Headquarters of the Western Union company in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Business Wire.

Cuban government responds to suspension of Western Union’s sending of remittances

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel this Friday responded to the suspension of the sending of remittances to the island from outside the United States applied by the Western Union company, a decision attributed to the hardline policies of U.S. President Donald Trump. “Another measure against the Cuban people. This is how the empire acts, with total arrogance and contempt, but no one will stop us,” the Cuban president wrote on Twitter. https://twitter.com/DiazCanelB/status/1233363817750507525?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1233363817750507525&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foncubanews.com%2Fcuba%2Fgobierno-cubano-responde-a-suspension-de-envios-de-la-western-union%2F Díaz-Canel’s reaction comes a day after Western Union announced that as of this week, remittances can no longer be sent to Cuba from third countries, leaving only the possibility of doing so from the United States. The company justified its decision because of the difficulties to carry out this type of operations, in an apparent reference to the embargo that Washington imposes on Havana, strengthened by Trump with new sanctions that especially the last year have generated a strong impact on the Cuban economy. Among them, last September the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the prohibition of so-called “U-turn” transactions, preventing banking institutions under U.S. jurisdiction from processing certain transfers of funds to Cuba even if they originate and end outside the United States. It also decreed...

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez during his speech at the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 25, 2020. Photo: @BrunoRgezP/Twitter.

Cuba aspires to return to the Human Rights Council

Cuba will try to again occupy one of the 47 seats on the UN Human Rights Council, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla announced this Tuesday. In an address at that forum, the foreign minister reaffirmed “Cuba's support for this Council” and that it has decided “to present its candidacy for membership for the period 2021-2023. I can assure you that we will continue to act here with our own constructive voice.” Cuba formed part of this intergovernmental body in two consecutive periods (2014-2016 and 2017-2019), after which the regulation did not allow another re-election. Cuba's main ally in Latin America, Venezuela, has just returned to the Human Rights Council, following an election that generated condemnation from the United States and other Western countries, as well as from prestigious international NGOs. https://twitter.com/BrunoRguezP/status/1232301349083197440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1232301349083197440&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foncubanews.com%2Fcuba%2Fcuba-aspira-a-regresar-al-consejo-de-derechos-humanos%2F The biggest criticism was that a government accused of suppressing its opponents, as well as having led the country into a humanitarian crisis, was being given a seat on the Council. Several countries accuse the Cuban government of the same. On the other hand, Minister Rodríguez denounced in his speech before the Council the measures with which the U.S. government has intensified in recent months the blockade of...

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez. Photo: Desmond Boylan/AP.

Cuban government criticizes U.S. sanctions against Russian company Rosneft

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez described the U.S. economic sanctions against the commercial subsidiary of the Russian corporation Rosneft for assisting Venezuela in its oil foreign trade as a “violation” of international laws. The sanctions issued this Tuesday by the U.S. Department of the Treasury against Rosneft Trading (based in Switzerland) are “a new violation of International Law and the universally recognized rules of commerce,” said the Cuban foreign minister through his Twitter account. https://twitter.com/BrunoRguezP/status/1229898658281349121?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1229898658281349121&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foncubanews.com%2Fcuba%2Fgobierno-cubano-critica-sanciones-de-eeuu-a-empresa-rusa-rosneft%2F Rodríguez added that the U.S. authorities “have no right to impose unilateral measures on entities of other States that trade with Venezuela.” In this way and as expected, the Cuban government aligns with that of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, its main partner and supporter, who in the first place protested the decision of the U.S. executive. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described the sanctions as “arbitrary” and said they “violate the right to free trade and free enterprise.” The White House announced the freezing of Rosneft Trading’s assets and the ban on financial operations with its president, Didier Casimiro, and warned other energy companies that similar measures will be taken if they collaborate with the Maduro regime. Rosneft is one of the most active corporations...

