Recent Posts

July 18, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: A Single Standard of Justice

In the news summary that follows, you will find reports about a new investigation into the USAID Cuban Twitter scandal, the growing impact of the increasingly tight enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Cuba and other nations on banks and global commerce, and the resumption of peace talks in Havana between… read more »

July 15, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Putin in Havana, America at the Movies

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Havana this week to build closer ties with Cuba’s senior leadership, it begged the question, “Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Our narrative starts at the height of the Cold War. Cuba’s revolutionary government established formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union on May… read more »

July 11, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Putin in Cuba, Groundhog Day in America

As Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Havana, and builds closer ties with Cuba’s senior leadership, it begs the question, “Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Our six-decade stalemate with Cuba started at the height of the Cold War.  Cuba established formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union on May 8,… read more »

July 3, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Democracy: Is there an app for that?

We are on the cusp of our July 4th holiday here in the U.S., when we remember the revolutionary origins of our country and celebrate our independence with baseball, beer, and displays of fireworks accompanied by a spirited rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Because we’re eager to finish the work week,… read more »

July 2, 2014 |

El Salvador Update: June 2014 / Informe mensual El Salvador, junio 2014

Nogales

On June 1st, Salvador Sánchez Cerén was sworn in as President of El Salvador with all due pomp and ceremony. The former guerrilla commander’s acceptance speech was widely praised as conciliatory, and the exuberant President later told supporters, “I struggled for 50 years for my dreams, and now I am here, President of the Republic!”

June 30, 2014

Just 50 cars sold in 6 months under new law

Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press – Just 50 automobiles and four motorcycles have been sold in Cuba in the nearly six months since a new law took effect that let islanders buy vehicles from state-run dealerships without a special permit for the first time in decades, authorities said Monday. Sales totaled about… read more »

June 27, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Washington, Cuba, and the Climate for Dysfunction

This headline – “Cuba plans to drill near Keys again in 2015” – helped us clarify the news this week about U.S. policy toward Cuba and the dysfunction that surrounds it. As David Goodhue, reporting for the Florida Keys Keynoter, explained, Cuba will resume exploratory drilling off the Florida Keys… read more »

June 20, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: The Engagement Party

These days, the President can’t shake hands with an adversary – much less negotiate freedom for an American prisoner – without being stung by fifties-era fighting words like appeasement. This week, however, there was more evidence that the President has greater political space to negotiate with Cuba than he might have otherwise thought. Florida… read more »

June 18, 2014 |

CDA’s Statement on Alan Gross’s Loss

It was June 2011 when a delegation from the Center for Democracy in the Americas visited Alan Gross in prison for the first time.  He was thin and, all at once, cheerful, combative, and deeply sad.  We talked about everything from sports in the U.S. to his daily exercise regime… read more »

June 18, 2014 |

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Mother of Alan Gross dies

Jewish Telegraphic Agency – The mother of Alan Gross, the Jewish-American contractor imprisoned in Cuba, has died. Evelyn Gross died Wednesday in Plano, Texas, according to a statement by Emily Black, a spokeswoman for the Gross family. She had long been suffering from cancer. She was 92. “This is a devastating… read more »

June 17, 2014 |

Sarah Stephens: South Florida Poll Confirms Big Shift in Exile Community on Cuba

Public opinion about Cuba in South Florida has shifted dramatically. Actually, that’s an understatement. Let me illustrate the point this way. In March of 1991, seventy-three percent of Cuban Americans strongly favored tightening the embargo and 62 percent strongly favored assembling an exile army to overthrow Cuba’s government by military… read more »

June 17, 2014 |

FIU Poll: Miami Cuban-Americans support end to embargo

Laura Wides-Munoz, Associated Press – About half of Cuban-Americans surveyed in Miami support an end to the U.S. embargo of Cuba. Even more support resuming diplomatic relations with the communist island’s government. That’s according to a Florida International University poll released Tuesday. It’s the latest in a series of polls conducted… read more »

June 16, 2014 |

William LeoGrande: Denying Visas to Cuban Scholars Cripples Obama’s Policy of Engagement

William M. LeoGrande, Huffington Post – Despite the stalemate in relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments, President Barack Obama deserves credit for deepening relations between the two societies. His 2009 decision to lift restrictions on Cuban American family travel and remittances has led to a five-fold increase in family visits… read more »

June 16, 2014 |

Fulton Armstrong: Why Isn’t Alan Gross on Next Plane Home After Bowe Bergdahl?

Fulton T. Armstrong, The Jewish Daily Forward – The Obama administration’s bungling of its media strategy with the release of the captive Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has obscured the essential fact that negotiations — even with interlocutors we can’t stand — do work. Anyone doing the American government’s bidding overseas deserves… read more »

June 13, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Lots – we mean LOTS – of polling on Cuba!

