Cuba is slowly losing a lifeline as Venezuela collapses

With fuel shipments dwindling, long lines at gas stations have been a fact of life for most of the summer, and in recent days they have become a fixture at bus stops because routes have been suspended to conserve diesel.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel appeared on state television last month to announce austerity and energy-saving measures in the face of what he called “temporary” shortages.

Article by Los Angeles Times here.

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Cuba feels the pinch of the Trump administration’s travel restrictions.

Trump, in a June 2017 speech in Miami, declared his new policies toward Cuba would bypass “the military and government to help the Cuban people form businesses and pursue much better lives.”

Many Cubans say, however, that their private businesses have slowed to a crawl as many relatively free-spending Americans are removed from the visitor mix.

Article by Los Angeles Times here.

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By way of Twitter, Senator Rubio wants direct access to Cubans on the island.

In a new age of Cuban connectivity, Senator Marco Rubio is using Twitter to start a direct conversation with Cubans living on the island.

In his first tweet Thursday, under the name @MarcoRubioCuba1 , Florida’s republican senator told his more than hundred new followers the Cuba policies he supports in the United States Senate are motivated by one objective: so the Cuban people can elect its leaders the same way others countries do in the Western Hemisphere.

Article by WPLG Local 10 News here.

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Cubans are using social media to air their grievances — and the government is responding, sometimes.

The overwhelming response — thousands of tweets under the hashtag #BajenLosPreciosDe­Internet — became by some estimates the largest protest, albeit digital, to wash over the communist island in years. Dissidents long monitored by the government joined the cause. But so, too, did students, private-sector business owners and other Cubans who appeared to be anything but counterrevolutionaries.

Article by The Washington Post here.

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Feature: Cuban private sector severely affected by new U.S. travel restrictions

Until just a few days ago Havana’s Old Town was swarming with U.S. visitors, mainly from cruise ships, who toured the zone to learn about its history, culture and heritage.

Private businesses in the area like restaurants, cafeterias, craft sellers and the iconic convertible vintage cars thrived with thousands of tourists supporting their activities and directly engaging with the booming sector which currently employs more than 584,000 Cubans.

However, that reality dramatically changed this week when Washington decided to abruptly end cruise ships to the island and people-to-people educational exchanges, the most popular category used by U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba.

Article by Xinhua here.

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Cubans vote on new constitution to replace Cold War-era charter

Cubans began voting on Sunday in a referendum on a draft constitution to update its 1976 charter on the heels of significant economic reforms on the island over the past few years.

The new constitution, approved in the National Assembly late last year after a popular consultation, enshrines private property and promotes foreign investment. State enterprise remains the cornerstone of the economy, though the new constitution dictates state-owned companies have autonomous management.

Full article by Al Jazeera here.

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