HAVANA (Reuters) – Three hundred U.S. rabbis urged President Barack Obama to “take action” to secure the release of Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Cuba who has grown increasingly suicidal and has said goodbye to his family, his lawyer said on Monday.
Gross, 65 and in deteriorating health, has served nearly five years of a 15-year sentence on his conviction for attempting to establish Internet communications for Cuban Jews.
HAVANA, July 7 (Reuters) – Cuba has prosecuted and is likely
to send Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian to prison after he
denounced corruption in the Havana government’s awarding of
contracts, his company said on Monday.
“Cy Tokmakjian spoke out against corruption as it was clear
the company was losing contracts to others for unexplained
reasons. It’s possible this outspokenness led to what is now
happening,” Lee Hacker, vice president of finance for the
company, said in a statement on Monday.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban President Raul Castro told parliament on Saturday the communist country’s market-oriented reforms must remain gradual, a clear signal he would resist calls to accelerate change in order to address an underperforming economy.
He also praised Cubans for “defeating imperialism” by resisting U.S. aggression ever since the 1959 Cuban revolution.
HAVANA (Reuters) – A magazine editor who has tested the limits of free speech in Cuba believes the Cuban government has no option but to allow universal Internet access, and he plans to exploit that opening to promote a more pluralistic Cuba.
“The government is obligated to allow it because the country’s development demands it,” Roberto Veiga told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “The government is aware it has to make political openings.”
HAVANA/TOKYO (Reuters) – Cuba is allowing some of its best baseball players to take their skills to Japan and make good money instead of risking their lives at sea with human traffickers in pursuit of Major League Baseball dreams.
The bright lights of the U.S. big leagues do still draw Cuban prospects to speedboats in order to escape the communist-run island – one player just left the island and six others were excluded from the national team for trying.
HAVANA, July 3 (Reuters) – Cuba on Thursday criticized as
illegal the record U.S. fine against French bank BNP Paribas
, saying President Barack Obama’s administration has
now imposed more Cuba-related penalties than that of any
previous U.S. president.
BNP Paribas this week pleaded guilty to two criminal charges
that it violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Sudan and Iran.
The bank agreed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve the
HAVANA (Reuters) – Two editors who helped turn a Roman Catholic magazine into a rare forum for open debate in Communist-ruled Cuba, then resigned under pressure this spring, announced on Tuesday that they will launch a new forum to air a broad range of views.
Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez said their new project would be called Cuba Posible. No start date was given for the venture, which they said would be primarily online.
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.