Twenty-eight miles west of Havana in Mariel, one of the biggest economic development projects in Cuba history is taking shape. Cuban officials hope to attract sustainable industries, advanced manufacturing and high-tech companies to the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone. Their plans depend heavily on attracting foreign investment to the zone, which adjoins the Mariel container port. One U.S. company that wanted to locate in the zone was turned down but three other U.S. projects are in advanced negotiations.
Cubans and tourists are reacting to the announcement that drastically reduce the staff of the US Embassy in Havana and will suspend the issuance of visas for Cubans who wish to travel to the United States.
Stretches of the famed Malecón boulevard are still closed for repairs and seaside businesses show the scars of 30-foot waves that crashed through the seawall during Hurricane Irma. But tourists have returned to the capital, even as areas hit hard by the storm continue to struggle.
Hurricane Irma was about 80 miles from Caba Lucrecia, Cuba, on Friday morning, September 8, with 150mph winds. Forecasters said a Sunday morning landfall in south Florida was likely for the Category 4 storm.
In a videotaped private meeting with Communist Party members, Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel lashed out against Cuban dissidents, independent media and embassies of several European countries, accusing them all of supporting subversive projects.
Orlando Gutierrez Boronat along with members of the Cuban Resistance Assembly address the media at Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs Museum regarding the University of Miami an the Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Recommendations announced by anti-embargo senators include allowing individual people-to-people travel, lifting restrictions on remittances and lifting limitations on bank transactions for Cubans who open U.S. bank accounts.
An offer by the Panamanian government to provide multiple entry visas for Cubans who return home voluntarily and become self-employed is met with much skepticism. “Those visas that are being proposed are of no use to us because everything is illegal in Cuba,” says one migrant at a temporary shelter in Panama.