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Hell in Cuba for one former Expat

theguardian.com/Stephen Gibbs / Speaking to me from Myanmar (more about that later) Purvis recalls his early Havana years. “It felt like another era,” he says. “No internet. No TV. No shopping.” The family adapted well to their new life. Home was a handsome 1950s villa, soon full with their four children. Saturdays would be spent by the pool at the beach club. The son of a theatrical designer, Purvis also dabbled in theatre himself, producing the Cuban dance show Havana Rakatan, which performed successfully for several years in London. No one, of course, imagined that those halcyon days would end so abruptly, with Purvis imprisoned in what he describes as a “zoo” for enemies of the state. But that is how it turned out. The title of his powerful memoir, Close but No Cigar, is his own admission of just how badly life can go wrong.

I last saw Purvis in Havana in 2011, a few weeks before his arrest, at a New Year’s Eve party (I had been the BBC’s correspondent in Cuba between 2002 and 2007). The arrival of the New Year is a big deal in Cuba, partly because it coincides with the anniversary of Fidel Castro’s revolution. Two of President Raúl Castro’s daughters were at the event. Read Article

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Cuba: Canadian Tourist Detained for flying drone, released after nearly two weeks in jail

thestar.com reported as Chris Hughes lay in the dark two-by-two-metre cell, with no electricity, a small hole in the wall for a window and just a hole in the ground for a toilet, he wondered if his wife Grace and three young children knew he was still alive. “Nobody knew I was there,” he said. [...]

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Visiting Cuba? Watch out for these scams

news.com.au/Erin Van Der Meer reported on common scams used on tourists visiting Cuba. 1. THE MILK POWDER SCAM The scammer will approach a tourist and ask them to buy a bag of milk powder for them from a nearby store. After the tourist has paid for it and left, the local and the store owner [...]

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Cozumel Mexico: Cruise Ship Denied Access, carrying passenger with possible exposure to Ebola

washingtonpost.com reported the cruise ship carrying a Texas health-care worker who “may have” handled lab specimens from Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan is headed back to the United States after Mexican authorities failed to grant permission for the ship to dock off the coast of Cozumel, according to a Carnival spokeswoman. The Carnival Magic [...]

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Canadian Businessman Sentenced to Prison for Bribery

bbc.com reported a court in Cuba has sentenced the president of a Canadian transport company to 15 years in jail for bribery. Cy Tokmakjian, 74, was detained in Cuba in 2011 as part an anti-corruption operation. He denies the charges. The Tokmakjian Group said the court had seized its assets in Cuba, worth about $100m [...]

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Cuba: Condom shortages threatens wide spread STD’s outbreak, pregnancies, HIV

theguardian.com reported …. From potatoes to deodorant, toilet paper and bottled beer, Cubans have come to accept chronic shortages as an inevitable part of life after more than half a century of communist rule. Now a shrinking supply of condoms has upset residents of the Caribbean island nation and alarmed health officials who are worried [...]

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Twelve foreign tourists infected by cholera outbreak in Cuba

According to foxnews.com, Cuba has reported a new cholera outbreak with 163 cases, 12 of whom are tourists, though no deaths were mentioned, according to a bulletin from the Pan American Health Organization. The PAHO update, dated Aug. 23, was based on information provided by epidemiological authorities on the island, where the new outbreak of [...]

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Panama: Authorities clash with crew of boat with “mysterious shipment” to North Korea

CNN reports that Panamanian authorities on Tuesday were examining mysterious military equipment found aboard a ship headed from Cuba to North Korea, officials said. Few details of the confrontation were available, but the ship’s North Korean crew of 35 resisted arrest, said Panama’s security minister, Jose Raul Mulino. He described it as “violent,” saying that [...]

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U.S. warns citizens to be cautious when driving in Cuba

As reported by Miamiherald.com, The U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana issued a warning Friday that traffic accidents involving U.S. citizens are on the rise, and noted that seven Americans are currently unable to leave the island because of such accidents. “We urge you to take extra safety precautions when driving to avoid problems during your [...]

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Cuba: Elderly Canadian tourist charged with ‘child-sex tourism’

As reported by mcclatchydc.com, “James McTurk is 78. He has wispy white hair and glasses, and speaks with a soft Scottish accent. He lives on a pension – and in a jail cell. He has been twice convicted on child pornography charges, and his legal troubles have just intensified: McTurk could become the first person [...]

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