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Entries in Cuba (11)

Thursday
Oct252012

Sandy Hits Cuba as Category 2 Hurricane, Heads North Toward Florida

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Sandy picked up speed overnight before making landfall in Cuba early Thursday morning as a Category 2 hurricane.  With winds of 110 mph, the storm was just 1 mph shy of hitting the Caribbean island as a Category 3.

Sandy has since slowed down slightly, moving off the northeastern coast of Cuba with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, according to the National Weather Service.  It is expected to continue weakening as it moves through the Bahamas, where a hurricane warning is in effect.

"[Sandy will] move into the central Bahamas Thursday evening as a category 1 hurricane.  So it should maintain hurricane strength over the next 24 to 48 hours," Navy hurricane specialist Dave Roberts at the National Weather Center tells ABC News Radio.

The storm is then expected to brush the eastern coast of Florida, where tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect.

"There's a chance of tropical storm force winds along the southeastern portions of Florida Thursday evening and into Friday.  Based on that we do have a tropical storm warning up for southeast portions and also a tropical storm watch for the Upper Keys," Roberts says.

Sandy will then graze the Carolinas before making its way up to the Northeast, where it could bring strong wind gusts and heavy rainfall.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

Diana Nyad Pulled from Water, Ending Historic Swim

ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images(KEY WEST, Fla.) -- Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad was pulled from the water Tuesday morning ending her historic Cuba-to-Florida swim.

Nyad was attempting to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.  Her 63rd birthday is Wednesday.

Support crews pulled Nyad out of the water as they gave a phone interview to ABC's Good Morning America.

"We pulled her out of the water," Steve Munatones told ABC's Robin Roberts.  "The dangers were so great that we couldn't risk anyone's life, including her own."

Munatones was the official observer of the swim and the editor in chief of the Daily News of Open Water Swimming.

It was Nyad's fourth attempt to complete the swim.

Support crews monitoring Nyad told GMA that Nyad had severe sun burn, a strained bicep muscle and could barely walk.  Nyad and her crew are on their way to Florida's Oceanside Marina in Stock Island, Key West, so she can receive medical care for non life-threatening injuries.

Nyad's lips and tongue had become increasingly swollen overnight, puffing up because of salt water.  Members of her support crew of 63, which included multiple boats, had slathered her face and full-body wetsuit with black-tinted lanolin to keep the jellyfish and the cold at bay.

Team members said she had been struck at least four times by jellyfish during her voyage.  Jellyfish stings cut short her attempt to make the crossing last year.  

This was Nyad's third attempt to complete the swim in less than a year.  Nyad was not allowed to touch or be touched by any of the support crews or vessels.

Nyad began the arduous journey late Saturday night.  At a pace of 50 strokes a minute, the journey was expected to take 60 hours.  A squall with winds of 14 knots hit the flotilla Sunday and stayed "nearly stationary over" Nyad, forcing her to move northwest in order to try to find a way out of the storm.

She ended her last attempt in September 2011 after more than 40 hours, 67 nautical miles of swimming, and two Portuguese man o' war stings.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Swimmer Hits Storm on Swim from Cuba to Florida

File photo. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)(MIAMI) -- As Diana Nyad, 62, continued her attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, "all hell broke loose" Sunday evening, according to her team's blog.

A little after 8 p.m. ET Sunday, a squall with winds of 14 knots hit the flotilla and stayed "nearly stationary over" Nyad, forcing her to move northwest in order to try to find a way out of the storm.

"Big thunderstorm came out of nowhere last night, but good news is there were no signs of jellyfish," Nyad's team tweeted this morning.

Despite a bodysuit designed to give her protection from jellyfish, Nyad has already been stung at least four times as she attempts to complete the 103-mile swim from Havana to the Florida Keys.

After a stormy night, Nyad's team blogged this morning that conditions are spectacular.

"Seas are calm and Diana is swimming strong at 50 strokes per minute and has swum 33.81 statute miles," Angie Sollinger, part of Nyad's media team, wrote. "There have been no jellyfish sightings our experts report. Beautiful out!"

Nyad jumped into the water late Saturday night. At a pace of 50 strokes a minute, the journey should take about 60 hours. If she succeeds, her team says, she will finish on Tuesday or Wednesday.

It is Nyad's third attempt to complete the swim in less than a year. If she finishes on Wednesday, it will be her 63rd birthday.

Nyad ended her last attempt in September 2011 after more than 40 hours, 67 nautical miles of swimming, and two Portuguese Man-of-War stings.

