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Cuban Film Afinidades to Participate in Roman Festival

<p style="text-align: justify;">2011.07.16 - 08:29:27 / HAVANA, Cuba.- Afinidades (Affinities), co-directed by Jorge Perugorria and Vladimir Cruz, the two actors of the film Strawberry and Chocolate (1994), will participate in the 2nd Festival of Iberian American Cinema, to be held in Rome from October 4th through the 9th. The first work, premiered on February 3, 2011, was shot at the Guama tourist center of the Laguna del Tesoro, in Cienaga de Zapata, Matanzas province. Read More

Taca adds Cuba links

<p style="text-align: justify;">El Salvador-based Taca Airlines will start thrice-weekly flights from San Salvador to Havana, and Taca’s Peruvian subsidiary will increase flights from its hub in Lima to Havana from three to five per week. Both changes take effect in August. In May, Taca Peru said it had requested government approval to increase the number of weekly flights from three times to six. Taca also offers three flights from Lima to Havana via San José, Costa Rica. Read More

Group traveling to Cuba to promote normalized relations with U.S.

<p style="text-align: justify;">Saturday, July 16, 2011, 2:36 AM. By Mark R. Kent, Press-Register. MOBILE, Alabama -- Two busloads of travelers stopped in Mobile Thursday on their way to Cuba, a destination they must first leave the United States to reach. Members of the 22nd Pastors for Peace Friendshipment came to the family center of Mount Hebron Baptist Church in Trinity Gardens and spent time pleading their group’s case for normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba. Read More

Cuban-music torch bearers Sierra Maestra playing The Ark

<p style="text-align: justify;">Prior to 2009, American audiences never had much opportunity during the previous decade to attend live performances by Cuban groups, due to the Bush administration’s clampdown on U.S.-Cuba cultural exchanges. After Barack Obama took office, however, such cultural exchange with Cuba began to reopen.So, in the last couple of years, U.S. lovers of this simmering equatorial music have been able to “catch up,” as it were. In Ann Arbor alone, Cuban-music fans have been able to groove to the music of two such groups in just the last year—the Afro-Cuban All Stars in the summer of 2009 and Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba earlier this year. Read More

Chavez to return to Cuba for cancer treatment

<p style="text-align: justify;">AP. By IAN JAMES. CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Friday that he will return to Cuba to begin a new phase of cancer treatment that will include chemotherapy. Chavez said he would go to Havana on Saturday "to begin what we've called the second phase." Read More

Cell phones and the cost of living in Cuba

<p style="text-align: justify;">By Kate Dries | Jul. 14, 2011. When I first came to Cuba in 1995, cell phone service was so scarce that, after a meeting in which an official had flashed a cell phone from the podium, I turned to Abel Prieto, then the president of the writer’s union, and asked if he had one too. “Oh, no,” he said, “I’m not high enough to be part of the celucracia.” Read More

Obama standing firm on eased travel

<p style="text-align: justify;">In a statement to Congress, President Barack Obama said he would veto a House appropriations bill if it includes, among others, a measure inserted by anti-Castro representatives that would revert eased family travel and remittance rules introduced by Obama in 2009. With this Statement of Administration Policy, which provides Congress with the White House’s views on the House appropriations bill, H.R. 2434, Obama raises his Cuba policy of moderate steps towards detente to a higher-priority level. Read More

Letters: The Siren Call of Cuba

<p style="text-align: justify;">July 15, 2011. Too the Editor: Re the July 10 Practical Traveler column (“New Ways to Visit Cuba, Legally”): For years, my architect husband has yearned to visit Cuba for its artistic heritage. As a playwright, I’d like to go to experience firsthand the Cuban ethos. We have no interest in tourist traps or in political machinations. As travelers who like to create our own agenda, the thought of visiting lock-step with a gaggle of folks on a tour program makes us cringe. Read More

Finance player increases stake in Leisure Canada

<p style="text-align: justify;">Dundee Corp., a company controlled by Toronto financier Ned Goodman, nearly doubled its stake in resort builder Leisure Canada Inc. from 12.32 percent to 23.12 percent.Goodman became chairman of Leisure Canada last year, taking over from company founder Walter Berukoff. Vancouver-based Leisure Canada is planning to build a luxury hotel in the Monte Barreto neighborhood of Havana and a golf and marina resort at Jibacoa, east of Havana.The Monte Barreto project in western Havana and Jibacoa have long been in the making. Planning for the 716-room hotel in Havana is complete. Read More

Arturo O'Farrill And The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra On JazzSet

<p style="text-align: justify;">By Becca Pulliam on Thursday, July 14, 2011. "After years of trying, finally getting [to Newport] was special," the driven and accomplished bandleader/pianist Arturo O'Farrill says as he thinks back on this sweltering set from August 2010. O'Farrill is at the center of a dynasty between his father, composer Chico O'Farrill (1921-2001), and his son Adam, on trumpet here today. Zack, a younger son, plays drums, while Arturo's wife, Alison Deane, is a classical pianist and professor at City College in New York. Read More