U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 01/15/2021

January 15, 2021

Dear Friends,

We hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy. 

In celebration of CDA’s 14th anniversary, we are hosting an online auction! Our items include clothing, books, candles, and more created by Cuban or Cuban American creatives and entrepreneurs, as well as a Fender American Acoustasonic guitar. All proceeds will go to support CDA’s work advocating for a U.S.-Cuba policy based on engagement. 

It is with a heavy heart that we share that CDA friend Albor Ruíz, a Cuban American journalist and writer, passed away last week at age 80. Mr. Ruíz immigrated to the U.S. from Cardenas, Cuba in 1961 at age 20 and graduated from the University of Florida. He had a decades-long career as a journalist and was a 2003 inductee of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Hall of Fame. His ashes will be scattered in Varadero, Cuba, a wish he wrote about in his famous poem “Por si muero mañana” (“In case I die tomorrow”). Our deepest condolences to his loved ones. 

Yesterday, Cuba reported 547 new COVID-19 cases (with a total of 3,960 active cases), ending a six-day streak of record-breaking numbers of new cases per day. In January alone, Cuba has experienced seven days of record-breaking new cases per day, according to EFE’s Lorena Cantó as reported by CNN’s Patrick Oppmann. The number of deaths has increased by 16 since December, bringing the total to 162 deaths since March. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 01/08/2021

January 8, 2021

Dear Friends,

We’re happy to bring the first news brief of 2021 to your inboxes. Before we do, we must comment about the events in Washington, DC this week. On Wednesday, as the violent mob, incited by the President of the United States, descended upon the Capitol, CDA watched with shock, fear, and sadness. Offices occupied by friends and colleagues were ransacked, hallways that we regularly walk were under siege, and a democracy that we hold dear faced – and continues to face – a serious attack. CDA’s mission is rooted in pressing for change in U.S. policy — urging U.S. policies that respect our neighbors in the Americas, that champion dialogue, and that craft mutually beneficial bilateral agendas. This week reinforced for us the need to start at home. There’s a lot of work to be done, starting from a place of humility. And we’re here for it. We hope you and your loved ones are safe. 

In celebration of CDA’s 14th anniversary, we are hosting an online auction. ⁠Almost all items come from Cuban and Cuban American creatives and entrepreneurs. The auction includes a Fender American Acoustasonic guitar of the same model Carlos Varela plays and official merchandise from Afro-Cuban funk sensation Cimafunk among many more items. All proceeds will go to support CDA’s work advocating for a U.S.-Cuba policy based on engagement. Anyone may bid on items and the auction will end on February 10 at 5 PM EST. 

Yesterday, Cuba reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began with a total of 2,118 activeCOVID-19 cases. The number of deaths has increased by 11 since December, bringing the total to 148 deaths since March. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 12/18/2020

December 18, 2020

Dear Friends,

Six years ago this week, President Obama announced he was normalizing relations with Cuba. In the months and years that followed, we saw the growth of Cuba’s entrepreneurial sector, expansion of Wi-Fi and mobile internet services, and environmental partnerships among many others. Sadly, several aspects of the normalization agenda have since been reversed. We teamed up with the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to write “The United States and Cuba: A New Policy of Engagement,” a policy roadmap for how the Biden-Harris administration may implement an engagement policy. We invite you to read our report and to share it far and wide with those you believe may be interested. Although this has been a challenging year in many ways, we are hopeful about 2021 and are ready to continue working hard after the holidays. We hope you enjoy our last news brief of 2020. 

For those who missed our webinar “The Latino Vote is not a Monolith: Analyzing the Cuban American Vote in the 2020 Elections” with Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS) earlier this month, you may watch a recording of the event here

Cuba experienced a slight increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 862 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. The number of deaths increased by one, totaling 137 deaths since March. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 12/11/2020

December 11, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you and yours are well.

Cuba experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 839 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. Cuba’s total number of deaths since March is 136. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 12/4/2020

December 4, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you and yours are well. We have a busy blast this week! A big thank you to all those who donated for Giving Tuesday! It’s not too late to donate – you may support our work by donating on our website

Cuba experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 623 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. Cuba’s total number of deaths since March is 136. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 11/20/2020

November 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you’re all doing well. Today CDA joined forces with seven other organizations to denounce the Trump administration’s latest Cuba remittance restrictions which have resulted in Western Union, Cuba’s main remittance sender, announcing the closure of its Cuba operations. The statement is available on our website in English and in Spanish.

