The product that helped define Tampa will face new competition under an executive order issued on Friday by the Obama administration.

The directive lifts the $100 limit on Cuban cigars that travelers can bring into the U.S., which could spell trouble for the last operating cigar factory in Tampa.

Rain fell across much of Cuba Thursday as the arduous task of recovering from Hurricane Matthew's devastating march across the island's easternmost tip cranked up.

In Baracoa, where some homes were reduced to tinder and the power grid was severely damaged, work brigades, communications crews and linesmen began arriving from Las Tunas, Camagüey and Guantànamo soon after high winds subsided on Wednesday. 

Members of the Cuban military also were helping remove boulders and other debris that made some roads impassable.


Politics makes desperate bedfellows.

So it's not such a big surprise that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Miami Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, also a Republican, appear to have finally slipped under the same campaign sheets.

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The U.S., Cuban and Mexican governments began negotiations in July over how to divvy up a 7,700-square mile portion of the Gulf of Mexico known as the Eastern Gap.  The ocean floor beneath the Eastern Gap is believed to hold large amounts of oil, but with no clear owner, drilling hasn’t been occurring there.  Supporters of an oil drilling moratorium that covers much of the U.S. side of the eastern Gulf worry negotiations over the Eastern Gap could lead to Cuban oil drilling operations just on the other side of the country’s maritime border with the U.S. near the Tampa Bay area.  

The first commercial flights from Tampa to Havana in more than 50 years will begin in late October at the earliest, but they're already muscling out at least one local charter company.