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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

End failed US Cuba wet foot dry foot policy - opinion

Posted January 13, 2006 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Charleston.net | Post and Courier

Publisher note: There is no author on this. I guess it is the newspaper’s opinion.

Washington’s flawed policy toward Cuba has been demonstrated once again by the uproar in the Cuban exile community over 15 people fleeing the totalitarian regime of Fidel Castro who fell afoul of what is known as the “wet-foot, dry-foot” rule.

The 15 Cubans thought that they had reached dry land - and with it safety in the United States - when, after a perilous voyage, they reached a bridge in the Florida Keys. But the bridge was abandoned and no longer connected to the Keys. That meant that the Cubans could not claim that they had complied with the “wet-foot, dry-foot” rule by reaching the United States and were therefore entitled to political asylum in the United States. So the “wet-foot” Cubans were returned to Cuba.

The “wet-foot, dry-foot” rule was devised so that Cubans fleeing from Castro’s prison island would have a chance of reaching freedom in the United States while at the same time deterring a mass exodus. On several occasions Castro has cynically lifted the ban on Cubans traveling abroad so that thousands would take to the sea on virtually anything that would float. Florida was unable to cope with what became human avalanches. Thousands of desperate Cubans are believed to have drowned trying to reach the United States.

The Associated Press reported one Cuban-American as saying that returning the refugees “was a total abuse ... They landed on our territory only so that we can send them back to hell.” Florida Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, all Cuban-American Republicans, and Republican Sen. Mel Martinez want to change the “wet-foot, dry-foot” rule.

But it is not the whimsical rule that decides whether Cubans fleeing Cuba’s corrupt and moribund Communist regime can leave Castro’s hell for American freedom that needs changing. U.S. policy toward Cuba, which now has an epic record of nearly half a century of failure, needs changing lock, stock and barrel. The dictator needs to be challenged by lifting the embargo that allows Castro to con the Cuban people into believing that the United States is to blame for their penury and by ending the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba.

Dictatorship in Cuba wouldn’t last long if the United States ended the isolation of the Cuban people. An end to counterproductive restrictions on trade and travel between the United States and Cuba would also end the political blackmail indulged in by Cuban-American politicians, to the detriment of the vast majority of the Cuban people and on both sides of the Florida Straits.

Member Comments

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On January 13, 2006, ROLO wrote:

Both of Two Things are F I A S C O S AND wet-foot—dry-foot
is the more.

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On January 16, 2006, waldo wrote:

End indeed, or add-extend wet foot dry foot policy to Mexico, Haiti and all other Central American and Caribbean Nations.

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On January 16, 2006, ROLO wrote:

Refugees status should preserve its real sense,among other
reason because that saves Human Lifes and that is very clear since
Geneva Conventions,Humanitarian status,temporal ones,is related
to the previous one,but it is different and also saves a lot of
lifes,the application of wet-foot and dry foot was a Clinton-
allbright-rino inventions,it is outrageous that you, accept ones and
deported others just for the matter of dry or wet foots,on
according to the American Law,Refugees right is not reliable
in American Law or other country law,it is part of international consensus in which the American have agreed,as many,the majority of the countries in the world,the substance is
not the foot,but the reason to apply for.

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On January 16, 2006, ROLO wrote:

Rely on what is happening it is,in my view,the most fair
attitude,None who wants to live better,with better job,more
money,etc should never receive the refugee status,that is
clear to everybody,but when this is a second line reason,and
the first one is to save the life,no matter that the come from
poor countries,they are not bogus refugees,in the circumstances
in which the people of Haiti are currently living,many of them
deserve a temporal protection,to deportate them is cruel and
it is a disregard of the International consensus about Refugees,in the same way to deport zimbabweans from UK to Zim
is also regretable,the same apply to the Southafrican gov.which
day by day deports many zimbabwean which a real risk of being
tortured when they comeback.I mean that it is a very difficult
issue,in which there are also,lies and other from the applicant,but to any standard,wet-foot and dry foot is atrocious.

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On January 19, 2006, GregoryHavana wrote:

Most Cubans on the island will admit that the vast majority of people leaving Cuba for the United States are doing it for economic reasons (the chance of a better lifestyle in the US) not for fear of political persecution and violence. It is, plain and simple, the desire for a better standard of living in the First World conditions of the United States. This is the same motivation for most Mexicans, Salvadorans, Chinese, Bolivians, etc. In the case of Haiti, Colombia and other countries plagued with widspread violence and brutality, the people fleeing are often authentic refugees. Thus, uder the definition of refugee under international law, most Cubans are not political refugees. Unless the United States is willing to open its borders the all of the World’ poor masses, it is hypocritical and cynical to give any special treatment to Cuban rafters. They should be returned to Cuba, except for the small number that can actually show that they are authentic political refugees. To maintain to present policy is a mockery of what a real refugee is.

