[Marxism] Passion over Cuba, Castro endures

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 10 02:07:49 MST 2006

(COMMENT: This is a very informative article which should be read
very carefully because it provides excellent information which 
should make it clear that the power of the rightist militants who
have dominated Miami politics for so many decades. It's pleasing
to see that this much information is missing. HOWEVER, it's not
surprising that one part of the story is COMPLETELY OMITTED: the
trial of the Cuban Five, which was the longest such trial to have
taken place anywhere in the United States in many long decades.

The next stage in this case will begin MONDAY February 13, 2006.
And yet this case isn't mentioned by the MIAMI HERALD in a survey
of Miami politics at this time, nor is the case of Elian Gonzalez
mentioned, also a quintessential moment in Miami Cuban politics.
These are examples of the "freedom of the press" which the MIAMI
HERALD and the U.S. would impose on Cuba, if they could.

MH "bad neighbor" editorial criticizing U.S. Sheraton Hotel caper:

Posted on Thu, Feb. 09, 2006	

Passion over Cuba, Castro endures
Miami may be hip, but for Cuban exiles, 
there's still the Cold War to fight and mixed messages 
from the Bush administration to decipher.
ocorral at MiamiHerald.com


Two suspected agents for communist Cuba are taken down in Miami.

A local anti-Castro developer gets nabbed on weapons charges.

A Cuban exile militant sneaks into the United States and shakes the
American security system.

Welcome to 21st century Miami, trapped in the anachronistic
geopolitics of the Cold War. Osama who? Saddam what? Iraq where?

Here, the daily pathos of Cuba remains center stage to many -- just
as it was almost a half century ago.

Passion over Cuba may be aging in Miami -- certainly many of the
younger Cubans who arrive here prefer to leave politics behind -- but
it is no less urgent to thousands of older exiles. The hot topic on
Spanish language radio last week was whether Bush had betrayed the
Cuban exile community because he failed to mention Cuba in his State
of the Union address.

While younger U.S.-born Cuban Americans -- and more recent Cuban
immigrants -- are less virulent and more moderate, the viewpoint of
older, more conservative exiles still rules, political analyst and
Democratic pollster Sergio Bendixen said. ''Until Cuban exiles get
their country back and figure out a way to get rid of Castro, nothing
else will matter to them,'' Bendixen noted.

''It absolutely is a throwback,'' said Miami historian and Miami Dade
College professor Paul George, who leads guided tours through Miami
and Little Havana. ``Cuban exiles are still worried about the Castro
issue, and they hinge everything around that issue, the existence of
Castro. But the rest of the country has long forgotten that this Cold
War period ever happened.''

Well, not everyone. The Bush administration still gives Castro his
due with harsh Cold War-era rhetoric and toughened travel policies.
Hard-line Cuban-American voters who have twice delivered their votes
for Bush expect nothing less.

''Miami is as anachronistic and dinosaur-like as Fidel Castro,
because we are a response to him,'' said Miami filmmaker Joe Cardona,
who has chronicled generations of Cuban exiles in his films. ``And
until that issue is resolved, Miami Cubans will continue living in
his world.''

Cuba took center stage in major South Florida cases from Immigration
and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, FBI, U.S. Attorney's
Office and Florida International University -- just to name a few of
the institutions enmeshed in exile dynamics the past year.


''There's a lot of activity,'' said Florida International University
professor Dario Moreno, who analyzes Cuban exile politics. ``The
truth is that the Cuban community is still very hard line and remains
trapped in the Cold War environment because Cuba is still trapped
there, too. Cuba is the issue that grabs the public's attention, the
media's attention, and the government's attention.''

With Castro still alive, and an American president who has vowed to
do all he can to bring democracy to Cuba, the tension sometimes seems
to boil over. Among the flash points:

. Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles sneaked into the country
and asked for asylum. Considered by Castro to be a terrorist, but by
many exiles to be a freedom fighter, Posada remains detained in an
immigration facility in El Paso, Texas, awaiting word on if he will
be released.

. In November, the FBI arrested Posada's biggest financial supporter,
Santiago Alvarez, and Alvarez's employee, Osvaldo Mitat, on weapons
charges -- a move that irritated many exile leaders, who claimed that
the Bush administration was playing into Castro's hands.

. A month later, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the
administration would again convene a Cabinet-level commission to
revise U.S. policy on Cuba by May.

. The cry against the controversial ''wet-foot, dry-foot'' Cuban
immigration policy reached a fever pitch after the Coast Guard
repatriated 15 migrants found on a piling on the old Seven Mile
Bridge in January. A Cuban exile activist, angry at the Bush
administration, launched a high-profile hunger strike and
Cuban-American congressional representatives demanded that the Bush
administration review the policy.

. The same day the 15 migrants were repatriated, the U.S. Attorney's
Office and the FBI announced the arrests of a professor at Florida
International University, Carlos M. Alvarez, and his wife, Elsa
Alvarez, who also worked at FIU. They are accused of being
unregistered covert agents for Cuba. Their arrest was commended by
Cuban exile activists, who claim Miami is full of Cuban spies.

. On Jan. 20, the Treasury Department allowed the Cuban national
baseball team to play in the World Baseball Classic, a move strongly
criticized by Cuban-American congressional representatives.

. Three days later, the Treasury Department announced one of its
biggest crackdowns ever on illegal travel to Cuba, a move applauded
by Cuban-American leaders.

. And last week, the Treasury Department disrupted a meeting between
Cuban government officials and U.S. oil industry representatives in
Mexico City when Treasury called the Sheraton Hotel there and
informed executives that they could be sanctioned for violating the
U.S. embargo on Cuba. Sheraton evicted the Cubans, angering
government officials in Mexico and Cuba. ''More than ever you see the
political hopscotching . . . and insincerity [by] some of these local
politicians in regards to Cuba,'' Cardona said. ``It's getting a
little tougher for them to be consistent.''


Some Bush detractors smell political opportunity in Washington's

''Most people realize that this administration has done almost
nothing to perpetuate the views that many of the people held when
they voted for them on Cuba politics,'' said Joe Garcia, a consultant
for the New Democrat Network. ``I believe Cuba is about to become a
focus again. This is all stuff to gear up for the electoral cycle.
The spy case was an attempt to put up some points on the Republican

Manuel Vasquez Portal, a former Cuban dissident journalist and poet
now living in Miami, has a different view than older exiles. ''I feel
that time is being wasted to litigate personal differences, while the
principal goal of democracy in Cuba has been lost at certain times,''
he said.

Democratic pollster Bendixen said exiles by now have realized that
the federal government's attempts to squeeze the Castro government
and help bring democracy to Cuba have been fruitless, but that
doesn't mean they're ready to jump ship and register as Democrats.

''I still remember listening to Cuban radio here in the first years
of exile, and I can't tell a big difference between what La
Cubanisima was saying back then, and what Radio Mambi is saying
today,'' Bendixen said.

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