Diaz-Canel visits CubaSi headquater

Cuba´s First VP of the Council of State and Ministers, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, visited today the headquarters of Cubasi website. He exchanged views with Cubasi´s small staff of reporters, editors, and translators.

In a friendly meeting, the high-ranked official was given detailed information on the structural and journalistic work of the news website. What´s more, he was astonished to see such visual improvements as well as the information architecture.

He showed special interest in the multimedia service. Diaz-Canel urged to restore the live TV service and migrate to a programming platform that would allow to implement new added values to Cubasi.

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  • Published in Cuba

Weather making an impact on Cuba Summer Series

For the second consecutive day, heavy rain has caused a delay in the Cuba Summer Series.

Yesterday’s game resumed earlier today and was completed to the tune of an 11-1 Cuba victory.

In what looked like to be a close game before rain halted play in the top of the fifth yesterday afternoon, turned into a blowout as Cuba belted out 18 hits to beat the Junior National Team 11-1 as played resumed in the Cuba Summer Series.

The second scheduled game today was stopped in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Junior National Team leading 5-0 thanks in large part to a Mitch Bigras (Sarnia, ON) three-run homer in the fourth.

The game will resume tomorrow at 2pm and will be a nine-inning contest, while a seven inning game is scheduled to follow.

Cuba 11 Canada 1 (Resumed from 07/06)

Pitcher Matt Ianni (Ottawa, ON) took over for Colton Wood (Victoria, BC) who had worked four and one-third innings yesterday and walked the first batter he faced before getting a fly-out to centre and a fly-out to left to leave both runners stranded.

Cuba jumped ahead 5-1 in the top of the sixth after Ianni walked the leadoff better before giving up a two-run homer that landed in the bleachers beyond the left field fence. A pair of singles and an error by left fielder JF Garon (Terrebonne, QC) gave Cuba runners on the corners and after a wild pitch, Cuba had a four run lead.

Things didn’t get any better in the seventh as Ianni allowed a leadoff double before being removed from the game in favour of newcomer RJ Freure (Burlington, ON). Freure got off to a rough start giving up a leadoff triple before a two-run homer put Cuba up 8-1. On the play, left fielder JF Garon made a valiant effort trying to catch the ball getting a glove on it only to see the ball deflect off his glove and land over the fence.

Cuba kept coming in the eight adding a run before tacking on two more in the ninth to go up 11-1.

In total, the Cubans belted out 18 hits, while the juniors responded with eight including a 3-for-5 day from Demi Orimoloye.

The juniors did have chances to scored leaving the bases loaded on a three separate occasions yesterday before leaving five runners on today for a total of 16 in the game.

Canada 5 Cuba 0 (Suspended 4th inning)

The juniors opened the scoring in the top of the first after Charles Leblanc (Laval, QC) dropped an opposite field single into right field and scored all the way from first base on a Josh Naylor (Mississauga, ON) double to the gap in right-centre.

Naylor worked the count full and then unloaded on a belt-high fastball drilling the pitch all the way to the wall in right-centre.

Starter Nolan Bumstead (Calgary, AB) cruised through two perfect innings before getting into a jam in the third loading the bases with one out on three walks. He was able to get out of it with a double play ball to third baseman Mitchell Robinson (Surrey, BC) who flipped to LP Pelletier (Montréal, QC) at second who fired to first where Robert Byckowski (Georgetown, ON) made a nice play to keep his foot on the bag while extending his body to make the catch.

Byckowski was right back in the thick of things as he led-off the top of the fourth with a double to right. He then took his lead off second and was promptly tagged by the second baseman and called out as the Cubans attempted the hidden ball trick. Only problem was the Cuban pitcher was standing on the rubber without the ball leaving the call to be reversed and Byckowski being awarded third base on a balk. The Cubans argued to no avail and Mitch Robinson followed with a single to centre scoring Byckowski to put the juniors up by two.

After Matt Lloyd (Okotoks, AB) singled to right to put runners on the corners, Mitch Bigras (Sarnia, ON) stepped to the plate with dark clouds looming overhead and took ball one. With the dark clouds making it almost impossible to play, the umpires delayed the game for a while in hopes that the lights would pop on, but decided to play on. Bigras didn’t let the poor lighting bother him as he ripped a 1-0 offering over the fence in right field for a three-run homer.

Play was suspended in the bottom of the fourth with Cubas batting, Bumstead still on the mound with nobody out and a runner on first base with a two and one count on the batter.

Up Next: The series will continue tomorrow with the conclusion of today’s game at 2pm at Victoria de Giron Stadium in Matanzas…RHP Mike Soroka (Calgary, AB) is slated to start the suspended game, while JP Stevenson (Hunter River, PE) gets the nod in game two…Live game tweets from all Cuba Summer Series games will be available via Baseball Canada’s Twitter account, @baseballcanada. Daily game stories will be posted after each game on Baseball Canada’s official website, baseball.ca.

