How Castro stretches his tyranny to other shores
Posted: 20 February 2006 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
10 to 29 posts
Total Posts:  24
Joined  2004-12-22

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Wall Street Journal

Fidel Castro’s depredations inside Cuba are by now well known. But less widely appreciated is how Fidel sometimes manages to imprison Cubans in other domiciles even once they’ve escaped his government’s clutches.

A tragic example is the case of two Cuban dentists who have been held in squalid conditions at a detention center in Nassau, Bahamas for almost 10 months. The two have immigration visas to enter the U.S. and join their spouses and children who live here legally. But the one thing holding up their release for the past 10 months has been, you guessed it, El Maximo Lider.

David Gonzalez Mejias and Marialys Darias Mesa are not lawbreakers. Their efforts to emigrate from Cuba with their families began legally when they entered the visa “lottery” that the U.S. holds for Cubans every year since President Clinton made the “wet foot-dry foot” deal with Castro. That policy says that the U.S. will send back Cuban migrants captured at sea (wet foot) but will also allow 20,000 visas a year to Cubans through a lottery system.

Not surprisingly, Fidel has not always kept his side of the bargain. Though the dentists had won U.S. visas in the lottery, he denied them exit visas in 2002 on grounds that their medical training made them too important to spare. The dentists sent their families on to the U.S. and obediently waited the three prescribed years.

When they reapplied in 2005, the Cuban government again refused to let them go. This time they were termed “indispensable” and given no certain date for when they might join their loved ones. (Meanwhile, Castro has sent thousands of Cuban medical professionals to Venezuela both to promote revolution and earn the hard currency that is so precious in Cuba’s Third World economy.) In desperation, the dentists joined a “fast boat” escape from Cuba at the end of last April.

When the U.S. Coast Guard picked up the pair, along with 16 others, their mechanically disabled boat was in Bahamian waters. Tired and terrified, they say they showed their legal—but expired—visas to the Coast Guard officer, who decided not to allow them an immigration hearing, nor to repatriate them to Cuba. Instead he deposited them with the Bahamian government, which rejected their pleas as political refugees and sent them to the detention center in Nassau.

In a diplomatic note to the Bahamas on June 30, 2005, the U.S. said it wants the dentists freed and is ready to make current their visas. But the Bahamian government is refusing their release on the grounds that a memorandum of understanding with Fidel says that Cuban rafters get sent back to the revolutionary paradise. On the other hand, a source close to the matter tells us that Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie has assured U.S. Ambassador John Rood that they will not be returned to Cuba.

The real problem is that the Bahamas fears Castro and the retaliation he might unleash—especially a mass refugee exodus—if the escapees are allowed to reach liberty in America. So its compromise with the dictator has been to keep the doctors separated from their families, living in what we are told is an unsanitary prison with lice-infested pigeons, abusive guards and boys up to 14 years of age in the women’s barracks.
The Bahamas is part of the British Commonwealth and, the last time we checked, a civilized place. Now would be a good time to prove this by releasing the dentists, whose only crime is fleeing for freedom. Oh, and one more point: This would also be a good time for the National Council of Churches, famous for its obsession in reuniting Elián González with his father in Cuba back in 2000, to speak up about the injustice and cruelty of breaking up families.

Posted: 26 February 2006 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
less than 10 posts
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2006-02-26

Re:  10 Months in the Bahamas - How Castro stretches his tyranny to other shores:
  Don’t JUST blame CUBA ... This only goes to prove the US’s power over smaller countries, and if the Bahamas was smart ... They would join forces with Cuba and stop being afraid and other Caribbean Islands that the US is suffocating at the expense of Capitalism.  I would sum this up to a bad game of “Piggy in the Middle” and we (Bahamians) are being made to look like the bad guy.  Remember too ... That’s a US based paper ... or should I have included an “i” in there!

