Cuba

Americas
7:00 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Cuba's Currency Correction: Will Castro Fall Short Again?

Cuban leader Raul Castro (middle) recently with other senior members of the Communist Party elite.
Credit Flickr

Last year I spoke by phone with a frustrated woman in Santiago, Cuba, who was trying to start a seamstress business. It’s the sort of small private enterprise that Cuban leader Raúl Castro claims to be encouraging as part of free-market reforms meant to salvage the island’s threadbare, communist economy. (But don’t dare say Raúl is copying China’s communist-capitalist system. That makes him mad.)

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Community Contributor
7:00 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Why Bridal Showers Remain A Rite Of Passage For Cuban Wives, Mothers

Mimosas, that sweet and sparkly celebratory concoction so popular at bridal showers, where women sip, whisper and share.

I recently attended a bridal shower, one of those consequences that I face as a result of accumulating too much bad karma. I am only half kidding. There’s just something awful about one hundred or so women in one room. There’s only so much gossip, small talk and platitudes that I can take.

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Americas
8:32 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Haitian Cholera Strain Spreads To Mexico

A nurse treats a cholera patient at the Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in August. Health officials say that the strain of cholera circulating in the country— the same one that first appeared in Haiti three years ago — has also caused outbreaks in Cuba and now Mexico.
Erika Santelices AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 1:21 pm

A South Asian strain of cholera that was introduced into Haiti three years ago this month has now spread to this continent's mainland.

Mexico is the fourth Western Hemisphere country to experience the cholera outbreak. It's a disease that's very hard to stamp out once it gets into an area with poor water and sanitation.

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Americas
3:48 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Cuba To Phase Out Two-Peso Currency System

A woman displays Cuban pesos, or CUP (right) and the more valuable convertible pesos, or CUC (left), in Havana Tuesday. Raul Castro's government announced that it will begin unifying the two currencies.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:09 pm

Cuba will end the two-currency system it has used for nearly 20 years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has used either American currency or a peso that's pegged to the dollar alongside its national peso.

The monetary unification will phase out a system that has become a symbol of exclusivity and foreign wealth. Many products that are imported into the country can be bought only with the dollar-based convertible peso. But most Cubans are paid in the standard peso, which is worth just a fraction of the other currency.

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Americas
7:30 am
Thu October 3, 2013

'Castrocare' Divides Doctors In Cuba, Brazil

Cuba is sending thousands of badly needed doctors to Brazil, but Brazil's medical establishment has sought to block the program. Here, Cuban Dr. Yocelin Macias treats a patient in the capital Brasilia on Aug. 30.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:48 am

Call it "Castrocare." Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro sent doctors abroad for decades to work throughout Latin America and as far away as Africa.

In some cases, like Haiti, the medical missions were seen as purely humanitarian. In other places, like Venezuela, it was a form of barter that provided Cuba with subsidized oil imports.

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The Florida Roundup
9:00 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Was The Miami Trial Of The Cuban Five Fair?

Credit Elaine Chen

On a special edition of The Florida Roundup, we discuss the controversial case of the Cuban Five, Cuban agents who were convicted in 2001 of espionage along with other charges.

In Cuba, they are called heroes, their faces on billboards across the island country. In the U.S., they are relatively unknown spies.  

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Food
7:58 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Beyond Cuba: Foods Of Latino-Caribbean Cuisine

Tom Gilbert for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 12:24 pm

Looking back on my history with Latino and Caribbean food, I can see that Cuban was a gateway cuisine. Powerless in my youth before moro rice (black beans and rice cooked together) and ropa vieja (shredded flank steak slow-cooked in a tomato-based sauce), in middle age I became hooked on the spicy and soulful cooking of the wider Caribbean, which led to eating adventures even farther south of Key West. All of these have left their mark on my backyard grilling style.