Cuban migrants in a shelter in the Ciudad Juárez border, in the state of Chihuahua (Mexico). Photo: Alejandro Bringas / EFE / Archive.

Study: Trump’s program for migrants causes long-term trauma

Migrant families, and especially children, who are waiting in Mexico for asylum in the United States, are facing severe stress and trauma with “long-term” consequences, warned Human Rights Watch (HRW) this Wednesday. When assessing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, known as “Remain in Mexico,” which the administration of President Donald Trump began implementing on January 29 last year, HRW warned that this policy exposes applicants to asylum to violence and diseases. The program allows Washington to return to the neighboring country those undocumented immigrants who arrive at the border and request asylum (no matter where they come from) to wait for their cases to be resolved in the U.S., which can take years. Fear and anxiety, a constant “We are beginning to believe that there is no safe place where we can go and be accepted,” said Nicola A., one of those interviewed between November 2019 and January 2020 for this study. Nicola confessed that asylum seekers feel “fear and anxiety in Mexico” because their kidnappers still persecute them, but they also fear being “separated and detained again in the horrible conditions of immigration detention.” https://oncubanews.com/mundo/america-latina/migrantes-cubanos-huyen-de-un-centro-de-detencion-en-mexico/ “I noticed that there were numerous people with lice, as well as people...

Cuban writer Leonardo Padura during the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia, in late January. Photo: EFE

Padura presents his reedited novels at Havana Book Fair

The first installment of a tetralogy of reedited novels by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura under the title Las cuatro estaciones (The Four Seasons) this Sunday was added to the literary offers of the 29th Havana International Book Fair. Padura, winner of the 2012 National Prize for Literature and that of the Princess of Asturias in Literature in 2015, is one of the most internationally acclaimed Cuban writers, but paradoxically his work has small print runs in Cuba and readers devour his books every time they appear in some literary space on the island. The Book Fair has included in its program this year the detective novel duet of Pasado perfecto (Havana Blue) and Vientos de cuaresma (Havana Gold), which have as their protagonist Detective Mario Conde, the most famous character in Padura’s literary work. Two other novels―Máscaras (Havana Red) and Paisaje de otoño (Havana Black)―will reappear in the second volume to round off this new edition published by the label of the publishing house of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). “In these years of so many conflicts and complex social situations, I created Mario Conde, a character who embodies a different way of seeing life,” Padura...

Cars wait for fuel supply at a gas station in Havana. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Crisis and lines for fuel and toiletries throughout Cuba

Cuba is once again experiencing fuel shortage problems that have caused long lines at gas stations throughout the country, while Cubans are also struggling these days to get toiletries and other basic products such as detergent and toilet paper. The supply of diesel and gasoline has had moments of instability since last September the authorities denounced that the new U.S. sanctions were hindering the arrival of oil ships to the island, but the crisis has worsened since the end of last week. For now, and unlike what happened at the end of last year, the Cuban executive has not issued any statement to explain if new measures or restrictions will be adopted, although the managers of some gas stations are explaining to customers that they only have a limited amount of daily fuel to sell to private individuals who pay in cash. Once that amount runs out, private individuals must wait until the next day because the rest of the supply is reserved for state vehicles and other entities that have prepaid cards. https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/cuba-reorganizes-transportation-in-face-of-energy-crisis/ The WhatsApp of solidarity Since the problems began, groups have multiplied in mobile applications such as WhatsApp or Telegram in which users share information about where...