Re:  The shameful silence on Cuba by America’s librarians by Cubana:
This is more along the lines of what I am trying to find out ... What is illegal and what is not.  I do like to bring presents when I come and am sometimes worried that I maybe getting these amazing people into a lot of trouble.  As a tourist they never inform you of these do’s and don’ts anywhere.  I would love to bring down books ... But ... ? Can which one’s can I without implicating the bearer of that book.  Is there a rule of thumb, or is it up to the discretion of the police?  Did I mention that I had ALOT of questions about Cuba!  I will get to them slowly!
However, There is a simple answer to your question ... E M B A R G O!  That is why they are NOT assisting those who “choose” to stay. 
Put YOURSELF in the US’s shoes ... CUBA JOINED FORCES WITH THE US’s WORST ENEMY (Back in the day). 
BUT ... Put YOURSELF in Cuba’s shoes ... THE US HAS PRACTICALLY UNDERMINED EVERY DEMOCRATIC ELECTION IN CUBA UPTO AND INCLUDING BATITSTA.  Why do you think that Cubans want to keep their “system!” ... They don’t know what else to do ... Cuba really needs money and innovation to keep on going.  And I do know that the money is not in the Tourism market aimed at BUDGET TRAVELLERS ... You are not only facing the Caribbean Sea ... You also have the Old Bahama Channel.  Cuba should be looking at the Grand Caymen Islands as competition, not the Dominican Republic!  Money Brings Money ... and with the beautiful relationship (sarcastic of course) that Cuba has and has always had with United States, and the recent demize to the Bahamians Banking Industry having to open up their books to the US in lue of the 9-11 incident ... Maybe their are other fish in the sea more worthy of Cuba’s net that hasn’t even been touched.
The extent of my Knowledge of Cuba ... With the exception of some conversations that I have had along the way and the 3 trips I have taken now since Nov. 20, 2005 is limited to the following books:  If anyone can suggest more ... Please do!
1.  History of Cuba ... The Challenge of the Yoke and the Star by Prof. Jose Canton Navarro (missed alot of accents -
    Please forgive) PURCHASED:  Cayo Coco Airport ... for about C$30.00.
2.  After Fidel by Brian Latell   PURCHASED: Chapters book store. 
    Do a search on their website:
3.  This is Cuba ... An Outlaw Culture Survives by Ben Corbett (Got for Valentine’s Day from my mom ... She knows my passion for this beautiful Island.
I am still reading This is Cuba, but I am getting a better understanding of what life is really like.  (Cayo Coco just doesn’t cut it)  It would be interesting to know if any or all of this book is true?  Again, this one is written by an American.  So how much of it is falicy, fantasy, or just plain reality!? 
My father once wrote a poetry book in his lifetime entitled Refracted Thoughts ... One of the poems was entitled ... “To my Children” ... And since I don’t have a copy of it handy I am going by Memory ... But the jist of it:  In future, our children will not blame us for the things that we did do; but rather the things that we did not do.  Instead of trying to correct the error. 
I really wish I had it but you get the point.  Let’s stop talking about the past and fix what is right here in front of us.
Let us stop harbouring old feelings and re-evaluate where the future is really heading.  I have seen the distruction that the US can incur, but remember ... IT’S NOT JUST THE US that has this mentality ... I am from the Bahamas.  I know what it was like before there was 2 McDonalds on the island of Nassau.  Now, I couldn’t even begin to tell you ... how many McDonald’s there are ... Let alone Burger King, Wendy’s, Domino’s, oh and don’t forget Kentucky Fried Chicken, but it does not end there ... Do you think that all the businesses in the Bahamas are owned by either Bahamians or Americans?  How about ALL the resorts ... Lets just examine 2 areas ... Paradise Island and Cable Beach for anyone who knows the Island of New Providence: 
1.  When you say Paradise Island ... What comes to mind:  Atlantis Hotel, Condo, Time Share ... YOU NAME an accommodation ... They probably will have IT!!!
Check out this site:
505 units costing US$200 million ... Do the math ... How will a Bahamian ever afford to live here?!  But the interesting part is that when has a construction company ever been under or on budget?
2.  Now lets look at Cable Beach ... Currently there are three hotels there (Formally known as Bahama) but still operating under the names of Radisson, Wyndham, and the Nassau Beach hotel ... In 2007 this area will be a total mess.  The only hotel that will remain standing is the Radisson, the other two will be torn down, they will move the road, and the casino will go where the road is.  Allowing the rooms to be closer to the beach area.  The plan of attack here is to build a Las Vegas in Nassau in competition with the Atlantis.  (I’m just waiting for Atlantis to sink again!)
Mind you ... Guess who is behind these two developments ... THE USA.  Yup!
Sure, they are bringing jobs, and tourists, and a whole tonne of other benefits, but for who ... The Bahamians or the Capitalists ... AND AT WHAT EXPENSE!?

Posted: 03 June 2007 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
30 to 49 posts
Total Posts:  38
Joined  2007-04-05

Hi to all,

I like to look at both sides of any coin…that is my favorite saying..

As to the immigration policy:

The US one is: whoever from Cuba applis for legal visa and residency, is denied.
              whoever comes to the USA illegaly, is accepted and gets help.

The question is why…

Why the US government does not want to help them the same way…. if they are so sorry for Cubans not to have democracy…..Why the US government is not open to accept all of those who would like to come to the USA?

I feel just one explanation ... the US government is more interested to gain the country…

Now the other side of the coin:

Why Fidel does not want Cuban people leave the country?

I hope that everyone knows :education in Cuba is free including university education.  It is not actually free ....but paid out of state budget. Students pay nothing.
How much has an American student to pay to become a dentist? It id definitely more than $100,000…

They are supposed to pay it back to the country working for the country. Sounds logical, or not?

As long as I know Fidel is not preventing people in his country to leave.  He is just asking people to pay back what they received from the country.

Any doubts it is correct?

In case of legal immigration ( mariages, lotery..) yes, educated Cubans ( f.e.  doctors, dentists, teachers…) are allowed to go after 3 or 5 years of working for the country.

Posted: 04 June 2007 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19

Not sure what your point is.


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