Democracy and rights
This text is under construction and will be
Gloomy economic report
President Castro states that the country's GDP shrank in 2016. This is the
first time that Cuba has experienced negative growth since the severe economic
crisis in the early 1990s. In 2015, growth was over 4 percent. The problems in
2016, according to Castro, are partly due to stripped oil supplies from
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Cuba, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Agreements with Google should provide better internet
Cuba signs an agreement with Google to give Cuban Internet users better
connection to the Internet. Cubans in general do not have access to the Internet
from home but are referred to Internet cafes. The exception is certain
professional groups such as doctors and journalists. The current Internet
connections are slow and expensive to surf. Connecting one hour costs around 5
percent of an average monthly salary.
Threats from Trump
The incoming US President Donald Trump said in a statement that he will end
the ongoing US-Cuba thawing weather if Cuba's government is unable to achieve
"an agreement that better benefits the Cubans, the United States and
inter-country relations". According to Trump's team, Obama has been too lenient
toward Havana by easing the sanctions without Cuba making adequate improvements
in democracy, human rights and market economy reforms. On the same day, US
airlines start flying directly from the US to Havana (previous flights from the
US have not gone to the capital, compare August 2016).
Fidel Castro dies at the age of 90 and nine days of country care are
The United States is changing at the UN
For the first time in 25 years, the United States is casting its vote when
the UN General Assembly votes on a resolution calling for the lifting of the US
trade embargo on Cuba. Such a resolution is adopted by the General Assembly each
year and the United States has so far voted against it. Now it is approved with
191 out of 193 possible votes. The United States and Israel abstain.
US loosens up trade rules
The US Department of Commerce announces more relief in the rules restricting
US-Cuba trade. The new rules facilitate joint medical research and the
importation and export of goods by ship and aircraft.
Visit from Beijing
The same day that the Japanese head of government goes home, his Chinese
colleague, Li Keqiang, lands. He issues promises of deeper cooperation in a
number of areas, including biotechnology and renewable energy, as well as in
culture, education and tourism.
Visit from Tokyo
Japan's Head of Government Shinzo Abe visits Cuba on his way home from New
York. It is the first time ever that a Japanese Prime Minister visits the
country. Abe says it's time to open a new chapter in relationships and start a
dialogue to stimulate trade, investment and collaboration. He also asks the Cuba
government for help in halting North Korea's development of nuclear weapons,
which is a major security policy issue for Japan. Cuba is one of the few
countries in the world to have friendly relations with North Korea.
First regular flight from the USA
For the first time in 55 years, a regular American commercial airplane lands
in Cuba. JetBlue operates a flight from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Santa
Clara in central Cuba with 150 passengers. Still, the United States does not
allow US citizens to visit Cuba as "tourists," for example for study purposes or
through cultural exchange programs.
Fidel turns 90
Former President Fidel Castro is turning 90 and celebrating it with one of
his now rare public appearances. He visits a children's theater company in
Havana with his brother President Raúl Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolás
Turnstile for financial problems
President Castro and Minister of Economy Marino Murillo announce a tightening
package that includes energy rationing, budget savings, reduced imports and
freezing planned investments. The background is falling prices for important
export products such as nickel and sugar as well as sharply reduced oil imports
The opposition is investing in the 2017 election
Spokesmen for formally banned opposition organizations say they intend to try
to run for a number of candidates in the 2017 parliamentary and local elections.
Price restrictions on basic food
The government is introducing price controls for some twenty basic staple
foods. The prices of agricultural products have risen sharply three years in a
row, partly due to increased demand from tourists.
Cruise ships are allowed
The government decides that cruise ships should re-enter Cuban ports. The
decision means that foreign nationals of Cuban origin may travel to the island
by ship, which has been banned since the days of the Cold War. The trips were
then banned by the fear of attempting a new invasion by sea after the
unsuccessful invasion of Piglet in 1961.
Raúl Castro plans his departure
The Communist Party launches a four-day party congress. It is the first party
congress in five years. During the congress, President Castro announces that he
will resign in 2018. Most of the party leadership, where most are over 70 years
old, may retain their posts, but Congress will decide from 2021 to impose a
70-year age limit for persons in the party leadership. The party's highest body,
the Politburo, is expanded from 14 members to 17. In the new Politburo, four
members are women, against previously only one.
Just days after Barack Obama's visit, the British rock band Rolling Stones is
holding a concert in Havana. Once upon a time, the group's music was banned in
Cuba. Now the Rolling Stones a free show for tens of thousands of spectators
outdoors at a sports facility.
President Obama lands in Havana, thus becoming the first US president on
Cuban soil since 1928. A few hours before Obama arrives, a number of women are
demonstrating that their relatives are imprisoned. The police seize a dozen of
them. At a joint press conference after a couple of hours of talks, Raúl Castro
states that there are disagreements between the parties on the US trade embargo
and human rights - Castro denies at the press conference that there are some
political prisoners in Cuba - but both leaders speak of a new era, "a new day ",
in the reciprocal relations. Obama promises that the trade embargo will one day
be lifted. In his speech to the Cuban people, Obama says, among other things,
that he thinks citizens should have the right to say what they want and
criticize their government without being afraid. After the speech, Obama meets
domestic dissidents before the visit ends with a baseball game between Cuba's
national team and a Florida team. A few days after the visit, ex-President Fidel
Castro writes a critical article in the Granma government. Castro believes,
among other things, that Obama should not comment on Cuban politics. He also
claims that Cuba does not need "any gifts from the Empire".
The United States is loosening sanctions
Prior to President Obama's visit to Cuba, the United States is further easing
the restrictions that restricted Americans' contact with the country. Regular
tourism remains prohibited, but it is now possible for Americans to travel to
Cuba individually for “educational purposes”. In the past, Americans who wanted
to visit Cuba have had to go on organized group trips. It is also easier for US
companies to operate in Cuba and direct mailing between the countries is
established. Previously, all mail was sent via third countries.
Agreement with the EU
the 12th of March
Cuba and the EU conclude an agreement to normalize their mutual relations,
which was broken in 2003 when the EU imposed sanctions on Cuba following mass
arrests of oppositionists. Since then, relations have gradually improved and
sanctions have been lifted (see also Foreign Policy).
US President Barack Obama announces via Twitter that he plans to visit Cuba
in March. In that case, it will be the first time since 1928 that a sitting US
president will visit the country.
Regular air traffic
The US and Cuba decide to resume regular air services between the countries.
Probably the first flights will take off this fall.