[Marxism] In Miami, stirrings of change

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 3 09:50:08 MDT 2008


(Demographic shifts are having political consequences
in South Florida today, and it's entirely possible 
that we'll see the removal of one or more of those
ultra-rightist members of Congress from Miami in the
November election. That would be very good news were
it to actually take place. The Cubans who've left the
island in the past 25 years aren't as hostile as the
ones who left in the beginning. They continue to have
friends and family members on the island, and to go
back there and visit, unlike their predecessors.)
=====================================================

In Miami, stirrings of change
By W.T. Whitney Jr. June 30, 2008
Peoples Weekly World  
  
Relations with Cuba are regularly a major issue in U.S. election campaigns - local
and national - in the important state of Florida, especially South Florida. And 
usually the most anti-Cuban-government voice wins. 

In this year's congressional elections, Republican Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart
face strong Democratic opponents. The brothers Diaz-Balart represent Miami and the
South Florida region. They symbolize the sway of the old pro-Batista supporters 
in Miami. Their father, Rafael, was one of the dictator's henchmen before the
1959 revolution. The father had urged his sons to work politically for the overthrow
of socialism in Cuba. 

They now may be paying the price for this. In Florida's 21st CD, Lincoln Diaz-Balart
faces former Hialeah mayor Raul Martinez. Martinez is well financed and has never
lost an election since 1981. In the 25th CD, Mario Diaz-Balart is opposed by Joe
Garcia, former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, long
a funding conduit for anti-Cuban plotting. 

While these challengers aren't about to embrace socialist Cuba, they oppose 
the worst of the travel and financial limitations that Cuban Americans face. The
Diaz-Balart brothers support the Bush-imposed tightening of restrictions on Cuban
Americans who want to visit relatives in Cuba on provide them with financial support.

The challengers also question the brothers' "obsession" with Cuba 
to the exclusion of other issues roiling South Florida. Martinez blasted Lincoln
Diaz-Balart for having "nothing to show for his 15 years in Congress. Cuba,
that's all he talks about." According to Garcia, "With a slowing economy
and two wars being waged abroad, South Florida needs an independent-minded voice
in Washington who will put our families before partisan politics." 

Polling data released June 18 by the Miami-based Foundation for Normalization of
US/Cuba Relations suggests that Martinez and Garcia reflect prevailing community
opinion. In Lincoln Diaz-Balart's district, 61 percent of the respondents would
ease travel restrictions on Cuban Americans and 60 percent would ease the travel
rules affecting all U.S. citizens. In Mario Diaz-Balart's district, the numbers
were 63 percent and 59 percent respectively. 

In the nearby 17th CD, which represents parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties
and is represented by Democrat Kendrick Meek, the numbers were even higher. Only
12 percent agreed that concentration on regime change in Cuba was an important issue.

The U.S. Congress is weighing in on Cuban-American travel to Cuba. On June 17 a 
House appropriations subcommittee added a provision to a bill funding the Treasury
Department that would allow yearly visits to relatives on the island instead of 
visits only once every three years. Cousins, aunts and uncles would be added to 
the currently restricted list of relatives approved for visiting. Rep. Jose Serrano
(D-N.Y.) introduced an amendment that would relieve Cuba of having to pay for U.
S. food shipments prior to delivery. The measures face scrutiny by the appropriations
committee and the Senate. 

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has picked up on the divide among
Cuban American voters over travel to Cuba. At a gala event May 23 hosted by the 
Cuban American National Foundation he promised to ease restrictions on Cuban Americans
visiting the island and on money they send to relatives there. Unfortunately, he
also promised to keep the embargo against Cuba in place. 

The Latin American Working Group www.lawg.org has called upon constituents to pressure
congressional 


=========================================
     WALTER LIPPMANN
     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
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