Cubans complain about US visa restrictions
HAVANA (AP) — Cubans have had widespread access to social media for just a few months, and they embraced it on Monday to bombard U.S. diplomats in Havana with complaints about new visa...
US eliminates coveted 5-year tourist visa for Cubans
HAVANA (AP) — The U.S. State Department said Friday that it is eliminating a coveted five-year tourist visa for Cubans, dealing a heavy blow to entrepreneurs and Cuban members of divided families,...
Cubans again dispute claim attacks made diplomats ill
HAVANA (AP) — Cuban officials have made a lengthy presentation on a series of mysterious illnesses suffered by U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana, reiterating that no evidence supports...
Amid crisis, Cuba plans revamp of state and legal system
HAVANA (AP) — In the midst of a regional crisis over Venezuela and tough economic straits, the Cuban government is about to launch a sweeping makeover of its centrally planned, single-party system...
Trump symbolically tightens embargo on Cuba
HAVANA (AP) — The Trump administration announced Monday that it is tightening the six-decade trade embargo on Cuba by allowing lawsuits against Cuban companies using properties confiscated after...
New Cuban constitution gets 87 percent approval
HAVANA (AP) — Nearly 87 percent of Cuban voters approved a new constitution that preserves the island's single-party socialist system and centrally planned economy while updating some financial,...
Cellphone internet access bringing changes fast to Cuba
HAVANA (AP) — After a tornado slammed Havana in late January, Mijail Ramirez complained on Twitter that authorities were threatening to evict him from his damaged home. A week later he said the...
Today in History for February 15th
Canadian diplomats file suit over injuries suffered in Cuba
TORONTO (AP) — Some Canadian diplomats who became mysteriously ill while posted to Cuba are suing the Canadian government.
Canada has confirmed 14 cases of unexplained health problems since early 2017. Twenty-six workers at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba have also been affected, suffering a range of symptoms and diagnoses including mild traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion.
After tornado, Cuban state loses monopoly on disaster aid
HAVANA (AP) — Nearly two weeks after a devastating tornado struck Havana, the worst-hit neighborhoods are filled with government crews restoring power and phone service and starting repairs to decimated homes.
There's also a far rarer sight: Hundreds of young people in designer T-shirts and jeans hauling black plastic bags full of clothes, food and water donated by private businesses, artists and other members of Cuba's small but growing upper-middle class.
Death toll from last week’s Havana tornado rises to 6
HAVANA (AP) — Cuban authorities say the death toll from a rare tornado that struck Havana last week has risen to six after two injured victims died in hospital.
State media say Health Minister Jose Angel Portal Miranda told a meeting of government officials that two of the 13 injured people died on Saturday.
Meteorite strikes in town in western Cuba
HAVANA (AP) — Residents and tourists in a town in western Cuba saw a flare pass through the sky and heard an explosion Friday in what officials said was a meteorite strike.
Witnesses reported seeing a ball of fire and a smoke trail in a clear midday sky, and a rain of black stones fell on the tourist town of Vinales and other parts of Pinar del Rio province. Explosions were also heard and a smoke trail seen in Havana. There were no reports of damage or injuries.
Strongest tornado in 8 decades hits Cuba; 3 dead, 172 hurt
HAVANA (AP) — Neighborhood brigades and teams of government workers hacked at fallen trees and hauled chunks of concrete out of collapsed homes Monday as the Cuban capital attempted to recover from what officials called the strongest tornado to hit Cuba in nearly 80 years.
Three people were dead and hundreds injured, at least 12 in critical condition, after the tornado touched down with estimated winds of 200 mph (320 kph) in three neighborhoods across eastern Havana.
The Latest: Havana hit by Category F3 tornado
HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on Cuba's deadly weather (all times local):
Cuban officials say 125 homes were damaged by a tornado, heavy rains and severe winds overnight.
Members of the Provincial Defense Council of Havana tell state media Monday that 90 homes collapsed completely and 30 suffered partial collapse.
