle-jumping jaunts from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Abel Santamaria Airport in Santa Clara, about... More »

Search for 15 People Lost at Sea Called Off

Most of them were Cubans

(Newser) - The US Coast Guard said Sunday it has called off a search for 15 people reported missing in an attempt to reach the US Virgin Islands, the AP reports. Survivors who were rescued nearly a week ago near the British Virgin Islands told officials that 13 Cubans, a Colombian, and... More »

Cuba's Elian Gonzalez Is Now a Bearded College Grad

He received a degree in industrial engineering this week

(Newser) - Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban boy at the center of a tense 2000 international custody battle that became a cause celebre and raised tensions on both sides of the Florida Straits, is a college graduate, the AP reports. Cuban government website Cubadebate said Friday that the now 22-year-old Gonzalez received... More »

6 Members of Cuban Volleyball Team Detained in Rape Case in Finland

Team was there for a tournament

(Newser) - Finnish police have released two members of Cuba's national men's volleyball team but are holding six others on suspicion of aggravated rape, an investigator said Monday. Police will request that a regional court on Tuesday order the six men to be remanded in custody to continue the investigation... More »

US Airlines to Start Scheduled Flights to Cuba

155 flights per week approved Friday by Department of Transportation

(Newser) - Six airlines won permission Friday to resume scheduled commercial air service from the US to Cuba for the first time in more than five decades, the AP reports. The airlines—American, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest, and Sun Country—were approved by the Department of Transportation for a total of... More »

Cheering Cubans Greet 1st US Cruise Ship in Decades

"This is history," Cuban nurse says

(Newser) - Greeted with rum drinks and salsa dancers, the first passengers to cruise from the US to Cuba in nearly 40 years streamed Monday into a crowd cheering the rebirth of commercial travel on waters that served as a stage for a half-century of Cold War hostility. Many watching the festive... More »

Fidel Castro Tells Obama He Can Keep His 'Presents'

Ex-Cuban leader writes scathing letter that attacks US, Spaniards—even Obama's age

(Newser) - No one expected President Obama to meet with Fidel Castro during his historic visit to Cuba last week. But while Obama was chatting up and taking in a baseball game with brother Raul Castro, the 89-year-old former revolutionary was penning what the AP calls a "long, bristling letter."... More »

Rolling Stones Rock Cuba

Concert capped momentous week for Cuba

(Newser) - The Rolling Stones unleashed two hours of thundering rock and roll on an ecstatic crowd of hundreds of thousands of Cubans and foreign visitors Friday night, capping one of the most momentous weeks in modern Cuban history with a massive celebration of music that was once forbidden here. The week... More »

Castro Opens Up in Rare Cuba Presser

Cuban president answers question about political prisoners

(Newser) - President Obama made history in Cuba today by getting Cuban President Raul Castro to field questions from reporters—inspiring an exchange over democracy and human rights that apparently left Cubans stunned. The White House negotiated to the last minute to make the press conference happen, the AP reports. Among the... More »

Backdrop of Obama Photo Causes a Stir

Hello, Che

(Newser) - It was supposed to be a routine photo op as part of President Obama's trip to Cuba, but instead it lit up Twitter, reports the Washington Post . The reason? During a wreath-laying ceremony at the José Martí Memorial in Havana, Obama was positioned in front of a giant mural... More »

For Obama, Meeting With Fidel Off the Table

But Tuesday's baseball game should be a highlight in Cuba

(Newser) - President Obama meets with Raul Castro Monday as part of his historic trip to Cuba, though not with Castro's more famous brother. Some coverage:
  • Neither nation was interested in a meeting between Obama and Fidel Castro, as ABC News explains. The elder Castro still seems wary of the US.
... More »

Obama, Michelle Land in Cuba

Dissidents are arrested just before Air Force One lands

(Newser) - President Obama made history today by landing in Cuba—the first visit there by a US president in almost 90 years. Obama arrived with first lady Michelle, their two daughters, his mother-in-law, and dozens of business executives seeking opportunities, but not everything went smoothly in the hours before Air Force... More »

Poised to Become Major Player in Cuba: Airbnb

White House grants it expanded license, allowing it to rent to world travelers

(Newser) - Online lodging service Airbnb is allowing travelers from around the world to book stays in private homes in Cuba after the San Francisco-based company received special authorization from the Obama administration, Airbnb announced Sunday. Airbnb was the first major American company to enter Cuba after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul... More »

Fla. Mayor to Float on DIY Raft From Cuba to US

'I want to know what the men, women, and children go through to get here'

(Newser) - The mayor of a Florida town who loves "living outside the box" will soon be living it up on the high seas when he makes what one friend is calling a "very risky" trip, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Clint Johnson, mayor of DeBary, plans on cobbling together... More »

Rolling Stones to Play 'Historic' Cuba Concert

It could 'open the doors for other great bands' to stop in the country

(Newser) - Cuba could soon become a concert destination. The Rolling Stones will play a free show there on Friday, March 25 (Easter weekend), the band announced . The performance at Havana's Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana sports complex will be the country's first open-air concert by a British rock band—... More »

Oldest Castro Brother Dies

Ramon stayed on the farm while Fidel, Raul launched revolution

(Newser) - Ramon Castro, a lifelong rancher and farmer who bore a strong physical resemblance to younger brother Fidel Castro, has died, Cuban state media announced Tuesday. He was 91. Widely known by his nickname "Mongo," the white-bearded Ramon Castro preferred tending crops and livestock to the revolutionary political life... More »

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