Cuba-US relations backslide five years after landmark thaw

15 December 2019; AFP: Five years ago this week, Washington and Havana surprised the world when they agreed to reopen diplomatic ties severed in 1961, but relations have since slid downhill as if on a fresh layer of Cold War ice.

United States President Donald Trump has regularly assailed Cuba on Twitter and tightened sanctions over the Communist-run island's human rights record and its support for Venezuela's socialist regime.

US blockade: Oxen and horses put back to work in Cuba

LOS PALACIOS (Cuba), Dec 12 (NNN-AGENCIES) — A lack of fuel, in large part due to the US blockade, is forcing Cubans to return to horse and ox power for farming, transport and everyday travel.

In Los Palacios, 100km of the west of the capital Havana, Heriberto Piloto bellows at his oxen Montezuelo”and Pasajero as they plough a tobacco field at the La Juanita farm.

Once the fields were ploughed by tractors, plus some animal help, but now beasts of burden are the only option, meaning the job of ploughman has made a comeback too in Cuba’s fields.

Russia, Cuba eye major railways reconstruction project, upper house speaker says

HAVANA, November 17. /TASS/: Moscow and Havana plan to fulfill a large-scale project on rebuilding Cuban railways, which is expected to boost the republic’s transport infrastructure, Russian Federation Council (upper house) Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said after a meeting with the country’s leadership.

Date of Putin’s visit to Cuba depends on his schedule - top senator

HAVANA, November 17. /TASS/: The date of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential visit to Cuba at the invitation of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel depends on his schedule and the approval of the Cuban leadership, Russian Federal Council (upper house of parliament) Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said on Sunday on the outcomes of the meeting with the Cuban leader.

International community will achieve lifting US blockade from Cuba — Russian official

HAVANA, November 15. /TASS/: The international community will sooner or later achieve cancellation of US unilateral sanctions against Cuba as they represent "a flagrant violation of internaitonal law," Russian Federation Council Spekaer Valentina Matviyenko said on Friday at a meeting with President of Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power (unicameral parliament) Esteban Lazo Hernandez.

Cuba seized up to 1.5 tons of drugs so far this year

HAVANA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Cuba has seized up to 1.5 tons of drugs as part of its zero-tolerance policy against illegal narcotics, said a senior officer on Wednesday.

Colonel Juan Carlos Poey, chief of the National Anti-Drug Directorate, said that 1493.20 kilograms of drugs were confiscated from January to September, 93 percent among which were packages washed ashore as a result of international operations not directed at Cuba.

The other 94.48 kilograms of narcotic drugs were seized at airports and ports, and during domestic trafficking.

US blockade affects Cuba’s tobacco industry

HAVANA, Oct 12 (NNN-Prensa Latina) — The tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba has caused millions in losses to Cuba’s tobacco industry, according to an official source.

The Tabacuba Business Group reported that the damages amount to $145 million from April 2018 to March 2019.

The group explained that most suppliers of packaging materials, spare parts and other supplies necessary for the tobacco industry are closely linked to the US market, and as such they cannot do business with Cuba.

Diaz-Canel elected president of Cuba

HAVANA, Oct 11 (NNN-Xinhua) — Cuban leader Miguel Diaz-Canel was elected on Thursday to serve in the newly-created post of president of the Republic of Cuba.

The election took place at an extraordinary legislative session of the National Assembly of People’s Power, the single-chamber parliament.

Currently serving as president of the Council of State and Ministers, Diaz-Canel received 579 votes in favor from the 580 deputies present in the election, and he will be in office through 2023.

Cuba suffers million-dollar transport damages due to US blockade: Latest report

HAVANA, Sept 24 (NNN-Prensa Latina) — The damage caused by the US blockade against Cuba in the transport sector exceeded 170 million dollars from April 2018 to March 2019.

According to the most recent report on the impact of the US blockade on Cuba, the figure represents an increase of more than 69 million dollars over the previous period.

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