Deadly Tornado Batters Havana
Colombia blames ELN for bomb, presses Cuba to arrest leaders
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia called on Cuba to arrest 10 National Liberation Army commanders currently in Havana for stalled peace talks after a car bombing blamed on the leftist rebels killed 21 people and injured dozens at a police academy in Bogota.
President Ivan Duque said late Friday that he had revoked a decree suspending arrest orders against leaders of Colombia's last remaining rebel group, known as the ELN for its Spanish initials, who have been living on the communist-run island.
Trump’s Cuba policy hurts private sector, new figures say
HAVANA (AP) — President Donald Trump's Cuba policy is driving millions of dollars from the island's private entrepreneurs to its state-run tourism sector, the opposite of its supposed goal, according to new government figures.
Trump announced in June 2017 that he was tightening limits on U.S. travel to Cuba in order to starve military-linked travel businesses and funnel money directly to the Cuban people.
- Aiken StandardCelebrate Valentine's Day with Cuban music, culture, dance at USC AikenFebruary 2, 2019
- Tribune-ReviewTrump takes aim at Cuba, holds Havana responsible for Venezuela crisisOctober 31, 2018
- The AdvocateBest of Stamford: Lord & Taylor, Havana Jeans, The Collective named top shopping spotsOctober 21, 2018
AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from Latin America, Caribbean
This photo gallery highlights some of the top news images made by Associated Press photographers in Latin America and the Caribbean that were published in the past week.
Brazilians gathered at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Copacabana Beach to watch a spectacular fireworks display on New Year's Eve.
Mexico's leftist Zapatista movement welcomed the new year with a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of its brief armed uprising in the southern state of Chiapas.
AP photographer Desmond Boylan dies in Havana at 54
HAVANA (AP) — Desmond Boylan, a photographer who covered war and conflict across the world before dedicating his life to documenting the daily joys and tribulations of life in Cuba for The Associated Press, died suddenly while on assignment on Saturday afternoon in Havana. He was 54.
Cuba eliminates gay marriage language from new constitution
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba's government said Tuesday that language promoting the legalization of gay marriage will be removed from the draft of a new constitution after widespread popular rejection of the idea.
Gay rights advocates had proposed eliminating the description of marriage as a union of a man and woman, changing it to the union of "two people ... with absolutely equal rights and obligations."
Cubans welcome softer laws on business and art
HAVANA (AP) — Cuban entrepreneurs and artists are welcoming a series of government decisions to soften laws that they said would have sharply limited private enterprise and artistic expression.
The partial rollbacks announced last week may provide important clues to the governing style of President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the first person from outside the Castro family to hold the country's top position since its 1959 revolution.
Cubans fly around the world hunting shopping bargains
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Most people don't think of Haiti as a shopping destination. Unless they're Cuban.
Every afternoon, hundreds of Cubans swarm a rutted crossroads in the capital of the hemisphere's poorest nation, hunting clothes, light bulbs, perfume and other goods that are in short supply back home.
Cuba says the US is unfairly denying diplomatic visas
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba on Thursday accused the Trump administration of unfairly denying visas to diplomats assigned to work at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, which Cuban officials called part of a broader move to undo former President Barack Obama's opening with the island.
Canada weighing all options with Cuban embassy in Havana
TORONTO (AP) — Canada is considering all options regarding its embassy in Cuba after another diplomat was found to have fallen mysteriously ill.
A senior Canadian government official said Thursday that the latest diplomat affected first reported symptoms in the early part of the summer. Testing then confirmed it.
Cuban doctors land in Havana after program ends with Brazil
HAVANA (AP) — A first group of Cuban doctors who treated impoverished patients in Brazil returned to Havana on Friday as both countries end a program that saw thousands of doctors dispatched to underserved areas.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel greeted 211 doctors who had worked in the South American country in exchange for hundreds of millions in badly needed hard currency given to the government.
