Latest Havana News

Customers enter through the back of Mercabal wholesale market, to load their merchandise in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, July 30, 2020. The government is letting private businesses buy wholesale for the first time. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco)

Economy tanking, Cuba launches some long-delayed reforms

Aug. 6, 2020 10:47 PM EDT

HAVANA (AP) — With its airports closed to commercial flights and its economy tanking, Cuba has launched the first in a series of long-promised reforms meant to bolster the country's struggling private sector. The island's thousands of restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, auto mechanics and dozens of other...

FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2018 file photo, Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler walks in the courtyard of the City Museum in Havana, Cuba. Leal, who oversaw the transformation of crumbling Old Havana to an immaculately restored colonial tourist attraction, becoming the de-facto mayor of the historic city center and one of the nation’s most prominent public intellectuals, has died according to state media on Friday, July 31, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

Eusebio Leal, who oversaw renewal of Old Havana, dies at 77

Jul. 31, 2020 6:41 PM EDT

HAVANA (AP) — Eusebio Leal Spengler, who oversaw the transformation of crumbling Old Havana to an immaculately restored colonial tourist attraction, becoming the de-facto mayor of the historic city center and one of the nation’s most prominent public intellectuals, has died. He was 77. He had been...

Shoppers wearing protective facemasks amid the spread of the new coronavirus load groceries from a dollar store in Havana, Cuba, Monday, July 20, 2020. Cuba has expanded the types of stores that accept dollars for payment to include food stores, as part of the government’s effort to capture much needed hard currency to shore up the island’s ailing economy. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Cuba opens foreign currency-only shops, ends tax on dollar

Jul. 20, 2020 7:02 PM EDT

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba opened shops Monday that accept only foreign currencies and eliminated a special tax on the U.S. dollar, deepening a process of collecting stronger currencies to face the country's economic crisis. By morning, long queues had formed in a half-dozen such shops in Havana dedicated to the...

Hotel Nacional stands tall near the empty intersection of 23rd Street and the Malecon seawall, amid a lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, June 20, 2020. Like other Caribbean islands, Cuba is highly dependent on tourism. It also earns hard currency from the export of medical and other professional services, remittances, and subsidized petroleum from Venezuela. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco)

New Cuban tourism system to isolate visitors from population

Jun. 30, 2020 11:36 AM EDT

HAVANA (AP) — With the coronavirus waning in Cuba, the government plans to restart its tourism industry by sending visitors to five narrow islands that will offer all-inclusive vacations and keep foreigners isolated from the rest of the nation. The state-run system scheduled to debut Wednesday is designed...

People stand outside a Western Union in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, Friday, June 12, 2020. Fincimex is a Cuban state corporation that works with foreign credit-card and money-transfer businesses and handles remittances sent to Cuba through Western Union by families in Cuban-American communities around the U.S. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco)

Trump policy change frightens Cubans, shows Washington chaos

Jun. 12, 2020 4:10 PM EDT

HAVANA (AP) — A week and a half ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a strongly worded announcement that the Trump administration was prohibiting business with Fincimex, a Cuban state corporation that works with foreign credit card and money transfer businesses, among others. Many ordinary...