U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 10/23/2020

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…

U.S.-CUBA RELATIONS

U.S. Treasury Department implements Cuba policy on remittances 

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to subject remittance forwarding entities and related transactions to sanctions in the Cuba Restricted List. OFAC is amending three general licenses in the Code of Federal Regulations which will impact transactions related to remittances from persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, transactions related to the provision of remittance forwarding services, and to remittances from Cuban nationals to persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction. This policy is purportedly intended to deny Cuba’s government access to funds related to remittances sent to Cuba, but will serve to further close channels through which the Cuban people can receive remittances. It will be published in the Federal Register on October 27 and will be made effective 30 days following that. Click here for an explainer of actions taken by the Trump administration to curb remittances to Cuba. 

U.S. diplomats and spies battle Trump administration over suspected attacks

This week, news broke that Marc Polymeropoulos, a C.I.A. officer who was working in Russia in 2017, suffered severe vertigo and later migraines, in his Moscow hotel room in an incident that is being linked to those experienced by U.S. personnel in Havana and China, the New York Times reports. Mr. Polymeropoulos, who was working in Russia and across Europe at the time, is one of several senior C.I.A. officials and other U.S. officials who reportedly experienced headaches, dizziness, sleep issues, memory loss, and other symptoms following still-unexplained incidents overseas. C.I.A. analysts told the New York Times that Russia had motives for attacking them, which included stopping C.I.A. officials from working with overseas organizations to counter Russian covert operations. According to two American officials interviewed by the New York TimesGina Haspel, C.I.A. director, says that while Russia may have had a motive for attacking U.S. personnel, she is not yet convinced it is responsible for the symptoms.  

In 2017, it was reported that over 20 U.S. personnel and at least 14 Canadian diplomats based in Havana all reported experiencing symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and ringing in the ears as a result of what the State Department at the time called “attacks” but now refers to as “incidents.” As a result, non-essential U.S. personnel working at the U.S. Embassy in Havana were evacuated. In 2018, U.S. diplomats in Guangzhou and Beijing reported similar symptoms. A series of investigations conducted by the U.S. State Department, Cuba’s government, and various teams of doctors have yet to determine a cause or source of the symptoms. The Administration’s response to the incidents in Cuba and China have differed significantly. U.S. diplomats in China have not received the same medical treatment as those from Cuba, despite reporting similar symptoms, and whereas the U.S. Embassy in Havana has been operating with a skeletal staff since 2017, the U.S. diplomatic presence in China was unaffected. 

In August, the U.S. State Department reportedly received a report detailing the results of a study of the incidents conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, but they have not shared the document with Congress or the public. A New York Times investigation found that the U.S. State Department, which handled both the Cuba and the China cases, has produced inconsistent assessments of events, ignored the opinions of outside medical experts, and withheld information from Congress. 

Cuba says U.S. trade embargo cost more than $5 billion last year

Cuba’s government stated that the U.S. embargo cost it more than $5 billion over the last fiscal year and hindered its ability to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reports. Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez stated this at a news conference in Havana launching Cuba’s 29th annual campaign for a United Nations (U.N.) vote on a resolution condemning the U.S. embargo, a resolution that passes annually with overwhelming margins. The U.N. General Assembly vote was originally scheduled for this month but will now be held in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuba’s government estimates that from April 2019 to May 2020, the U.S. embargo cost it $5.570 billion, about $1.226 billion more than last year. This brings the total cost to $144 billion since the embargo was implemented in 1960. Mr. Rodríguez also stated that U.S. sanctions made it difficult for Cuba to acquire ventilators and personal protective equipment needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, and that U.S. policies currently separate Cuban/Cuban American families. The Trump administration has largely reversed Obama-era policies of engagement with Cuba, limiting travel and restricting remittances among other policies. For a full summary of President Trump’s changes to U.S.-Cuba policy, see CDA’s explainer

New U.S. Ambassador to Cuba: Visa issuance is “an issue we have to solve” [Spanish] 