Classic car enthusiasts plan Dec. 15 festival in Havana
HAVANA (AP) — Hundreds of antique automobiles are expected to participate in an exhibition in Havana next month, in what its organizers hope will be the biggest gathering ever of classic car enthusiasts in Cuba.
The Dec. 15 event is planned to pay homage to the thousands of iconic old cars that cruise Cuba's streets.
- BusinessWireJetBlue to Serve Havana from More U.S. Cities than Any Other Airline with New Boston Service and Expanded Flights in South FloridaJune 26, 2018
- BusinessWireJetBlue to Serve Havana from More U.S. Cities than Any Other Airline with New Boston Service and Expanded Flights in South FloridaJune 26, 2018
- BusinessWireJetBlue Grows International Presence with Expanded Service in Havana and Mexico CityMay 8, 2018
Fashion show blends Cuban private enterprise, US sponsorship
HAVANA (AP) — Models in Cuba strutted in paint-stained shirts and leather construction boots Thursday night in an unusual blend of local private enterprise and American corporate sponsorship.
The open-air fashion show put on by the Cuban label Clandestina and internet giant Google was titled "Country Under Construction" and took place outside Havana's Museum of Fine Arts.
Cuba ends medical exchange program with Brazil
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba said Wednesday that it is ending a program that sent thousands of government doctors to underserved regions of Brazil in exchange for hundreds of millions in badly needed hard currency.
The end of the "Mas Medicos," or "More Doctors," program signals a sharp deterioration in relations between communist Cuba and Brazil, which just elected far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. He takes office Jan. 1.
US adds new sanctions on Cuba tourist attractions
HAVANA (AP) — The Trump Administration is adding new names to a list of Cuban tourist attractions that Americans are barred from visiting.
The 26 names range from the new five-star Iberostar Grand Packard and Paseo del Prado hotels in Old Havana to modest shopping centers in beachside resorts far from the capital. All are barred because they are owned by Cuba's military business conglomerate, GAESA.
JetBlue inaugurates route from Boston to Cuba’s capital
HAVANA (AP) — A JetBlue flight from Boston landed in Havana on Saturday, as the U.S. airline expanded its routes to Cuba despite a drop in American visitors amid tensions between the countries.
The plane with more than 120 passengers on board was received with flags from both countries at the Jose Marti airport in Cuba's capital.
Cuba extradites to US man wanted for killing in New Jersey
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba extradited to the United States a fugitive accused of killing his girlfriend in New Jersey as officials in the two countries cooperated in the case despite recent political tensions, Cuban and U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Cuban dancers return to island that once spurned them
HAVANA (AP) — As a young dancer compared with ballet legends Vaslav Nijinsky and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rolando Sarabia made headlines around the world when he abandoned Cuba in 2005 for a career in the United States.
He didn't dance in his homeland for 13 years, banned as part of a wider Cuban punishment of citizens who illegally left the country.
Havana fights trash problem ahead of 500th anniversary
HAVANA (AP) — Luxury hotels are rising fast along the Prado, the tree-lined colonial boulevard that is home to many of Havana's best-known architectural masterworks.
Yet within sight of five-star lodgings charging $500 a night, stray cats and flies swarm mountains of uncollected trash. Piles reeking of rotting waste spill out of dumpsters and climb waist-high as garbage trucks fail to appear for days and even weeks.
Cuba condemn US’s latest tough talk about the island
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba on Friday condemned the Trump administration's latest tough talk about the island and its allies but says the door remains open to talks with Washington.
Cuba's top diplomat on U.S. affairs struck a notably conciliatory tone alongside its condemnation of National security adviser John Bolton's Thursday speech laying out a hardline policy toward countries the White House branded a "troika of tyranny."
Injuries of US diplomats in China differ from those in Cuba
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fourteen of 15 U.S. diplomats pulled from China for medical testing this year have been found not to have the same set of injuries as personnel evacuated earlier from Cuba, the State Department said Wednesday.
