When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

eyes on the U.S.

Diplomacy's Ripest Prize Hangs From Havana To Miami

Polls show most Americans want U.S. ties with Cuba normalized, even as the forces still hold strong among those who prefer the status quo. Time may have come for change.

Don't look back
Don't look back
Daniel Pacheco

The world of politics and diplomacy has its prizes, hanging like ripe fruit and just waiting to be picked — that is, if the thorns around them can be avoided.

Ending the civil war in Colombia is one such prize, which has scratched and cut quite a few political hands along the way. But there is no more prized fruit in the Americas now than the normalization of ties between the United States and Cuba. It remains a blank page of history, waiting to display somebody’s name for posterity.

Cuba — with its 11 million inhabitants — has had more impact on modern history than any other American state except the United States. It was the Soviet Union’s vehicle of influence on practically all the continent’s rebellions in the 20th century. Tense relations with the United States — and flashpoints like the 1962 missile crisis — led the U.S. to impose a crippling embargo and turn Cuba into a pariah state.

The embargo continues some 25 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and change remains elusive. U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican who would end the embargo, recently said the White House called him to explain why nothing could be tried for now with Cuba. He was given one word: Florida.

Yet he observed last week that a poll commissioned by the think tank Atlantic Councilshowed that 57% of U.S. citizens favored a change of policy toward Cuba. In Florida, that number is 63%. Indeed a “silent’ majority of Republicans are said to favor ending the embargo.

Certainly, ending this isolation would be a slap in the face to those who want to paint democracy in strokes of black and white. Radical Republicans in Florida, cowardly bureaucrats in Washington, extremists on the Right and the Left — in Colombia, Havana or Caracas — would then have to watch the collapse of a storyline they use to spread fear.

To the megalomaniac and self-perpetuating leaders, one can only say that the fruit is ripe for picking, and it’s hanging lower than you may think.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Economy

In Uganda, Having A "Rolex" Is About Not Going Hungry

Experts fear the higher food prices resulting from the conflict in Ukraine could jeopardize the health of many Ugandans. Take a look at this ritzy-named simple dish.

Zziwa Fred, a street vendor who runs two fast-food businesses in central Uganda, rolls a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex.

Nakisanze Segawa

WAKISO — Godfrey Kizito takes a break from his busy shoe repair shop every day so he can enjoy his favorite snack, a vegetable and egg omelet rolled in a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex. But for the past few weeks, this daily ritual has given him neither the satisfaction nor the sustenance he is used to consuming. Kizito says this much-needed staple has shrunk in size.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Most streets and markets in Uganda have at least one vendor firing up a hot plate ready to cook the Rolex, short for rolled eggs — which usually comes with tomatoes, cabbage and onion and is priced anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 Ugandan shillings (28 to 57 cents). Street vendor Farouk Kiyaga says many of his customers share Kizito’s disappointment over the dwindling size of Uganda’s most popular street food, but Kiyaga is struggling with the rising cost of wheat and cooking oil.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has halted exports out of the two countries, which account for about 26% of wheat exports globally and about 80% of the world’s exports of sunflower oil, pushing prices to an all-time high, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. Not only oil and wheat are affected. Prices of the most consumed foods worldwide, such as meat, grains and dairy products, hit their highest levels ever in March, making a nutritious meal even harder to buy for those who already struggle to feed themselves and their families. The U.N. organization warns the conflict could lead to as many as 13.1 million more people going hungry between 2022 and 2026.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