This week, El Enjambre Podcast interviewed the Chargé d’Affaires in the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Timothy Zúñiga-Brown, who began his tour on July 31. Camilo Condis, one of the podcast hosts, asked Ambassador Zúñiga-Brown about various aspects of U.S.-Cuba relations, including the embargo, support for Cuba’s private sector, immigration, and U.S. sanctions. Asked whether after 58 years the U.S. embargo is an effective policy, Ambassador Zúñiga-Brown stated that the goal of the U.S. embargo is to restrict the flow of funds to Cuba’s government, Ministry of the Interior, and Ministry of the Armed Forces, and he suggested there are still several areas of connection, including some trade, between the U.S. and Cuba. Mr. Condis also asked how the U.S. can support the Cuban people and Cuba’s private sector given that the work of Cubans who are a part of Cuba’s private sector is often complicated and limited by the U.S. embargo. Ambassador Zúñiga-Brown responded that internet access is crucial for Cuba’s private sector and makes it possible for businesses to advertise and sell their products to consumers in the U.S., but he did acknowledge that doing so can be difficult. 

Mr. Condis also asked Ambassador Zúñiga-Brown about the lack of U.S. consular services in Cuba and the 20,000 annual visas the U.S. is required to grant to Cubans based on bilateral agreements between the U.S. and Cuba. Ambassador Zúñiga-Brown stated that, due to incidents which affected the health of U.S. personnel and, most recently, due to COVID-19, embassy staff had to be reduced and will continue this way for the time being. Ambassador Zúñiga-Brown also asserted that the U.S. is committed to fulfilling its obligations of granting 20,000 and that this is something the U.S. needs to “resolver” (resolve). Ambassador Zúñiga-Brown also stated that he would like to see Cuba to get to a point where Cubans do not want to migrate and are able to stay in their home country. 

U.S. flights to Cuba return at high prices [Spanish] 

Various airlines have begun selling flights from the U.S. to Havana for November, El Nuevo Herald reports. Cuba’s government announced a few weeks ago that it would open most of its airports to international travel, excluding Havana. They have yet to give a specific date for when Havana’s airport will reopen. Despite this, U.S. airlines have begun selling flights to Cuba’s capital. While a flight from Miami to Havana previously cost about $300 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flights being offered for the first days of November are selling for $400 to $1,800. A spokeswoman from American Airlines stated they will begin offering three daily flights from Miami to Havana starting on November 4. JetBlue, which offers flights from Fort Lauderdale to Havana, will resume service on November 4. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines and public charter companies offered about 10 daily flights to and from South Florida and Cuba. In December 2019, the Trump administration banned flights from the U.S. to all destinations in Cuba other than Havana.

Mike Pence spoke at a Cuban memorial. But his Miami speech was to a broader audience

Last Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence held a Latinos for Trump campaign rally for Hispanic voters in Miami, Florida, the Miami Herald reports. Vice President Pence spoke about the pandemic, the Supreme Court, and religion, and condemned Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s record on Latin America. Vice President Pence also discussed President Trump’s future Cuba policy plans, stating he will not lift Cuban sanctions until all political prisoners are released, and rights to free expression, assembly, and elections are respected. 

According to a Pew Research Center report, approximately 2.4 million Latinos are registered to vote in Florida, making up about 17 percent of the state’s total eligible voters. In-person early voting began statewide on Monday, and millions of Floridians have already mailed their ballots. 

Miami Bay of Pigs veteran featured in new anti-Trump ads paid for by Bloomberg PACA second Bay of Pigs invasion fighter rejects Trump endorsement

On Tuesday, Mike Bloomberg’s political action committee launched two Spanish-language anti-Trump advertisements in Florida which will air until Election Day, the Miami Herald reports. Santiago Morales, a Cuban American Bay of Pigs veteran, is featured in the ads where he discusses his experience as a political prisoner in Cuba for 18 years. Mr. Morales also pushes against the narrative that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is a socialist. This advertisement is in part an effort by Florida Democrats to draw attention to high levels of disinformation in Hispanic Miami communities which cast Biden as a socialist. 

