Honoring Terrorists at the University of Miami

2010.11.19

Terrorist Orlando Bosch receiving award

In the past few years, radical Cuban exiles in Miami have toned down their act. By toned down I mean they don’t necessarily kill Americans who might tend to disagree with them which was sometimes their practice during the past 50 years. That never stopped them from killing people in Cuba, and from making it a priority to kill Fidel Castro at all costs. Two of the best known of these wanted international terrorists, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles live openly in the Miami Cuban community. But if that were not enough, a radical exile group recently gave an award to Bosch, at the University of Miami, which has caused an uproar among academics at the school. Here is a letter sent after the event.

To Our Colleagues in the Academic Community and Friends:

On October 12, 2010, Orlando Bosch, an internationally known and convicted terrorist, was paid homage at an event held on the premises of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) of the University of Miami. The U.S. Department of Justice has called this individual “a terrorist unfettered by laws of human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims.”

The undersigned faculty affiliated with the University of Miami’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLAS) wishes to declare that our Center and students had absolutely nothing to do with this event and firmly opposes holding such events and any other activity glorifying, condoning, or praising inhumane acts or violations of human rights, regardless of the alleged justification.

Read the full letter here:

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/cuban_colada/2010/11/more-um-faculty-distance-themselves-from-iccas-event.html#more

You can read about Bosch’s history of terror by just going online here:

http://thesouthjournal.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/terror-praised-can-only-happen-in-miami/

and here:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/11/1921732/militants-award-raises-concerns.html

Enrique Ros (gray suit) at award ceremony for Orlando Bosch

But an interesting note was that seated next to Bosch at the awards ceremony was Enrique Ros, the father of  Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen  (R-Florida).  Could an elected official anywhere in the United States maintain ties to a convicted terrorist and be re-elected?  Only in Miami.

Enjoy them while you can.

2010.11.08

There was a nice piece in the New York Times about the visit of the American Ballet Theater to Havana. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/arts/dance/08abt.html?ref=arts

It was the first time the company had been there since 1960, when the U.S. Embargo against Cuba went into effect. The piece talks about expanding cultural ties between our countries. Good luck with that. A slight loosening of the regulations under the Obama administration  has allowed several Cuban music groups to perform in the United States, and brought pianist Chu Chu Valdez and Buena Vista Social Club diva, Omara Portuondo on tours earlier this year. If you enjoy Cuban art and music, I strongly suggest you see them while you can. The dark days may be coming back.

With the Republican victory in last week’s elections, expect more of the anti-Cuban legislation which could limit Visas for musicians like Chu Chu and Omara. Their crime is that they return to Cuba every time they leave. Can you imagine, wanting to return to their homeland?  The radical Miami-Cubans can’t, as long as Raul or Fidel Castro remains in the government.  They insist if you leave Cuba, you must stay away until the Castro brothers are gone. Think about that. A foreign government telling the citizens of a sovereign country who can or cannot be their leader. It’s exactly what we do in the Helms-Burton Act, an internationally ridiculed piece of legislation  which serves to keep the embargo in place until WE get the government we want running Cuba.

With the expected move making Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the election of the equally radical exile Marco Rubio to the Senate, there is no telling what legislation these two will cook up to try once again to reverse the results of the Cuban Revolution.  It does not matter to them that they are taking away your rights as an American to freely visit a peaceful and friendly country.

Since you can’t go to Cuba and see her yourself, here’s Omara performing at the Club Las Vegas in Central Havana. Please be forewarned; there may be actual Socialists in the crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEgXKB8s_l0

Fidel back in his Fatigues

2010.09.04

Fidel Castro speaks at the University of Havana

For the past few weeks, Fidel Castro has been seen and heard all over Cuba. Could he be thinking of a political comeback?  Lots of speculation from all corners of the world.

http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2010/09/03/5039552-castro-dons-uniform-for-first-big-speech-in-years

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¡Feliz cumpleaños, Comandante!