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On January 20, 2006, ROLO wrote:

As I said earlier,it was regretable the usa-policy towards
the people of Haiti,but yesterday I learnt that there is more
than a ballyhoo from the american attorneys so as to change
the actual policy.Because Now,take no account of the situation
in Haiti is more than aggravated felony against Human Rights,
in the cuban case,the manner of the cuban government handle
the issue of dissidence,opposition,etc led to the actual policy
I don’t know what means “the vast majority of cubans” but what
I know is on according to the bizarre “cuban law” anybody easily would be becoming a dissident,and go to jail at least
for 3 Year,and enter to a cuban jail is easy but the exit-way
from that is not very much so,Thus I strongly believe that in
the cuban case is not so easy to say genuine or bogus claimer
of refugee.

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On January 20, 2006, GregoryHavana wrote:

Rolo…Explain exactly what Cuban law will place all of these boat people into prison. And keep in mind, you cannot talk hypothetically, since to qualify being a refugee, one my ante facto be a victim of political persecution. My experience, and those of others I know, is that most Cubans trying to leave the island will admit that it is simple to improve their economic situation and that they are not individually suffering from political persecution, which is the key component to define someone as a refugee under the UNHCR.

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On January 20, 2006, ROLO wrote:

Gregory it is easy for any cuban with a minimal degree of
dissidence to D e m o n s t r a te over his or her personal
threat,for instant,any cuban who criticizes any member of the
top rank of the cuban government,such as minister,secretary of
provincial branches of the comunist party,etc,could be sentenced to serve 18 months in prison,But if the critic is
over the commander in chief the veredict goes to 3 year prison.
Listen,that is just have criticized something wrong,but if the
critic is considered Traison the judge could send you to the
prison for the umpteen time.What I know for certain is that
overall the situation could change if the cuban government
give the necessary room in Cuba for the opposition.However
in the global spectrum of immigration, Poverty is the root
by which millions leave their countries,so is vital the—
figth corruption and reduce poverty all around the world is
one of the best meassure to stop a bit this sad phenomenon.other is dismantle many gangs which striving smuggler
poor people with blue dreams.

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On January 20, 2006, waldo wrote:

Plus what a good live in the USA! Help with free food,lodging, medical care, etc. and just like that; Green Card. Just come and enjoy, play dominoes and pretent you are against communism so as to make good rich friends in Florida that will give you goodies, take you to their homes, ect. And don’t worry about responsibilities, family or culture because that in the USA is not a priority. The only thing you have to worry about are the engoados sharks in the strait, if you miss them, well, and then… Just like in the Holywood movies, come over to capitalism and in a few years you will have one or two new cars, a fancy home with swiming pool, plenty of money in the bank, a boat at the beach, and all the drugs, guns and woman you want. Thank you Ley de Ajuste Cubano!!! But, too bad the Mexicans do not have this wonderful Ley! Wonder how many would be comming over and under the walls if they had such Ley?

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On January 20, 2006, GregoryHavana wrote:

Rolo…I speak to many Cubans who openly criticize their government and they are not in prison. Nor are the Damas de Blanco, Osvaldo Paya, Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, and many more. All of these people are free to walk the streets. Most of the time, those that are imprisoned are the ones that chose to receive funds and materials from the U.S. Interests Section. Please correct me if I am wrong on this point.

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On January 21, 2006, ROLO wrote:

