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American Tour Groups Arrive in Cuba, Diplomatic Thaw Ahead?

<p style="text-align: justify;">August 15, 2011 4:55 am.In what could prove to be a significant step forward in Cuban-American relations, the first groups of American tourists have begun arriving on the island for cultural immersion trips known as “people-to-people exchanges.” In January of this year, President Obama announced the easing of trade restrictions with Cuba, a move that opened new airports to Cuba-bound flights, restored access for those visiting for educational and religious purposes, and effectively made the island as accessible for Americans as it had been during the Clinton Administration. Read More

Cuba: Lost in time in the Caribbean

<p style="text-align: justify;">Beyond 'that' bay in Cuba's easternmost province, the isolated port of Baracoa reveals five centuries of history, says Fiona Dunlop. At strategic spots along the near-deserted road, locals dangled bunches of tiny bananas, strings of mandarins, cucuruchos (cones of pineapple and coconut paste), recycled bottles of wild honey, solid lumps of cacao and bags of coffee beans. I was driving over La Farola, Cuba's highest mountain road and an engineering feat of the brave new Cuba of the early 1960s. Although the road was nothing like as bad as I had been warned, it took nearly five hours to drive the 230km from my starting point, Santiago, to my destination on the north coast – Baracoa. Read More

Cuban trumpeter Sandoval plays in Chautauqua, N.Y.By John Chacona

<p style="text-align: justify;">August 18, 2011 12:01 AM EST, Erie Times-News.Contributing writer. Diasporic people often freeze their source culture at the moment of departure. In the late-1970s, Cuban culture was lively, but had a decidedly prerevolutionary flavor. The long-standing U.S. embargo enforced this anomaly until the Mariel boatlift of 1980. One year before that event, as if to presage it, a record arrived in America that would shatter the cross-cultural silence across the Straits of Florida. Read More

Diana Nyad won't let her dream flounder

<p style="text-align: justify;">By Bill Dwyre. August 17, 2011, 11:42 p.m.It has been a little more than a week since Diana Nyad allowed herself to be pulled out of the rugged waters somewhere between Cuba and Key West, Fla."The fairy tale didn't end well," she says, "but I still have control over the fairy tale."Her second attempt at swimming from Cuba to Florida comes up short, but at 61, she's still not ready to quit.Diana Nyad is overcome with emotion when addressing the media following her second failed attempt to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys. (Rob O'Neal / Associated Press / Florida Keys News Bureau) Read More

Cuba? Why not?

<p style="text-align: justify;">By Linda Sosbee . Hemingway&amp;rsquo;s typewriter remains on the bookcase in his house where he stood to write his stories early every morning.&nbsp; Note: This series first appeared in The Columbia Star in 2001 soon after Warner and I returned from an illegal trip to Cuba. American novelist and short–story writer Ernest Hemingway first visited Cuba in 1928. During the 1930s he often stayed in the Hotel Ambos Mundos, room 511.Papa frequented the neighborhood bar, La Bodeguita del Medio, near his hotel. One wall of the bar proudly displays his graffiti – mi mojito en La Bodeguita, mi daiquiri en El Floridita. Read More

Creole Choir of Cuba Releases New Album and Embarks on 23-date Fall Tour of U.S.

<p style="text-align: justify;">PRWebPRWeb – A Capella choir and Real World recording artists The Creole Choir of Cuba release their debut album "Tande-La" on September 13th, 2011. A 21-venue tour of the US follows, from September 21st to November 4th.London, England (PRWEB) August 18, 2011.“Desandann” - the Choir’s Cuban name - literally means “descendents,” and with the songs on their new album "Tande-La" (which translates to “listen”), they tell the stories of their Haitian ancestors who were brought to Cuba to toil in near slave conditions on the sugar and coffee plantations. Read More

Chavez Ratifies Sovereign Use of International Reserves

<p style="text-align: justify;">By: Ana Luisa Brown. Caracas, Aug 18 (Prensa Latina) President Hugo Chavez reaffirmed Thursday that Venezuela will use its international reserves according to the country's interests, without subordinating itself to foreign powers or institutions. In a second article for his column "Notes from the Rear Guard" in the Orinoco Mail newspaper, Chavez decried what he called a campaign to create confusion and destabilization by using the issue of reserves. Read More

Cuba: Olympic Medalist Leads Team to World Wrestling Champs

<p style="text-align: justify;">By: Osmany González Tocabens.&nbsp; 13:03Havana, Aug 17 (Prensa Latina) Mijain Lopez (120-kg), Greco-Roman wrestling champion in Beijing (2008), is leading the men´s national team to the 2011 World Wrestling Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 12-18. Lopez, also world champion in Budapest (2005), Baku (2007), Herning (2009), and Moscow (2010), will seek his fifth title, which would place him in an exclusive group. Read More

Cuba seeking oil spill agreement with Mexico

<p style="text-align: justify;">The Cuban government and state oil company CubaPetróleo (Cupet) are seeking to reactivate an 11-year old cooperation agreement with Mexico and state oil company Pemex, Mexican daily Milenio reported. Pemex and Cupet signed a mutual-aid oil spill agreement in 1999. However, the agreement — which includes stipulations for the exchange of emergency crews — did not deal specifically with Cuban offshore activities. Read More

Cuba for Gay Travelers

<p style="text-align: justify;">A new revolution is quietly brewing in Havana, Cuba which could make it the next great gay travel destination. Only two hours from Atlanta, the gay scene is beginning to sizzle in Havana. Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela, has even participated in a gay rights march and Brokeback Mountain has been seen on government television.While gay life is still largely underground, one of the most amazing scenes occurs every night in Havana starting at about 11:00 pm where La Rampa Street and the Malecon, an ocean front walk, intersect. Read More