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We still don’t know what or who caused the alleged sonic attacks that injured U.S. diplomats in Havana. Which is why Cuba put its own scientists online this week to debunk the claims.

Some two dozen personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana say they were victims of acoustic attacks. The high-pitched sonic blasts started last year and caused hearing loss and other illnesses.

PATILLAS, Puerto Rico – Jan Carlo Pérez’s family has a farm in Patillas, Puerto Rico. It’s a town of lush green hillside forests known as the Caribbean island’s “emerald of the south.” But right now Patillas – close to where Hurricane Maria made landfall in September – is a struggling disaster casualty.

“You can see the barn is completely destroyed,” Pérez says during a walk around his property this month during a light drizzle. “We had fruit trees over there, the star fruit, the bread fruit. It’s all, it’s all gone….”

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has co-signed a letter asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to send more support to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Health-care funding was already tight before the storms, particularly in financially unstable Puerto Rico, where nearly half the population is covered by Medicaid.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tells the U.N. Security Council that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "begging for war," with the latest nuclear test that Pyongyang says is its first fusion device, a much more powerful weapon than it has exploded in the past.

"Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now. But our country's patience is not unlimited," Haley told an emergency session of the 15-member Security Council in New York.

Political conditions in Venezuela are growing darker by the day. But so is Venezuela’s financial situation. In the meantime, Florida politicians are calling for more help for Venezuelan immigrants.

Much of the international community now labels Venezuela’s socialist government a dictatorship. And this week the regime is doing its best to live up to that billing.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants the Sunshine State to stop doing business with Venezuela. Scott is proposing the policy shift after more than 100 days of protest and unrest in the South American country.


Uruguay has long been known for its sweet pastries called medialunas. But right now it’s better known for marijuana. On Wednesday the small, progressive South American country became the first in the world to allow the nationwide commercial sale of pot – and the U.S. is watching.

Florida Governor Rick Scott returned to Doral this Monday for another "Freedom Rally" in support of the Venezuelan opposition and committed to taking measures so that the state of Florida will stop doing business with companies associated with the Venezuelan government. 

"Any organization that does business with the [Nicolas] Maduro regime cannot do business with the state of Florida," said Gov. Scott to the crowd gathered at the Venezuelan restaurant El Arepazo Dos. Scott said he will present the idea to the members of his Cabinet in August. 

As their constituents took to the streets with pots and pans to celebrate Fidel Castro’s death, South Florida’s Cuban-American congressional delegation blasted the Obama administration for the brief diplomatic opening that preceded the dictator’s death.

“The largest financier of Castro right now, has become the Obama administration,” Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart told reporters at a Miami press conference. 

Fidel Castro, the controversial ruler who took power during the Cuban revolution in 1959 and led his country for nearly half a century, died in Havana, Cuba, at age 90.

Castro lived through 10 U.S. presidents who were determined to overthrow him, as NPR's Tom Gjelten reported, in addition to surviving the collapse of the communist alliance that bolstered his success.

I always had a wonderful time in Fidel Castro's Cuba, and usually wound up feeling bad about it.

The island is beautiful, the people even sunnier: warm and friendly, especially to Americans. The responsables — government minders — assigned to each reporting crew would tease me about being from Chicago.

"Your mobsters used to run this place," they'd say. "Sam Giancana, The Godfather. You made our men bellboys and our women prostitutes." And then they'd treat you to mojitos and fabulous music.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

As the death toll continues to rise in Haiti, people in Tampa's Haitian community are still on edge. 

Since last Thursday, the Haitian Association Foundation of Tampa Bay (HAFTB) has been collecting donations of canned food, flashlights, cleaning supplies and clothes at the Louverture Cultural Center on North Florida Avenue.

We first published this story on September 28, 2016. We're bringing it back now because Benjamin Ferencz will speak tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 13) in Boca Raton at a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum public program at B'nai Torah Congregation. The discussion, A Relentless Pursuit: Bringing Holocaust Perpetrators to Justice, is free, but registration is required. Click here to find out more information or call 561-995-6773.

The prosecutor in one of the biggest murder trials in history lives now in a small bungalow with faded roof in a senior community in Delray Beach. 

WUSF Public Media

The British Consul General from Miami, David Prodger, is in Tampa discussing Brexit with the "Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and  the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.

Beforehand, he spoke with WUSF to discuss how the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union could impact Florida’s businesses, tourism industry and real estate market.

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

The Obama administration punched a new series of holes in the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba on Tuesday, turning a ban on U.S. tourism to Cuba into an unenforceable honor system and paving the way for Cuban athletes to one day play Major League Baseball and other U.S. professional sports.

Christopher Collier / WUSF News

To call an American president's visit to Cuba 'historic' doesn't reflect the rarity of the occasion.

In January 1928, President Calvin Coolidge arrived in Havana via the USS Texas, a warship. 'Talkies' was still a phrase people used when referring to movies with sound. It has been almost 90 years since that visit.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor just returned from a fact-finding mission to Cuba.  She says she's  more committed than ever to getting Congress to lift the embargo on the island nation.

Castor stood in front of a plaque at Tampa's MacFarlane Park honoring famous Cuban-Americans who lived in West Tampa. There, she praised President Obama's announcement that he'll become the first sitting president to visit Cuba in 80 years. Castor says she expects the president to talk extensively with Cuban leaders about easing restrictions on human rights violations by the Communist regime.

White House

President Barack Obama said Thursday his history-making visit to Cuba next month was part of an effort to “improve the lives of the Cuban people. He vowed to press the communist government on human rights and other policy differences.

For half a century, only charter flights have been allowed to ferry people from the U.S. into Cuba.

But today, the two cold-war foes will agree to let regular U.S. commercial flights land in the communist island: 20 a day into Havana and 10 daily into nine other Cuban cities.

Ehud Barak
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak  spoke Monday night at a meeting of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

He says that the deal to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons should last for at least five years - but after that, it's anyone's guess.

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