Photo: Kaloian

Caravan today in Miami to protest suspension of flights to Cuba

The Alianza Martiana group, which is in favor of a “normalization” of relations between Cuba and the United States, has convened an automobile caravan that this Saturday will pass through Calle Ocho in Miami, Florida, to demand that the Trump administration restore charter flights to the island. “What’s important is the will to defend the rights to travel to Cuba and visit the family. Those are also human rights,” Max Lesnik, president of the Alianza Martiana, whose headquarters is located in this Florida city, told EFE this Friday. The caravan, under the slogan “Nothing and no one against the Cuban family,” will pass through the famous Calle Ocho, the meeting point of the anti-Castro Cuban exile. The call is for “the cars to travel the route with posters for family reunion.” Also “against the Trump measures that affect Cuban families,” said Lesnik. “In healthy peace and without seeking conflict with anyone, not even with those who defend Trump,” he said. https://www.facebook.com/CafeCubanAmericansForEngagement/photos/a.176876845768054/2534534796668902/?type=3 *Important*: This Saturday, February 8 at 11:00 AM, demonstration in #Miami in favor of #No restrictions to trips to #Cuba. 12 St. SW between 97 and 95 avenues. Raise your voice! See you there! <3 Posted by Cuban Americans...

Photo: Kaloian

Cuba authorizes sale of automobiles with 10 percent discount

The Cuban government announced this Thursday that it will sell imported vehicles in freely convertible currency to individuals as of next February 24 with a 10 percent discount, as part of the measures put in place in order to collect foreign exchange and alleviate the economy’s liquidity crisis. The commercialization of automobiles was already being carried out in the country since 2014, but then they were only sold in Cuban convertible pesos. In announcing the new measure, Cuban Minister of Transportation Eduardo Rodríguez said that decision is based on “the legitimate need of many citizens to have a means to move when public transportation, logically, fails to cover the entire vast demand for daily mobility.” The minister acknowledged that this decision will not have a direct impact on the majority of the population, but explained that the revenue generated from the sales will go to a fund to acquire spare parts in order to reinstate buses and other vehicles of the public transportation service that today are paralyzed, as well as restoring the investment plans for those means. https://oncubanews.com/cuba/un-carro-solo-un-carro/ For the time being, only in Havana Minister of Finance and Prices Meisi Bolaños specified that the prices are the same...

Detail of the facade of the Meliá Cohiba Hotel, in Havana. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

U.S. vetoes entry of Meliá CEO for doing business in Cuba

The United States has forbidden Meliá CEO Gabriel Escarrer from entering the country as a result of the application of the Helms-Burton Act due to the activity of one of the group's subsidiaries in Cuba, where two hotels in the Holguín region operate. The company confirmed the ban this Wednesday, advanced by Vozpópuli. The hotels, under management between Meliá's subsidiary and two Cuban public entities, are located on a plot of land expropriated by the Cuban regime in the late 1950s from the Sánchez Hill family, which has requested compensation. According to the Spanish company, the family also initiated a lawsuit in Spain that was dismissed by the first instance courts. https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/melia-admits-pressures-for-working-in-cuba/ Last October the U.S. Department of State imposed on Escarrer a series of conditions to enter the country, which the company believes are not acceptable and are contrary to European regulations. Title III of the Helms-Burton Act provides that any U.S. citizen or company, whose properties in Cuba had been expropriated by the Cuban government, can file lawsuits against third parties who own, control or obtain benefits with those properties, sources from the Pérez Llorca office have explained. That section of the act had remained without effect since...

U.S. President Donald Trump (r), along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l), during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, where Trump described his peace plan for the Middle East as a “realistic solution of two States,” although he proposed to reserve for Israel part of the West Bank and Jerusalem as its “integral capital.” Photo: EFE/Michael Reynolds.