Mr. Morales is not the only Bay of Pigs veteran rejecting President Trump. This morning, José Andreu, a top commander of the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and the first person recruited for the mission, publicly rejected the reelection of President Trump and denounced his actions as president the last four years. While Mr. Andreu is not endorsing a candidate, he stated “We need to get rid of Trump.” He also said Bay of Pigs Veterans Association members should be able to express their rejection of President Trump without fear of retaliation from other members. Mr. Andreu shared with the Miami Herald a letter he sent to Colonel Johnny López de la Cruz, president of Brigade 2506, on July 10 expressing his opposition to endorsing President Trump for reelection. In the letter, Mr. Andreu wrote President Trump has been a “disastrous” leader who has attacked national institutions and destroyed the Republican Party. In 2016, the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association made their first ever presidential endorsement when they endorsed Donald Trump. They have not made an endorsement this presidential election. 

The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a failed U.S. military operation where about 1,500 Cuban exiles trained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) attempted to invade Cuba from the Bay of Pigs and overthrow Fidel Castro and his government. In September, President Trump honored Cuban-American Bay of Pigs veterans at a White House event. 

South Florida U.S. House Candidates Talk Cuba Relations

Two candidates for U.S. Representative of Florida’s 26th congressional district, Democrat incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Republican opponent Carlos Giménez, shared their opinions on U.S.-Cuba policy in an interview with Keys Weekly. Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell stated she stands with all the families who have immigrated from Cuba and that “The last 50 years of policy have not worked. It’s time for a change in policy.” She added that current limits on remittances and the separation of Cuban families only hurt Cubans and Cuban-Americans, and urged that her bill, the Cuban Family Reunification Act, be adopted. The bill would restart the Cuban Parole Family Reunification Program, a program which since 2007 has allowed U.S. Citizens and permanent residents to apply for parole for their family members in Cuba, which would allow them to come to the U.S. and apply for permanent residency. The Republican candidate, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez, stated he believes the U.S. “must prioritize Cuba policies that focus on greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people, not the regime” and claimed the source of all of Cuba’s problems is the “Castro regime.” Mayor Giménez also said he will “support policies that undermine them and promote democracy.” 

Rep. Mucarsel-Powell is currently completing her first term as the Representative for Florida’s 26th district which includes parts of southern Miami-Dade County, Homestead, and the Florida Keys. She is the first woman to represent the 26th district and the first Ecuadorian-born person to be elected to Congress. Mayor Giménez was first elected Miami-Dade County Mayor in 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2017. 

Continued: Interview with Aisha Cort 

CDA: You are currently a Spanish professor at Howard University in DC. How do you incorporate the study of Cuba and other countries in your courses? 

Aisha: As an educator, my goal is to bring a variety of experiences to my students, so that they have various points of entry to Cuban and Latin American culture regardless of their language level. Cultural understanding is central to all of my classes whether it be beginning Spanish 001 or more advanced Spanish and Latin American studies majors with study abroad experience. Especially now with university restrictions on study abroad, I am working double-time to be creative and resourceful, to help students see that learning a language or fulfilling a language requirement is just the tip of the iceberg. It opens so many doors. We recently did a mini-virtual language exchange over the course of a week with our partner university in Oaxaca, Mexico for our students in Spanish 1. I can’t tell you how many students wrote saying that the experience was so much more enriching than they imagined it would be. 

There are so many amazing networks and groups working in the Cuba space and focused on Latin America and the Caribbean that I’ve been able to tap into for my courses. In the past, I’ve been able to connect students with former ambassadors, who have graciously come in to speak to classes and share their wealth of information, as well as organizations and embassies around the DC area who gladly open their doors to us. 

We also have wonderful on-campus resources such as the Ralph Bunche Center, whose Director, Tonija Hope Navas, is always on board for any opportunity that centers our students and their exposure to and connection with cultures other than their own. In fact, we held the first Afro-Cuban Lecture Series at Howard in 2019 at the Bunche Center, which featured Roberto Zurbano, Obsesión, and Cimafunk. Also, students who I’ve worked with in the past have also been amazing resources for students who are just at the beginning of their language journey and very open to sharing with their peers. It’s a beautiful domino effect. 

