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#1

Post by Addie » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:05 pm

[link]Associated Press,http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/31/fi ... ades-made/[/link]





First commercial passenger flight from Key West to Havana in over five decades made





KEY WEST, Fla. – The first commercial passenger flight from Key West to Cuba in more than 50 years landed Monday in Havana, capping several years of efforts to reunite the two islands, though regular air service still appeared a distant prospect.





U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave the final approval for the flight Monday morning, and the nine-passenger aircraft departed 90 minutes later at 10 a.m., Key West International Airport director Peter Horton said.





"This is just a test run," Horton said. "Whether this is going to come and be a regular service I don't believe has been determined yet."





Federal officials granted Key West the green light to resume flights to and from the island country in October 2011. It took more than two years, however, for the first flight to take off. Charter operators said they had trouble getting all of the required approvals from U.S. and Cuban authorities. They have also struggled with capacity issues: Key West is currently only approved to process 10 passengers and crew from Cuba at a time. ...





The Obama administration reinstituted the cultural exchange licenses in 2011, allowing organizations to take U.S. citizens to the island for educational activities that promote understanding and exchange with ordinary Cubans.
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#2

Post by Addie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:50 am

[link]BBC News,http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25595674[/link]





Cubans shocked at prices as foreign cars go on sale





Cubans have reacted with shock after foreign-made cars went on sale for the first time since the 1959 revolution at what some termed "crazy" prices.





The state has a monopoly on new car sales and has set massive mark-ups.





A Peugeot 508 is listed at $262,000. Peugeot's UK website puts prices from $29,000. State salaries in Cuba average about $20 a month.





Freeing up car sales is the latest in a series of reforms. A permit to buy new vehicles is now no longer required. ...





The government argues profits will be placed in a special fund to develop public transport.
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#3

Post by ZekeB » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:20 am

Sometimes cutting the price by 90% results in a ten thousand percent increase in sales.
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#4

Post by SueDB » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:26 am

I don't think they really have the infrastructure to support the potential number of cars that could be on their roads. Until they have a 7-11 or a 'Stop and Rob' on every corner, they will never become a world power.I still think you should remove the economic blocks and let rampant American Capitalism destroy the Commies. There is too much money to be made in Cuba for them to survive the initial cash tidal wave such a move would provide. You would think that after 50 years you would want some positive results out of such a stupid policy.
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#5

Post by ZekeB » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:31 am

I don't think they really have the infrastructure to support the potential number of cars that could be on their roads. Until they have a 7-11 or a 'Stop and Rob' on every corner, they will never become a world power.I still think you should remove the economic blocks and let rampant American Capitalism destroy the Commies. There is too much money to be made in Cuba for them to survive the initial cash tidal wave such a move would provide. You would think that after 50 years you would want some positive results out of such a stupid policy.There was too much division of classes in Cuba before Castro. The revolutionists solved the problem by bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator. A side benefit is that the revolutionists liked the taste of power and have chosen to do what's best for them, not what's best for their country. A little socialism would have gone a long way back then. Now their economy has gone to hell in a handbasket and they can't provide any socialist relief. As I stated earlier, too much wealth in too few hands results in a revolution. The end result benefits no one.
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#6

Post by gupwalla » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:39 am

I don't think they really have the infrastructure to support the potential number of cars that could be on their roads. Until they have a 7-11 or a 'Stop and Rob' on every corner, they will never become a world power.I still think you should remove the economic blocks and let rampant American Capitalism destroy the Commies. There is too much money to be made in Cuba for them to survive the initial cash tidal wave such a move would provide. You would think that after 50 years you would want some positive results out of such a stupid policy.We've been screwing things up in Cuba for a lot longer than 50 years. For example, prior to the Communist era in Cuba, we thought there was much money to be made in Cuba so we unleashed capitalism upon them in so severe a fashion that they turned to communism for relief.I do think our embargoes of Cuba are petty relics of a bygone era and should be done away with. Other than that, I think the history between US and Cuba strongly favors the US doing nothing else, ever, regarding Cuba.
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#7

Post by SueDB » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:12 pm

It should have been our 52nd state after Puerto Rico. Just say'in :- :-
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#8

Post by Addie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:31 pm

[link]Reuters,http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/ ... WJ20140107[/link]





Dutch break with EU to open political dialogue with Cuba





(Reuters) - The Dutch foreign minister signed an agreement on Tuesday with his Cuban counterpart to engage in political consultations, breaking ranks with the European Union which limits high-level visits and talks with the Communist-run Caribbean island.





Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, on the second of a two-day visit to Cuba, urged the European Union to adjust its relationship with Cuba, stating, "Havana through the centuries has been a meeting point between Europe and the Americas and I believe it still has an important role to play in this regard."





Timmermans, as he sat down for talks with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, praised Cuba's efforts to "bring an end to the last violent conflict in the region," referring to its hosting of peace talks between the Colombian government and local rebels.





Rodriguez said he welcomed the opportunity to hold discussions on issues of common interest and that changes underway on the island represented an opportunity for Dutch businesses.
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#9

Post by Roboe » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:54 pm

The Netherlands, together with France (and to a lesser extent the UK) still has a fairly significant presence in the Caribbean. It'd make sense for them to get closer ties to Cuba.I'm just sad that we gave up the Danish West Indies back in the day ;)

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#10

Post by SueDB » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:48 pm

The Netherlands, together with France (and to a lesser extent the UK) still has a fairly significant presence in the Caribbean. It'd make sense for them to get closer ties to Cuba.I'm just sad that we gave up the Danish West Indies back in the day ;)At least we were able to get the Virgin Islands out of the whole mess... ;)
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#11

Post by Suranis » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:45 am

Heh Heh. Heh Heh. He said 'Virgin!' Heh Heh. Heh Heh.
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#12

Post by Addie » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:33 pm

[link]Political Wire,http://politicalwire.com/archives/2014/ ... an_us.html[/link]





Harkin Suggests Cuba Health Care Better Than U.S.





Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) traveled to Cuba last week and had favorable impressions of their health-care system, [link]National Journal,http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress ... m-20140129[/link] reports.





"Cuba is a 'poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,' the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. 'Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It's interesting--their public health system is quite remarkable.'"
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#13

Post by Addie » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:15 am

[link]Associated Press,http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/ ... TE=DEFAULT[/link]





Tours changing American views of Cuba, US policy





HAVANA (AP) -- When President Barack Obama reinstated "people-to-people" travel to Cuba in 2011, the idea was that visiting Americans would act as cultural ambassadors for a U.S. constantly demonized in the island's official media.





Two and a half years later, a survey shared exclusively with The Associated Press suggests the trips are not only improving Cubans' views of Americans. They are also changing U.S. travelers' opinions of the Caribbean nation for the better, and dimming their view of Washington policies that have long sought to pressure Cuba's Communist leaders. ...





Before travel, the most prevalent view of Raul Castro's government was "a repressive Communist regime that stifles individuality and creativity," 48 percent of respondents said. That fell to 19 percent after their visits, and the new most-popular view, held by 30 percent of respondents, became the slightly more charitable "a failing government that is destined to fall."





Most striking, 88 percent said the experience made them more likely than before to support ending the embargo against Cuba.
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#14

Post by Addie » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:29 pm

[link]Political Wire,http://politicalwire.com/archives/2014/ ... _cuba.html[/link]





Majority Want Normal Relations with Cuba





A new [link]Atlantic Council poll,http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/events/p ... -with-cuba[/link] finds that 56% of Americans favor a more direct U.S. engagement with Cuba or even a normalization of relations with a nation that U.S. policy has treated as a pariah since the 1960s.





"The poll offered even greater evidence that a political tide has turned with its finding that two critical domestic political constituencies favor renewed ties to Cuba by even larger majorities than the nation at large. Survey respondents from the US Hispanic community supported broader Cuban relations by 62% to 30%. And voting-age residents of Florida, a decisive swing state in recent presidential elections, back a policy change by 63% to 30%."
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#15

Post by Addie » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:01 pm

[link]CNBC,http://www.cnbc.com/id/101496191[/link]





Cuba is Venezuela's biggest loser





In the midst of chaos in Venezuela, a dependent Cuba and its economic future is walking on a tight rope.





As Venezuela's economic woes deepen, with an annualized inflation rate reaching 57 percent, and violent clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters escalate, the probability of a new government is high, making Cuba's future uncertain. Even if Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded the late Hugo Chavez as president, stays in power, he could be forced to cut aid to Cuba to help alleviate Venezuela's imploded economy, which suffers from stagnation, inflation and shortages.





