Three generations of Diaz-Balarts in political office: from left, grandfather Rafael was a mayor and legislator in Cuba; father Rafael was also in the legislature and an undersecretary of the interior in Cuba; and Lincoln and Mario have both served in the state legislature and U.S. Congress.
Credit Miami Herald, Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart
When immigrants leave their country, they usually leave their connections and name recognition behind. But that doesn’t apply to Cubans in South Florida, which is home to almost half of the U.S. Cuban population.
The Cuba policy hardliners in this country look more panicked than Fidel Castro trying to find his dentures.
Each month seems to bring more evidence that Americans – and Cuban-Americans – reject Washington’s long and failed strategy of isolating the communist island. The latest is this week’s Florida International University poll: A majority of Miami Cubans favor dropping the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and engaging the country as a way of undermining the Castro dictatorship.
There’s an old saying among Mexican officials when dealing with the United States: Always tell the gringos yes, but never tell them when.
That dance is the result of two centuries of tortured bilateral relations marked by U.S. insensitivity and Mexican hypersensitivity. And it’s most likely what’s playing out now as Washington and Mexico City haggle over the fate of a former U.S. Marine, Andrew Tahmooressi.
Among the signers of a letter calling on the president to ease restrictions in the Cuban embargo are, clockwise, former intelligence chief John Negroponte, former foreign policy advisor Anne-Marie Slaughter, Related Group CEO Jorge Perez, former ambassador Paul Cejas and former Secretaries of the Interior Bruce Babbit and Ken Salazar.
A group of businessmen and former high-ranking U.S. officials is asking President Obama to relax the embargo on Cuba. They want the President to ease travel and investment restrictions to help Cubans with their economic and social needs.
A letter sent last week by the group had 44 signers including former intelligence chief John Negroponte, former foreign policy advisor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Jorge Perez, CEO of the Related Group.
This year has seen a growing chorus of polls, studies and statements calling for an overhaul of U.S. policy on communist Cuba. On Monday a new group called #CubaNow added its voice -- and signaled the growing generational shift among Cuban-Americans.
#CubaNow, based in Miami and Washington, D.C., is comprised mostly of younger Cuban-Americans who feel that a half-century of isolating Cuba has failed. They favor more open economic engagement as a way to help democratize the island.
If you needed any reminding of how archaic and clueless U.S. policy on Cuba can be – and the extent to which it so often actually aids an oppressive communist dictatorship – look no further than Thursday’s excellent Associated Press article about the “Cuban Twitter” fiasco.
It may or not be a coincidence that Cuban leader Raúl Castro disclosed his new foreign investment law this week just as Venezuela was getting another big thumbs-down from the financial world.
Cuba’s threadbare communist economy depends on kindred benefactors like socialist Venezuela. But as that oil-rich country’s own economy continues to implode – the Fitch Ratings company downgraded Venezuelan credit to “Outlook Negative” on Tuesday – Castro has no choice but to open his island’s rusted doors more broadly to capital, capitalism and capitalists.
Sandra Ramos has never wanted to emigrate from Cuba, but in her more than four decades on the island, she has seen many people leave.
Their absence resonates throughout her work. The image of her as a 10-year-old is plastered behind a wall of palm trees, trapped on the island. In another piece, her school girl's body lies across a gaping space in the middle of a bridge, trying to connect two separate lands.
"It's a perspective on immigration from those who stay," Ramos said.
Talking about sugar in South Florida is like talking about politics and religion in polite company. Few people are without strong opinions about the sugarcane farms stretching across the eastern Everglades south of Lake Okeechobee. The industry is a mix of government price policies, environmental regulations, trade practices and the demand for food.
Charlie Crist, Florida’s ex-Republican governor and now its leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate, assumed a real political risk this month: He called on Washington to lift the 52-year-old U.S. trade embargo against communist Cuba.
In an interview with WLRN, Crist insisted his changed stance is a matter of common sense.