CDA: You have helped organize travel delegations to Cuba. What have you seen are the most tangible impacts of traveling to Cuba? How do you believe educational travel to Cuba can benefit U.S. students?

Aisha: For American travelers, especially those with a Cuban background, traveling to Cuba on their own terms is such a profound experience. Many of us have heard the stories and experiences of our parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents and those stories definitely sink in and feel like your own narrative, but they create a bias as you begin to formulate your own opinions about Cuba. 

In the U.S., I believe there still are many prominent myths that circulate about Cuba, its people, and what it is like “on the ground”. These myths have become a political battleground for many, but educational travel to Cuba can only help to expand the global perspective of U.S. students. For Cuban Americans, traveling and actually spending time in Cuba, allows you to break from narratives that are not your own in order to create your own unique experiences and relationships to the island and that can be a difficult process for many. The Cuba I know from my youth into adulthood, is not the Cuba my mother left, just as the Cuba my mother knew is not the Cuba that my grandmother left and returned to. All of our experiences in and relationships to Cuba are very different, real, and absolutely valid. To that end, the most effective strategy that I have used in planning delegations is to provide a balance of structure and space so that students and travelers feel comfortable to explore Cuba on their own, process what they are experiencing and also the very necessary space to start to meaningfully build their own connections to and relationship with Cuba- and that can take many different forms. 

CDA: What projects are you currently working on? What areas of U.S.-Cuba engagement would you like to see expand over the next few years? Why?

Aisha: I’m currently balancing my time currently between projects that feed my career, creativity and self-care:

  •  Editing my forthcoming manuscript, Representing Race in Revolutionary Cuba: Afrocubanía, negrometraje, and cultural production, 1961-1996 (SUNY Press)
  • Editing Black Camera’s Fall 2021 Special Close-Up issue on Contemporary Cuban Cinema
  • Working on my candle line, VELA NEGRA, a line of black wax, vegan coconut soy candles, which is inspired by my Cuban and Guyanese heritage and was recently featured on Good Morning America (www.thevelanegra.com)
  • And finally, working on the newly launched podcast, Negrometraje, that examines Afro-Latino representation and expression in film, which I co-host with Manuel Mendez.

The recent shifts in U.S.-Cuba policy have been detrimental to the livelihood of many on the island and have had immense repercussions – and then COVID was added to all of that. I would love to see a return to and expansion of US-Cuba policies that actually consider the realities of Cuban and Cuban American families that are affected by the constant political chess games. I am particularly interested in seeing expanded opportunities for Cuban creatives and entrepreneurs to share their talents with the world and also benefit from them. There is soooo much talent on the island that either only a small audience is aware of, or that are unable to access the tools needed to increase visibility and resources to further their projects and even more are those who want to stay on the island and work and live in Cuba, but feel that they don’t have a choice but to look abroad for opportunities to thrive and provide for their families and loved ones. 

IN CUBA

Cuba begins clinical trial of its second COVID-19 vaccine candidate

On Monday, Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute announced it would begin Phase I of a second COVID-19 vaccine, Soberana 01A, which was approved by the Cuban Center for State Control of Medicine, OnCuba News reports. Phase I will take place from October 19 to November 9, and is scheduled to be completed by February 2021. During Phase 1, scientists will apply two to three doses to 60 volunteers. Cuba’s first COVID-19 vaccine, Soberana 01 began clinical trials in late August and began the second phase on September 1.

Cuba has an extensive vaccine production capacity since it currently produces 80 percent of the vaccines it uses in its National Immunization Program. In September, experts from the Finlay Vaccine Institute met virtually with authorities from the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization to provide updates on the status of Cuba’s COVID-19 vaccine, Soberana 01, that was in its first phase of clinical trials. 

