Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel shake hands while exchanging documents after their talks in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Nov. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).
Cuba faces a much tougher international environment today than it did just a few years ago. Relations with Latin America have cooled as relations with Washington have regressed to a level of animosity reminiscent of the Cold War. In response, Havana is looking to old ideological comrades in Moscow and Beijing to compensate for the deterioration of ties in its own backyard. These setbacks abroad come at a time when the Cuban economy is vulnerable. Export earnings have been falling, foreign reserves are low, and the debt service burden is heavy, as Cuba tries to retire old debts that it [...]
Cuban doctors assemble to meet Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, after landing in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Desmond Boylan).
The government of Cuba canceled a medical cooperation agreement with Brazil and withdrew thousands of its doctors from the country late last year after Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, criticized the Cuban government for taking most of the doctors’ salaries and not allowing their families to accompany them to Brazil. The exodus of Cuban doctors is expected to severely impair health care services for millions of poor Brazilians who depended on them. In an email interview with WPR, Albert Ko, a professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health who has conducted research in Brazil, discusses the withdrawal’s [...]
Young Cubans attend a march celebrating the 60th anniversary of the arrival of Fidel Castro and his rebel army to Regla, an area within Havana, Cuba, Jan. 8, 2019 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).
Is the Cuban Revolution reinventing itself at age 60? That was my unmistakable impression during a visit to Cuba last month. Change is in the air as the island celebrates the anniversary of the 1959 revolution. Last year, Raul Castro stepped down as president in favor of his protégé, 58-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, who promised a “new Cuba”—a government more open and responsive to people’s needs. In the ensuing months, three constituencies—the churches, the private sector and the arts community—took advantage of that promise to launch organized campaigns pushing back against government policies they opposed. And in each case, the government [...]
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