August, 2018-- U.S. Interest in Visiting Cuba Waning as Rules Remain Confusing: A recent survey conducted by Allianz Global Assistance found that most Americans don’t understand the rules and regulations for visiting Cuba, and therefore the number of Americans traveling to the island has fallen. The other causes for reduced travel to Cuba has been the perceptions that Hurricane Irma did major damage (it was minor) and that the so-called ‘sonic attacks’ on U.S. diplomats could endanger travelers (which they haven’t). There are still 12 categories of individual travel to Cuba, including “support for the Cuban people” and “educational activities.” Read the full story: Travel Weekly
August, 2018-- Cuba Launches Island-Wide Internet, Free for a Day: The Cuban state telephone company ETECSA last week tested its nation-wide wireless internet services, designed to deliver the internet to mobile phones. During the day of the test, last Tuesday, the internet was free across the island for 9 hours. Experts estimate that four million cell phones on the island are internet-ready, but with only 630 public internet hot spots currently available. The new service is expected to be fully rolled out, on a fee-basis, by year’s end. Read the full story: New York Times
August, 2018-- The Cuban Government Doubles Leasable Farm Lands: In an effort to jumpstart the stalled agriculture sector of the Cuban economy, the government announced last week that private farmers could now lease up to 66 acres of land for 20 years, up from the previous cap of 33 acres for 10 years. Cooperatvies my now lease an unlimited amount of land indefinitely. There are currently some 400,00 private family farmers and cooperatives; despite modest increases in productivity over the last decade, Cuba still imports some 80 percent of its food for $2 billion annually. Read the full story: Reuters
August, 2018-- US Travel Company to Assist Cuban Immigrants in Guyana. Tampa-based ASC International USA has announced a travel package to help Cuban-Americans – and Cuban nationals – travel to Georgetown, Guyana to secure immigrant visas to the United States. Following the near shutdown of the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cubans seeking an immigrant visa to the U.S. have had to travel to Colombia to apply with the U.S. embassy in Bogota. These services have now been moved to the U.S. embassy in Guyana, where the staff is larger, flights more convenient and there is no visa requirement for Cuban nationals. The process still takes up to 14 days, requiring extended stays in Georgetown – which can now be funded via ASC International through Cuban-American relatives. Read the full story: Tampa Bay Times
The Southwest District Mission Program attended their first Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash over the April 14th weekend.
The Southwest District Mission Program table was staffed by volunteers who talked to people about the program and its ongoing efforts. The most asked question was about the water situation in Cuba, and how to make donations to the program.
Organizers estimated that more than 20,000 people attended the event, which offered a chance to buy and sample world-class barbecue chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.
Engineering a future with clean water
A miracle in Cuba
By Joe Henderson | FLUMC
In November 2013, Dan Christopherson was at a remote village in Cuba when he saw a tractor pulling a tanker filled with fresh water to fill a nearby well. Curious, Christopherson asked his Cuban host what was going on.
“The pastor told me, ‘We’re bringing in that fresh water so you don’t have to use the water we use,’” Christopherson said. “I asked him why that was.”
The pastor took Christopherson inside his home and filled a glass with water from the tap. It was dark, polluted and unfit to drink. Read the rest of the story: Water Purification.