Gregory,beyond doubts,you are wrong,man.Everybody knows that
the Aquilles point in the Cuban policy is precisely to deny
any real chances to the opposition go through,I know that they
have be careful,because the hostility especially in some part
of the cuban-american which has been given too much bitterness
on the issues,las damas han cogido palos y galletas.Paya has
stated himself that he is under menace,etcBecause the intransigence of the bottom-line of Cuba government,days ago,
once more time Human Rights Wacht blamed Cuba on its disregard
of Human Rights an I would say political and freedom rights,
because I am not support anybody who says children mistreatements,child pornography,lack of regard for the olders,
etc,has been happened in Cuba,Those Human Rights are well
observed in Cuba and I have travelled a lot and I know on the
ground the realities of the many parts of this World,Even with
blatant political intentions,the help especially in Africa,in
the health sector and biotechonology sector offer by the cubans have now and ever my support and no because I myself have
been part,many times,of those helps,but also because I know the
meanig of this Help for the poor people in such countries,and
Venezuela which is macroeconomical a rich country,needs too much of this help in the Health Sector,I played baseball as
my father did,all my life in Cuba,I love baseball,and today
I am very pleased with the News that Cuban national baseball
team can play in the so called world baseball clasic,I am worry
because I know nowadays the talents in Cuba are just developing
we have few Stars though,but is not enough to reach the title,
even though is beyond my imagination see the Cuban team out of
the top-3-ranked this year and for sure in the next edition
Cuba could be the One,I have many family in the States,some
share my views,but the vast majority not and imagine me telling
that to them,it would be a brouhaha.AH the picture which Waldo
gave is,Sorry,pure smuggler gang propaganda,just addressed to
‘people in blue”,Waldo many people,as I do,know that Money doesn’t grow on trees.

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On May 04, 2007, john smith wrote:

I am a native american and american citiizen the opinion that I is that the hatians should get equal treatment. Cubans that are in need of help should be helped but hatians should be helped as well.

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On May 04, 2007, publisher wrote:

Good idea but there is not a powerful Haitian exile community in Southern Florida that would make that happen.

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On May 05, 2007, Ralph wrote:

I am upholding 100% his point John, the haitians deserve to receive help as the cubans or other genuine refugee,listen the refuge issue is very politicized one and that brings injustice,here in Europe and in America,Australia or wherever and the sad fact is the immigration phenomenon will be among us for the umpteen time.

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On July 12, 2008, Kris wrote:

Those of us that have called the U.S. home since our great grandparents landed here from Europe, etc., have some questions:  Why isn’t there any effort by these new “citizens” to learn english?  Why do we, as a dwindling population of S. Florida feel pushed out, you know “Last one out bring the flag” ” Miami is nice because it’s so close to the U.S.”. The ruination of our home is happening as I write this.  I pass through the airport there often and am shocked @ the abuse I and many other “english only” customers receive in their public restaurants. There is not an “official” language in the U.S., but there is a more understood language here and that is english!  I have met 2nd generation students who STILL do not speak or even understand english. The U.S. gives the Cubans so much and what do we ask of them in return?  Nothing, but a level of decent pride in our country.  This is done by conforming to the way things are done in the country to which you migrate, “when in Rome, do as the Romans”.

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On July 14, 2008, Ralph wrote:

Outright right your assessment and very justified the feelings which are behind.what you have pointed out is very common,I met many dutch citizens,who don’t speak any correct phrase in dutch,I am currently living in The states for the last 2 years.I work day by day ,monday through friday and some weekends too,I am a taxpayer and passed the Toefl with good marks,my immigration status is clear and so on and it seems to me very fair when going whereever,do the same as the natives do and in first place speak the language the best you can,it is true, people come here and pretend living as they lived in their countries without having a courteous respect for the culture and the language of the recipient country,yes it is disgusting,but you know that’s what many people are.

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On July 15, 2008, manfredz wrote:

actually i think it has nothing to do with cubans per se.  I live in Canada and we too have many immagrants who live in their cultural ghettos and make no effort to learn english (not all mind you, but many).  While living in Germany, there were similar problemw with some immigrant groups.
We immigrated from Germany in early 1950s, and like all other immigrants, teh aprents made effort to learn English and we had extra clsses in school to get us up to speed.  Also immigrants made an effort to not only lauguage wise but cultural-wise (clothes etc) to adapt to our new hoem country.
Mind you< I’m not putting down all immigrants because many do make effort to learn English and our culture but (it seems) too many don’t.

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On September 25, 2008, chris wrote:

This is my problem with it all:
(1) Why do we as American citizens from birth have to pay for other countries mistakes, IE communism in Cuba, Greed and corruption and drug cartel violence in .Why don’t the people in those countries stay and revolt and change their own countries for the better instead of coming here and putting a heavy financial drain on this country?

(2) now granted we are all immigrants I do not have a problem with legal migration at all hell my great great grandparents did it,came off the boat in the port of San Fransisco went through customs worked hard and assimilated into regular .But it seems that some of the Latin culture refuses to do that refuses to speak English waving flags of a country that does not give a tankers damn about ,that is what has me scratching my head now i understand about being proud of your heritage sure but being proud of a country that does not care about it’s own people that is flawed logic right there .

