Raul Castro

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Fidel Castro Surfaces for Cuban Election

He makes first extended public appearance since 2010

(Newser) - A frail but definitely alive Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance in Havana yesterday to vote in Cuba's parliamentary elections. The 86-year-old former leader, who is often rumored to be dead or seriously ill, chatted with reporters and other voters in his first extended public outing since 2010,... More »

Cuba Making it Easier to Leave

Exit visa requirement to be dropped

(Newser) - Starting in January, it's going to be a lot easier for most Cubans to get out of Cuba. The government has announced that it will drop the requirement for citizens to obtain expensive exit permits before leaving the country. Under the current, widely despised, system, getting an exit permit... More »

Paul Ryan Courts Cuban-Americans in Miami

'Policy of appeasement is not working'

(Newser) - Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is courting Cuban-American voters with promises to be tougher on the Castro government than President Obama. Ryan campaigned this morning in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, where he stopped at the popular Versailles Restaurant. "I learned ... just how brutal the Castro regime is,... More »

Border Agents Detain Arizona's Ex-Governor, 96

Raul Castro's pacemaker set off sensor

(Newser) - Raul Castro—the former governor of Arizona and US ambassador, not the Cuban leader—was detained by US border agents last month, thanks to a rogue pacemaker. En route to Tucson from Mexico, Castro and a family friend were stopped at a checkpoint when his pacemaker set off a radiation... More »

Obama: Drug 'Legalization Is Not the Answer'

Summit leaders increasingly want to end war on drugs

(Newser) - With an election year well under way, President Obama went to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia determined to talk about trade deals and the economy. Unfortunately, many of the other leaders wanted to talk about the failed war on drugs and legalization, reports the LA Times . "In... More »

Pope Quietly Lands in Cuba

Cooler reception in country with only 10% Catholics

(Newser) - Pope Benedict XVI followed in the footsteps of his predecessor's groundbreaking trip to Cuba today, hoping to renew the faith in Latin America's least Catholic country. Cuban President Raul Castro came to the airport in the eastern city of Santiago to welcome Benedict, just days after the pope... More »

Eldest Castro Sister Dies

Angela, 88, is first Castro sibling to die

(Newser) - Angela Castro, the eldest of the seven Castro siblings that include Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul, has died in Havana at the age of 88, according to her sister Juanita, who lives in exile in Miami. Angela, who lived her life out of the public eye, is the first of... More »

Cuba to Free 2,900 Prisoners

But American Alan Gross not among those to be released

(Newser) - With a nod to Pope Benedict's upcoming visit to the country, President Raul Castro yesterday announced that Cuba would pardon 2,900 prisoners, a group that includes some convicted of political crimes, many inmates over the age of 60, and a number of women. He referred to the act... More »

As Cuba Opens Up, Castro Hits Corruption

Free market reforms require crackdown, say Cuba officials

(Newser) - Cuba is in the midst of one of its biggest anti-corruption crackdowns in years, with Raul Castro jailing foreigners and kicking out scores of small companies even as he institutes free market reforms. But many are wondering if the crackdown will cure or kill the patient, reports the AP . "... More »

Poor Cubans Eye Gold Rush as Car Market Opens

Waiter earning $15 a month can sell 30-year-old Moskvich for $5K

(Newser) - Now that Cuba is allowing people to buy and sell cars , classic automobiles are going up for sale—creating a bubble that allows the wealthy to buy them, and poverty-stricken sellers to suddenly strike it rich, the New York Times reports. One waiter who earns $15 a month is looking... More »

Cuban Reforms May Endanger Classic US Cars

People might be able to buy modern ones for the first time

(Newser) - Cuba is making moves to give citizens more economic freedom, specifically the right to buy and sell homes and cars for the first time. CNN takes note and wonders what that might mean for all those classic Buicks, Plymouths, and Pontiacs cruising the nation's roads. They still exist because... More »

Aging Cuban Leaders Will Consider Term Limits

Government needs fresh blood, says President Raul Castro

(Newser) - Most of Cuba’s political leaders are in their 70s and 80s, and there is no “reserve of well-trained replacements with sufficient experience and maturity,” said President Raul Castro yesterday. As a result, the government will consider implementing term limits, in an effort to bring in new blood.... More »

Jimmy Carter Lands in Cuba

He may push for release of American prisoner

(Newser) - In a bid to thaw tense US-Cuba relations, former President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba today for a three-day stay. Carter was invited by the Cuban government and will meet with President Raul Castro; the Carter Center calls the trip a "private, nongovernmental mission." But Politico notes that... More »

Castro: I Actually Quit in 2006

Hasn't been head of Communist Party, or held any official position, since then

(Newser) - Fidel Castro is not the head of the ruling Communist Party. In fact, he hasn't been party leader—or held any official positions—since 2006, he said in a column published today. After having surgery for intestinal bleeding that year, Castro issued a statement saying he was temporarily ceding power... More »

Che's Pal on Epic '52 Motorcycle Trip Dies

Alberto Granado lived out his days teaching in Cuba

(Newser) - Alberto Granado, the man whose motorcycle adventures with Che Guevara would ultimately alter the course of Latin America, has died today in Cuba at the age of 88. The epic journey undertaken in 1952 by the two Argentine med students formed the political convictions that turned Guevara into an icon,... More »

Cuba's 500K Layoffs a Sharp Capitalist Turn

Raul Castro's slow reforms hastened by crap economy

(Newser) - Cuba's announcement that it's looking to whack a half-million workers off the state payroll by March is a significant move toward capitalism, reports the Wall Street Journal. Bearing some 85% of the nation's 5.5 million workers on the government payroll, as well as a ravaged economy, the island nation... More »

Cuba Snuffs Smoking Subsidy for Elderly

Smokes no longer a necessity, Castro decides

(Newser) - Cigarettes should no longer be considered an essential item for the elderly, the Cuban government has decided. In an effort to cut spending, Raul Castro's government has axed the subsidy that supplied everybody over 54 with four packs of cut-price smokes a month, the BBC reports. Subsidies for chickpeas and... More »

Castro Addresses Parliament After 4-Year Absence

He appears to be in fine form after illness

(Newser) - Fidel Castro continued his gradual re-emergence into Cuban politics today by giving his first speech to parliament in 4 years. It "was a solid, polished performance, Mr Castro's voice stronger than at any point since he re-emerged into public life," observes the BBC . In the speech—it lasted... More »

Cuba to Free 52 Dissidents

Decision could save life of man on hunger strike

(Newser) - Cuba has promised to release 52 political prisoners, after one of them went on an attention-grabbing hunger strike. Guillermo Fariñas, a 48-year-old psychologist and journalist, has been hospitalized thanks to his hunger strike, which he began back in February, after a previous hunger striker starved to death. Spanish foreign... More »

Cuba Liberates Its Hair Salons

Lucky barbers and beauticians will be able to work for themselves

(Newser) - Raul Castro has decided to get the Cuban government out of its citizens' hair. Barber shops and beauty salons with three or fewer seats will now be allowed to be owner-operated rather than run by the state. Cuba-watchers see the tentative loosening as the start of a long-anticipated—or at... More »

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