HAVANA, June 30 (Reuters) – Cuban dealers sold 50 cars and
four motorcycles nationwide in the first six months of the year
under a new law that removed limits on auto purchases for the
first time in half a century but came with prices so high few
people could afford them.
Long-frustrated Cubans welcomed the law that took effect in
January until they saw sticker prices were marked up 400 percent
or more, pricing family sedans like European sports cars.
HAVANA (Reuters) – A U.S. foreign aid contractor jailed in Cuba is planning suicide as his health declines and he grows increasingly depressed, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Alan Gross, 65, has served 4-1/2 years of his 15-year sentence for illegally attempting to establish an online network for Jews in Havana as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
HAVANA (Reuters) – A U.S. foreign aid contractor serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for importing banned Internet technology is increasingly suicidal, his wife and lawyer said on Wednesday.
They renewed their call for U.S. President Barack Obama to become more involved in securing his release, saying the recent trade of five Taliban terrorism suspects for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl was one model for how to bring him home.
HAVANA (Reuters) – The mother of a U.S. aid contractor jailed in Cuba died on Wednesday, adding to the despondency of a prisoner whose case has strained U.S.-Cuba relations and prompted him to vow not to complete another year of his 15-year term, his lawyer’s office said.
U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor Alan Gross, 65, was convicted for illegally attempting to establish Internet service on the island and ended an 8-day hunger strike in April at the urging of his mother.
HAVANA, May 29 (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce on Thursday urged Cuba to speed up and extend
market-style economic reforms, calling the changes a potential
path toward better relations with the United States.
Chamber President Thomas Donohue concluded his three-day
visit to the communist-ruled island with a speech at Havana
University attended by Foreign Investment Minister Rodrigo
Malmierca, a host of other Cuban officials and students.
HAVANA (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce defended his visit to Cuba on Wednesday after coming under fire from critics in the U.S. Congress who contend the trip is a publicity coup for the communist government.
Chamber President Thomas Donohue said his agenda was unhindered by the Cuban authorities and he was confident he was getting a “fair look” at Cuba, after which the influential lobbying group would report its findings to its “friends” in the United States.
HAVANA (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised the growth of free enterprise in Cuba upon his arrival in Havana Tuesday at the start of a three-day visit that was criticized by a leading supporter of the U.S. embargo in Washington.
Chamber President Thomas Donohue has long opposed the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba as an impediment to free enterprise for American companies that want to do business in the communist-ruled country.
HAVANA, May 21 (Reuters) – Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez
Cuba’s first independent online newspaper on Wednesday with
reports questioning the quality of Cuba’s healthcare system but
access to its maiden edition was soon redirected to another site
mocking the journalist.
The new site 14ymedio.com seeks to draw attention away from
the communist-ruled country’s state-controlled media and
challenge the government’s heavy media restrictions. Cuba has
been tolerating a greater criticism in recent years but not yet
from such a professional-looking website produced on the island.
HAVANA, May 15 (Reuters) – Cuba’s prize-winning dissident
blogger Yoani Sanchez is launching the island’s first
independent digital newspaper next week to challenge the
communist-ruled country’s state-controlled media.
Sanchez said the online publication will be named
“14ymedio,” in honor of the year of its launch and the 14th
floor Havana apartment where she writes her popular Generation Y
blog on daily life and politics in Cuba.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Several hundred Cubans danced to a conga beat, waved the rainbow flag and proclaimed their same-sex love on Saturday, celebrating great advances in gay rights while patiently waiting for the still politically distant right to marriage.
About 500 people marched in the seventh annual parade against homophobia through Havana’s Vedado district, where cross-dressing dancers and hand-holding same-sex couples, joined by dozens of foreign visitors, clamored for greater social acceptance.