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NATIONAL
April 8, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers interrogated the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Tuesday over the organization's funding of a Twitter-like program in Cuba reportedly designed to stir political unrest in the island nation. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on state, foreign operations and related programs, told USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah that the secretive government-funded program was a “cockamamie idea” that “from the get-go had no possibility of working.” Shah denied elements of a report by the Associated Press, which last week revealed the U.S. role in a social media messaging service for Cubans.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2014 | Kevin Baxter, Brian Bennett
Yasiel Puig's journey to Los Angeles - and riches with the Dodgers - is a serpentine tale of drug cartels, nighttime escapes and international human smuggling. Yet in the booming marketplace for Cuban ballplayers, it is far from unique. Since 2009, nearly three dozen have defected, with at least 25 of them signing contracts worth more than a combined $315 million. Many, like Puig, were spirited away on speedboats to Mexico, Haiti or the Dominican Republic. Once there, they typically were held by traffickers before being released to agents - for a price.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 14, 1995
Mike Clary's "Finding Art in the Despair of Cuban Refugees" (Dec. 30) showed that in 1994 anything, even jerry-built rafts, could be "art." Clary, however, lets his Cold War rhetoric cloud the article, e.g., ". . . under a communist regime that prohibits 'ordinary citizens' from leaving the island for any reason, fleeing the island by boat has been an option of last resort that thousands have chosen." In truth, "ordinary" Cubans, albeit only one family member at a time, are allowed to visit their relatives in the United States.
OPINION
April 15, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Fleeing Cuba is harrowing and costly, whether it's done in a flimsy boat headed for U.S. shores or a speedboat headed for Mexico. Yasiel Puig, the gifted Dodgers outfielder, set off on the latter route, smuggled out by men who then threatened his life and held him hostage in a Mexican motel. A Florida man with a small-time criminal past helped get him out; in exchange, Puig promised to pay the man 20% of his lifetime earnings. Puig's difficult journey was the result of the longtime U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, which, among other things, makes it illegal for Major League Baseball to hire players directly from Cuba, a veritable incubator of baseball talent.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 1996
We learn that modern, inexpensive medical care is available in Cuba to foreigners with hard currency (Nov. 29), and that Almeijeira Hospital in Havana has two remodeled floors for foreigners--but what about the Cubans on the remaining 22 floors? One Havana resident with whom I have contact says that her cataract surgery at Almeijeira was repeatedly postponed for two years due to contaminated operating rooms and medication shortages. Those who are admitted to hospitals bring their own bed linens and food rations.
NEWS
December 10, 2013 | By Cathleen Decker
President Obama's appearance at the Soweto memorial for Nelson Mandela provided a conflict in word and deed: a none-too-subtle upbraiding of nations like Cuba and a seemingly friendly handshake with the country's leader, Raul Castro. And if the handshake between presidents has no lasting impact, it will also put something of a lie to two long-held - and in one case demonstrably erroneous - assertions about politics: that pictures always trump words, and that any gesture of comity with Cuba will backfire in the electorally key state of Florida.
WORLD
January 15, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Cubans now for the first time have the right to travel off the island without a special exit permit, the latest in reforms that the communist government is slowly enacting in hopes of reinvigorating its troubled economy. The new and much-anticipated regulation went into effect Monday. Eager to take advantage, Cubans lined up from early hours and all day long outside travel agencies and the state offices that issue passports. Remarkably, it appeared that several longtime Cuban dissidents who have been repeatedly denied permission to travel will also be allowed to leave from and, importantly, return to Cuba.
NEWS
December 16, 1999 | From Times Wire Reports
Cuban detainees holding three hostages in a jail uprising in St. Martinville, La., released 26 fellow prisoners to police, officials said. As many as nine detainees armed with homemade knives were in control of the second floor of the three-story St. Martin Parish jail after overcoming a warden and two jail guards Monday. The Cubans, thought to be immigrants who had committed crimes in the United States, threatened to kill the hostages if their demands for safe passage out of the U.S.
TRAVEL
November 12, 2009 | By Clare Abreu
My trip to Cuba last summer was a lifetime in the making. My father emigrated from Havana to Miami in 1961 at age 6, and the family who came with him filled my childhood in Dallas with food, politics, jokes and, yes, dominoes. I longed to visit the source, to understand what all the fuss was about. When the Obama administration loosened travel restrictions in April, my father, sister and I at last booked our tickets to Havana. "Get ready to go back in time," a friend told me. Her words had seemed exaggerated and dark, but the past was unavoidable.