Cuba Summer Series schedule:

0704 Canada 4 Cuba 11
0705 Cuba 5 Canada 2
0705 Canada 0 Cuba 6
0706 Cuba 11 Canada 1
0707 Canada 5 Cuba 0 (Suspended 4th inning)
0708 2pm/5pm
0709 4pm
0710 9am

*All times eastern

  • Published in Sports

Democrats’ Florida Push Calls for US Shift on Cuba

When Charlie Crist went to Miami’s Little Havana recently, the Democratic candidate for governor stood before a crowd and said what few politicians have in decades of scrounging for votes in the Cuban-American neighborhood: End the trade embargo against Cuba. “If you really care about people on the island, we need to get rid of the embargo and let freedom reign,” he said, shouting above a small band of protesters who responded with chants of “Shame on you!”

Crist’s supporters cheered louder.

It was a scene inconceivable just a few years ago, when politicians were careful about what they said on the issue, for fear of alienating Cuban-American voters, many of whom fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba in the 1960s.

But Democrats now sense an opening with newer Cuban arrivals and second-generation Cuban-Americans who favor resuming diplomatic relations with the communist island. In a sign of just how much the climate has shifted, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who backed trade limits when she ran for president in 2008, is now calling for the embargo to be lifted. She described it as “Castro’s best friend” and said it hampers “our broader agenda across Latin America.”

Her words mark the first time a leading presidential contender from either political party has suggested reversing the 52-year-old policy. The efforts represent the largest challenge to Cuban-American orthodoxy in decades and could help reshape American foreign policy.

It also could alter the political landscape in the largest swing-voting state, where Republicans long have dominated the Cuban vote by taking a hard line on the embargo. Crist’s campaign will be the first statewide test of whether the trade restrictions are still a live wire for politicians in Florida, home to 70 percent of the nation’s Cubans.

Crist is a former Republican governor who once said he would only visit Cuba “when it’s free.” Now that he’s a Democrat and trying to regain his old job, he has floated the idea of going to Havana “to learn from the people of Cuba and help find opportunities for Florida businesses.”

He argues that the embargo has failed because it has not toppled the Castro government but has hurt the Cuban people. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he told reporters at the opening of a campaign office in Little Havana.

Florida Republicans are outraged, casting Crist’s position as a betrayal of the Cuban-American community.

“I’m going to stand with Cuban-Americans that believe in freedom, believe in democracy, believe in freedom of speech and oppose the oppression of Cuba,” said GOP Gov. Rick Scott. Crist, he added, will “be standing with Castro.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential GOP presidential candidate whose parents left Cuba in the 1950s, said the embargo is “the last tool we have remaining to ensure that democracy returns to Cuba one day.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential GOP presidential candidate whose parents left Cuba in the 1950s, said the embargo is “the last tool we have remaining to ensure that democracy returns to Cuba one day.”

Nationwide, the share of Cuban registered voters who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party has doubled in the past decade, from 22 percent to 44 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Less than half of Cuban voters now affiliate with the Republican Party, down from 64 percent over the same time period.

President Barack Obama won Florida twice, campaigning on easing travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans who want to visit their families on the island and allowing them to send more money to their relatives. In 2012, he captured nearly half the Cuban-American vote, a record for a Democrat.

The shift is driven in part by changing demographics.

Cuban-Americans, once the dominant bloc of Florida’s Hispanic vote, have seen their political clout diminished by a huge influx of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and people from Central and South America, who lean Democratic. In the 2012 election, 42 percent of Hispanic voters in the state were Cuban, an 11 percentage point drop from 2000, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

The exiles who arrived in the decade and a half following Cuba’s 1959 revolution have been dying off while their children and fresh waves of immigrants hold a different view of Cuba. More than one-third of the Cubans residing in Miami-Dade County arrived after 1995, with many supporting travel and trade policies that strengthen ties between the U.S. and Cuba, said Guillermo Grenier, a lead researcher for the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.

American business leaders, long among the most strident defenders of the embargo, are publicly talking about investing in Cuba.”

The politics are way behind public opinion on this one,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic consultant and Crist adviser who managed Obama’s Florida campaign in 2008.

Overall, polls of the community have confirmed a tilt toward engagement, with the most recent survey by Florida International University finding Cuban-Americans in Miami split over the embargo, which was a near record, and 71 percent saying it had not worked either very well or at all. “The embargo! It’s so screwed up!” said Caridad Novo, as she sipped espresso at a cafe in Doral, a Miami suburb.

The 52-year-old Cuban, who came to Florida during the 1980 Mariel boat crisis, said U.S. trade restrictions drive up the cost of sending goods to her family in Cuba. Shipping a 4-pound can of milk to her 3-year-old grandson in Havana costs $55, she said. But some scholars and political operatives say Crist risks energizing Republicans in the conservative exile community while attracting little support from younger Cuban-Americans and newer arrivals, who tend to be less politically active.

The recent Florida International University poll found that less than one-third of those who have arrived since 1995 are U.S. citizens. Voter registration rates among newer arrivals lag their older counterparts by double digits.

“What is changing is opinions” on the embargo, Grenier said. “But for the opinions to become relevant to policymakers, they have to translate into more than just opinions. They have to be votes.”

  • Published in Cuba
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