In my Al’s Loupe column of this week I mention the Claver-Carone commentary that appeared in The Miami Herald last Saturday, March 1. Titled “Why travel to Cuba must be regulated”, he gives reasons why it is important that the U.S. government maintain the cruel regulations imposed on the Cuban family in June 2004. I opined that this column was written to lend cover to south Florida congressional representatives Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen during an election year when they are being challenged by viable, well-financed opponents. Raul Martinez, Joe Garcia, and Annette Tadeo — the opponents — have publicly come out against the measures which limit family travel to once every three years with NO humanitarian exceptions; they also limit the amount of remittances you can legally send “defined” family members.
Aside from my thoughts on the Claver-Carone piece, I have been mulling the implications of something he wrote which follows: “…This argument fails to consider that, while most of the exile community in the United States is white, the vast majority of the population and most of democracy’s advocates in Cuba are of African or mixed descent and have no family members living in the United States. The result would be a policy that not only creates an underclass among those — the majority — without family abroad…”
I find it fascinating when persons who claim to represent the best interest of Cubans on the island fight for injustices often found in their own back yard. In this case it is not about the sending of remittances, but if Claver-Carone is so worried about creating an “underclass” of people, namely the Afro-Cubans, then I dare challenge him on an already created underclass right here in Miami. And many of these “under-classed” human beings happen to be Black or of African descent.
Specifically, I would challenge Claver-Carone and others in his group to start a campaign, and we would be glad to join and help in whatever way possible, to eliminate the Cuban Adjustment Act and the “wet-feet/dry-feet” policy which allows Cubans to simply touch our shores in order to stay in the U.S. Once here, one year and one day later they are facilitated residency and a path to citizenship. If this is allowed for Cubans, why not the Haitians?
I propose a campaign to do away with this law or else expand it and allow all Latin American and Caribbean region neighbors who wash up on our shores to have the same rights as Cubans. It would be one of many questions I would also ask all politicians wanting to represent us in Washington, DC.
As for Lincoln, Mario and Ileana, they have failed this test already. They’ve given other Latin American and Caribbean community members much lip service over the years, but in the end, the very little they’ve accomplished has been aimed at a very small and exclusive segment of the Miami Cuban community.
Alvaro F. Fernandez