Haiti Earthquake May Be Opening For U.S.-Cuba Cooperation
The earthquake in Haiti is an opportunity for the United States and Cuba to set aside politics and work together to help a neighbor after it seemed their brief rapprochement under U.S. President Barack Obama was over, Cuba experts said.
Cooperation to help quake victims in the poorest state in the Western Hemisphere might allow the long-time ideological foes find common ground and lay a base for better long-term relations, they said.
Cuba has cut two staple foods from the monthly ration books that most islanders depend on, edging closer to a risky full elimination of the decades-old subsidies.
Potatoes and peas were dropped from the list of rationed foods this week, meaning Cubans can buy as much of the products as they want -- as long as they are willing to pay as much as 20 times more than they used to.
The move comes amid efforts by Raul Castro's government to scale back Cuba's subsidy-rich, cash-poor economy. Nearly free lunches were eliminated from some state-cafeterias in September. In October, the Communist Party's Granma newspaper published a full-page editorial saying the time had come to do away with the ration books altogether.
Fidel Castro offers rare glimpse into his personal life
It is a gentle twilight to a long, eventful life. The old man pads around in shorts in a modest two-storey house on a former golf course and occasionally wanders into the garden to enjoy the tropical plants and sea breeze.
He follows doctors' orders for some morning exercise then spends the day reading, watching TV and entertaining grandchildren and visitors. When the fancy takes him he writes a newspaper column.
Cuban President Raul Castro says he is willing to enter into dialogue with the US but the island's communist system remains non-negotiable. Mr Castro said he wanted to respond to recent overtures by Washington. But in a speech that was given a standing ovation in parliament, he also emphasised that he had not been elected to return Cuba to capitalism.