Obama Could Lift Sanctions Against Cuba After Next Week's Election, Says Congressman

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Photo by Jvlio via Wikimedia Commons
Are US-Cuba relations about to see a new dawn?
The Cuban expression "mañana, mañana." is often interpreted by Anglos as an excuse for laziness. In fact, the saying speaks volumes about its island of origin. In a country that has been led by one Castro or another for more than half a century, what hope can there be that tomorrow will be any different from today?

Earlier this month, that question brought several dozen experts, academics, and journalists to Columbia Journalism School in Manhattan. Optimism was evident in the conference's title -- Covering Cuba in an Era of Change -- as well as in the presentations, which included strong hints that the embargo's days are numbered.

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Kissinger Drew Up Plans To "Clobber" Cuba in 1975, New Records Show

Categories: La Habana

Photo by the German Federal Archive via Wikimedia Commons
For decades, conventional wisdom has held that the United States and Cuba were never closer to all-out war than during the 13 days in October 1962 that we now call the Cuban Missile Crisis. But new records show that more than a decade after that crisis, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger drew up detailed plans for bombing the island and urged President Ford to "smash Castro."

The impetus, of all things, was Castro's decision to send troops to Angola to support the newly independent African nation -- a move that enraged Kissinger, the New York Times reports.

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U.S. Secretly Sent Latin American Youth To Cuba To Stir Up a Revolution

Categories: La Habana

photo by Agensia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons
Dwight Eisenhower still holds the record for the most hamfisted attempts to oust Fidel Castro, thanks to alleged plots like the CIA's exploding cigar caper. But Barack Obama is giving Ike a run for his money. First came the "Cuban Twitter" fiasco, when news leaked that the US Agency for International Development had secretly started a Havana-based Twitter copycat in the hopes it might inspire an Arab Spring-esque rebellion.

Now this morning the AP reports on another USAID scheme: The agency secretly sent teams of young Latin Americans to the island posing as tourists with the goal of sparking revolution.

See also: U.S. Secretly Created a 'Cuban Twitter' to Try to Incite an Anti-Castro Uprising

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Russia Is About To Start Spying on Us Again From Cuba

Categories: La Habana

Photo by Keizers via Wikimedia Commons
The Russians invade a neighboring nation and annex new territory. The outraged Americans respond with financial sanctions and chest thumping. Moscow tips the conflict toward a boiling point by upping its military presence in Cuba, just a few hundred miles from Florida's borders.

Nope, it's not 1962. All of the above happened this week, with the latest development coming just this morning. Vladimir Putin is reportedly reopening a Cold War-era spy post just outside Havana at the urging of the Castro Regime. Welcome back to the good old days!

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Cuban Government Tried to Smear U.S. Senator With Stories of Underaged Prostitutes

Categories: La Habana

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Did right-wing news outlets push Cuban propaganda in order to smear a Democratic United States senator?

Back in 2012, the conservative Daily Caller published shady claims the Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the only Cuban-American Democrat in the Senate, had contact with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. Now the CIA has evidence linking the false claims to the Cuban government.

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New Florida Law Tries To Prevent MLB's Cuban Stars From Falling Prey to Human Smugglers

Categories: La Habana

via YouTube
Yasmani Tomas, the latest Cuban defector
On Saturday, news broke about Cuba's latest high-risk defection. Yasmani Tomas, a top slugger for Industriales, had fled Cuba for potential millions as a Major League Baseball star. But as All-Star Yasiel Puig's harrowing tale showed the world earlier this year, that path from Castro's island to big league ballparks often detours into blackmail and death threats at the hands of cartel-linked smugglers.

The problem is that, thanks to the Cuban embargo, MLB requires defecting players to go to a third country before signing U.S. contracts -- a rule that has created a violent side industry for Mexico's drug gangs. A new Florida law just signed by Gov. Rick Scott hopes to take a bite out of that gray market business.

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Joe Biden Gives Interview to Cuba's First Independent Digital News Site

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A week ago Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez launched 14yMedio, the first independent online media outlet in Cuba. Today it published its first big "get": An interview with Vice President Joe Biden.

The chat follows a 2009 interview President Barack Obama gave to Sanchez that was posted on her blog Generación Y. Biden essentially reiterated many of the previously held positions and answers of his boss, but also called for the release of American prisoner Alan Gross.

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The CIA's Bay of Pigs Documents Can Be Kept Secret Indefinitely, Court Rules

Categories: La Habana

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Photo by Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons | CC 2.5
Bay of Pigs monument in Little Havana.
The American public might never get to know the entire history of the events that occurred during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, not at least until the Central Intelligence Agency is finished revising the draft copy of its history, which seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the CIA can withhold a 30-year-old volume of the invasion's draft "official history" from the public under the "deliberative process" privilege of the Freedom of Information Act, even though most of the volumes have already been released to the public.

See also: CIA Withholds Bay of Pigs Documents, Claims Release Would "Confuse the Public"

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Four Miami Men Arrested in Cuba on Terrorism Charges

Categories: La Habana

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Cuba's government-controlled media has announced the arrest of four Miami men accused of plotting terrorism on the island.

José Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodríguez González, Raibel Pacheco Santos, and Félix Monzón Álvarez are currently behind bars after being arrested on April 26 according to the Communist Party newspaper Granma, though exact details are unknown.

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Chavez's Daughter Posts New Photos of Fidel Castro on Instagram

Categories: La Habana

Like a lot of young women, Maria Gabriela Chavez is obsessed with chronicling her life on Instagram. Unlike a lot of young women, she's the pampered daughter of one Latin American strongman and still buddy-buddy with another.

Yes, Hugo Chavez's youngest daughter visited uncle Fidel this week and posted new photos of the aging Cuban dictator on her Instagram.

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