Cuban foreign minister rejects Trump’s peace plan for Middle East

Cuba repudiated this Wednesday the “biased and misleading” peace plan announced by U.S. President Donald Trump for the Middle East, considering that it underpins Israel’s position in the disputed territories and violates the rights of the Palestinians. “I reject the biased and misleading U.S. peace plan that enshrines the Israeli occupation and violates the inalienable right of the Palestinians to have their own State on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as capital and the return of refugees,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez wrote on Twitter. https://twitter.com/BrunoRguezP/status/1222599731676897280?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1222599731676897280&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foncubanews.com%2Fcuba-ee-uu%2Fcanciller-de-cuba-repudia-plan-de-paz-de-trump-para-oriente-medio%2F Hours before and also in his social network account, Rodríguez reiterated his criticism of the U.S. government for its desire for “imperialist domain,” its way of treating Latin America and the Caribbean as a “subordinate region,” while condemning Washington's “aggressiveness” against Cuba. The island, which is going through a tense moment in relations with the U.S., has been aligned with the cause of Palestine since it established relations with the Arab nation several decades ago. Havana defends a “peaceful and lasting” solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the creation of two different states and Palestine’s total sovereignty. https://oncubanews.com/cuba/cuba-expresa-energica-condena-a-que-eeuu-reconozca-el-golan-como-territorio-de-israel/ The proposal announced by Trump supports Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley, in addition...

Still given by the Sundance Festival that shows a group of children in Havana, in an image from the documentary “Epicenter,” by Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper. Photo: Sundance Festival /EFE.

From imperialism to tourism: Cuba lands in Sundance with “Epicenter”

From the struggle against imperialism to the “soft power” of mass tourism, Cuba’s soul and the island’s identity conflict land in Sundance with Epicenter, an amazing and poetic documentary focused on Cuban children filmed by Austrian Hubert Sauper “The history of Europe, America and Africa is a history of hundreds of years of imperialism and anti-imperialism, colonization and anti-colonization,” said this filmmaker who was nominated for an Oscar with Darwin’s Nightmare (2004). “Cuba deals with the same issues and is the 'epicenter' of the Americas: it is geographically in the center, it was a line of collision in America between communism and capitalism with the Cold War and the Missile Crisis, and was the epicenter of the Spanish Empire…. Slavery, colonialism and the globalization of power have a direct line and everything is found in Havana,” he added. Far from being a customary, narrative documentary with explanations from experts, Epicenter presents a much more cunning and subtle look when showing its cards through the voice of Cuban children, here called “the little prophets.” “It isn’t a historical documentary: it is a film told by 10 children from Havana. It is they who tell about the end of an Empire (the...

Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, responsible for the so-called Wuhan pneumonia. Image: theolivepress.es

Cuba says it has no cases of coronavirus and adopts prevention measures

The Cuban government announced this Monday that no case of the new Chinese coronavirus has been registered in the country, although the authorities have adopted sanitary control measures at the borders and surveillance of incoming travelers. “In our country no case has been reported and there are no suspicions and no people under any surveillance,” said the National Director of Epidemiology of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), Francisco Durán, cited by state media. The specialist explained that on the island the control of travelers is being intensified at ports and airports, entry points of the new coronavirus―which causes pneumonia―originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan, from where it has spread to other areas of the Asian nation and other countries. He also indicated that “adequate vigilance” is maintained for all persons from their arrival in Cuba, which in principle includes at first a general declaration of health of the vessel, and another of each traveler. https://oncubanews.com/cuba/ciencia/salud-en-cuba/presidente-de-china-situacion-grave-por-el-coronavirus/ About 80 deaths have been registered in China to date due to the disease―which is transmitted from person to person―and more than 2,700 persons infected with the lethal coronavirus, that has been provisionally called “2019-nCoV” by the World Health Organization (WHO), have...

Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Cuba denies responsibility in Bolivia’s decision to suspend relations

