Rudy Giuliani put all his eggs in one basket, the basket was Florida and the eggs were Cuban-Americans. In his case it would have been wiser if he had filled the basket with Republican admirers of Janet Reno, that is, the anti-Cuban voters, a bloc at least as sizable in Florida as the Cubans. Unlike Cuban-Americans, who were featured in every story about the Florida vote, Cuban-haters were never mentioned although they are as much one-issue voters as Cuban exiles are reputed to be. Rudy's credentials as a persecutor of Cubans far exceeded those of the other candidates, whose xenophobia was generalized and, in some cases, even provided for exemptions for Cuban-Americans. Giuliani was anti-Cuban when Janet Reno was still wiping our collective arse.
As Assistant Attorney General in the Reagan administration, he was put in charge of the "clean-up" after the Mariel exodus and did his job with so much enthusiam that he even had to be called to task by the president for his ruthlessness. First, he ordered a freeze on all Cuban visas: 23,000 Cubans who had already been approved for admission to the U.S., including 1500 political prisoners and their families, were left stranded in Cuba. He refused to recognize the legal status granted to the Mariel refugees under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 and kept them all in legal limbo for several years while he decided which to deport to Communist Cuba. If most had not already been processed by the time Carter left office he would probably have tried to deport them all.
Giuliani set up a special camp for social "undesirables" who were not criminals: these included unwed mothers and their children, the physically handicapped, the mentally defective and homosexuals. The so-called common criminals which Castro infiltrated into the boatlift, which numbered no more than 2000 out of a total of 135,000, Giuliani wanted to deport en masse without reviewing their individual cases. What is considered a "crime" in Cuba is not necessarily a crime here. For example, eating a steak in Cuba is considered theft of state property punishable by 10 years imprisonment, since all cattle in Cuba are owned by the state and Castro does not allocate any beef to the Cuban people. There is very little activity in Cuba that Castro has not criminalized in some form or another; in fact, Castro has so ordained it that all Cubans are "criminals" under Cuban law and can at any moment be transferred from the "big house" to the "little house." This did not matter to Giuliani who shared Castro's penchant for criminalizing as much human activity as possible.
Very few Cuban-Americans at the time objected to Giuliani's draconian treatment of their compatriots because they were emotionally-crippled, indeed, paralyzed, by the national smear-campaign which was unleashed against them by both government and media. We had always been the model "immigrants," the "most successful immigrants in the history of this nation of immigrants," as George Gilder called us. Overnight and everywhere we were portrayed as a social scourge, the new mafia, the flotsam of a corrupt and irredeemable society whose Augean stables Castro was right to have flushed out.
In such a hostile climate, which was fostered as much by Rudolph Giuliani as by Brian de Palma (did these Italian-Americans have a vested interest in portraying Cubans as the new mafiosi in order to whitewash their own image?), there was little Cubans could do but try to ride out the wave of ethnic hate which engulfed the entire nation for the first time since the 1930s. It was then that Newt Gingrich, a college history professor, realized that xenophobia was still as powerful a demon in the American psyche as it had ever been and decided to reintroduce it into the American political culture through the "Contract (On) America," which excluded even legal immigrants from the social contract. Gingrich was the agent but Giuliani the catalyst for the rebirth of xenophobia in this country.
It was Giuliani also who, in 1981, in clear violation of the law — for the Cuban Adjustment Act is the law of the land, then as now — deported for the first time since 1959 a Cuban refugee to Communist Cuba. He was not a Mariel refugee, but, rather, a Cuban who had hidden in a cargo container aboard a freighter. This was 15 years before the implementation by presidential fiat, contrary to existing law and precedent, of the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy by President Clinton. There is even a connection between Clinton and Giuliani and her name is Doris Meissner. She was Giuliani's protegé at the Justice Department during the Reagan administration. Although Meissner was a Democrat, Giuliani sponsored her for acting director of INS, and when she was replaced by a Reagan appointee, secured for her the #3 spot in the department. It was Meissner, appointed director in her own right by Clinton, who oversaw the implementation of the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy and the kidnapping at gunpoint and forcible return of Elián González to Cuba.
Giuliani was not through with us when he left the Justice Department to become U.S. Attorney in New York. He made a name for himself in his future fiefdom by prosecuting Omega-7, the anti-Castro resistance group. It is interesting that in a city where the IRA and its "civilian leaders" were inviolate, feted at Gracie Mansion and not just on St. Patrick's Day, Giuliani should have aimed his guns at the Cuban group, which, unlike the IRA, had never been responsible for the death of even one innocent bystander. Of course, criminal prosecution comes with the territory if you are going to wage a war of liberation from American soil against American interests.
What Giuliani did, however, went much beyond the limits of his authority or the law. He essentially set up a star chambre along the lines of the House Un-American Activities Committee 30 years earlier except that he was fishing for anti-communists rather than Communists. Many Cubans with no connection to Omega-7were sent to jail because they refused to "name names" before grand juries. Using Omega-7 as a pretext Giuliani inflicted greater damage to anti-Castro organizations in the U.S. than Castro's agents and infiltrators, who worked in close collaboration with Giuliani, ever managed to do by themselves. Again it was Giuliani's cultivation of Castro's moles in the prosecution of Omega-7 which provided the precedent for the FBI to use Castro double-agent Juan Pablo Roque to infiltate the "Brothers to the Rescue" organization nearly 20 years later, which resulted in the murder of four Cuban-American pilots in international waters at Castro's orders with the coordinates provided by FBI informant Roque.
Later, as mayor of New York, Giuliani would undergo a Pauline conversion and become a vocal critic of Castro and friend (?) of Cuban exiles. He even renamed the street in front of the U.N. Cuban Mission in honor of the "Brothers to the Rescue." A guilty conscience, perhaps. Political opportunism, more likely.
He came to Miami last year to reap the rewards of his trajectory of 30 years. And he did, yesterday.
Of course, this is not the end for Giuliani. He's already on the McCain bandwagon and will go as far as it does. Personally, I would favor his appointment as War Czar in Iraq. Granted, Giuliani was studying for the priesthood, or something, during the Vietnam War, before he married his cousin and forgot his vocation. But some men, even without military experience, are born to lay waste to lands and annihilate populations. I believe that Rudolph Giuliani is such a man. Really, I would support Giuliani for any position but Attorney General, because Cuba is about to implode and the last man to deal with that situation is our "friend" Giuliani.
John Edwards dropped out of the Democratic race today. We never noticed him and now we are glad we didn't. Will the last WASP male to leave the Democratic Party please turn off the lights.