HAVANA, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Headphone-clad youths pore over
phones on a street corner at dusk. A mother holds a laptop on
Havana’s seafront as her children cackle at seeing family
abroad. Surreptitious vendors offer Internet cards at a markup.
Cuba’s new Wi-Fi hotspots – 35 nationwide since July with
more promised soon – are a sensation in a highly controlled
country with one of the world’s lowest Internet penetrations.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Pope Francis exhorted Cuba and the United States on Saturday to set an example for the world by deepening the recent rapprochement that he helped secretly broker between the former Cold War foes.
His zucchetto skullcap flying off in the Caribbean breeze at the start of a nine-day tour of Cuba and the United States, the Argentine pope used his arrival speech at Havana airport to praise this year’s normalization of diplomatic relations.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Pope Francis begins a nine-day tour of Cuba and the United States on Saturday where he will see both the benefits and complexities of a fast-evolving detente between the old Cold War foes that he helped broker.
Better sensitized to the issue than predecessors because of his Latin American roots, the 78-year-old Argentine pontiff facilitated a back channel for talks and sent missives to Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama in 2014.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Flattered by a third papal visit in less than two decades, Cubans feel especially warm to Pope Francis for his fellow Latin American blood, humble image and help towards ending hostilities with the United States.
Yet for all the goodwill on the streets of Havana ahead of the pontiff’s arrival on Saturday, there are low expectations among Cubans that his three-day visit will spur any major domestic change on the Communist-run island of 11 million people.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama, who are forging a new detente between Cuba and the United States, are bound to cross paths again at a U.N. gathering in New York this month but do not have a formal meeting set, Cuba said Wednesday.
Both leaders, who held a historic meeting at a regional summit in Panama in April, are to due to address the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 28.
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela accused the United States on Friday of jeopardizing a nascent rapprochement between the two ideological foes with “insolent” criticism of a 14-year jail sentence handed to opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Coming on top of the outrage of Lopez’s family and supporters following his conviction late on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was “deeply troubled” as he called the charges “illegitimate” and urged the release of all jailed government opponents.
10 (Reuters) – Venezuela’s best-known jailed opposition figure, Leopoldo Lopez, was jailed for 13 years on Thursday on charges of inciting 2014 anti-government protests that spiraled into violence killing more than 40 people.
After a marathon session at the heavily guarded Palace of Justice, judge Susana Barreiros ruled Lopez, 44, a U.S.-educated hardline opponent of socialist President Nicolas Maduro arrested in February last year, had masterminded the violence.
CARACAS (Reuters) – An 80-year-old Venezuelan woman died, possibly from trampling, in a scrum outside a state supermarket selling subsidized goods, the opposition and media said on Friday.
The melee at the store in Sabaneta, the birthplace of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was the latest such incident in the South American nation where economic hardship and food shortages are creating long queues and scuffles.
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party legislators called a trip by Brazilian senators to visit jailed opponents of President Nicolas Maduro “abusive” and “meddling” on Friday.
The Brazilian delegation’s visit on Thursday was cut short after they said their minibus was stoned by Maduro supporters and roads were blocked, forcing them to return to the airport and fly back the same day.
CARACAS (Reuters) – Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has lost 12 kilograms (26 pounds) on a partial hunger-strike now in its fourth week, his family said, while students around the country escalate similar protests in solidarity.
Lopez, 44, who heads the hardline Popular Will party and is charged with masterminding violence during mass protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government last year, began his action in a military jail at the end of May.