Teachers from other provinces return to Havana to restart the school year [Spanish]

On Tuesday, approximately 3,000 teachers currently residing in Cuba’s different provinces will return to Havana to prepare to restart the 2019-2020 school year, CubaDebate reports. Thousands of teachers and principals returned to their home provinces in mid-July due to COVID-19. The academic school year resumed on September 1 in almost all of Cuba’s provinces but, since Havana remained on COVID lockdown, many of Havana’s teachers remained in the provinces and supported local schools while preparing for the return to in-person learning. A group of teachers from Holguín were among the first to return to Havana on October 20. After the 2019-2020 school year ends, the 2020-2021school year will officially begin in November.

Meliá proposes long stays in Cuban hotels

Meliá Hotel International has begun advertising a new program for long-term stays in Varadero, OnCuba News reports. Meliá is offering stays of over 21 nights in three of its Varadero’s hotels for guests looking to travel this fall and winter, citing the hotels’ safety and cultural attractions as reasons to stay with them. The announcement comes shortly after Cuba’s government announced they will soon be opening Cuba’s borders to allow international tourism after international travel was banned for seven months to limit the spread of COVID-19. Meliá Hotels International operates 39 hotels in Cuba. 

Cuba’s government targets social media influencers

Last Wednesday, Cuban police arrived at the homes of four Cuban YouTubers who were planning to participate in an online forum discussion on Cuban politics, Human Rights Watch reports. Of the four, Jancel Moreno and Maykel Castillo were detained by police, Iliana Hernández’s internet was cut, and Ruhama Fernández hid to be able to participate in the discussion via phone.

Ruhama Fernández began her YouTube channel ten months ago. Her videos discuss Cuban current events and feature interviews with Cubans sharing their opinions on Cuba’s government. Ms. Fernández and the other YouTubers and influencers have reportedly faced harassment on multiple occasions. Ms. Fernández previously received citations from the police and was denied a passport to travel to the United States in August by an Interior Ministry official due to “reasons of public interest.” This report is also available in Spanish.

CUBA’S FOREIGN RELATIONS

Payment suspended for extension of Cubans’ stay abroad

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry announced that Cuban nationals currently living abroad will not have to pay a fee to extend their stays, clarifying an announcement shared last week by several Cuban consulates stating that Cuban nationals would have to resume paying a fee for each month their stay outside Cuba is extended beyond two years, OnCuba News reports. Cuba’s Foreign Ministry tweeted that Cuban nationals living abroad will be able to stay in the country they are currently residing without paying the consular fee “as long as this situation persists.”

Cuban Decree 302 stipulates that a Cuban citizen living abroad must re-enter Cuba at least once every 24 months “to maintain the status of ‘Cuban citizen residing abroad.’” If more than 24 months pass without visiting Cuba, citizens may request an extension for their time abroad and pay a fee which varies depending on the country of residence. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuba’s government waived the fee on March 19. 

RECOMMENDED READINGS AND VIEWINGS

Small and medium-sized enterprises are essential in the type of monetary reform that the Cuban government has announced, Pavel Vidal, Columbia Law School: Cuba Capacity Building Project [Spanish]

In this essay, Pavel Vidal argues that Cuba’s currency unification will have a dramatic impact on the Cuban economy, but that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, also known as PYMES in Spanish) have the ability to adapt to these changes quickly and take advantage of them. He ends his essay by claiming that since Cuba does not depend on the support of multilateral institutions to ensure successful economic reform, small and medium-size companies and structural changes in monetary policy are the keys to success.

How will Florida’s Cuban Americans vote? That’s more complicated than many believe, Yamil Ricardo Velez, The Washington Post 

In this essay, Yamil Ricardo Velez writes that it is difficult to predict how Cuban American voters will vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, since the group’s voting patterns are not unified. Dr. Velez complicates the common myth of Cuban American voters which he argues is “frozen in time” by pointing to differences in party affiliations and political beliefs among Cuban Americans from different immigration waves, generations, and geography. Dr. Velez ends his essay by writing that Cuban Americans typically vote based on party identity the way most voters do. He also states that candidates who want to win over Cuban American voters should begin by acknowledging the diversity within the Cuban American community. 

