Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Trump’s New Cuba Sanctions Miss Their Mark

After two years of restored diplomatic ties, new U.S. regulations on Cuba are bringing back a thicket of travel, financial and trade restrictions – and a tougher stance toward the island. The goal of these restrictions, according to U.S. President Donald Trump, is to starve the Cuban government of money from travel, remittances and commercial … Read more


The Trouble With Cuba’s New Economy

When Raúl Castro steps down as Cuba’s president in February 2018, he will hand off to his successor the unfinished task of reforming the economy. It is Cuba’s most urgent need and, at the same time, an increasingly controversial one. Castro succeeded his brother Fidel as president in 2008 amid serious structural economic problems on … Read more


Meet the GOP Congressmen Who Could Sell Trump on Cuba

Those hoping that President Donald Trump will continue his predecessor’s engagement with Cuba have found some unexpected allies. Republican Representatives Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Tom Emmer of Minnesota and Mark Sanford of South Carolina – all vocal supporters of the new president – have each this year re-introduced bills they wrote during the Obama administration … Read more


How a Changing Economy Is Leaving Afro-Cubans Behind

Whether or not President-elect Donald Trump follows through on plans to reverse the U.S.’ economic opening with Cuba, entrepreneurship on the island will be hard to get rid of. Reforms enacted by President Raúl Castro in 2011 (three years before the U.S. rapprochement began) have already led to a boom in restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, private taxis and other … Read more


Here’s a Blueprint for a Trump-Castro Deal on Cuba

President-elect Donald J. Trump has vowed “to terminate the deal” that his predecessor in the White House negotiated with Cuba’s President Raúl Castro. Trump’s incoming chief-of-staff, Reince Priebus, last week added these details in an interview on “Fox News Sunday”: “Repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners – these things need to change in … Read more

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Far From Silicon Valley, Cuba Cultivates Startup Scene

The barriers to founding a tech startup in Cuba are high. For starters, hardly anyone has access to internet connections faster than dial-up. But that’s not stopping a generation of young entrepreneurs on the island, where a nascent tech community is challenging the idea that tech innovation has to come from places like Silicon Valley. Two of those … Read more


Castro Still Unlikely to Play Ball With MLB

In the latest game of U.S.-Cuba baseball diplomacy, Raúl Castro has home field advantage. The Cuban president on March 22 hosted the first Major League Baseball game in his country since 1999, a potent symbol of MLB’s efforts to take advantage of U.S. President Barack Obama’s diplomatic opening with the island. So far, however, Castro … Read more

Photo Credit: Day Donaldson / Flickr

This Week in Latin America: Obama in Havana, Venezuela in Crisis

Sign up here to get This Week in Latin America delivered straight to your inbox every Monday. Cuba, Argentina Host Obama: Cuba and Argentina each play host to U.S. President Barack Obama this week, with human rights issues shading both visits. Today, Obama will hold a working meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro, who will then host a state dinner … Read more

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Two to Rumba: The European Union Decides to Negotiate With Cuba

On February 10, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) approved a mandate to start negotiating an overall agreement with Cuba. This decision had been under preparation since 2008, when the EU renewed its political dialogue with Havana. Between 2003 and 2008, relations had been at a low point following a series of strong measures … Read more


The United States: Good Neighbors, Finally, toward Latin America

Every presidential candidate pledges, as Mitt Romney recently did, to do more to “focus on Latin America” and “take advantage” of the “huge opportunities” there. It’s been a long time since one followed through. Even by the standards of campaign promises, this one has become so empty that it hardly registers. It’s not that candidates … Read more


The Pope’s Historic Visit to Cuba

Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Cuba at a crucial time in the nation’s history. Pope John Paul II visited in 1998, a time when Communist Europe had crumbled and expectations of change were high; Pope Benedict XVI landed during a time of unprecedented internal change. On Monday, the pontiff arrived in a … Read more


China and the Cuban Economy

Since officially taking over from his brother Fidel in 2008, Raúl Castro has introduced reforms in Cuba to begin what some hope will be a period of economic liberalization. But these reforms are not necessarily moving the island nation in the direction sought by the United States for half a century. Instead, as the balance … Read more


The Other Side of Cuba’s Prisoner Release

The announcement by Havana that it would release five political prisoners “who would travel to Spain with their families,” and another 47 during the next three or four months, has been credited to efforts by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos and Cuba’s archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega. But neither Cardinal Ortega, nor Minister Moratinos would … Read more


Obama, Cuba, and Complacency Toward Evil

Sanctions are not uncommon when dealing with tyrants, as we have seen recently in the discussions weighing what to do about North Korea and Iran.  The United States levied sanctions against Libya after its terrorists downed a PAM AM flight over Scotland in 1996; the world imposed sanctions on the white supremacist government in South … Read more

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