In 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.
Reports 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.
Tourism 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.
The U.S. Treasury Department issued new clarifications on Tuesday on measures that will take effect for business, remittances, and travel with Cuba following President Donald Trump’s June announcement regarding U.S. policy towards the island.
The document, released by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), includes answers to 14 frequently asked questions from business owners, travelers, and the general public about the changes Trump proclaimed in Miami on June 16.
President Donald Trump plans to continue the biannual suspension of the Title III provision of the Helms-Burton Act, sources say. The Act permits the owners of property confiscated in Cuba to sue the Cuban government and foreign governments for using those expropriated holdings.
Since the Helms-Burton Act, formally known as Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, was passed by Congress in 1996, every president has suspended the lawsuit provision in six-month intervals. The ability to waiver the provision was added by President Bill Clinton as a compromise for U.S. allies like Mexico, Canada, and EU countries that feared Title III would open their investments in Cuba to a potential tidal wave of lawsuits in U.S. federal courts by people with prior claims.
“Any strategy that seeks to destroy the revolution either through coercion or pressure or through more subtle methods will fail,” said Castro.
This was the first time he has commented on Trump’s June announcement of a rollback of some of the changes established by former President Barack Obama.
The wave of tourism brought by the 700 Americans who arrived in Havana by sea in May 2016 is showing no signs of abating more than one year later, even with the new restrictions placed on American travelers to the island by President Donald Trump.
Adonia’s historic voyage from Port Miami to Cuba was the first of its kind in almost 40 years. It marked a big step in the normalization process between Cold War enemies that was started by former President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro on December 17, 2014. The embargo imposed by Congress almost 60 years ago is still in place, but the Obama administration relaxed the rules to allow Americans to visit the island if the trip falls under one of 12 categories of travel.
Agriculture officials in Alabama have lobbied to turn Cuba into a market for the state’s poultry products for years, but President Donald Trump’s recent policy change with the island jeopardizes that opening.
Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan said exports to Cuba, which receives millions of tons of poultry every month from the state, could be impacted by the president’s restrictive policy change.
Travel companies that organize trips to Cuba for American travelers have reportedly been receiving a lot of questions about President Donald Trump’s new Cuba policy and how the elimination of “people to people” tours to the island and the ban on dealings with military-controlled businesses will affect their travels.
“They say they have been interested in traveling to Cuba and they want to book right now,” Tom Popper, president of InsightCuba, told the Miami Herald. His company organizes tours and plans itineraries for groups traveling to Cuba.
U.S. business owners with dealings in Cuba were relieved after President Donald Trump outlined his new Cuba policy last week because it might not have a big impact on their ventures. Some have reportedly paused all business with the island until they see how Trump’s changes will be implemented and what new regulations they will require.
Lawyers who help corporations navigate the regulations and laws imposed by the embargo have been going through every detail of the memorandum Trump signed on June 16 as well as a White House fact sheet and the answers to some frequently-asked questions issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to get a feel of the new policy. That is all the lawyers have to go on until the new rules are written. Trump mandated that the writing process begin by next month.