Tuesday, August 26, 2008

GOP platform draft released

Here’s the section on Cuba in the draft GOP platform (it’s on page 9 of this 48-page pdf):

The other malignant element in hemispheric affairs is the anachronistic regime in Havana, a mummified relic from the age of totalitarianism, and its buffoonish imitators. We call on the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean to join us in laying the groundwork for a democratic Cuba. Looking to the inevitable day of liberation, we support restrictions on trade with, and travel to, Cuba as a measure of solidarity with the political prisoners and all the oppressed Cuban people. We call for a dedicated platform for transmission of Radio and Television Marti into Cuba and, to prepare for the day when Cuba is free, we support the work of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. We affirm the principles of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, recognizing the rights of Cubans fleeing Communist tyranny, and support efforts to admit more of them through a safe, legal, orderly process.

My guess is that the “dedicated platform” for Radio/TV Marti means another plane full of transmitters that will fly figure 8’s in the U.S. airspace just south of the Florida Keys, beaming its signals southward. Didn’t we buy one of those babies already, and isn’t it called “Aero Marti?” Do they mean a ship? The S.S. Marti?

As for the statement about the “principles of the Cuban Adjustment Act,” which is fanciful at its core, I wonder why something this obscure would be included in a platform. It could be that there’s a worry that those in the party who want to restrict immigration might want to end the “dry foot” policy, i.e. stop admitting Cubans who arrive without visas and with no claim to refugee/asylee status. As best as I can tell, that would be an unfounded worry.

Then there’s the call to admit more Cuban immigrants through “a safe, legal, and orderly process.” We now admit about 20,000 per year that way, plus about half that amount by other means. I wonder how many immigrant visas a McCain administration would want to grant each year. (The effect would be stabilizing for the “anachronistic regime.”) This is the only call for increased immigration in a platform that mainly treats the subject with seal-the-borders, anti-amnesty language.

Finally, it took me a while to notice through the gonzo rhetoric that this platform language says nothing, in terms of goals or actual policies, about acually bringing democracy to Cuba. There’s no mention of Cuba’s opposition. It anticipates Cuba’s “inevitable day of liberation,” as if that will just come about, dialectically I suppose. The embargo is described as an act of solidarity, not a tool of pressure. Talks with our Latin American and Caribbean neighbors is a nice idea, but the talks would be short because we disagree fundamentally, and they treat Cuba as we do China and Vietnam.

Not much new here.

At Cuaderno de Cuba, some comments from Alejandro Armengol.


Anonymous said...

The platform sucks. Real cubans (living on the island) are wholly in favor of Dem. approach. The more anti-castro people I have met in Havana the more likely they are to strongly urge USA to stop embargo nonsense, ... especially family travel.

Yoani, eloquent anti-castro dissident is great example, she is strongly anti- USA embargo and travel restrictions. She, like vast majority of real cubans, don't see embargo as act of "solidarity"..give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Marti is violation of international law..

Cubans laugh at Marti, (its so cheesY).

Mambi_Watch said...

The line that goes: "we support restrictions on trade with, and travel to, Cuba as a measure of solidarity with the political prisoners and all the oppressed Cuban people" deserves great criticism.

As has been pointed out here on the Cuban Triangle, news reports on Cuba and other information outlets, there seems to be substantial opposition to US policy by Cuban dissidents and Cubans in general.

Among the most trusted dissidents, like Martha Beatriz Roque, there is public opposition to the travel restrictions of the Bush administration.

And those feelings continue to show among the Cuban opposition. Just last month, Cuban dissident Darsi Ferrer criticized the 2004 restrictions on travel and remittances, and also the US embargo.


When are the two political parties of the US going to start listening to the voices of Cuban dissidents concerning US policy towards their homeland?

leftside said...

When are the two political parties of the US going to start listening to the voices of Cuban dissidents concerning US policy towards their homeland?

Not to nitpick, but listening to exiles or dissidents is usually not good policy either. Parties ought to end the embargo on moral and practical grounds - because it is fundamentally unjust and has been 4 decades with no sign of success.

Anonymous said...

Peters, I see that Castro regime continues to welsh on its debts. You may have to adjust your apology, I mean argument, that economy is "growing" and countries are supplying aid and credits.

Anonymous said...

leftside, why don't you go post on granma you will be more at home there.

Anonymous said...

gee what a surprise, the Republicans support a policy that for the past 50 years has been totally ineffective; except to help maintain the current regime and provide Castro with more than ample amount of excuses NOT to change. For those conspiracy types, the only logical reason is that the US govt wants no change in Cuba, they prefer the continued 'bad example' mentality that has dominated American policy since the revolution.
Look at it from the Cuban govt side; when they hear the same old s..t it's so easy for them to dismiss it. Especially when the exiles who support this keep cheering it on, they have absolutely no cred. It's kinda sad to keep hearing them shouting and hurling insults, with absolutely no effect. Meanwhile even the dissidents are saying lose the embargo, start a dialogue, change the dynamics now.

And it's very interesting why the GOP would bring up the Adjustment Act, there is definite feeling that its time to change that piece of destablizing policy.

And of course 'freedom' and 'democracy' will come Cuba; with never defining how, so again the Cuban side says, HA - all they want is a return to America's sphere on control. And so ends the discussion.

Anonymous said...

we should end all special immigration privileges for Cuba. Stop the escape valve. That is what has allowed Castro to maintain control all these years. Anyone who wants change leaves, and most of those left in Cuba are docile sheep. Force the regime to face the consequences.

Fantomas said...

Cash or nothing

theCardinal said...

Ditto on anonymous above. The CAA encourages a flee rather than fight mentality. Start there but keep the lottery open. The "solidarity" line is pathetic. I'm not saying every single dissident is opposed to the embargo but the majority clearly are.

I don't think we should dump it unilaterally but soften up the embargo and let's see what happens. If the Cubans give in on nothing then end of story - if they start to change and talk then we can go on from there. What's the big deal in trying?

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