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Sports
11:11 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Slideshow: Swimmer Diana Nyad Finally Makes It From Havana to Key West, Sets World Record

Key West resident Tom Theisen points to Diana Nyad's flotilla, still a few miles offshore Monday morning.
Tom Theisen

"She freaking made it." That's what the note posted at 3:14 p.m. to the Google map on her website, where Diana Nyad's journey had been tracked in yellow dots and time stamps, said. Thirty-five years after her first attempt, Nyad did it -- she reached the shores of Smathers Beach in Key West Monday, after pushing off from Havana on Saturday. This was her fifth try, and her fourth in three years.

The 64-year-old swam 111 miles and now holds the world record for swimming the farthest without a shark cage. 

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Americas
7:00 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Why We Can't Blame Cuba For Our Doctor Shortages

Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha (right) welcomes Cuban doctors in the capital Brasília.
Credit Cadenagramonte

Millions of angry Brazilians have taken to the streets this summer to demonstrate against their government and political class. And right now we’re seeing a vivid example of why: the controversy over Brazil’s recruitment of 4,000 Cuban doctors to work in its remote regions.

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The Cuban Kitchen
11:44 am
Wed August 21, 2013

The Cuban Kitchen: How Nitza Villapol Brought Mother, Daughter Closer Together

Bren and Betty Herrera cook at Betty's house in Virginia. The Herrera children often have dinner at their parents' house.
Credit Bren Herrera

Bren Herrera, 34, grew up hearing her mother, Betty, 62, tell stories about life as a young wife and mother in 1960's and 1970's Cuba, when food shortages and rationing were part of life.

They would both laugh over a story about a drunken chicken Betty smuggled into Havana from the countryside. (Below is the full, translated story, as told by Betty Herrera. The story was edited for radio.)

  The Tale of the Drunken Chicken

We went to visit friends in Pinar del Rio, in the countryside. 

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Music
3:01 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

From Cuba To America, Arturo Sandoval Is An Ambassador For Jazz

Arturo Sandoval and Dizzy Gillespie perform.
Concord Music Group

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 4:17 pm

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People
12:38 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Musician Becomes First Person To Paddleboard From Cuba To Florida Keys

Ben Friberg from Tennessee has become the first person to paddle board between Cuba and the United States.
Credit straitstimes.com

A 35-year-old American man from Tennessee has become the first person to paddle board between Cuba and the United States.

Musician Ben Friberg was accompanied by a support boat - his father among the crew - providing navigational advice and nutrition.

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Music
8:16 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Why Hipnosis Looks Like Cuba's First Heavy Metal Band To Defect

Credit via hipnosiscuba.com

Meet the latest unexpected international arrival on Miami's rock scene: Hipnosis, straight from the semi-illicit metal scene of Havana.

On Monday, July 22, the six-member group likely became the first full band of its heavy ilk to plead asylum in the United States.

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Americas
5:35 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

With An Assist From Smugglers, Cuban Players Make It To U.S.

Cuban baseball players have been defecting to the U.S. in growing numbers over the past two decades. Increasingly, smugglers play a role in getting the players off the island, U.S. baseball agents say.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 8:55 pm

Cigars aren't the only thing smuggled out of Cuba these days.

Cuban baseball players are also a hot commodity, and sports agents in the U.S. say the process is increasingly dominated by smugglers who track down players willing to defect and find surreptitious ways to deliver them to the United States.

"The whole business got pretty much taken over by smugglers," says former baseball agent Joe Kehoskie.

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Community Contributor
7:41 am
Tue July 16, 2013

After No Goodbyes In Cuba, Exile Makes Miami Home

This article, originally published in the Miami Herald, is part of HistoryMiami's Miami Stories project.
Credit historymiami.org

When I arrived in Miami in the early 1970s, I never could imagine that I would end up calling this city home.

We came to Miami after a short stay in Spain. I came with my parents, Isabel and Ramon Santos, and my younger sister, Ana. Like many young children, we were excited about moving into a new place, learning a new language and making new friends.

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