Russia cancels most of Cuba’s debt as Raul Castro wins

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Raul Castro, little brother of famously longtime leader Fidel, had a good day Sunday 24 February: the Cuban parliament confirmed him as president for a five-year term and Russia canceled a $30 billion debt. The Moscow Times calls it “the country’s biggest debt cancellation in years, according to an agreement”, saying that […]

Cholera confirmed by Cuban gov’t

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The first large-scale report of cholera in decades has been confirmed by the Cuban government which is now doing house to house surveys to find people with symptoms in order to check the outbreak. An official statement says 51 cases have been reported, but according to Reuters, the numbers could be far […]

Cuba eases exit restrictions, lengthens time abroad rules

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Cubans will be allowed to leave the country for up to two years, starting in January 2013, and they will no longer need exit permits, the government said 15 October. The changes are part of measures to relax stringent rules for its citizens that have been in place for more than 50 […]

Fifa’s Blatter to intervene in case of Cubans who defected in Toronto

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Sep Blatter, head of Fifa, the international football federation, will step in and talk to Canadian officials in the case of three football players who went AWOL in Toronto over the weekend, he told journalists at a press conference in Geneva. This is the second defection to Canada of Cuban footballers this […]

Guantanamo death brings new calls to close prison

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The US marked the 11th anniversary of 9/11 Monday  but little mention was made in US media of the death over the weekend, mostly likely but not for certain by suicide, of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif. Latif was a 32-year-old from Al Udayn, Yemen who is said by his lawyer to have […]

Montreux Jazz Festival: Pedrito Martinez and company groove Miles Davis lounge

MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND – If you were lucky enough to catch the Rufus Wainwright show last night, 5 July at the Montreux Jazz Festival, you could have doubled your luck by catching the Pedrito Martinez Group performing shortly afterwards in the lounge at Miles Davis Hall. The quartet with members from Cuba, Venezuela and Peru – […]

Cuba, Bahrain in hot seats in UNHRC reviews, Syria lambasted

UN Independent Commission on Syria says more than 200 deaths since ceasefire began GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The UN Human Rights Council holds country reviews regularly and many are heated, but this week in Geneva several meetings have turned up the heat under accusations of human rights abuses. Cuba appeared before the UN Committee Against Torture […]

Meeting with Fidel Castro to end Cuban papal visit

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Pope Benedict XVI will end a two-day Cuban visit on Wednesday 28 March with an open-air Mass in Revolution Square in Havana and an unscheduled meeting with former leader Fidel Castro, the Associated Press reports. The plaza’s famous image of revolutionary leader Che Guevara now has a huge poster of the country’s […]

Cuban women protesters arrested ahead of papal visit

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Dozens of women protesting the continuous detention of political prisoners in Cuba were arrested over the weekend in Havana, just a week before Pope Benedict XVI is due to visit the island. Thirty-six members of a group, Ladies in White, who were staging their weekly protest, were forcefully loaded into buses when […]

Cuba Communist congress: some changes, but not enough

The first congress held by the ruling Communist Party in Cuba in 14 years, aimed at breathing new life into the communist system has ended with some changes but not enough, critics say. Cuba’s Communist Party selected President Raul Castro to replace his older brother Fidel Castro as first secretary of the ruling party’s Central […]