Cuba “categorically” rejected this Saturday the “pretexts and unfounded accusations” of Bolivia to suspend relations with the island, denied having responsibility in the decision and accused the interim government of Jeanine Áñez of trying to deteriorate ties between the two countries. “Cuba rejects pretexts and unfounded accusations by Bolivia’s coup authorities to suspend diplomatic relations. Since their violent rise to power, they have developed systematic actions to deteriorate bilateral ties,” said Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez on Twitter. La Paz announced this Friday that it would suspend diplomatic ties with Cuba―without being a total rupture―due to “the permanent hostility and constant insults” expressed by Rodríguez in several tweets in which he uses harsh language against Áñez. https://twitter.com/BrunoRguezP/status/1221246078030356481?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1221246078030356481&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foncubanews.com%2Fcuba%2Fcuba-niega-responsabilidad-en-decision-de-bolivia-de-suspender-relaciones%2F Bilateral tension After remaining silent for more than a day, the Cuban foreign minister insisted on Twitter that “hostility and offenses” have not come from Havana, but from the Bolivian interim government, which he accuses of perpetrating a coup against former President Evo Morales, a close ally of Cuba. “We have acted with patience and prudence, avoiding confrontation despite the reproachable performance of the coup plotters,” Rodríguez wrote. https://oncubanews.com/cuba/canciller-cubano-discurso-de-la-presidenta-boliviana-son-vulgares-mentiras/ In an extensive press release issued this Saturday, the Cuban Foreign Ministry insisted that...

Cuban President Díaz-Canel greeting people at the bus terminal in the province of Sancti Spíritus. Photo: Ernesto Mastrascusa/EFE.

Díaz-Canel committed to monetary unification to stabilize economy

The monetary and exchange rate unification prepared by the Cuban government will help to “stabilize” the island’s economic conditions and will make it possible “to do many more things,” said the country's president, Miguel Díaz-Canel. That “complex” process, for which there is still no date announced, “is one of the things that will help stabilize conditions a bit and starting then you can do many more things,” said the president in statements to the foreign media, among them EFE, during a visit to the central province of Sancti Spíritus. The elimination of two currencies has become the Cuban government’s priority in recent months when faced by the crisis that is affecting the country, caused by the intensification of the U.S. embargo with new sanctions and the economic collapse of Venezuela, the island’s main ally, among other factors. In recent months the authorities have taken experimental steps but the exact date on which the CUC will be out of circulation is unknown, which has caused effects such as its devaluation against the dollar in the informal market. “There are many things we are organizing and of course the process in which we have been advancing and that is very complex because...

January 16, 2020 photo showing two pelicans perched on two boats, in Villa Guajimico, in Cienfuegos. EFE/Yander Zamora.

Cuba, guest country in ecotourism fair in Spain

Cuba will be the guest country of the fourth edition of the Doñana Natural Life Ecotourism Fair, which will take place April 16-19 in the Spanish town of El Rocío, in Huelva, and will be focused on birdwatching as a fundamental element of biodiversity and of the sector’s differentiated tourist value. For this, a program of activities and contents has been designed to take an in-depth look at the importance of the region’s ornithology that is gaining extraordinary importance as a place of passage, breeding and wintering for thousands of European and African birds, the organization announced in a press release. https://twitter.com/mancondado/status/1220754456763162627?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1220754456763162627&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foncubanews.com%2Fcuba%2Feconomia%2Fturismo%2Fcuba-pais-invitado-en-feria-de-ecoturismo-en-espana%2F In the region of Doñana, almost 300 bird species can be sighted, including the Iberian imperial eagle, in serious danger of extinction. That is why the Fair’s technical program will dedicate its space of knowledge to the debate on birdwatching as an undisputed pillar of ecotourism, for which the presence of a representative of one of the most important international fairs in this area, the Birdwatching Fair, is expected, in addition to the specialized media related to birds. The fourth edition of Doñana Natural Life will feature an area for companies specializing in optical and photography products/services for...

Cuban resident in Miami accused of threatening to kill people of different minorities. Photo: themediahq.com/

Cuban resident in Miami accused of threatening to kill gays, Afro-Americans and Latinos

