Your Cuba Central News Blast is arriving a little early in your inbox this week. This enables our staff to enjoy their Thanksgiving holidays, and offers our readers, especially in the U.S., something to chew on over the long weekend.
Here’s just a sample of the sumptuous array of stories we’re serving this week:
For appetizers, let us suggest some bite-sized stories about economic and institutional reform coming out of Cuba. Reuters is reporting that farmers will be able to directly sell food to the tourist industry eliminating the state as a middle man. According to another report, the island’s postal service will be restructured and decentralized to improve efficiency and cut costs and turned into a state-run business. Restrictions on internal travel by Cubans are being relaxed, according to the Associated Press, so that those with close family in Havana will not have to ask the government’s permission to move to the capital. The scope and meaning of Cuba’s recent reforms in housing are still subject to debate – on the island and here in the U.S. – according to this article from the Miami Herald.
For main course, we’re pleased to recommend “Pull of Family Reshapes U.S.-Cuban Relations,” an intriguing report from the New York Times on how warming attitudes among Cuban Americans toward Cuba – facilitated by changes in U.S. travel policy initiated by President Obama – have led to a jump in travel to the island, a surge in support for families, and greater contributions of items that Cubans need to start their own small businesses. The article traces how developments in demography (with new arrivals now outnumbering “aging Cuban exiles from the 1960s”) and changing perspectives (the priority is family and not ideology) are contributing to reconciliation for the Cuban families on both sides of the Straits.
For dessert, you might sample this survey from the International Republican Institute. It’s easy to be skeptical about polling information, here and in Cuba, but results in this poll are fascinating. They suggest Cubans have a far greater preoccupation with economic issues (salaries, the double currency, and food) than political ones; they are skeptical that the current government will succeed in solving Cuba’s biggest problems in the next few years; they are increasingly positive about the way things are going in Cuba, but uncertain about how things are going to change in the next twelve months.
Now, you’ll notice, we haven’t specifically put turkey on the News Blast menu. Believe us; with one U.S. political leader calling for a 21st Century Monroe Doctrine in last night’s CNN security debate, it was mighty tempting.
For these tasty morsels and more, we bring you this week in Cuba news…Enjoy!