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On September 25, 2008, manfredz wrote:

I know this is wandering off the subject of Cuba but if I may ...
I dont know about the situation in the USA, but in Canada our future is dependant on an active (legal) immigration policy.
Canadians just dont seem to want to have kids, or if so, only one, for teh most part, so an active immigration policy is necessary to ensure there is money to pay for my govt old age pension when I retire.
Also I think you’ll find there are many jobs that Cnadians don’t want to do.

As for revolting, thats often easier said than done….
If my parents had tried to do that in Nazi Germany where they grew up, I wouldnt be here today because they would have been executed on the spot.

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On September 25, 2008, chris wrote:

Now i know that castro’s cuba is a 50 year old failure and it would not take much to topple what is left of his 60 year old militia I just do not see why instead of complaining and leaving the people of cuba
just do not stay and fight for what is rightfully theirs to begin with elect a leader who is anti communist and for the people and bring a democratic free trade society back to that island

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On September 25, 2008, GregoryinHavana wrote:

Chris… Have you ever considered the possibility that a significant percentage of the Cuban population actually supports Castro? Have you ever been to Cuba? (Ooops, sorry, I forgot that Americans are not allowed to travel to Cuba by their own democratic government)

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On September 25, 2008, manfredz wrote:

Gregory has a very valid point.  Here’s how I see it (remember only my opinion)
Some people, especially those who benefit from the status quo, like thngs as they are for the most part.
Many many more are not happy with things as they are but are not prepared to overthrow teh system because they feel many of the basic tenets are good for them.  Some have come to this conclusion by actually knowing that all is not gold in that great capitalist world; others are victim of the government controlled media.
I think many many feel that the way things are currently are better than the alternative of letting the US and exile Cubans take over - the memory of Battista and the mob running things is kept very much alive.
The system allow small time reformers to work within the system, but not if you advocate major change. And since the military lives very well within the system as it is, the would very unlikely jump on a change bandwagon.
A case in point, that although a historic point, I believe is still basically valid today - the Cuban masses did not support the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Feel free to disagree with me because all I’m voicing is my opinions; but I think they’er more valid than Chris’ who I too feel has never been to Cuba, or i’m sure he’d understand that what he’s suggesting just isnt going to happen.

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On September 25, 2008, chris wrote:

You are both correct manfredz and gregory i have never been to cuba But i have been told what life is like there, and i have seen many picures of life there. It looks like a 1950’s time capsule there complete with cars that i only see in car shows and museums, and delapidated buildings from that era. How can you tell me that the people like that life when hundreds of thousands of cubans are here. Come on guy’s lets address the big pink elephant in the room!! common sense would dictate that if life there was so great that no one would want to leave!!  but instead everyone wants to pretend that it will get better someday and they have been saying that for over 50 years I understand that going against castro’s regime would have been a death sentence or prison back in the day but the island of cuba has so much potential to be a strong economic player in the world complete with great infastructures and paved roads and current vehicles it is a shame to see that all go to waste there is an old saying lead by example and castro did not do that he bent the people to his will and gave them poverty instead!!

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On September 26, 2008, GregoryHavana wrote:

Chris…all I can tell you is that before you make such broad conclusions you should visit Cuba. Opions based on “what you have been told”, and the fact that Cuba has old cars and dilapidated buildings are opinions based on hearsay and superficial observations. Reality is more complex than apparetnly you would like to think. My advice: Visit Cuba…then forward a more substantiated opinion…even if it is the same one you have now. (‘By the way, I don’t believe in pink elephants).

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On September 26, 2008, manfredz wrote:

chris - first of all very few like things as they are; some are resigned to how things are, but many many others still feel that things will improve.
There’s much more to cuba than 50s cars and dillapidated buildings - hard to describe but easy to experience, even though most of us who go only see a little of that when we go for our two weeks with wallets full of hard currency.
i also can only give you the same advice that gregory gave - visit cuba

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On September 26, 2008, chris wrote:

Traveling to Cuba Last time i checked unless you charter a plane to take you travel restrictions were in place correct?? By the way does anyone know what bill the wet foot dry foot law was enacted under ? i would like to know we all agree that this bill needs to be repealed It hasn’t worked and will not work the 20,000 a year migrant law should just stand alone. Well gentlemen i have said my piece now if there is anything else you would like to discuss with me feel free
until then
vios con dios!!
chris