A 19-year-old was jailed in Miami as the alleged author of death threats on Twitter against Afro-Americans, Colombians, Nicaraguans and homosexuals, because he was tired of “oppression against Cubans,” local media reported. “Watch out, we’re going to hit the streets,” wrote Lázaro Lesteiro, a native of Havana's San Miguel del Padrón neighborhood, who was officially accused of threatening in writing to kill or wound someone and must deposit a bail of 75,000 dollars on the orders of Judge Mindy S. Glazer. Even if he pays bail, he will remain by court order under house arrest while his case is resolved. https://oncubanews.com/mundo/ee-uu/aumentan-crimenes-de-odio-en-eeuu/ The young man was arrested last Tuesday in the apartment where he lives with his mother in Hialeah, a city in Miami-Dade County mostly inhabited by Cubans. Hialeah Police was previously warned by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of the threats on a Twitter account that corresponded to Lesteiro. One of the messages referred to plans to perpetrate a massacre last Tuesday in Little Havana, the neighborhood where the first Cubans who arrived in Miami settled after the triumph of the revolution in 1959, police spokespersons told local media. The author of the messages warned...

The author of the play “The Cubans,” Cuban-American playwright Michael León (c); director Victoria Collado (r), and actress Ashley Álvarez (l) during an interview with EFE news agency in Miami, Florida (USA), on January 20, 2020. Photo: Ana Mengotti / EFE.

“The Cubans,” Hispanic theater in English on diversity in the U.S.

Cuban-American playwright Michael León, who this week is premiering in Miami “The Cubans,” a family drama in English, believes that it is time for theater in the United States to reflect the diversity of its population. In an interview with EFE news agency, León said that if Latinos like him can identify with films and plays generally referring to the white majority in the United States, Anglo-Saxons can do so with works such as “The Cubans,” a story about something as universal as the family and its conflicts. The only difference is that “rice with beans” is served at this family’s table instead of turkey and mashed potatoes, says Victoria Collado, director of “The Cubans,” a Miami New Drama production that will have its premiere on January 23 at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. In principle, it will be on billboard until February 16. Collado directed the great theatrical success of 2019 in Miami, “Amparo,” an immersion play that was on billboard for eight months and was written by the also Cuban-American Vanessa García. The play was about the vicissitudes of the creators of the rum Havana Club throughout more than 60 years of Cuba’s history. León, who belongs...

The first bioelectric plant in Cuba is located in the central province of Ciego de Ávila. Photo: PL

Cuba’s first bioelectric plant begins testing phase

The first bioelectric plant in Cuba, which generates electricity from the biomass of the marabú bush, is carrying out tests after its synchronization this week to the National Power System and is expected to save about 100,000 barrels of oil annually when it starts up. The new plant, located in areas of a sugar factory in the province of Ciego de Ávila, was built with an investment of 180 million dollars that includes technology from a Chinese company and the execution of works by the joint venture BioPower S.A., according to Cuban media reports. The bioelectric generation tests have been recently carried out satisfactorily and have supplied more than 300 megawatts of electricity to the system. When it is fully operational, this unit is expected to generate 60 megawatts of electricity per day, the equivalent of 50% of Ciego de Ávila’s energy consumption, said specialist Carmen Taboada, vice president of BioPower S.A., with Cuban, British and Chinese participation. The plant will provide all the electricity needed by the Ciro Redondo sugar factory and the rest will go to the national grid, saving the country about 100,000 barrels of oil per year, Taboada said. Carmen Taboada, vice...

Cuban Octavio Carrera (2-r), currently sovereign grand commander of the Supreme Masonic Council of Spain, along with other members of a delegation of the Spanish entity to a masonic meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2019. Photo: Supreme Masonic Council of Spain / Facebook.

The Cuban who became sovereign grand commander of freemasonry in Spain

Philosopher Octavio Carrera González wanted to be initiated in freemasonry in Cuba, where he was born, but he couldn’t, so he took advantage of a study trip abroad to enter this society and, in time, be elected sovereign grand commander (president) of the Supreme Masonic Council of Spain. He traveled to Europe in 1996 to pursue a PhD in Philosophy at Jaime I University in Castellón (Spain) and two years later contacted a lodge from the city of Valencia (east), according to him in an interview with EFE news agency. Although Carrera, 57, obtained Spanish nationality, he could have been equally sovereign grand commander (elected last November) because this position is not vetoed in Spain to foreigners. Being an active member is enough. “I had requested initiation in Cuba, but they rejected me. I was about to come to Spain to study and they felt it was not convenient,” he summarizes. Then he had “trouble” to return. He worked at the University of Havana, he was asked to return before finishing his studies in Spain, but didn’t do so, which was considered a “kind of effect” on his record, and for nine years he couldn’t enter Cuba, according to his...