For the last decade, Venezuela's oil has helped fuel Cuba's economy, providing 60 percent of the communist-ruled island's demands. In exchange, Cuba sends about 30,000 doctors to Venezuela, according to an analysis by Pavel Vidal, a former official at Cuba's central bank and now an economics professor at the Universidad Javeriana in Cali, Colombia.





The commercial relationship with leftist Venezuela accounts for 40 percent of Cuba's trade—or 18 percent of Cuba's gross domestic product, Vidal said. If Venezuela were to cut Cuba loose, completely or partially, it could cause Cuba's economy to contract anywhere from 4 percent to 7.7 percent. ...





"It will be an economic disaster," said Jorge R. Piñon, interim director at the Center for International & Environmental Policy at the University of Texas, adding that Cuba would be back to post-Soviet times. "Cuba today has put all of its eggs in one basket. Before it was the Soviet Union's basket, today is Venezuela's basket."
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#16

Post by Addie » Thu May 01, 2014 8:52 am

[link]Reuters,http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/ ... 1U20140501[/link]





Ukraine crisis affects start of EU talks with Cuba





(Reuters) - The European Union told Cuba on Wednesday it disagreed with its support of Russia in the Ukraine crisis as the dispute cast a shadow over talks aimed at improving relations between the communist-run island and European countries.





"It's a point of great concern to the EU," the EU's chief negotiator in the talks, Christian Leffler, told reporters in Havana.





Negotiators for the 28-nation bloc and Cuba met on Tuesday and Wednesday in Havana for a first round of talks. Only the European side spoke about the meetings afterward.





Leffler said the differences over Ukraine did not affect the talks but were an example of what would be discussed in future discussions.





Speaking hours before the first meeting, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez publicly criticized the European Union and the United States for imposing sanctions on a number of Russian officials.
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#17

Post by Addie » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:27 am

[link]Reuters,http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/2 ... 2L20140629[/link]





Google execs visit Cuba for first time to promote open Internet





(Reuters) - A team of top Google executives is visiting Cuba to promote open Internet access, according to a dissident blogger who says she met the group in Havana.





The team, led by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, met with Cuban officials as well as independent people in the technology and digital field, according to a report on the independent news website [link]14ymedio.com,http://www.14ymedio.com/[/link], which was started last month by blogger Yoani Sanchez.





Google is on an official two-day visit "to promote the virtues of a free and open Internet," the report said.





Cuba does not allow open Internet access. Only 2.6 million out of a population of 11.2 million have Internet access, almost entirely limited to government-run centers, foreign companies and tourist hotels. Most of those who do have access are only been able to explore a limited, state-controlled basket of approved websites.
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#18

Post by Piffle » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:36 pm

FWIW, I'm planning to take a nine-day trip to Cuba next February. Am really looking forward to it.

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#19

Post by Addie » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:41 pm

That's exciting, Piff. I have a friend who has been to Havana. He enjoyed it. I look forward to your report. --> FWIW, I'm planning to take a nine-day trip to Cuba next February. Am really looking forward to it.
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#20

Post by Dolly » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:57 pm

Vladimir Putin kicks off Latin America tour with Cuba stopRussian President Vladimir Putin began a six-day Latin American tour aimed at boosting trade and ties in the region with a stop Friday in Cuba, a key Soviet ally during the Cold War that has backed Moscow in its dispute with the West over Ukraine.The two countries signed about a dozen accords in areas such as energy, industry, health and disaster prevention. Russian companies will participate in petroleum projects around Boca de Jaruco on the island's north coast, and that cooperation will extend to offshore oil deposits, Cuban government website Cubadebate said.Another agreement covered infrastructure at a big new port project that Cuba hopes will become a regional shipping center and attract much-needed foreign investment........Moscow is also forgiving 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet-era debt, which totals more than $35 billion. The remainder will be invested in education on the island, Putin added.The debt agreement is "another great, tangible generosity of the Russian people toward Cuba," President Raul Castro said.Russian news agency ITAR-TASS said Putin met with retired leader Fidel Castro for an hour and discussed topics ranging from international affairs and the world economy to Russian-Cuban relations. He and Raul Castro also participated in a ceremony at Havana's Memorial to the Soviet Internationalist Soldier. [/break1]politico.com/story/2014/07/vladimir-putin-cuba-raul-castro-108834.html?ml=tb]http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/v ... html?ml=tb
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#21