Cuba experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 363 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. Cuba’s total number of deaths since March is 131. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

Over the next few weeks, we will be interviewing Cuban Americans and Cubans to reflect on the results of the U.S. presidential election and share their hopes for the future of U.S.-Cuba relations in a Biden-Harris administration.

This week we interviewed Manuel R. Gómez. Manuel is a Cuban American occupational and environmental health and safety professional who lives with his family between Washington, D.C. and Miami Beach. Manuel was the founder and Executive Director of the Cuban American Committee for the Normalization of Relations in the 1970s and 80s. He was formerly a member of the CDA Board of Directors.

To read this week’s interview with Manuel R. Gómez, visit the “U.S.-Cuba Relations” section.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba New Brief: 11/13/2020

November 13, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you’re all doing well.

Cuba experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 430 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. Cuba’s total number of deaths since March is 131. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

CDA is seeking two remote spring interns! Interns work in three key areas: Policy and Advocacy; Communications and Social Media; and Nonprofit Development. The deadline to apply is November 15. Visit our website to learn more about the internship and to read reflections from past interns.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 11/06/2020

November 6, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you and yours are safe and healthy.

Cuba experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 554 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. Cuba’s total number of deaths since March is 130. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

CDA is seeking two remote spring interns! Interns work in three key areas: Policy and Advocacy; Communications and Social Media; and Nonprofit Development. The deadline to apply is November 15. Visit our website to learn more about the internship and to read reflections from past interns.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 10/30/2020

October 30, 2020

Dear Friends,

We wish you and yours a fun and safe Halloween weekend. Also, for those eligible, please VOTE! Visit vote.org for polling place locations, hours, and ballot information.

Cuba experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 493 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. Cuba’s total number of deaths since March is 128. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

CDA is seeking two remote spring interns! Interns work in three key areas: Policy and Advocacy; Communications and Social Media; and Nonprofit Development. The deadline to apply is November 15. Visit our website to learn more about the internship and to read reflections from past interns. 

This week, we are continuing our interviews with Cuban Americans doing work we admire. We interviewed Michael Bustamante, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Florida International University in Miami. 

To read this week’s interview with Michael Bustamante, visit the “U.S.-Cuba Relations” section.

This week, in Cuba news…

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U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 10/23/2020

October 23, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you and yours are safe and healthy. 

The Americas Society/Council of the Americas is hosting an online event called Cuban Entrepreneurship in 2020 on October 28 with three Cuban entrepreneurs based in Havana. The event will feature Marta Deus, Co-Founder of Mandao, Lauren Fajardo, Co-Founder of Dador, and Liber Puente, Founder & CEO of TostoneT. More information about the event and registration information is available here

Cuba experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with 420 active COVID-19 cases at the time of publication. Cuba’s total number of deaths since March is 128. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.

CDA is seeking two spring interns! Interns work in three key areas: Policy and Advocacy; Communications and Social Media; and Nonprofit Development. The deadline to apply is November 15. Visit our website to learn more about the internship and to read reflections from past interns. 

This week, we are continuing our interviews with Cuban Americans doing work we admire. We interviewed Aisha Cort, scholar and social entrepreneur, about her connection to Cuba and current projects. 

Before this week’s news, an interview with Aisha Cort, scholar and social entrepreneur.  

CDA: What is your connection to Cuba?  

Aisha: I am a first-generation Cuban and Guyanese American, born and raised in an Afro-Latino community of Cubans, Hondureños, Costa Ricans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Guatemaltecans in Boston, Ma. My mother and uncle came to the US in 1963 via Operation Peter Pan. My grandmother arrived a few years earlier in 1959. 

I began traveling back to Cuba regularly with my grandmother at the age of 13 to spend summers with family in Havana. My mother never returned to the island after she left, but she remained devoted to our family there and extremely proud of her Cuban heritage despite disagreeing with the political system.

Now as an adult, I return about 3-4 times a year to visit family and friends, to relax, and also for research and to bring groups of language learners down for cultural immersion experiences. Away from the island, I stay engaged via various redes sociales [social networks], social and academic projects/initiatives that keep me connected to the island. 

To continue reading the full interview with Aisha Cort, visit the “U.S.-Cuba Relations” section.

This week, in Cuba news…

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