Cuba produces 97% of the oil associated natural gas that is used for power generation and domestic consumption in Havana. Photo: AFP

More than 1.7 million Cubans affected by liquefied gas crisis

The reduction in imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for domestic use in Cuba, which the government attributes to the intensification of U.S. sanctions, affects the supply of more than 1.7 million customers, the state-owned company Cuba-Petróleo Union (CUPET) reported this Wednesday. The LPG deficit has made it necessary to extend the period of delivery to all customers, both those who acquire it in a regulated manner by family nucleus composition and those who buy it in a liberated way. In the case of two-people households, they will be able to buy a gas cylinder every 35 days and, according to the established scale, the cycle goes down for those with more family members up to those up to ten, who will receive it every 16 days, a note published on the Cuba-Petróleo website said. https://oncubanews.com/cuba/carencia-de-gas-licuado-en-cuba-obliga-a-demorar-su-entrega-hasta-el-doble-de-tiempo/ But for consumers who freely buy that product, including private sector workers who use it in businesses such as restaurants and coffee shops, the measure extends the cycle up to 60 days to acquire one of these cylinders. Likewise, the company belonging to the Ministry of Energy and Mines urges the population to adopt measures for saving and efficient use of liquefied gas. Cuba...

Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Russian tourism to Cuba grows by 30 percent

Russian tourism in Cuba grew by about 30 percent in 2019, when there were almost 178,000 visitors from that Eurasian country, a figure listed as a record for that market that has become one of the emerging issuers to the Caribbean island, the state media reported this Tuesday. The Russians go to almost all the country’s tourist destinations, from the provinces of Holguín and Camagüey in the eastern part or Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria in the central region to Havana and Varadero beach resort in the province of Matanzas, these last two the most visited in the country. The number of Russian travelers to Cuba could increase this year to 200,000, according to the growth forecasts of the Cuban Ministry of Tourism that has chosen Russia as the guest of honor in 2020 at the sector’s most important event: the FitCuba fair. The Cuban tour operator Havanatur and the Russian agencies Anex Tur, Natalitur and Daikiry have played an important role in the strategy to attract customers, to which are added the flights of airlines from the Eurasian country that currently arrive in several of the island’s provinces, according to the Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) news agency....

The Cuban doctors Assel Herrera (left) and Landy Rodríguez (right), kidnapped on April 12 in Kenya, allegedly by militants of the extremist group Al-Shabaab. Photo: Escambray / Archive.

Cuban doctors kidnapped in Kenya have been nine months in captivity

The two Cuban doctors kidnapped in Kenya by alleged members of the Somali jihadist group Al-Shabaab this Sunday celebrated nine months in captivity, while the Kenyan government insists that they are “well” and is working on getting them released. “We know for sure that they are well, but the plan to guarantee their rescue continues. We want to rescue them alive so they can reunite with their families,” Kenyan Executive spokesman Cyrus Oguna confirmed to EFE news agency. Oguna thus reiterated the position that the Kenyan authorities have maintained for months on the status of surgeon Landy Rodríguez and general medicine specialist Assel Herrera Correa, kidnapped on April 12 by alleged members of Al-Shabaab in the city of Mandera, near the border with Somalia. The doctors are well, but without proof that they are alive Despite insisting that the doctors are “well” somewhere in Somalia, to date neither the Kenyan government nor the kidnappers themselves have provided proof that they are alive. In that regard, the government spokesman was in favor of discretion and stressed to EFE that he cannot disclose the “whereabouts” of Rodriguez and Herrera for “security” reasons. “What will happen if we say where they are?” he...

