carnival-300x200Good news for Cuba-bound cruisers – your options for a Cuban cruise vacation are increasing by the day. As demand for cruises to the Caribbean’s largest island increases, more and more companies are adding tours of Cuba to their menus.

With the first American cruise ship visiting the island just last year, it’s a market that is still developing. And with President Trump’s proposed rollback of Obama-era regulations that allowed for a broad category of “people to people” visits, the future is relatively uncertain for tourists. After all, trips to Cuba for the sole purpose of tourism are still not allowed. Cruises, however, seem to be safe from future measures, as most cruise lines have an official group people to people program; President Trump has only indicated that he would be tightening up individual travel to the island.

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maduro-300x225In a surprise visit to Cuba, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro paid homage to the late Fidel Castro just after the 91st anniversary of his birth on August 13, 1926.

Maduro met with Cuban President Raul Castro for a visit to the cemetery in Santiago de Cuba and the mausoleums of both Fidel and national hero Jose Marti. The visit marks a continuation of strong relations between the two socialist countries, who remain regional ideological allies.

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https://www.attorneycuba.com/files/2017/08/cuba-professionals_f2c47df30835a792b5d71fbab64cc18e.nbcnews-ux-600-480-300x197.jpgProfessionals in Cuba are in limbo as the Castro government decides how much to loosen its firm grip on private enterprise. The private sector has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, with private employment rising from 140,000 in 2009 to 535,000 in 2016.

At the same time, Cubans working for the state at a rate of $25 or less per month have been flocking to slightly more lucrative private sector jobs, such as waiting tables and driving taxis. Those are not exactly the types of jobs that young, ambitious Cubans are thrilled to take, but unskilled jobs aren’t the only ones opening up. As Cuba finds its way, opportunities for professionals come and go. Continue reading

mojitos-300x200The best way to end a hot day in sunny Havana, whether you’re there for business or pleasure, is with a cold drink (or two). But contrary to the craft beer craze here in the States, in Cuba it’s more about where you drink as opposed to what you drink. If you’re looking for a hoppy IPA or nitro stout, for example, prepare to be disappointed. But with an open mind, you’ll be more than content with a Havana cocktail. Here are a few places in Havana that shouldn’t be missed on your next visit.

El Floridita

El Floridita is a historic bar just across the street from the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, making for the perfect afternoon combo. After all, fine art is so much finer after a drink.

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cuban-honor-guard-1800-ts600-300x200In the continuation of a truly bizarre and unfortunate trend, two US diplomats in Havana recently lost their hearing due to covert devices that perform “acoustic attacks”; that is, devices that play frequencies out of the range of normal hearing that can cause damage to the internal ear. One of the diplomats may never regain his hearing, and another reports that he now requires a hearing aid.

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Cuba has seen many changes in the last few years.  With the slow and steady influx of tourism from the US and a regime change, Cuba is gaining momentum as it turns toward more laissez-faire policies.  On a day-to-day level, these changes in policies have manifested themselves as a healthy crop of privately owned establishments–bars, hotels, and nightclubs are booming as Cuba’s private sector grows.

However, last week saw a brief halt in operations when the government instituted a temporary freeze on new licenses for a few of the more prominent private sector enterprises–room rentals, cafés, and restaurants, to name a few.

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Many think of old Havana of being just that–old, trapped in an era during which the United States (and much of the Western world) cut off contact. For a long time, this notion wasn’t far from the truth, but since the turn of the 20th century, Havana has been changingMany contributing factors, including a loosening of restrictions on small-scale private enterprise by the new regime, has led to a slow and assured blossoming of newness in the city. Continue reading

Cuba-Restaurant-300x200Cuban authorities are reportedly raiding several private restaurants on the island in what appears to be a government crackdown on entrepreneurs transgressing the Castro regime’s definition of free enterprise.

El Litoral, a high-end paladar known for its food and clientele, was the first to get raided by authorities. Officials from the Technical Department of Investigations reportedly carted off tables, chairs, plates, sound systems, and bottles of imported liquor.

Neighboring businesses told news sources that the owner of El Litoral got in trouble because of money laundering allegations. The liquor the restaurant served didn’t come from official government sources and some of its employees were allegedly being paid off the books. Servers also reportedly told clients that they accept dollars if they don’t have CUCs (Cuban convertible pesos). U.S. dollars are not legal tender on the island.

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Nuevo_Laredo_Cubans-300x216Reports show that there are more than 1,300 Cuban migrants who are currently being held in detention centers across the U.S. awaiting trial. All of them traveled to the U.S. seeking freedom, but the immigration policy that allowed them to remain in the country was ended by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Cuban migrants seeking residency were welcomed in the U.S. as political refugees under the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” immigration policy. Obama eliminated the policy on January 12, just days before his presidency ended.

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Cuban-Travel-New-Rules-300x200Tourism has reportedly been a bright spot for the Cuban economy during the first half of 2017, pulling in 23 percent more tourists than the same period last year. But other areas of the island nation’s economy have foundered and failed to meet projected targets, Cuban officials have revealed.

The Cuban economy experienced a 1.1 percent growth during the first half of the year thanks to the tourism, agriculture, and construction sectors. Other economic sectors have reportedly performed poorly as the island bounced back from a recession and faced difficulties securing trade credits.

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