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Cuba

The Trump administration is banning U.S. flights to all Cuban cities except Havana in the latest move to roll back the Obama-era easing of relations, officials said Friday.

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Travelers are reacting strongly to the Trump administration’s recent restrictions on trips to Cuba. Many vacationers that had already booked cruises are looking for answers as to why this change was so sudden.

Cuba Restrictions Hit Cruise Lines At The Start Of Summer

Jun 6, 2019
Carnival Cruise Lines

The Trump administration's new restrictions on travel to Cuba will sting the cruise industry, taking away a new and increasingly popular destination at the start of the critical summer vacation season. 

Binge-worthy podcasts may be a 21st century phenomenon, but addictive, serialized storytelling is nothing new. From the 1930s through the 1950s, Cuba exported more daytime and nighttime radio serials than any nation in the Spanish-speaking world — even Fidel Castro was a fan.

After decades of providing a haven to immigrants fleeing communist Cuba, U.S. policy has been shifting in recent years so that fewer have been able to come to the U.S. and more are being deported.

Jesus Avila is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of Cubans who have been affected by the policy shift. Avila has lived in the U.S. since his parents fled Cuba with him when he was 8 years old. He became a permanent resident but never took the time to get full citizenship.

Updated Saturday at 3:20 a.m. ET.

A Boeing 737 aircraft arriving at the naval air station in Jacksonville, Fla., from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, skidded into the St. Johns River on Friday night.

All 136 passengers and seven flight crew members on board are alive and accounted for, officials at Naval Air Station Jacksonville said in a statement. Twenty-one adults were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries reported.

The White House is tightening a decades-old embargo on Cuba but delaying for another month a decision that could put foreign companies invested on the island in legal jeopardy.

Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton (Libertad) Act would let Americans — including Cubans who have since become U.S. citizens — sue companies that "traffic" in property confiscated by Cuba after the country's 1959 communist revolution.

TAMPAAIRPORT.COM

Travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba have some airlines looking to change routes, while others are thinking of adding more flights.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

President Donald Trump's Cuba policy is driving millions of dollars from the island's private entrepreneurs to its state-run tourism sector, the opposite of its supposed goal, according to new government figures.

Cuba’s economy barely grew at all this year. Officials this week say the communist island will probably show the same dismal performance next year. And the one thing that is growing in Cuba are shortages.

Florida governor Rick Scott, who is running for U.S. Senate, said during a campaign rally Friday that the country should be firmer in its relations with Cuba, before acknowledging the existence of climate change. 

We haven’t heard much from Miguel Díaz-Canel since he became the new President of Cuba three months ago. But new regulations for private Cuban businesses came out Tuesday - and they may confirm fears that Díaz-Canel doesn’t wield much power.

The U.S. State Department has sent "a number of individuals" from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, back to the U.S. after screenings showed they may have been affected by mysterious health problems similar to what diplomats experienced in Cuba.

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Following our Florida Matters reporters roundtable for April, host Robin Sussingham picks up the conversation with a discussion on changes in Cuba; the new museum of western and wildlife art in St. Pete; a ban on greyhound racing; and how to juice a marijuana plant. She's joined by longtime political writer William March, Justine Griffin of the Tampa Bay Times, and Florida Matters Producer Stephanie Colombini.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Former ambassador Vicki Huddleston criticized the contraction of U.S.-Cuba relations under President Donald Trump and called for more engagement at a talk on Friday.

The Bay of Pigs is one of the darkest episodes of Cuban-American history. But that failed 1961 attempt by Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro had another dark result. Some of its resentful veterans came back to the U.S. to form a violent Cuban-American mafia called The Corporation.

USF Sarasota-Manatee

Relations between the U.S. and Cuba are currently strained following a mysterious incident that injured two dozen American diplomatic personnel on the island. In addition, President Donald Trump reversed policies created by the Obama administration to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

The oldest son of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro killed himself on Thursday after months of treatment for depression, state media reported. He was 68.

The U.S. State Department has changed its travel alert system and now recommends American citizens “reconsider” visiting Cuba. It had previously issued a warning advising Americans not to travel to the island.

“As we were putting all this together, we did a very careful assessment. We talked to all of our experts, and this is where we came out on Cuba,” Michelle Bernier-Toth, acting deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizen Services, said in a teleconference on Wednesday.

Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned.

It's the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that whatever it was that harmed the Americans, it led to perceptible changes in their brains. The finding is also one of several factors fueling growing skepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved.

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.

ANALYSIS

Ever since former President Barack Obama normalized relations with Cuba three years ago – heralding the possibility of a new era after half a century of hostility – cold warriors on both sides of the Florida Straits have gnashed their teeth at the rapprochement.

And in the coming days and weeks, sources say the Trump Administration may well shelve a good chunk of the new normal in favor of the old normal the hawks prefer – in effect, the re-freezing of U.S.-Cuban relations.

Port Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay announced five new cruises to Cuba, starting in 2018.

President Trump will be in Miami Friday to unveil his new Cuba policy, which will reverse some of his predecessor’s normalization measures. The main targets are Cuba’s military – and wannabe American tourists.

It looks as though President Trump is coming to Miami next Friday to announce his new Cuba policy. But White House officials appear to be in disagreement over whether June 16 will be the day - and sources say Miami's Cuban-American congressional delegation is split over whether the President should even travel here next week since he's unlikely to unveil any significant changes to his predecessor's normalization of relations with the communist island.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas ship will leave on its maiden voyage to Cuba from the Port of Tampa to Havana.

Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez

This Saturday, New College is wrapping up a yearlong series of events around the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. 

New College professor Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez organized the Cubano-American Community Project, which looks at the deep roots Cuban-Americans have in this part of Florida.

Last summer the first U.S. commercial flights to Cuba in more than half a century took off to jubilant fanfare - and landed to cheers and water cannon salutes. U.S. airlines were giddy about resuming commercial flights to the communist island.

Maybe too giddy.

St. Pete Yacht Race Is Back After 58 Years

Mar 1, 2017
Morgan Blauth/WUSF

The clinking of champagne glasses and humming of boat motors on Tuesday morning signaled the relaunch of the once-annual yacht race from St. Petersburg to Havana, Cuba.  

The St. Petersburg-Habana Race was last held in 1959, before it was canceled due to strained relations between the U.S. and Cuba during Fidel Castro’s rise to power.

A statement from the St. Petersburg Yacht Club said the club hosted the race again this year in an effort to continue normalizing relations with the country.

The Kardashians have visited Cuba. So have Chanel models. So it was just a matter of time before animal rights activists showed up wearing bikinis made of lettuce. Right?

They did indeed fly to Cuba on Tuesday – but something might be wrong with this picture.

Most people want Cuba to be democratic. They want it to be Internet accessible. Now the Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, wants the island to get vegan.

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