CubaNews / June 2012
By Larry Luxner
U.S. food exports to Cuba on the rise as farmers pressure lawmakers. Cuban phone numbers expand to accommodate growth. Potato harvest dashes expectations. Fewer tourists, falling sugar prices push Cuba into recession. Harlem Globetrotters dribble their way back to Havana.
These were only a few of the headlines that appeared in the June 2002 issue of CubaNews — my very first as editor and publisher.
Exactly 10 years later, our mission remains the same: to make this newsletter the most accurate, timely and well-researched economic and business news source on Cuba available today — whether you’re holding a copy of CubaNews in your hands or reading it online.
CubaNews was inaugurated by the Miami Herald Publishing Co. in September 1993, when the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the disintegration of the Soviet Union itself into 15 independent republics gave the experts a reason to hope democracy and a free-market economy would eventually come to Cuba as well.
In that 12-page inaugural issue, editor Mark Seibel wrote: “We can’t predict where change ultimately will lead or how long Fidel Castro will remain at the helm. We do not promote investment in Cuba. What we can do is pledge to pull together into one place some of the world’s most knowledgeable Cuba-watchers. That way, you’ll be prepared to benefit from, or avoid the negative consequences of, whatever lies ahead in the Caribbean’s most populous economy.”
In 1998, the Herald decided to exit the newsletter business and sold CubaNews to Washington-based Target Research; it eventually shrank to eight pages a month. Four years later, the struggling publication was saved by my company, Luxner News Inc. of Bethesda, Md.
The first thing we did was double CubaNews to 16 pages a month (see June 2002 issue at left). We began using photographs, expanded our Havana-based business coverage and launched a monthly profile in which we’ve interviewed nearly 100 newsmakers from Ricardo Alarcón to Ninoska Pérez Castellón.
In October 2010, CubaNews was sold to a Miami partnership between Peruvian-born business executive Fernando X. Donayre and Cuban-American lawyer Antonio Zamora.
This arrangement has allowed us to switch to full-color printing and revamp our website at www.cubanews.com — where effective with this issue you, the subscriber, can now read late-breaking Cuba business stories throughout the month without waiting for the hard copy to arrive in your mailbox — or the PDF in your inbox.
It’s been a long journey but a rewarding one, too. Muchas gracias to all our subscribers for making this happy milestone possible.