Foreign Policy Blogs

Cuba and the U.S.

‘Roberto’ and Other Tales of the Cuban Economy

‘Roberto’ and Other Tales of the Cuban Economy

Ask a self-employed Cuban how she came to possess the goods she is selling, and she might tell you that they came from “Roberto.” The euphemism indicates that the goods are stolen, and given the scarcity of many products and the unreliability of state retail stores in Cuba, many new entrepreneurs in Cuba are struggling […]

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Mariela’s U.S. Visit Continues

Mariela’s U.S. Visit Continues

Mariela Castro’s U.S. tour continued this week with a visit to the United Nations, a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and a public presentation at the New York Public Library. The East Coast stopover followed a busy agenda in San Francisco last week, and has upset those who say that […]

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Travel permissions and visas confound, as usual

Travel permissions and visas confound, as usual

Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, will be in California this week. Traveling on a U.S. visa to attend a conference of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), she appears to have made it through the same State Department review that denied visas to eleven seemingly less contentious scholars hoping to join the […]

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Is it true? Has nothing changed?

Is it true? Has nothing changed?

The award-winning Cuban blogger and writer Yoani Sanchez published an op-ed today in The New York Times called “The Dream of Leaving Cuba,” in which she describes the inability of many Cubans to gain the necessary permission to travel abroad. She is one of those Cubans. In fact, she has been denied the “white card” (carta […]

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Cuba’s omnipresence in Cartagena

Cuba’s omnipresence in Cartagena

This weekend’s Summit of the Americas may not include representation from Cuba, but Cuba is by no means absent from the Summit. In fact, general policy toward the island appeared to be the most significant issue dividing the Hemisphere in advance of this weekend’s meetings: Latin American nations saw Cuba’s continued exclusion from the Summit as […]

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If the Pope cannot do it, who can?

If the Pope cannot do it, who can?

On a visit to the Western Hemisphere last week from Rome, Pope Benedict XVI stopped first in Mexico, a country whose population is 80-85% Catholic. It is the most Catholic, in this sense, of the world’s Spanish-speaking countries. His second visit was to Cuba, a country that has been traditionally Catholic, but was officially an […]

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Is Cuba Part of Obama’s “Long Game”?

Is Cuba Part of Obama’s “Long Game”?

For those who have not yet read Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek piece on Obama, published this past week, take note: it should be required reading for all U.S. voters as the country continues its journey toward the 2012 presidential election. Self-identified as a conservative-minded independent, Sullivan takes on the liberal, conservative, and moderate critiques of Obama’s term […]

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Cuba: 2011 Year in Review

Cuba: 2011 Year in Review

This year in Cuban history will be viewed as a significant one, having seen more economic change and reform on the island than some entire decades. But Washington’s response over the course of a year has proven insignificant. Let’s start with a brief summary of the past year. In January, the executive branch of the […]

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Cuba hits the front page, but is Washington reading?

Cuba hits the front page, but is Washington reading?

I was rather surprised to see a Cuba headline make it to the front page of the New York Times recently. The surprise is not because the placement is unmerited: indeed, such attention is quite timely and relevant. It is due to the fact that Washington still seems to be deaf to all of the changes […]

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Cuba’s New Rules Governing the Purchase of Private Property

Cuba’s New Rules Governing the Purchase of Private Property

This week Raul Castro’s government took to expanding on its opening of the Cuban economy. After September’s announcement allowing Cubans to freely sell and purchase automobiles for the first time legally since the Cuban Revolution, today it was announced that Cubans could now sell and purchase private property without restrictions or licensing from the government. […]

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A quest to travel to Cuba

A quest to travel to Cuba

Despite my day job and this Foreign Policy Association endeavor writing on Cuba, sometimes I do not fully appreciate how challenging it actually can be for Americans to gain U.S. government approval to visit the island. Like so many things, one can talk about this issue every day in a broad sense and in so […]

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Reforms… 313 of 'em

Reforms… 313 of 'em

Cuban media finally published the outcome of last month’s Communist Party Congress: a list of 313 “guidelines” to shape economic reforms in Cuba. The items include mention of changes across a number of sectors and important issue areas—from ration books (and their gradual retirement) to private sector employment (not far beyond barbers but including family […]

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Bay of Pigs, Ocean of Changes

The patriotic displays this weekend in Havana (military marching through the streets, fighter jets flying over, Cubans participating in parades and celebrations) marked the 50th anniversary of the Cuban victory at the Bay of Pigs—or as Cubans call it, Playa Girón—in 1961. The Bay of Pigs invasion is, of course, the infamous failed attempt by […]

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How about a US envoy to Cuba?

How about a US envoy to Cuba?

It’s a long way off, sure. But Jimmy Carter seems to be the guy for it. The former US President began a visit to Cuba yesterday at the invitation of the Cuban government. Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in fact, was there to meet Carter on the runway when his plane arrived. Carter is the only […]

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The US-Cuba relationship in numbers

The US-Cuba relationship in numbers

Fifteen (15) – in years, the prison sentence handed down to American citizen Alan Gross on Saturday by a Cuban court. Prosecutors swayed the court with an argument that in distributing satellite phones in Havana, Gross was plotting to destroy the revolution, working on a “subversive” program paid for by the United States that aimed […]

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