The Trump administration declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday, the latest in a series of actions aimed at undoing the Obama-era legacy of opening U.S. relations with the island nation just weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Placing Cuba back on the list before the Trump administration leaves office will place a major roadblock for efforts by incoming Biden officials to return to the Obama-era policy.
The eldest son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro took his own life Thursday. Fidel Angel Castro Diaz-Balart, 68, died on Friday morning following months-long treatment “for a deep state of depression by a group of doctors.” Diaz-Balart was a nuclear physicist and had been serving as the scientific adviser to the State Council and vice president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla landed in Havana on Sunday for the first official trip by the British royal family to Communist-run Cuba even as Britain’s top ally the United States seeks to isolate the island nation. The royal visit, in line with a broader normalization in relations between the West and Cuba, comes three years after one by former U.S. President Barack Obama then billed as the start of a new chapter for ties between the old Cold War foes.
A rare tornado that hit the Cuban capital, Havana, on Sunday night has left four people dead and 195 injured, officials said. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited emergency crews around the city overnight and wrote on Twitter that the damage from the tornado was “severe.” The island nation regularly suffers extreme weather events such as hurricanes and Atlantic storms. In September 2017, 10 people died in Cuba as a result of Hurricane Irma, with seven of these deaths in Havana, according to state television.
Cuba announced that 3G internet will be available for cell phone users across the country starting on Thursday. The historic move comes after access to home internet and public WiFi hotspots were granted in 2017. While nearly half of all Cubans have cell phones the cost of mobile internet will prove too expensive for many.
Cubans voted in a one party, general election on Sunday as the country prepares to be led by someone other than a Castro for the first time in nearly 60 years. US leaders of the Cuban exile community believe the process is a fraud to legitimize a dictatorship and have asked President Trump not to recognize the results.
The Trump administration will allow lawsuits in U.S. courts for the first time against foreign companies that use properties confiscated by Communist-ruled Cuba since Fidel Castro’s revolution six decades ago, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. The major policy shift, which will be announced on Wednesday, could expose U.S., European and Canadian companies to legal action and deal a blow to Cuba’s efforts to attract more foreign investment.
Raul Castro is expected to step down as Cuba’s president this week, a role he filled since his late brother Fidel Castro’s resignation in 2008. Raul Castro’s Vice President, 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, is expected to become Cuba’s next president. This will be the first time in the lives of most Cubans, a man not named Castro is going to take over the leadership of the Communist-run island nation.
An article published, Thursday, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reported diplomats who served in Cuba ‘appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks,’ although physicians could find no definitive cause for their condition. U.S. diplomats in Cuba underwent a series of hearing, vision, balance and brain disorders in 2016 in what the State Department has called “health attacks.”
The Trump Administration announced policy changes that reverse the Obama Administration’s normalization of dealings with Cuba. Tight restrictions were revealed Wednesday on American citizens’ travel and trade with Cuba. Most individual travel will be prohibited and groups will need to be licensed by the Treasury Department. Many Cuban businesses will be off-limits to American citizens.