"The medical team said I should not go another two nights in the water and risk additional likely Man-of-War stings which could have a long term cumulative effect on my body. But for each of us, isn't life about determining your own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues," Nyad called out to her flotilla of four escort boats from the water, according to her website at the time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Cuban Actors Vanish Before NY Film Premiere, Director Hasn't Heard From Them

UnaNocheFilm(NEW YORK) -- The director of a film about young Cubans defecting would like to know that her real-life missing stars -- who may have defected en route to the premiere -- are safe.

Two of the stars of writer-director Lucy Mulloy's film Una Noche vanished in Miami as the group was making their way to New York from Cuba for the film's premiere.

"Though they've made difficult choices about what to do at present, I wish them the very best in all their endeavours and I hope I will get to see them again soon," Mulloy said in a statement emailed to ABC News. "It was a pleasure working with them. I would love to know that they are well."

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The film is about three young Cubans who decide to flee the country on a raft after one of them is accused of assault. The film follows the day they attempt to make it 90 miles across the ocean to Florida.

The British-born director recently graduated from New York University's graduate film program and Una Noche is her first feature film.

All three of the film's stars -- Anailin de la Rua de la Torre, Javier Nunez Florian and Dariel Arrechada -- were expected to appear at New York's Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere. But Torre and Florian, both 19, were nowhere to be found the night of the event.

Arrechada, 21, was the only one to attend the premiere.

"We can't say for sure what the status of these guys are," Katie Tichacek Kaplan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told ABC News on Monday. "There are a number of things they could be thinking. We just don't know what their plans are."

Kaplan said that people in similar situations who come to the U.S. for asylum have a year to apply.

A State Department official told ABC News on Monday, "We are aware of the reports, but we don't have any further information. We have not been in contact with the film festival organizers or the Cuban actors."  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr102012

Miami Baseball Manager Apologizes for ‘I Love Castro’ Remark

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Controversial Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen apologized Tuesday for remarks to Time magazine in which he seemed to praise Cuban leader Fidel Castro, calling his comments “stupid and naive.”

“I love Fidel Castro,” Time reported Guillen as saying in the article. “I respect Fidel Castro, you know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherf****r is still here.”

Guillen attempted to clarify his remarks in the news conference Tuesday, saying he was misquoted because of a language barrier. “What I meant in Spanish, I was talking in Spanish, was that I cannot believe somebody who hurt so many people over the years is still alive,” he said Tuesday.

Guillen apologized throughout the press conference, which was conducted in a mixture of English and Spanish. “I apologize to the people here to everyone who’s looking at me,” he said. “I will do everything to make it better. … I know it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

The Marlins manager, 48, went on to say that he wanted to move forward from the comments, which he called “the biggest mistake of my life.”

“I am willing to do everything in my power, the Marlins power, to help the Cuban community the Latino community, like I always do,” said Guillen, a former Major League shortstop from Venezuela who played for four teams in a 15-year career.

Guillen, who has been suspended for five games without pay by the Marlins for the incident, said he respects the decision, adding that money “is the last thing I’m thinking about right now.”

As for the team, it released a statement today, saying, “The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen. The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”

The city of Miami has a large Cuban-American population.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep252011

Nyad Ends Swim From Cuba to Florida After Two Man-of-War Stings

ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Diana Nyad ended her swim from Cuba to Florida Sunday morning after more than 40 hours and 67 nautical miles of swimming, and two Portuguese Man-of-War stings.

The 62-year-old endurance swimmer from Los Angeles began the 60-hour journey for the second time Friday night, after failing to reach her goal in August.

"The medical team said I should not go another two nights in the water and risk additional likely Man-of-War stings which could have a long term cumulative effect on my body. But for each of us, isn't life about determining your own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues," Nyad called out to her flotilla of four escort boats from the water, according to her website.

Nyad's assistants had been updating the public of the swimmer's progress on her twitter account and website.

"Diana was stung along both arms the side of her body and her face," chief handler Bonnie Stoll said in a message posted on her Twitter account on Saturday. "At 9:40 Diana is still aboard Voyager and being treated by two physicians. At this moment it appears that Diana wishes to continue."

After changing suits and rehydrating, Nyad continued her journey.

Steve Munatones, the independent observer for the International Swim Federation who accompanied the expedition, noted that Portuguese Man-of-War stings have doomed many marathon swimmers, according to Nyad's website.

