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#5368: Fwd: Fw: haitians and cubans (fwd)

From: Nancy Mikelsons <Nancy.Mikelsons@pobox.com>

>From: Saul Landau (by way of Saul Landau <slandau@csupomona.edu>)
>To: <kwald@infomed.sld.cu>
>Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000 3:04 PM
>Subject: haitians and cubans
>Haitian and Cuban Refugees
>Wet foot/ dry foot; black foot/ white foot
>Saul Landau
>         Over the last two months, smugglers routinely drop Haitians and
>Cubans off the South Florida coast. US authorities arrest these presumably
>"illegal" immigrants and haul them off to Krome detention center. All the
>Haitians then await hearings for deportation. But some of the Cubans, at
>the same center, will receive processing to get them parolee status  -- the
>rapid route to a green card and permanent residence.
>          Both Cubans and Haitians fled islands engulfed in poverty and lack
>of opportunity. But one can't compare the plight of Haitian to those on the
>island only 30 miles to the West. Cubans continue to enjoy free health
>care, education and state subsidies for some of their food and other needs.
>Haitians, living under a supposedly free-market regime and a "democratic"
>government remain desperately poor. Thei "free" system offers them no
>cushions for hard times.
>Yet, US politics demands that the Cubans, fleeing for economic reasons,
>receive political heroes' treatment for getting themselves smuggled into
>the United States; Haitians should go back where they belong.
>Both Alfred E. Newman and the Cigar Store Indian bow to the demands of the
>right wing anti-Castro lobby in hopes of acquiring last minute money and
>votes. The Clinton Administration acquiesces in the fiction that Cubans are
>special refugees, fleeing from communism - as long as they prove clever
>enough to elude the Coast Guard, which is supposed to repatriate them, and
>put a foot on US soil.
>This wet foot-dry foot wrinkle stems from the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act,
>which encouraged Cubans to risk their lives to defect. If they made it to
>the US beach, we would welcome them and offer them preferred treatment. In
>the Cold War days, Cubans who wanted to emigrate to the United States had
>little chance of doing so legally.
>Then in the early 90s, as Cuba's economy spiraled downward, "too many"
>Cubans came here in rafts. As xenophobia swept the United States undergoing
>the effects of recession, Florida officials, fearful of the redneck
>reaction,  complained to Clinton. So, the United States, which had
>committed itself to the destruction of the Castro government, signed the
>1995 Migration Accords with Cuba, in order to discourage "undesirable"
>Cubans from embarking illegally in rafts.
>This accord, of course, strengthened the legitimacy of the Castro
>government. And, it temporarily stopped the rafters' tsunami. But Clinton
>didn't have the courage to confront the anti-Castro lobby and push Congress
>to overturn the 1966 Act. So, the crisis had ended, but the problem
>The State Department would offer up to 20,000 visas a year to desirable
>Cubans, those without criminal records or histories of mental illness;
>those with good education and affluent families already living in the
>United States. However, because the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act remained as
>law, "unqualified" Cubans pay smugglers up to $10 thousand who try to elude
>the Coast Guard and get their passengers within swimming distance of a US
>beach. Needless to say, not all of those whose toes touch US sand would
>have qualified for legal visas.
>Last month a group of Cubans stole a crop duster and crashed the plane into
>the ocean as soon as they spotted a ship which they assumed would pick them
>up. And, the pirates qualified under the dry foot rule although they
>crashed in the ocean. Get it? It's election time.
>Big deal that such official approval of air piracy might set a bad
>precedent. As Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiasson suggests, US immigration
>has in effect imposed a new rule: the black foot-white foot formula, which
>has become superimposed on the wet foot dry foot ploy. Haitians/black, send
>'em back. Cubans white / they're alright.
>To hell with consistency! Winning elections in the world's greatest empire
>has its own logic. There might not be justice or poetry in such policies,
>but the next imperial leader will do almost anything to get a buck or a
>vote from South Florida.
>Saul Landau is the Hugh O. LaBounty Chair of Interdisciplinary Applied
>Knowledge at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 3801 W.
>Temple Ave. Pomona, CA 91768
>tel - 909-869-3115
>fax - 909-869-4751

Nancy Mikelsons          Nancy.Mikelsons@POBOX.COM