Cuban Americans fear socialist dictators. So why are they backing the caudillo for president?, Lizette Alvarez, TheWashington Post

In this opinion piece, Lizette Alvarez argues that President Trump’s authoritarian style poses a threat to the U.S.’s prosperity and freedom and that Cuban Americans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and immigrants from other Latin American countries who have experience with authoritarian leaders in their home countries should be aware of this. Ms. Alvarez ends her argument stating that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign team should fight the narrative that he is a socialist by reminding Cuban Americans of the reason they are in the U.S.: “to preserve liberty and democracy, not to undermine it.”

Cuba, the President and “Guasinton”, Pedro Freyre, Univision

In this opinion piece, Pedro Freyre argues that almost every U.S. president since William McKinley has promised to “solve the Cuban problem” in order to win the Cuban American vote by following three steps: (1) saying that Fidel Castro is to blame for everything in Cuba, (2) stating they will be “tough” with Cuba’s government and (3) calling their opponents socialists. Mr. Freyre argues that many politicians take advantage of the Cuban American community’s reactionary response to the word “socialism” and that for the upcoming elections the community should instead realize that President Trump’s actions are more like those of former Cuban dictators than like those of someone trying to stand up to them. 

Joe Biden is making a late push for Cuban American voters in Florida. Will it matter?, Deirdre Shesgreen, USA Today

In this article, Deirdre Shesgreen writes about how, despite the South Florida Cuban American community’s traditional support for the Republican Party, there are new efforts underway among a part of the Cuban American community to support Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Ms. Shesgreen discusses the efforts of Democrat Cuban Americans and other Joe Biden supporters, including Mike Bloomberg, to secure his support in South Florida, speculating about whether these efforts will make a difference come November.  

Surviving the pandemic: blind Cuban piano tuner struggles to make ends meet, Reuters Staff, Reuters 

In this article, Flora Villareal, a 67 year-old blind Cuban piano tuner, discusses her struggle finding work and making ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mrs. Villareal was trained in an experimental piano tuning program for the blind and visually impaired in 1970 and has worked as a piano tuner since. Because of Cuba’s COVID-19 lockdown, recording studios and performance venues have been closed for months, so she has had to rely on her monthly pension. 

This acclaimed Latino architect is designing a groundbreaking Cuban cultural center, Charu Suri, Architectural Digest

In this article, Charu Suri writes about one of Miami’s most acclaimed architects, René González, being selected to design CasaCuba, a new think tank and cultural center at Florida International University meant to celebrate and preserve Cuban history and heritage. Mr. González was selected from among 15 architects for the project which is scheduled to be completed by spring 2024. Mr. González shared the design he envisions will capture the essence of Cuban architecture in a non-traditional way. Read CDA’s interview with Casa Cuba’s Executive Director María Carla Chicuén here

EVENTS 

Virtual, 90 Miles Podcast

The 90 Miles Podcast is produced by a collective of Cubans, Americans, Cuban-Americans. Each episode features interviews with Cuban entrepreneurs, artists, and creatives. Today, 90 Miles released an episode with Cuban musical sensation, Cimafunk. Podcast episodes are available for listening here.

Virtual and Syracuse, NY; Photo Exhibit: “Waiting for Normal”, October 22-January 17 

Joe Guerriero, a documentarian and photojournalist, is unveiling a new photo exhibit called “Waiting for Normal” which tells the stories of Cubans affected by the embargo. Mr. Guerriero, who has been visiting Cuba since 1999, created the exhibit which features 32 photos taken during his travels to the island from 1999 to 2019. He said he hopes his photos “help people understand how the embargo has impacted Cuban society over time.” The exhibit is available for viewing in person at ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse, NY and virtually

Virtual, Cuban Entrepreneurship in 2020, October 28

The Americas Society/Council of the Americas Young Professionals of the Americas and Cuba Working Group are hosting a conversation with three Cuban entrepreneurs based in Havana to discuss their experiences running private businesses in Cuba and how they have adapted their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event features 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


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