We wish you and yours a safe and healthy holiday weekend.
For your weekend reading list, be sure to check out Oxfam America’s new report Right to Live Without a Blockade: The Impact of U.S. Sanctions on the Cuban Population and Women’s Lives. The report advocates for a policy of engagement between the U.S. and Cuba, including lifting U.S. sanctions against the island as Cuba faces one of its most dire economic crises since the fall of the Soviet Union.
After just over three months in office, the Biden-Harris administration’s Cuba policy continues to look much like that of the Trump administration’s path on Cuba. This week the U.S. State Department announced that Cuba would remain on the list of countries not fully cooperating with U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The decision comes despite the fact that President-Elect Joseph Biden pledged during his campaign to reverse a portion of the former Administration’s policies concerning Cuba. It’s not clear if the Biden-Harris administration maintained the status quo because it has not finished its policy review on Cuba, or if it was a clear signal that it will continue to follow the Trump administration’s path on Cuba.
Amnesty International has declared Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, artist and leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), a “prisoner of conscience.” The organization demands the immediate release of the young activist, who has remained at Havana’s General Calixto Garcia University Hospital since May 2. While organizations like Amnesty International protest Mr. Otero’s detention, local artists in Havana have requested to withdraw their art from the Museum of Fine Arts until government officials release Mr. Otero.
Since the beginning of 2021, tourism in Cuba has decreased by 94 percent compared to the first four months of 2020. This massive decrease implies a tremendous financial loss for the island as tourism remains one of its greatest sources of income.
Yesterday, Cuba reported 138,899 cases of COVID-19. There are currently 6,449 total active cases of COVID-19 on the island, an increase from the previous day. Havana reported the largest number new cases by far compared to other provinces at 536. The total number of deaths since last March is 933. For a graph of case numbers since March, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website. In response to rising COVID-19 numbers, Cuba’s government has begun a mass vaccination campaign. Cuba’s struggling economy is also suffering in the face of the pandemic.
This week, in Cuba news…Read the rest of this entry »