Monday, April 10, 2006

News About my Native Land

As far fetched as it may seem, Howling Latina has a relative who is an appointee in the Justice Department; recently, he sent me news of Cuba under the banner, "US - Cuba Policy Report."

Once again, the United States is drawing up plans for a post-Castro Cuba, which has always struck me as very "descarado," since nearly every Cuban-American left the island nation more than 30 years ago and the folks back home might want to have more than a little something-something to say about their country's future.

But be that as it may, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has appointed a transition coordinator to fulfill the promise of a free Cuba with the discharge of bringing this ideal to fruition; and the team is assigned with implementing "projects" to advance "political and economic freedom [in a] pro-democracy, civil-society."

Hmmm, wonder what sinister "project" my fellow patriots will undertake to hasten the "Democratic transition" and "undermine the Castro regime"?!? Hopefully it's a better scheme than the piss-poor concocted one in Iraq.

One interesting section in the report notes that Cuba continues to relegate its sugar production (its one-time number one staple) to Venezuela and other countries. With little by way of natural resources and financial capital, many years ago Cuba opted to instead invest in human capital through education, and then use the skills of its citizens to barter with countries for oil and other commodities.

Kind of like a socialist Japan; an island with precious little natural resources, but a highly-educated and well-trained work force.

Also looks like the only nation paying attention to that old embargo, one of the last remnants from the Cold War, is the United States. Last summer, Virgin Atlantic began twice a week direct flights from London to Havana.

Finally, newly sworn-in Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who is a Cuban national fired a letter to President George Bush about his broken promise to Cuban-Americans during the 2000 election.

Bush had criticized the "wet foot/dry foot migration policy" from the Clinton administration and promised to reverse it. As of January 12, 2006, the administration had repatriated 7,740 Cubans nabbed out of the Gulf coast.

In March, the Miami Herald reported that Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Cuban-Americans, met with White House officials in March to try to change the policy.

Democracy Movement's Ramon Saul Sanchez had also gone on a 12-day strike after the U.S. Coast Guard returned stranded would-be Cuban refugees to their homeland back in January; and was very upset when attorneys from Democracy were not invited to Washington. Sanchez flew to the capital anyway and privately met with Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson and Bob Menendez.

So....come out, come out, from wherever you're hiding, Senador Martinez; your silence is deafening.

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