Monday, May 19, 2008

Odds and ends

In an article that unfortunately has not appeared in English, Esteban Israel of Reuters provides a sketch of the emotion-laden flights between Miami and Havana.

A Miami Herald reporter, in Cuba to gauge public opinion about the Raul Castro government, hears this from a Havana resident: “If one president prohibited drinking this glass of water and the second president comes and lets you have it, well of course you are going to think the new president is better.” Bottom line: the changes that have come to date have “stirred a new sense of hope” even though fundamental political and economic conditions have not changed.

Sun-Sentinel correspondent Ray Sanchez writes about American fugitives living in Cuba; he interviews one (Charlie Hill) and reports that another, Joanne Chesimard, has “gone into hiding.”

Dissident economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe, writing in Spain’s ABC, talks about the need for solidarity from abroad. Recalling the 55 dissidents and independent journalists who were jailed in 2003 and (unlike himself) were not released, he says that the European Union should not drop its “diplomatic sanctions.” (Those sanctions were imposed in 2003 and suspended in 2005.) He says the changes occurring in Cuba are driven by internal factors, and policies that attempt to isolate Cuba are “more harmful than ever.” He wants the United States to allow Cuban American family visits and to renew people-to-people contacts.


Mambi_Watch said...

Thanks for the link to the Israel/Reuters article.

The Herald or Nuevo Herald have not yet linked to this story, which describes well one tragedy (perhaps THE tragedy) of US-Cuba relations.


About those flights - the author could not have been "more on."

They are always difficult - especially when leaving Havana to head back to Miami.

One thing I have noticed recently is the very marked change in the treatment of Cubans arriving in Havana for family visits, by the government customs agents in the capitol. A few years ago, you were always treated like absolute garbage - I mean, those customs officials were just mean SOBs. And then the luggage searches - everything taken out of your bag, spread out on a table and a lengthy interrogation.

That has changed a great deal over the course of the past three years or so. I would imagine the government in Havana - needing dollars - sent out the message that they should change tactics and be a bit more welcoming. Not surprising I suppose.

And God, what a difference - the way the Cubans arrive in their own terminal - as opposed to the terminal for foreigners - the big one built by the Canadians I don't know how long ago.

Anonymous said...

somehow I'd rather sympathize with someone who has been thrown in jail for 25 years for speaking his mind.


Amen to that, anonymous.