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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
HAVANA (Reuters) – With Cuba’s economy flagging, President Raul Castro has turned to his most trusted economic adviser, Marino Murillo, granting him more authority to carry out ambitious reforms to the socialist economy.
Castro on Thursday added the title of economy minister to Murillo’s brief.