In 2019, 33 record highs were registered, including a new national record of 39.1 degrees Celsius in the province of Granma. Photo: Kaloian Santos

Cuba registered in 2019 its highest annual mean temperature in almost seven decades

In 2019, Cuba recorded its highest annual mean temperature since 1951 with an average 28 degrees Celsius during the summer months, reported the Cuban Institute of Meteorology (INSMET), which places the last decade as the warmest of those on which it has data. The year that has just ended was “extremely hot” with an increase of 1.1 degrees Celsius above the average recorded between 1961 and 1990, specified the report of the INSMET Climate Center, cited this Tuesday by the Cubadebate website. These reports demonstrate a tendency toward an increase in temperature in Cuba. In 2019, 33 record highs were registered, including a new national record of 39.1 degrees Celsius in the province of Granma (east), the “highest on the island since records have been kept.” https://oncubanews.com/oncuba-media/galerias/por-el-camino/que-calor/ On the Isla de la Juventud, the second largest island in the Cuban territory, the monthly record of absolute highs was broken in February, June, August, September and October. The rains “were below the norm” in this period, partly due to the presence of Sahara dust in the atmosphere, which also intensified the sensation of heat in the country. The perception of heat also increases with the intense humidity, which in August and...

Tobacco plantation in Viñales, Pinar del Río. Photo: Kaloian / Archive.

Cuba boosts tobacco production to raise revenues in 2020

Cuba is boosting the production of tobacco, one of its main export products that could raise revenues in 2020, with the cultivation of the Burley variety for cigarette making and the creation of new centers for the processing of the plant. The president of the Tabacuba business group, Justo Luis Fuentes, announced that work is underway to boost the production of Burley tobacco with a project to plant up to 10,000 hectares of that variety, according to the island’s media. “The country produces more dark tobacco than Virginia tobacco, but we are going to boost the latter,” said the director of the company that manages the activity of the sector in all its phases, from agricultural, pre-industrial and industrial production to marketing, logistics and development of the product. Fuentes said that Burley tobacco plantations―which report good quality with a high percentage of nicotine and good combustion―will increase in the western province of Pinar del Río, the main representative of this crop in the country, and also in other producing areas of the sector. A training center, a warehouse with capacity to protect 120 tons of the leaf, ten chambers for the curing of Virginia tobacco and three tobacco processing facilities,...

U.S. Embassy in Havana. Photo: Desmond Boylan / AP.

Cuba expresses its “dissatisfactions” to U.S. head of mission in Havana

Cuba expressed its “dissatisfaction” over the “deplorable conduct and trajectory” of the United States to the head of the Washington diplomatic mission in Havana, Mara Tekach, to whom it requested that she transmit the message to her government. The Director of Bilateral Affairs of the U.S. General Department of the Cuban Foreign Ministry (MINREX) Yuri Gala received Tekach at the headquarters of the ministry, the state-run Agencia Cubana de Noticias news agency reported last Saturday, citing a tweet from the official without giving more details of the meeting. https://twitter.com/y_gala_lopez/status/1208112606042607616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1208112606042607616&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Foncubanews.com%2Fcuba-ee-uu%2Fcuba-trasmite-sus-insatisfacciones-a-jefa-de-mision-de-ee-uu-en-la-habana%2F Held on Friday, December 20, the meeting took place amid renewed tension between the two countries, which began a failed “thaw” in December 2014, driven by former presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, and truncated by the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House in 2017. “Today I received in MINREX the U.S. chargé d’affaires, whom I asked to express to her government Cuba’s deep concerns and dissatisfactions over the U.S. government’s deplorable conduct and track in terms of human rights,” Gala wrote on Twitter. So far, the U.S. embassy has not mentioned the meeting in any of its official pages. Both countries have intensified their rhetoric in recent months....

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