Cuba

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Havana Throws Stray Mutts State Homes, Health Care

Which is a little better than a bone, really

(Newser) - Life on city streets often keeps stray dogs lean and mean, but select pooches in Havana could be forgiven for thinking that all dogs are in heaven: The AP ventures into the Cuban capital, and finds that, pseudo-officially and unofficially, it has a soft spot for street dogs—as well... More »

Scary New HIV Strain Appears in Cuba

It turns into full-blown AIDS in only 3 years

(Newser) - A fierce new strain of HIV in Cuba is highlighting an old danger—of sleeping around without using any protection, CBS News reports. Researchers say the new HIV is a combination of strains (possibly from multiple sex partners) that more quickly invades cells and turns into full-blown AIDS. A study... More »

Fidel's 'Yankee Comandante' Could Return to US

William Morgan's widow wants his remains returned to Ohio

(Newser) - In America, he was William Morgan, a high school dropout from Ohio who worked for the mob. But in Cuba, he was the Yankee Comandante who fought the revolution alongside Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; as a biographer puts it, the "ne’er-do-well who found his cause, his love,... More »

Cuba Trots Out New Castro Photos Amid Health Rumors

Ex-Cuban leader reportedly had meeting with student leader on Jan. 23

(Newser) - Fidel Castro is apparently spending his retirement convincing people he's alive: After his silence when the US and Cuba reopened relations spawned rumors about his failing health or even death, he belatedly penned a Jan. 26 letter , AFP reports. Now Cuban state media has released more than 20 photos... More »

Cuba to US: Return Guantanamo Bay

Raul Castro renews demand amid thaw in relations

(Newser) - Cuba is making a renewed push to get Gitmo back. President Raul Castro demanded today that the United States return the US base at Guantanamo Bay, lift the half-century trade embargo on Cuba, and compensate his country for damages before the two nations re-establish normal relations. Castro told a summit... More »

Fidel: I Still Don't Trust US

But former Cuban leader, finally breaking silence, says he backs negotiations

(Newser) - Fidel Castro ended his long silence over his country's decision to restore diplomatic ties with the United States, writing that he backs the negotiations even though he distrusts politics in Washington. The comments were the first by the 88-year-old revolutionary leader on the talks with the US since the... More »

'I Almost Lost My Mind': Guantanamo Prisoner's Diary

Sexual abuse, beatings, force-feedings: 12-year inmate's book describes torture

(Newser) - For 12 years, Mauritania native Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been Prisoner No. 760 at Guantanamo, accused of aiding and abetting the 9/11 terrorists and involvement in a halted attack at LAX, der Spiegel reports. He's since confessed to multiple crimes, but he now says those admissions were only because... More »

NY Governor to Head to Cuba on Trade Mission

Andrew Cuomo has planned several international trips to aid upstate economies

(Newser) - New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, is poised to visit Cuba on a trade mission within months, an insider tells the Wall Street Journal . The move would make Cuomo one of the first major US politicians to head to the island since diplomatic relations between the countries have been renewed.... More »

These New US-Cuba Rules Start Tomorrow

Still no tourist travel, but no more special travel licenses either

(Newser) - The Obama administration is putting a large dent in the US embargo against Cuba (which only Congress can end) as of tomorrow, significantly loosening restrictions on American trade and investment. A rundown of those new Treasury and Commerce Department regulations, per today's announcement:
  • General tourist travel is still prohibited,
... More »

Cuba Frees 53 Political Prisoners

The deal is part of agreement between US and Castro

(Newser) - Cuba has completed the release of 53 political prisoners that was part of last month's historic deal between the United States and Cuba, the US said today. The prisoners had been on a list of opposition figures whose release was sought as part of the US agreement last month... More »

Freed Cuba Prisoner Settles With Feds for $3.2M

USAID says it's reached deal with former subcontractor Alan Gross

(Newser) - The former subcontractor freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail will receive $3.2 million from the federal government as part of a settlement with the Maryland-based company that employed him at the time of his 2009 arrest. Alan Gross had been working in Cuba to set... More »

US Helped Cuban Spy Impregnate Wife

Cuban officials transported sperm sample to Panama

(Newser) - One of the Cuban spies released by Washington last week is due to be a father in two weeks, thanks to what the New York Times calls "one of the strangest subplots in the annals of secret negotiations between Washington and Havana." Gerardo Hernandez, one of the "... More »

3 Freed Spies Get Heroes' Welcome in Cuba

Still no sign of Fidel in wake of US deal

(Newser) - Three men who served long US prison terms for spying received a standing ovation in Cuba's parliament today, shaking their fists in victory as President Raul Castro declared that detente with Washington won't change the communist system he leads. The last imprisoned members of the "Cuban Five"... More »

Cuba Thaw May Bring FBI's 'Most Wanted' Woman to Prison

New Jersey hopes to extradite convicted cop killer Assata Shakur

(Newser) - Some Cubans may have celebrated a major overhaul in relations with the US this week, but Assata Shakur likely wasn't among them. Shakur, the first woman on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list , escaped prison in 1979 after being convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper and... More »

Obama: Sony 'Made a Mistake'

President says company should not have pulled movie

(Newser) - President Obama didn't mince words today when asked at his end-of-the-year news conference about Sony Pictures: "Yes, I think they made a mistake," he said of the company's decision to pull the movie The Interview, reports NBC News . "We cannot have a society in which... More »

Inside the Secret Ottawa Meetings on Cuba

Pope, Canada played key roles in talks that began in June last year

(Newser) - The historic thaw in US-Cuba relations didn't happen overnight, but came after more than a year of secret talks that had already been going on for months when President Obama caused a stir by shaking Raul Castro's hand at Nelson Mandela's funeral last year. Insiders tell Bloomberg... More »

Obama: Time for 'New Chapter' With Cuba

President says current approach is 'outdated,' needs to go

(Newser) - President Obama today confirmed that the US is going to play nice with Cuba after a half-century of frosty relations. "We will end an outdated approach that has failed to advance our interests," said Obama, speaking after Havana released US prisoner Alan Gross . "Neither the American nor... More »

5 Years Later, Alan Gross Is on US Soil

Cuba released ailing American held in detention

(Newser) - American Alan Gross landed on US soil this morning, touching down with wife Judy at Andrews Air Force Base after Cuba released him after five years in prison. He was released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the United States, a senior Obama administration official... More »

What New US-Cuba Relations Look Like

US to cut travel restrictions after release of Alan Gross

(Newser) - With the release of American Alan Gross , the beleaguered relationship between the US and Cuba is poised to undergo major changes. The two countries are preparing to normalize their diplomatic relations, which were severed in January 1961, the Wall Street Journal reports, and the US plans to re-establish its embassy... More »

US Secretly Riled Cubans Against Gov't—Via Hip-Hop

Agency infiltrated music scene to spark change among country's youth

(Newser) - For more than two years, a US agency secretly infiltrated Cuba's underground hip-hop movement, recruiting unwitting rappers to spark a youth movement against the government, according to documents obtained by the AP. The idea was to use Cuban musicians "to break the information blockade" and build a network... More »

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