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:30 pm

Moscow is also forgiving 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet-era debt, which totals more than $35 billion. The remainder will be invested in education on the island, Putin added.The debt agreement is "another great, tangible generosity of the Russian people toward Cuba," President Raul Castro said.Following Putin's investment in the Winter Olympics and his take over of Crimea, leading to economic sanctions, he's now got a trifecta for 2014.

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#22

Post by ZekeB » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:47 am

Following Putin's investment in the Winter Olympics and his take over of Crimea, leading to economic sanctions, he's now got a trifecta for 2014.Nah. Going back more than 50 years ago Russia knew they would never get a return on investment in Cuba. It was all just cold war spending. We did that sort of thing too.
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#23

Post by Addie » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:33 pm

[link]Orlando Sentinel,http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business ... 4438.story[/link]





Clash intensifies over travel to Cuba





WASHINGTON — Pressure from some Florida members of Congress is making it harder to travel to Cuba even as thousands of their constituents line up to fly to the forbidden island.





The stream of passengers from South Florida to Cuba has slowed slightly since 2011, as some would-be travelers balk at the cost of licensed educational tours and others remain stymied by a ban on casual pleasure trips.





Now some in Congress are trying to tighten those rules to further discourage travel to Cuba, except for Cuban-Americans visiting their families. At the same time, travel proponents are pressing President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to loosen the rules so that all Americans are free to roam the island on their own.





The long-simmering debate over Cuba travel has heated up as prominent politicians — including Hillary Clinton, a prospective presidential candidate, and Charlie Crist, a candidate for governor of Florida — have called for an end to the travel ban.
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#24

Post by Addie » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:46 pm

[link]Telegraph,http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... kyard.html[/link]





Russia to reopen Cold War spy post on Cuba in America's 'backyard'





Russia has struck a deal with its old communist ally Cuba to reopen a Cold War-era listening post that was once its largest spy outpost just 150 miles from the US mainland.





The agreement, a further sign of deteriorating relations between Moscow and the US, was reached during a visit to Havana by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, military sources told the newspaper Kommersant.





At its peak, the base was manned by 3,000 Soviet military and intelligence personnel, whose task was to intercept US communications and provide intelligence to Moscow's ships and submarines in the Western hemisphere.





The listening post in the Havana suburb of Lourdes was closed in late-2001, partly due to Russia's financial problems but also under pressure from Washington at a time of improving cooperation between the two countries.





Mr Putin has just completed a five-day tour of Latin America seeking improved ties in America's regional "backyard" as relations with the US fester over Ukraine.
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#25

Post by SueDB » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:44 am

I'm sure Putin can just reach for the checkbook and whip out a couple a hundred mil for a new intercept station. :roll: :roll: :roll: The facility itself is 15 years closed or so. It's gonna take a lot of money to install (upgrade - you gotta be kidding) a new listening post. All station facilities were shut down, the buildings were abandoned and later reconstructed to become what is now the University of Information Science.[/break1]globalsecurity.org/intell/world/cuba/lourdes-imagery.htm]Global Security "Information"Lourdes [Cuba]Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) facilityThe SIGINT facility at Lourdes was among the most significant intelligence collection capabilities targeting the United States. This facility, less than 100 miles from Key West, is one of the largest and most sophisticated SIGINT collection facilities in the world. It was jointly operated by Russian military intelligence (GRU), FAPSI, and Cuba's intelligence services. The Federal Agency for Governent Conununications (FAPSI) evolved in the early 1990's from the former KGB's SIGINT service. According to Russian press sources, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) also had a communications center at the facility for its agent network in North and South America.The complex is capable of monitoring a wide array of commercial and government communications throughout the southeastern United States, and between the United States and Europe. Lourdes intercepts transmissions from microwave towers in the United States, communication satellite downlinks, and a wide range of shortwave and high-frequency radio transmissions. It also served as a mission ground station and analytical facility supporting Russian SIGINT satellites.
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