2010.08.16

jim@cubaconnections.org

The saddest day in the year has passed for some residents of Miami. Fidel Castro just celebrated his 84th birthday, with comments and congratulations  coming in from all over the world.

http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=50&a=465202

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2010-08/14/content_11154179.htm

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/08/13/cuba.castro.birthday/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Vowing that he hasn’t changed and that he is still a revolutionary, Castro has come on strong in the past several months, much to the dismay of radical exile Cubans.  It was only 4 years ago that there was literally dancing in the streets of Miami (below) as word spread of his health problems, which the exiles turned into his death watch. Once again, Castro has outlived and outwitted his enemies.

For those of us in the United States, it is more of the same captivity of our foreign policy by those who don’t like the current Cuban government. It is a clear violation of our freedom to travel and has cost American businesses billions in lost trade. Waiting for the Castro brothers to die is hardly a way to build a foreign policy, as the failures of the past 50 years have conclusively proven.

Et tu, Rachel Maddow? by Jim Ryerson + Looking for Cuba: Guantanamo Bay

2010.08.14

Feb. 17, 2009

As a fan of so very few in the main stream media, it is difficult to be in any way critical of one of the few voices with whom I normally can agree. Rachel Maddow has brought such a refreshing presence to television, that her very existence on cable news is a victory. But on a recent program, she touched on my particular hot topic, Cuba, and did what most commentators of the left are doing; she defended President Obama’s decision to” close Guantanamo”. She also interviewed a former interrogator at the prison camp who pointed out more of the atrocities which had been and presumably still are being done in our name. That’s all good and necessary, but Rachel missed a chance to touch on a subject equally, if not more important than the prison camp.

In her introduction to the piece, Rachel quoted Fidel Castro calling for the US to return Guantanamo to Cuba. Were one not accustomed to Rachel’s bemused smirk, you could have been offended by what could be perceived as her very casual dismissal of the topic of giving this land back to the country to which it belongs. She seemed to be more interested in the fact that the former Cuban president had a blog, than his grasp of the reality that most in the world easily understand; Guantanamo is part of Cuba, and we have no right to be there.

OK, for all those of you who slept through history class during that part about the “so called” – Spanish-American War, here are the Cliffs Notes. Throughout the 19th century, as our young republic grew, there was a constant cry from business

interests for expansion. Cuba had always been considered “ours” simply by geographic proximity, and when it appeared that the Cuban revolutionaries were getting close to throwing off their Spanish masters, we jumped in, and defeated the last remnants of a dying colonial power. In the treaty we got Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. We also took Guantanamo Bay, the best harbor in southern Cuba, from which we could guard our interests in the Panama Canal, and established what is now the oldest U.S. military facility on foreign soil.

Cuba then became our colonial base, although by the end of the Spanish dominance, we already controlled most of the economy. We installed our own governor, and ran just about everything until 1934, when it was decided that we would appear less like the former colonial world powers if we gave Cuba its freedom while still running the place economically and militarily. So we gave up our right to directly run Cuban affairs, and in exchange got a new lease on Guantanamo, which appears to be a lease in perpetuity, the legality of which is very questionable. When the Castro led Cuban revolution overthrew the Batista dictatorship, the Cubans began to demand that they get the Manhattan Island sized piece of their homeland back, and refused our government’s rent checks.

During the cold war there might have been a strategic argument for us being there, but that time has long past. We remain because we have the military might to hold this occupied territory, which the world recognizes as just a remnant of our imperialist past. Until we turned it into an offshore holding cell for alleged terrorists, out of reach of the U.S. Constitution, it existed for 50 years solely as a thorn in the side of the Cuban government. Returning it to its rightful owner, just as President Carter did with the Panama Canal, would markedly ease tensions between the two governments and signal to Latin America that although it took more than 100 years, there is finally change they can believe in.

Like his brother, Cuban President Raul Castro has indicated his willingness to meet with President Obama regarding these issues. As he told actor and activist Sean Penn recently in The Nation, “We should meet in a neutral place.

Perhaps we could meet at Guantánamo. We must meet and begin to solve our problems, and at the end of the meeting, we could give the president a gift…we could send him home with the American flag that waves over Guantánamo Bay.”

Such a move might also change Rachel’s questioning smirk into a smile as she sees her country moving in the direction of the type of policy true progressives like her are fighting so hard to achieve.

Guantanamo – Looking For Cuba

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