Castro shuffles posts as Cuban economy sags
*** The primary reason the government has been able to maintain its existing commercial and economic structure is because it hasn't been paying off its foreign debt since the mid-1980s, analysts said.***
A Cuba "fan" - U.S. tourists rush to Cuba as White House tightens travel
*** HAVANA -- Sure, she knew the tour was a bit skewed, perhaps too rah-rah. Nevertheless, Margo McAuliffe came away from her 10-day trip through Cuba "a fan." "I'm the reason they want the travel ban kept," said the California retiree, referring to the Bush administration. "I came here somewhat under the influence that Castro is a bad guy," said McAuliffe, sitting in a Havana hotel lobby. "I felt this was one place [about which] I wasn't hearing the truth. I feel our government has an ax to grind."
With a packed itinerary focused on sustainable development, McAuliffe's group, organized by San Francisco-based Global Exchange, learned about Cuba's organic gardens and herbal healing. They visited a rehabilitation center for disabled children and talked with a family physician. In total they logged more than 1,000 miles from Havana to the eastern port city of Santiago and back.***
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