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Cuba

The Cuban government announced yesterday that it will be loosening restrictions on the purchase of new and used foreign-made cars. Under the new policy, Cubans will no longer need a permit issued by the Transportation Ministry to purchase cars from state vendors.

This small opening for rock music is a sign of the changing reality in Cuba, but it is also a difficult compromise for the country's artists.

During the course of the first leg of the Mandela funeral celebrations last week, one event made news around the world—U.S. President Barack Obama shaking hands with Cuban President Raul Castro. 

The Cuban Mission to the United States halted nearly all consular services on Tuesday after its primary bank severed its client relationship with the political institution.

Cuba approved a plan to gradually unify its dual monetary system, a statement carried by official newspaper Granma revealed yesterday.

U.S. and Cuban representatives held a second round of talks in Havana on Monday to discuss a pilot project to re-establish direct mail service between the two countries, five decades after it was cancelled amid Cold War tensions.

Likely top stories this week: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits Colombia and Brazil; Argentines vote in congressional primary elections; FARC and Colombian government hail progress in peace talks; Panama concludes its inspection of the North Korean ship Chong Chon Gang; and documents reveal details of Brazilian dictatorship-era spying.

Likely top stories this week: Gay marriage begins in Uruguay; Venezuela is not invited to the Paraguayan president’s inauguration; Amnesty International demands the release of Cuban prisoners; U.S. Republicans reject Senate approach to immigration reform; Brazilian police officers are sentenced for the 1992 Carandiru massacre.

Inefficiencies and ideology get in the way.

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