The taxi's motor died three times as the driver wound his way around the fallen trees and through the flooded streets of Havana. He was trying to get me back to my hotel before the worst of October's Hurricane Irene hit Cuba's capital. Each time the decrepit Lada—a Soviet version of a small Fiat—stalled, I climbed out to push it out of the deep water. And each time help appeared.
The camera panned away from a garbage fire in the middle of the street and followed the young men who had set it. The men were calling to a nearby band of demonstrators. “The people are afraid they might be provocateurs, under orders from Castro,” said the television announcer. “This is rowdier than most Miami traffic jams, but it isn’t a riot; it’s the beginning of a catharsis.”
The U.S. embargo against Cuba is crumbling of its own absurdity. An increasing number of religious, academic and business groups are eager to visit Cuba. The Clinton administration makes it easy to obtain travel permission (just get a license from the Treasury Department), and Fidel Castro wants U.S. dollars, so he readily sanctions invitations from Cuban groups.
In a Fourth of July message to clergy of the Diocese of Southeast Florida, Episcopal Bishop Leo Frade expressed “grave concern” that the Bush-Cheney campaign has asked volunteers to use church member lists for political organizing.
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