WORLD
December 26, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
The Bolivian government announced plans to deport a prominent Cuban dissident who publicly criticized President Evo Morales' close ties to Havana. Dr. Amauris Samartino, a Cuban who holds permanent residence status in Bolivia, will be expelled under a law forbidding immigrants to intervene in the country's politics, a government statement said. Samartino was arrested in the eastern city of Santa Cruz and will be flown to Cuba once his case has been processed.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
In the British dance-off rom-com "Cuban Fury," Nick Frost plays a man who was a champion salsa dancer as a young boy who gave it up. Now an adult office drone, when a new boss arrives from America in the form of Rashida Jones, he is smitten. When he learns she is herself a salsa enthusiast, he is inspired to once again lace up his dancing shoes. The film marks the first starring film role for Frost outside his collaborations with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg on the films "Sean of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz," "Paul" and last summer's "The World's End. " One night Frost sent producer Nira Park a half-drunk email outlining the idea for a romantic comedy with salsa dancing and the next thing he knew, they were making it. "I've always liked dancing.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Don't let the cheesy title deter you. "Cuban Fury" is a thoroughly engaging crowd-pleaser - sweet, quite amusing and even a tad inspiring. British funnyman Nick Frost ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") makes for an especially root-worthy hero as Bruce Garrett, an earnest lathe salesman who reconnects with an old love: salsa dancing. Bruce may come off to friends and co-workers like a bit of a schlub; he's a self-described 2 on the 1-to-10 scale. But beneath that pudgy exterior lies the heart of a champion salsa dancer, which in fact he was as a kid until a humiliating incident dubbed "Sequingate" caused Bruce to burn his dancing shoes (literally)
NATIONAL
April 8, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers interrogated the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Tuesday over the organization's funding of a Twitter-like program in Cuba reportedly designed to stir political unrest in the island nation. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on state, foreign operations and related programs, told USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah that the secretive government-funded program was a “cockamamie idea” that “from the get-go had no possibility of working.” Shah denied elements of a report by the Associated Press, which last week revealed the U.S. role in a social media messaging service for Cubans.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014
Mohammad Qasim Fahim Influential Afghan vice president Influential Afghan Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim, 57, a leading commander in the alliance that fought the Taliban who was later accused with other warlords of targeting civilian areas during the country's civil war, died Sunday of natural causes in Kabul. He had diabetes and other ailments. Fahim was an ethnic Tajik who was the top deputy of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Northern Alliance commander who was killed in an Al Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 28, 2014 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Huber Matos Benitez, whose disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution he had helped lead brought him the wrath of Fidel Castro and 20 years in prison, died Thursday in Miami after a heart attack. He was 95. His death was confirmed by his grandson, Huber Matos Garsault. In 1952 Matos was a teacher and rice farmer in his early 30s when Gen. Fulgencio Batista led a coup that overthrew democratically elected President Carlos Prio Socarras. Hoping to restore democracy to his country, Matos took up arms against Batista's forces.
NEWS
February 26, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
A Cuban man last week windsurfed his way from the Caribbean island nation to Florida, media reports said, becoming the first Cuban windsurfer to make the 100-mile crossing in two decades. Henry Vergara Negrin, 24, and two friends left Jibacoa, Cuba , not far from Havana. He reached land at the tony Waldorf-Astoria Reach Resort in Key West, Fla. During the 9 1/2-hour trip, he crossed the straits known for "sharks, difficult currents and sudden squalls. " After four hours or so he lost sight of his windsurfing buddies, a Reuters story said.
SPORTS
February 8, 1998 | MIKE DiGIOVANNA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Angels' never-ending pursuit of pitching has taken them to Costa Rica, where they are one of the leading contenders to sign Cuban right-hander Orlando Hernandez, the older brother of 1997 World Series Most Valuable Player Livan Hernandez. Bob Fontaine, Angel player personnel director, is in Costa Rica, and three other Angel scouts are scheduled to watch Hernandez pitch there this week.
NATIONAL
January 23, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
A Cuban militant pleaded not guilty in El Paso to charges he lied to federal investigators in a bid to become a U.S. citizen. Luis Posada Carriles, 78, was indicted Jan. 11. Posada, a former CIA operative and U.S. Army soldier, is also accused by Cuba and Venezuela of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 people. Posada, a longtime opponent of Fidel Castro who trained for the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, is being held at a jail in New Mexico.
SPORTS
February 22, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
PHOENIX  - Told the Dodgers signed free-agent shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena to a five-year, $25-million contract, Yasiel Puig was flooded with memories of his childhood in Cuba. Puig and Arruebarrena met as 9-year-olds in Cienfuegos. They played together on various youth teams. Eventually, they became standouts on the Elefantes, their hometown club in Cuba's top baseball league. "He was a good friend of mine," Puig said Saturday. "We were always together. " They were frequently at each other's houses.
SPORTS
February 15, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
King of the hill Miami Heat star LeBron James , putting himself among the four players on an NBA Mount Rushmore: "I'm going to be one of the top four to ever play this game, for sure. And if they don't want me to have one of those top four spots they better find another spot. " Feeling the love Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's email response, after being informed that new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had credited him with attracting a younger, more invested class of owners: "I like Adam.
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