Cuban constitutional reform spawns unusual public debate
HAVANA (AP) — In a country with no opinion polls, campaigns or independent mass media, a series of meetings on reforming Cuba's constitution has spawned a highly unusual debate on the island's political system and values.
American Airlines seeks to end flight from Charlotte to Cuba
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — American Airlines wants to move its flight to Havana from Charlotte, North Carolina, to its main Latin American hub at Miami International Airport.
Citing an airline statement, The Charlotte Observer reports the change, if approved, would allow the airline to offer six daily flights from Miami to Havana.
Rockers Blondie to play Cuba on four-day cultural exchange
Blondie will be playing two nights in Cuba next March as part of a four-day cultural exchange program, and fans can come along.
The iconic rock group announced Monday that they will play two concerts during their March 14-18 visit in Havana, which will also feature Cuban musicians Alain Perez, David Torrens and Sintesis.
No progress as US, Cuba meet on mysterious ‘health attacks’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cuba said Thursday the United States is continuing to withhold important information that could help in the investigation into mysterious incidents that have injured some two dozen Havana-based American diplomats, including some with brain damage, since late 2016.
The Latest: Cuba says US withholds info on diplomat attacks
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a meeting between U.S. officials and Cuban officials about mystery incidents in Havana that have injured American diplomats. (all times local):
Cuba said Thursday the United States is continuing to withhold important information that could help in the investigation into mysterious incidents that have injured some two dozen Havana-based American diplomats, including some with brain damage, since late 2016.
Women seek bartending jobs in Cuba as tourism industry grows
HAVANA (AP) — For years, Barbara Betancourt has left her two teenage daughters at home and put on black pants and a white shirt to go to the bar.
Elegant and charismatic, she is the face of an increasingly visible phenomenon in Cuba: the rise in female bartenders who break convention to benefit from the growing tourism industry, grabbing job opportunities that have come in the last five years with the opening of new private businesses.
Cuba gives scholarships to Colombians, including ex-rebels
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — As a medic for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Jhony Guependo saved a comrade who stepped on a land mine from bleeding to death. He also stitched up guerrilla fighters who had injured themselves with machetes while building camps deep in Colombia's rainforest.
But Guependo, 25, says he never had any formal medical training. The former rebel is now trying to fix that, and build a new life for himself, by studying medicine in Cuba.
Cubans getting early taste of mobile internet in system test
HAVANA (AP) — One of the world's least-wired countries was a little more connected on Wednesday.
The state telecommunications company of Cuba launched the second, and most extensive, of two test runs of a mobile network that would give ordinary citizens greater access to the internet than has existed before on the island.
HAVANA (AP) — A finding by a Mexican airline that pilot error was to blame for a deadly passenger jet crash in May was dismissed as premature Tuesday by the Cuban authorities charged with determining the cause of the accident.
An investigative commission said in a statement read on state TV that it has not completed its analysis of "many factors" that could have contributed to the May 18 crash. "For that reason, any assertion about the possible causes that caused the fatal accident is premature."
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department confirmed Thursday that another U.S. diplomat has been affected by mysterious health incidents in Cuba, bringing the total of Americans suffering from such ailments to 26.
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the diplomat was "medically confirmed" to have experienced health effects similar to those reported by other members of the U.S. Havana diplomatic community.
Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media
HAVANA (AP) — Minutes after a plane carrying 113 people crashed on takeoff from Havana airport, Cuban state media filled with minute-by-minute updates, cellphone video from the accident and an interview from the scene with newly named President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
When Tropical Storm Alberto struck the island later in May, causing nearly a dozen deaths, state television broadcast unusually lengthy footage of meetings among ministers coordinating the response.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Thursday renewed calls for the Cuban government to determine the source of health "attacks" on U.S. diplomats in Cuba that have affected some two dozen people. Cuba again denied any involvement or knowledge of any such attacks.
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba released details Sunday on the latest mysterious health incident involving a U.S. diplomat in the country, saying that Cuban officials learned of the episode late last month when the U.S. said that an embassy official felt ill after hearing "undefined sounds" in her home in Havana.