Before beginning the swim, Nyad said, "I'm prepared and even saying that though, how many times do you get to do something of this big an adventure? You know, how many times do you get to feel this alive? This awake and alive?"

An asthma attack ended her attempt last month after 29 hours in the water. She was 15 miles off-course due to strong currents, according to Tweets on her page at the time.

Nyad hoped to break her own world record for open-water swimming without a shark cage.

If she had completed the swim, she would have broken her 1979 record, when she swam 102.5 miles from the Bahamas to Florida.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar272011

Former President Carter Visits Cuba

Gary Miller/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn will travel to Cuba on Monday, where they are expected to meet with Cuba President Raul Castro and other officials during a three-day stay on the island.

The trip reportedly comes following an invitation from the Cuban government, according to a press release from the Carter Center. President Carter will reportedly meet with officials to discuss new economic policies and ways to improve relations between the United States and Cuba. The trip is being described as a nongovernmental mission under the auspices of the not-for-profit Carter Center.

Published reports say President Carter may raise the issue of Alan Gross with officials during his trip. Gross is a USAID contractor who was recently sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison for illegally bringing communications equipment into Cuba.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar122011

American in Cuba Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

AFP/Getty Images(HAVANA) -- A Cuban court on Saturday found American Alan Gross -- who was held in the country for more than a year -- guilty of illegally bringing communications equipment into the country. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

“Today’s sentencing adds another injustice to Alan Gross’s ordeal,” said U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement. “He has already spent too many days in detention and should not spend one more. We urge the immediate release of Mr. Gross so that he can return home to his wife and family.”

A Maryland native, Gross was detained in December 2009 as he tried to depart Havana's airport.  He had been working as a U.S. government subcontractor distributing communications devices to Jewish communities in Havana, according to U.S. officials. He was accused of "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state."

Gross was working for the Bethesda-based Development Associates International on a USAID program that promotes democracy.  He has been held in Havana's maximum-security Villa Marista prison, most of that time without charge.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar062011

Trial Concludes for American Held in Cuba

AFP/Getty Images(HAVANA) -- The trial for American Alan Gross, who has been held in Cuba for more than a year, has ended.

Gross faces a possible 20-year sentence for allegedly bringing communications equipment into the country illegally.

“The matter is now before a panel for decision,” Gross’ lawyer, Peter J. Khan, said in a statement. “The family remains hopeful that Alan will be home soon.”

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley confirmed the trial’s end.

“There is not yet a verdict,” Crowley tweeted. “We hope he will be released and allowed to return to his family.”

On Thursday, the State Department called on Cuban authorities to clear Gross of all charges.

A Maryland native, Gross was detained in December 2009 as he tried to depart Havana's airport.  He had been working as a U.S. government subcontractor distributing communications devices to Jewish communities in Havana, according to U.S. officials. He is accused of "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state."

Gross was working for the Bethesda-based Development Associates International on a USAID program that promotes democracy.  He has been held in Havana's maximum-security Villa Marista prison, most of that time without charge.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar042011

American Held in Cuba for a Year Goes to Trial

ABC News(HAVANA) -- After being held in Cuba without charges for over a year, 61-year-old American Alan Gross will appear in a Cuban court Friday, facing a possible 20-year sentence for allegedly bringing communications equipment into the country illegally.

On Thursday, the State Department called on Cuban authorities to clear Gross of all charges.

"We hope it will be resolved so that Mr. Gross can return home to the United States.  He's been in prison for too long," spokesman P.J. Crowley said. Cuban officials have told the Americans they will allow U.S. officials to witness the trial.

Gross, a Maryland native, was detained in December 2009 as he tried to depart Havana's airport.  He had been working as a U.S. government subcontractor distributing communications devices to Jewish communities in Havana, according to U.S. officials. He's now accused of "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state."

Gross was working for the Bethesda-based Development Associates International on a USAID program that promotes democracy.  He has been held in Havana's maximum-security Villa Marista prison, most of that time without charge.

A U.S. State Department official, asking not to be named, told ABC News, "We deplore the Cuban government's announcement that Cuban prosecutors intend to seek a 20 year sentence against Mr. Gross.  As we have said many times before, Mr. Gross is a dedicated international development worker who was in Cuba providing support to members of the Cuban Jewish community.

"He has been held without charges for more than a year, contrary to all international human rights obligations and commitments regarding justice and due process," said the official.  "He should be home with his family now.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio