Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Republicans Snub the Cuban-American National Foundation

The Cuban-American National Foundation is not what it used to be. Maybe it never was. But everybody knows that already, and if one has any doubts then its use of "migrants" to describe Cuban refugees on its website should dispel all illusions. It seems, ironically, that only Democratic politicians still take CANF seriously, having believed from the first every calumny that was ever levelled against it in its heyday, they still see it as the "black hand" of the exile community and accord it more importance than it retains. The Republicans don't see it as a menace or an asset. They either know better or take the support of Cuban exiles for granted and need no intermediary.

The CANF sent the presidential candidates a survey with 15 specific questions on various aspects of U.S.-Cuba relations, such as the trade embargo and the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy. The only candidates to actually answer the questionnaire were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. None of the Republican candidates did. Instead, they submitted canned statements on Cuba which avoided answering any of the questions in the questionnaire, which is a feat that defies the rule of probabilities but which, nonetheless, every Republican candidate managed to pull off (including those who ignored the survey).

We can only assume that their positions are more liberal than Hillary's, whose only unacceptable response was her support for the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy (which all candidates share in common). This is frightening. Hillary Clinton, at least on paper, is more supportive of la causa than her Republican opponents! Of course, paper will hold anything and her positions may well change for the worse after the election. In fact, I'll bet on it. Still, I find it amazing that the Republicans no longer feel the need to cater to us, or, if you will, lie to us in order to secure our support. They are clearly saying that they know what is best for Cuba and feel no compulsion to share their "vision" with us. This is more than disrespect; it is disregard.


nonee moose said...

Wow MAT, it looks like you're staying home in November. Is there anyone you do like? Even someone who isn't running? I doubt it.

Are you enjoying your stay here in democracy, even a little bit? A prediction for you personally: poor vision and hairy palms.

For a smart man, it didn't take a whole lot to disenfranchise you.

Do you recall at all that WFDF, as repulsive a policy as it is, was actually a step back from having no status at all, relatively speaking? Though its an obvious distinction without a difference against the more immoral underpinnings of the immigration debate, it remains a legal status beyond the norm.

The splintering of CANF several years ago was bittersweet. It purged the ranks of its most calcified and intransigent members, which I think was good. But it also took with it alot of disposable income.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I have never voted in a U.S. election. This is not my country and I don't believe in double allegiances. My only interest in the election is vis-a-vis Cuba, and this year all of the candidates are suspect on this issue besides being stupid, insignificant or dangerous men.

Here's your little task for the day which will keep you from developing faulty vision or hairy palms: pick which of the three labels (stupid, insignificant or dangerous) best suits each candidate.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The last American politician that I admired was Lyndon B. Johnson. I still do.

Anonymous said...

LBJ? Why?

Charlie Bravo said...

There was status, refugee, as established by Lyndon Baines Johnson in the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. All Cubans who arrived to the States by every mean had a chance to become residents and citizens. They were protected. The Coast Guard rescued them from the seas, and they were granted asylum. Then they had to go through the status processing like everyone who arrived legally in this country, because they were legally fleeing a dictatorship.
Now, Clinton just erased the concepts of "refugee", "fleeing", and "dictatorship". W has kept up with the crap. One should go the polling station and scratch the ballot silly, write God Bless America, Cuba Libre, Down with the Dry Foot Wet Foot, whatever. It's needed to let our voices be heard, and we asked the same from our cousins of the island of Cuba, so we better do the same here....

Vana said...

Does not surprise me one bit that the CANF calls Cuban refugees migrants, they indeed have the Exilio Historico mentality, that those born under the revolution are not the same as they, that is why there is a fidel, because we are not united enough to realize that those over there no matter when they were born are the same as us.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

I consider Lyndon Baines Johnson to be the greatest U.S. president of my lifetime. The fact that we are all here today and have been spared a half century of tyranny at home is attributable directly to him. From other U.S. presidents we received and continue to receive nothing but lip service when it comes to Cuba. Johnson could not liberate Cuba because Kennedy had tied his hands in the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact, so he did the next best thing and freed 2 million of us piecemeal.

It was Johnson who signed the original Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) (1966), the most immigrant-friendly legislation ever passed in the history of this nation of immigrants, the likes of which we shall never see again in these xenophobic times. In fact, the Cuban Adjustment Act was essentially gutted by Clinton when he implemented by presidential fiat the nefarious "Dry Foot/Wet Foot" policy which Bush has upheld longer than Clinton did. The original CAA didn't require Cubans to set foot on U.S. land to be free (at the end of their unimaginable travails at sea) but actually saved the refugees' lives on the high seas (at the beginning of their travails) and brought them to freedom here. Of course, it was unthinkable to Johnson or any American then that a Cuban freedom-seeker would ever be returned by the U.S. to Castro's island hell, as unthinkable, in fact, as dropping a rescued baby back into a well or placing a trampoline on the western side of the Berlin Wall. But times have changed. It is now the U.S. which is building a Berlin wall along its border with Mexico and deports even motherless children to Castro's tender mercies.

It was the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, I think, who said that Johnson was the greatest president for the poor and blacks. Well, for what it's worth, he was also the greatest president for Cuban refugees. The fact that most of us are here today and have had lives worth living was his doing. He was our "Statue of Liberty."

Johnson, moreover, understood the real nature of Communism, which his dilettante predecessor did not. If he had been president in 1961, or Nixon, for that matter, the freedom fighters would not have been betrayed at the Bay of Pigs and all Cubans and the world would have been spared the predations of Fidel Castro.

Something else: As confirmed to his biographer Doris Kearns Godwin, LBJ always personally believed that Castro was responsible for Kennedy's assassination. He no doubt saw the definitive proof which has been concealed from the American public for 46 years because of "national security" reasons.

Johnson was as complicated and multi-facetted as Abraham Lincoln, a man writ large, with titanic flaws and titanic virtues, bigger than life except that he actually lived. He was also a deeply compassionate man who loved mankind in all its diversity, whether the poor white sharecropper or the descendent of slaves still kept in legal fetters; the Vietnamese fighting for freedom and civilization or the Cuban fleeing from Communist barbarism because that option had been closed to him. [...]

I have always wondered why Cuban-Americans have never expressed their gratitude to Johnson...; for I should think that no man is more deserving of our gratitude and remembrance than [him]. Instead, we are forever extolling Reagan, who did absolutely nothing for us or Cuban freedom. Just like Pope John Paul II. They managed to free all the Western world of Communism except Cuba. Johnson's efforts to combat Communism at least benefitted us also.

Perhaps next year [2008], which will mark the centenary of his birth, Cuban-Americans will join their voices with those of the poor and blacks to praise him. Perhaps some day all Americans will realize that Lyndon Baines Johnson was the greatest American president of the latter-half of the 20th century.

nonee moose said...

CB, I have no disagreement with you that CAA under Johnson was true status. Having said that, faced witha total peelback of CAA, whish is what was at stake in 94, the salvaging of even the diminished status under WFDF was a partial victory, IMO. Bad tasting, to say the least, but realpolitik never tastes like chocolate. It tastes more like chicken.

MAT, LBJ was a ballsy man, and perhaps the only (last) successful president we've had come direct from the US Senate (as a handicapping tool, this fact is perhaps the best and most consistent in recent history). In the interest of maintaining at least some contrarian posture, I do believe that if LBJ were president today, you might be sorely disappointed. That's more a you thing than a him thing. Different times.

Vana, the exilio historico mentality can be found over at CLC. Any of that mentality found at CANF is purely residual. The use of the word migrant is much more acknowledgement that in order to deal with the powers that be, you have to speak to them in their own language (that the use of the traditional terminology, and any symbolic relevance, would be lost on them, and rather serve to classify the user as someone who is caught in the past, and therefore unworthy of credibility in shaping the future. No matter that it may not be the case.

A clarifying question: stupid, insignificant or dangerous to whom? See, unlike your bad mono-thematic self, I got other things to consider.

Carlos Miller said...

Johnson did all that and Carter gave thousands of Cubans refugee status during the Mariel exodus, which means democrats have done more for Cubans in this country than republicans.

But most Cubans in this country still can't disassociate the democratic party from Kennedy.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


If Carter had done nothing else but upheld this country's tradition as a haven for the oppressed, I should have a very high opinion of him. His post-presidential flirtation with Castro, while it does not cancel the good he did by admitting the Mariel refugees, does show that he learned absolutely nothing from that experience.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Not monothematic but cubacentric. The difference? If I were monothematic, I would write no other noun but "Cuba." Being cubacentric means that all subjects are of interest to me but only in their respective relation to Cuba. This requires, of course, complete command of all knowledge.

nonee moose said...

All roads lead to Rome, Manuel?

I guess one would have to command all knowledge. Such an assumption would also include empathy, no?

Alex said...

Wow, one thing in which we agree. LBJ is in my view one of the greatest presidents and certainly the greatest post-war. I was arguing this recently, prompted by Hillary's comment about LBJ and MLK. I have never understood why Kennedy gets canonized aand LBJ vilified (well, I do understand it, but it's a matter of promises over accomplishments). Viet Nam weighs him down, but when you see the major pieces of legislation passed under his administration -the civil rights act, the great society program, the wirlderness act, the public broadcasting act, etc- you have to see ho much of the modern US was shaped them. That he came from the Senate were he was a very effective majority leader only improved his clout. The man knew how to get things done and he got them done.

Now, as to the GOP snubbing the CANF: I think it points to two things. First, the GOP is not interested in Cuba, is only interested in gaining votes. So by snubbing the CANF but appealing to the hardline wing, they calculate they can gain the most. Second, the CANF is backing the right horse in this race (just like Mas Canosa did when he went to see Clinton). It's a matter of influence in Washington vs. influence in Miami and who's interested in which speaks volumes.

The cause of Cuba shouldn't be a party matter. If it is for some, it's ther motives that should be questioned.

Charlie Bravo said...

Realpolitik doesn't taste at all like chicken, it tastes more like live, still beating, full of blood, pumping, cobra heart....
(realization brought to me by Anthony Bourdain, and his travels to Viet Nam)

Vana said...


I must give you a standing ovation, everything you say about LBJ is the truth, too bad there are no men like him left to run for president, you are right, Democrats have done more for us than Republicans, I know we are still smarting from the harm done us by Kennedy, the time is ripe now to rethink our position.

Anonymous said...

58,000 American dead in Vietnam may disagree with your assessment.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


JFK, who would not fight in Cuba, started the Vietnam War and nearly paralyzed the country for many years after his death. The fact that the U.S. managed to advance regardless of this legacy and finally come to terms with 400years of institutionalized racism and "realize the full meaning of its creed" was due to Lyndon Baines Johnson.

The Vietnam War was a noble cause and the men who died prosecuting it were heroes. The reason for its unpopularity and the cabal of America's enemies that formed to oppose it was that the U.S., for the second time in 10 years, committed the national honor and treasure to preserving the freedom of non-whites. The anti-war protestors, while disavowing racism against blacks, tapped into this other prejudice, which harked back to the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Jap-bashing of World War II, to make the unspoken argument that another Oriental people were unworthy of having American blood spent in their defense. Their leaders made no secret of the fact that they wanted the North Vietnamese to prevail and the Communists to sweep all over Asia: they were warmongers and profiteers for the other side, who, with the aid of the liberal media and other liberal institutions, conspired to weaken this country's resolve, betray its allies and dishonor 58,000 Americans who died in the defense of the freedom.

Anonymous said...

Partial Hogwash.

Yes, we know Kennedy started our involvement there but LBJ made it his own. True, those were different times and the Cold War was never that cold. Nevertheless, we should expect a lot from our leaders - especially wisdom and LBJ had very little. His decision not to seek re-election is one of the few things I give him credit for.

That leaders with poor judgment send young people to war does not diminish the heroism of those who fight, bleed and die in those wars. Bringing it up in your argument is just a deflection.

The Vietnam was a disaster for two reasons: (1) because we got involved directly and blew its significance way out of proportion (the Soviets were smarter about this sort of thing), and (b) because we LOST. Like in Iraq today, as stupid as it was to get involved (leaders that make such blunders should be jailed as a message to future leaders of who is boss), it would be ten times worse to cut, run and loose.

LBJ, was a rascist but he was also a politician (spineless rat). With Vietnam bearing down on him, he latched on to civil rights and a "Great Society" as a way to deflect his blunder there.

Your last set of weird arguments about race, non-whites, latent surrogate oriental hate, Chinese Exclusion Acts and the Jap-bashing of World War II, is absolute jiberish. The American dead in Korea and our unwavering commitment to Korea and Taiwan for over 50 years says it all.

By the way, that our leaders dishonored themselves and our country in Vietnam did NOT dishonor our Vietnam heroes. THAT is why they disagree with your love-fest for LBJ.

Carlos Miller said...

With all this LBJ love in the air, it should be pointed out that many speculate he ordered the hit on Kennedy because he wanted to escalate American involvement in Vietnam while Kennedy was thinking of reducing it.

Of course many speculate the mob did it. And many speculate the Cubans did it.

And many speculate the CIA did it, which brings us back to LBJ.

I hope one day the truth does come out.


Funny how you believe the Vietnam War was a noble cause because there is also speculation about the accuracy of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which is what secured our involvement in the war during the first year of LBJ's presidency.

That incident, of course, has a lot of parallelisms to the USS Maine incident that kicked off the Spanish-American War.

And presently, we have the Strait of Hormuz incident, which Bush hopes will give him an excuse to start a war with Iran.

Come to think of it, I guess we should not trust any presidents from Texas.

My vote goes to FDR as our greatest president.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

With all this LBJ love in the air, it should be pointed out that many speculate he ordered the hit on Kennedy because he wanted to escalate American involvement in Vietnam while Kennedy was thinking of reducing it.Carlos Miller

Crazy people have a right to speculate also.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


In Vietnam, the enemy never won a battle against American troops but nonetheless won the war because of internal opposition to it fostered by groups and individuals who had a vested interesting in the triumph of the communism in Southeast Asia. Not enough credit is given to anti-war movement: they were the most successful Fifth Column in history.

Anonymous said...


I agree 100% with your last post.

Carlos Miller said...


We lost in Vietnam because it was an untraditional war format for us.

It was guerilla warfare. Babies with bombs. No uniforms to tell the civilians from the enemies.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Americans learned all about guerrilla warfare in the Philippines during the "Pacification" of the islands (1898-1902) and again during World War II. The military did not lose the war. It was seditious civilians who lost the war.

Rene M. Grave de Peralta said...

The war in Viet Nam was not wrong, but it was stupid, just like the war in Iraq is not wrong, but it is stupid. A further complication are the lies employed to sell the war to the American people, the Gulf of Tonkin in 'Nam and the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. But in spite of all that, the U.S. could have won 'Nam but for two things, 1) The hands off North Vietnam policy and 2) the home grown commies as Manuel says. Mostly it was #1 though. Same thing in Iraq, by wanting to do it on the cheap and without asking the American people to interrupt their trips to the Mall, the Republicans have made what should have been a cake walk into a near total disaster.