This week, when the Miami Herald released its survey of 400 registered voters in Miami-Dade County, it contained startling results, including a finding that the Cuba issue is not having much effect on Florida’s race for governor.  (This is not something you would have guessed reading the Herald’s headline: Cuban voters weigh Crist down in… read more »

June 11, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Secretary Clinton’s Bold Stroke

Diana Nyad, America’s most celebrated long-distance swimmer, tried and tried to cross the Florida Straits. No one had successfully completed the dangerous, marathon swim before. She set out four times, trained hard before setting off, and failed on each occasion. On her fifth attempt, at age 64, she made it…. read more »

June 10, 2014 |

Mike Farrell: Small Business

Mike Farrell, Huffington Post – Returning to El Salvador after 25 years is a step through time featuring vast changes and too much of the same old same old. No longer is the roadway from the now-more-modern airport littered with corpses to warn those seeking an end to “La Represión,” a… read more »

June 10, 2014 |

Jason Marczak: The U.S. Should Extend A Hand To El Salvador’s New President

Jason Marczak, Fox News Latino – Less than three months after being declared El Salvador’s new president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén accepted the presidential sash of a deeply polarized nation on June 1. The wounds of a divided campaign had yet to heal as half the nation celebrated President Sánchez Cerén’s inauguration… read more »

June 9, 2014 |

Caracas Connect, May-June 2014

Crises, said political scientist Charles Hermann, are typically defined by three factors: threat, time, and surprise. What we see in Venezuela is a gathering crisis characterized by high threat, a moderate but shrinking time to resolve it, and very little surprise. But, there is a large element of unpredictability due to the opaque nature of two key actors with influence: the Obama Administration and Venezuela’s military. The country’s political future is also clouded by divisions in both the government and opposition camps.

June 6, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: No Americans Left Behind

What a week.  In her book Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton calls for an end to the embargo on Cuba. In reaction to the Taliban prisoner exchange to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the President’s political opposition is outraged; some are calling for his head.  Besieged by hate mail and other protests, the “Welcome… read more »

June 4, 2014 |

El Salvador Update: May 2014 / Informe mensual El Salvador, mayo 2014

Ceren Kerry

Salvador Sánchez Cerén, El Salvador’s President-elect, devoted the month before his June 1st inauguration to diplomatic visits, cabinet appointments, and political negotiations. He continued his good will mission, reassuring the international community that the FMLN (Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberación Nacional) is prepared for an “honest and transparent” administration.

May 30, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Which President told the Cubans “I wish you well”?

Finally, a President went to Cuba and uttered the words we’ve longed to hear. “I wish you well.” Only, it wasn’t President Obama. This message to Cuba’s people came from the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue. It came up,  as he wrapped up his visit to… read more »

May 23, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast – LASA Edition: The US Needs a Cuba Policy Worthy of Its Ideals

Days before we arrived in Chicago for the Congress of the Latin America Studies Association, the New York Times ran an obituary for William Worthy, who died earlier this month at age 92. Worthy, a path-breaking African-American journalist, interviewed Fidel Castro and filed stories on Cuba’s race relations, traveling to Cuba only… read more »

May 21, 2014 |

Sarah Stephens: Radio and TV Martí: Jammed in Cuba, Slammed by the U.S. Court of Appeals

Sarah Stephens, Huffington Post – Last week, when the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a finding against the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency operating Radio and TV Martí, that it fired 16 employees in bad faith, its decision reopened the question of just how much waste taxpayers and policy makers will… read more »

May 20, 2014 |

El Salvador: Un nuevo gobierno, ¿una nueva oportunidad para la paz?

Durante la primavera, mediante una reñida contienda electoral, los ex insurgentes de El Salvador, el FMLN, obtuvieron de forma pacífica la presidencia de la nación. No obstante, el nuevo gobierno enfrenta un difícil momento de transición. Han transcurrido más de 20 años desde que finalizó la cruenta guerra civil y El Salvador continúa siendo un país violento.

May 19, 2014 |

Steve Ellner: Terrorism in Venezuela and its Accomplices

Steve Ellner, venezuelanalysis.com – The private media and important actors both at home and abroad including Washington have downplayed, and in some cases completely ignored, the terrorist actions perpetrated against the Venezuelan government over the past three months. Among the latest examples of terrorism news that have been underreported abroad is… read more »

May 19, 2014 |

Open Letter to President Obama: Support Civil Society in Cuba

Your administration has taken several important steps to support the Cuban people by opening travel for Cuban-American families, expanding remittances, and enabling purposeful travel for more Americans. Those policies have fostered direct contacts between the United States and the Cuban people, provided a lifeline for average Cubans, and empowered Cuban civil society. As a result, Cuban society and U.S. society are sharing more information and are more connected today than in the past fifty years.

May 19, 2014 |

LINDA GARRETT: El Salvador: New Government, New Opportunity for Peace?

On June 1st, El Salvador’s former insurgents, the FMLN, will see its candidate, President-Elect Sánchez Cerén, sworn into office following a peaceful transition. But, he will immediately face a deeply difficult problem. More than 20 years after its brutal civil war ended, El Salvador remained a violent country convulsed by a culture of gang violence, until a controversial 2012 truce between the gangs dramatically lowered the national homicide rate.

May 19, 2014 |

REUTERS: Open letter to Obama calls for new steps to promote change in Cuba

David Adams, Reuters – The White House should expand licensed travel for all Americans to Cuba and increase support for civil society on the communist-ruled island, according to an open letter to President Barack Obama that was signed by an unprecedented group of 44 former top U.S. government officials and advocates… read more »

May 16, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Tilting at Windmills

At a time when Russia is strengthening its security alliance with Cuba and the European Union is moving to replace its Common Position of isolation with intensified diplomatic engagement, why is the United States still tilting at the windmills of the Cold War? *** When our Cuba program began visiting… read more »