Cuba | KERA News

Cuba

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The State Department has ordered more than half of its staff in Cuba to leave after at least 21 Americans were victims of what senior U.S. officials call "specific attacks." The order applies to all nonessential U.S. Embassy personnel and their families.

The department also issued a warning on Friday advising Americans not to travel to Cuba.

When President Obama began opening up to Cuba two years ago, reversing U.S. policy that dated back more than a half-century, he relied on executive orders that did not require the blessing of Congress.

That means President-elect Donald Trump could easily undo Obama's actions. And on the campaign trail, Trump said he would "terminate" Obama's orders that opened the way for travel and trade with Cuba, unless the U.S. could negotiate better terms.

Chris Parypa / Shutterstock

American and Southwest Airlines both got tentative federal government approval today to start commercial flights to Cuba. But there will be no non-stops out of north Texas airports.

Cuba’s ambassador to the United States is in Texas this week to meet with business owners who want to sell to Cuba. In February the state Department of Agriculture went on an official trade mission to the island, and another group of Texans is headed there for similar reasons later this year. 


Commentary: When Cuba Became Personal

Mar 30, 2016
Shutterstock

Barack Obama recently became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years. The island was also on commentator Stephen Whitley’s wish list of places to visit. But Cuba always seemed out of reach until the recent easing of restrictions on travel. He learned some lessons during a Spring Break trip there.

Cuban Refugees Flocking To Texas Border

Mar 22, 2016
Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

The same week President Obama makes the first trip to Cuba by an American president in almost 90 years, The Rolling Stones will play a free concert in Havana — the first open-air show there by a British rock band.

But changing times in the Communist country haven’t stopped tens of thousands from fleeing the island and saying gimme shelter to American immigration officials at Texas land ports.

Capping a historic visit to Cuba, President Obama delivered a sweeping speech about American ideals and reconciliation at the Gran Teatro de la Havana.

"I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas," Obama said.

The speech was carried live by Cuban state television, giving Obama a chance to speak directly to the Cuban people. Cuban President Raúl Castro sat in the balcony of the theater, where he heard Obama issue a tough rebuke of the Cuban regime's crackdown on dissent.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in December 2014 when President Obama announced plans to improve U.S. ties with Cuba. We're republishing it with minor updates following Fidel Castro's death.

Just months after he seized power in Cuba, Fidel Castro visited Washington in April 1959 and received a warm welcome. Castro met Vice President Richard Nixon, placed a wreath at the base of both the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and was photographed looking up in seeming admiration of both U.S. presidents.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been in Cuba this week talking trade. He arrived in Havana on Monday with a delegation of 25 people to explore business opportunities between the formerly embargoed country and the Lone Star State.