Raul Castro

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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 »

Fidel Castro Again Calling the Shots

He's been gradually reasserting his authority in the last year

(Newser) - Fidel Castro may have turned over the presidency to his brother when he was seriously ill, but he's been gradually regaining his health and reasserting his authority in Cuba over the past year, writes Arian Camp-Flores. The Newsweek writer talks to several Havana experts who see unmistakable signs that Fidel... More »

Castro: Obama's Out to Destabilize Cuba

Cuban prez slams US over arrested contractor

(Newser) - Raul Castro signaled that his honeymoon with the Obama administration is over in an angry speech yesterday accusing the US of stepping up its effort to topple the country's Communist government. "The enemy is as active as always," said Castro, pointing to the Cuba's recent detention of an... More »

Cuba Detains US Contractor Distributing Laptops

It's unclear what he's been charged with

(Newser) - Cuba has arrested a US government contract worker who was distributing laptops and cell phones in the country. The man works for a company in Bethesda, Md., that does work for various development agencies. It's not clear what he's been charged with—cell phones and laptops are legal, if rare,... More »

Obama to Cuban Blogger: Next Move Is Castro's

President sidesteps question on Castro government's legitimacy

(Newser) - Prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez emailed a list of questions to President Obama, and in an unusual move, he responded. Obama's answers, which Sánchez posted today, largely reiterate his stated positions on Cuba. But he also indicates he has no interest in "talking for the sake of... More »

Watchdog: Raúl Just as Bad as Fidel

He shares his brother's disregard for human rights

(Newser) - The perception that Cuba is less repressive under Raúl Castro than Fidel is false, Human Rights Watch says. Dissidents are still harassed by the state, subject to arbitrary detention—532 such cases in the first half of 2009 alone—fired. or denied work. The government also continues to pressure... More »

Castro Sister: I Worked With CIA

New book reveals Juanita Castro's involvement with US intelligence

(Newser) - The sister of Fidel and Raúl Castro worked with the CIA in the 1960s, while the agency was planning to assassinate Fidel and overthrow the revolutionary government. In a new book, Juanita Castro, who now lives in Miami, reveals that she hid opponents of her brothers' regime in her... More »

Early Castro Compatriot Almeida Dead at 82

Rebel leader coined revolutionary slogan 'Here, nobody surrenders!'

(Newser) - One of the original leaders of the Cuban Revolution and a general in Fidel Castro’s military has died, the BBC reports. Juan Almeida Bosque, 82, was the third most senior member in Raul Castro’s Council of State and the only black member of the Cuban leadership. Almeida met... More »

Castro Slaps Down US Overtures

(Newser) - Raúl Castro has warned the US not to expect any changes to Cuba's communist system, saying that while Barack Obama's administration was less "aggressive," he was not prepared to make peace. His comments came after Hillary Clinton made several remarks suggesting better relations if Cuba changed... More »

Cuba's Black Market Hits the Internet

(Newser) - The Internet has lured Cuba's black marketeers online, GlobalPost reports. In a nation that bans most private commerce, a Craigslist-style website has emerged offering everything from American razor blades to True Blood DVDs. Buyers with fatter wallets can pick up computer equipment, a $6,000 illegal Internet hookup, or a... More »

Castro Purges Party on Video

(Newser) - Raul Castro firmly ratchets up his grip on power in a three-hour video being shown to Cuba's Communist Party members, the Financial Times reports. The video features scenes from a March politburo meeting during which Castro fired most of Fidel's cabinet, along with testimony from security officials. Those who have... More »

Untapped Oil Could Lube US-Cuba Ties

(Newser) - Oil trapped deep in the Gulf of Mexico could help ease the US-Cuba trade ban and decades of strained relations, the Washington Post reports. With 5 billion to 20 billion barrels of crude lying untapped in Cuba's territorial waters, some experts argue it's time for US companies to help drill... More »

US Wants Informal Chat on Cuba Ties

Casual discussions could pave road to 'open relationship'

(Newser) - The US is inching toward loosening relations with Cuba on the heels of President Obama’s Latin American trip, the New York Times reports. Cuban diplomats are set to meet informally with US officials to “test the waters,” an administration official said, mulling future talks over migration, drug... More »

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