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Oct 18, 2014

Cubans, U.S. troops could work side-by-side in Ebola fight

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban doctors and U.S. military personnel could work side-by-side in West Africa as part of international efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, possibly leading to improved bilateral relations, a top Cuban health official said on Friday.

The two long-time adversaries are among the countries aiding West Africa, where Ebola has killed some 4,546 people since the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever began there in March.

Oct 13, 2014

Authors see chance for breakthrough in U.S.-Cuba relations

HAVANA (Reuters) – The authors of a new book detailing 55 years of informal communications between the United States and Cuba see a rare opportunity to normalize relations, provided President Barack Obama wants to seize the moment.

William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh co-wrote “Back Channel to Cuba,” which was officially released on Monday and explains the informal and secretive “back channel” means that Havana and Washington have used to speak to each other despite their hostilities.

Oct 10, 2014

Cuban children train for circus, and a future

HAVANA (Reuters) – Inside an abandoned movie theater on a noisy avenue in a working-class section of Havana, some 70 Cuban children as young as nine pursue their dream of joining the circus.

Aspiring acrobats climb a rope while young jugglers toss pins back and forth, and others take turns on the trampoline or parallel bars. No one seems to mind the dilapidated conditions, at least as long as the weather is dry. Several corrugated tin laminates are missing from the roof, exposing the sky.

Oct 8, 2014

Havana sees no sign Obama will change U.S. policy on Cuba

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba has received no indication the Obama administration might change U.S. policy toward Cuba despite increasing support within the United States for closer ties, a top Cuban official said on Wednesday.

“We don’t have those indications (of any policy change),” Josefina Vidal, chief of the Cuban foreign ministry’s U.S. division, told reporters in Havana after attending a forum discussing the U.S. embargo.

Oct 5, 2014

Canadian company lays out defense case for its jailed CEO

HAVANA (Reuters) – Defense lawyers for a Canadian executive sentenced to 15 years prison in Cuba on bribery and other charges released a raft of documents on Sunday seeking to bolster their case that Cy Tokmakjian was denied a fair trial.

Tokmakjian’s transportation company said crucial evidence prepared by the defense team was not accepted by the five-judge panel during the two-week trial in June, and relevant witnesses including experts were denied a chance to testify.

Oct 3, 2014

Exclusive: Gifts for Cubans end in 15-year sentence for Canadian CEO

HAVANA (Reuters) – Dinners at fancy restaurants, week-long family vacations and a flat-screen TV: the bribes that Cuba accused Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian of giving Cuban officials were modest by corruption standards in many developing nations.

But they have cost him dearly.

Tokmakjian, 74, was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison and $100 million of his company’s assets were seized.

Sep 29, 2014

Cuba asked for $55 mln, assets to release Canadian CEO -company

TORONTO/HAVANA, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Cuba offered to free
jailed Canadian executive Cy Tokmakjian in return for $55
million and company assets, his company said on Monday, but the
deal fell through because the firm didn’t have the money and the
businessman wanted to clear his name.

Tokmakjian, 74, founder and chief executive of
transportation firm Tokmakjian Group, was sentenced to 15 years
in prison on Friday after being convicted of bribery and other
economic charges in a case that lawyers and diplomats called a
chilling development for potential foreign investors.

Sep 28, 2014

Cubans convicted along with Canadians in corruption case

HAVANA (Reuters) – Fourteen Cubans, including two high-ranking officials, were convicted and sentenced to jail terms ranging from 6 to 20 years in a corruption case that also condemned three Canadian executives, the Canadian company said on Sunday.

The case has come under deep skepticism from Western diplomats who have considered the evidence weak and say it threatens to scare off foreign investors at a time when Cuba is actively seeking business partners from abroad. It has also strained Cuba’s relationship with Canada.

Sep 28, 2014

Cuba sentences Canadian CEO to 15 years on financial charges

HAVANA (Reuters) – A Cuban court has sentenced Canadian executive Cy Tokmakjian to 15 years in prison for bribery and other economic charges, his company, the Tokmakjian Group, said on Saturday in a chilling development for potential foreign investors.

Two aides received sentences of 12 and 8 years and Cuba seized about $100 million worth of the company’s assets, the Ontario-based transportation firm said in a statement.

Sep 27, 2014

Cuba aborts plan to create perfumes for Che Guevara and Chavez

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba has aborted plans to develop fragrances in honor of the late revolutionary hero Ernesto “Che” Guevara and former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling the project disrespectful of two “sacred” revolutionary symbols.

The executive committee of the Council of Ministers, one of the highest bodies within the communist government, said in a statement on Saturday that those responsible for promoting the fragrances would be disciplined for their “grave mistake”.

    • About Daniel

      "Daniel Trotta joined Reuters as a correspondent in 1993, starting in Nicaragua and moving Mexico City (1996) and Madrid (2000) before coming to New York in 2005. As a U.S. General News correspondent, his specialty is writing the lead story on major breaking news. Trotta also travels the United States producing in-depth features and helps edit the national news file from the Reuters headquarters in New York. Outside the office, he is the manager of the New York Express of the New York City Metro Baseball League."
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