CUBA: CUBAN AMERICAN NATIONAL FOUNDATION SHAKEN BY RESIGNATIONS.
Since July, the powerful Miami-based exile organization the Cuban American National Foundation The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to overthrowing the Cuban government of Fidel Castro and a non-violent transition to a pluralistic, market-based democracy in Cuba. (CANF CANF Cuban American National Foundation
CANF Coalition Against No-Fault (Canada)
CANF Canadian French ) has gone through a name change, a radical policy reorientation Noun 1. reorientation - a fresh orientation; a changed set of attitudes and beliefs
orientation - an integrated set of attitudes and beliefs
2. reorientation - the act of changing the direction in which something is oriented , and a mass resignation of directors. Many of the older, hard-line directors have formed a new organization.
Early this year, CANF began a very public process of reorientation and reorganization. Having suffered a serious public-relations setback after the failed attempt by the exile hard-liners to keep Elian Gonzalez in Miami (see NotiCen, 2000-07-13), CANF got a boost with the election of George W. Bush as president. Claiming that Cuban-American votes in Florida were critical in the election, CANF moved quickly to ask the administration for favors.
CANF executive director Joe Garcia Joe García (1964 in Miami Beach, Florida USA) is the Cuban-American politician. Mr. Garcia was Executive Director and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Cuban American National Foundation. expected changes right away under Bush. He said the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. was "unacceptable" and announced a new legislative initiative (see NotiCen, 2001-04-12). "We're preparing a major legislative package," said Garcia. "We have a commitment, not only from the president of the United States The head of the Executive Branch, one of the three branches of the federal government.
The U.S. Constitution sets relatively strict requirements about who may serve as president and for how long. , but from the Republican Party....We're going to send funds to feed the people of Cuba....We'll support the opposition with aid, both moral and economic....If Fidel Castro Noun 1. Fidel Castro - Cuban socialist leader who overthrew a dictator in 1959 and established a Marxist socialist state in Cuba (born in 1927)
Castro, Fidel Castro Ruz refuses assistance, as I anticipate he will, it is a demonstration to the world that he doesn't care for the well-being of his people."
Garcia explained the policy shift as necessary to repair the organization's credibility outside the exile community. Alluding to the Elian Gonzalez debacle, he said, "We have to realize that in the American context, if we can't explain ourselves, we're doomed."
In February, CANF opened a Washington office and put a former career diplomat, Dennis Hays, in charge. The appointment of Hays, who is not Cuban-American, has been interpreted as an effort to broaden support and to meet opposition arguments with tact and nuance.
CANF chairman Jorge Mas Santos told the Daily Business Review that the strategy was to become a more high-profile organization to combat the business and agriculture interests pressing Congress to soften or lift the embargo. "We want to change the debate toward Cuba," he said. "No more can the embargo be the central issue related to Cuba. We want to take the debate to human rights, to freedom, justice, and democracy."
The St. Petersburg Times
The St. Petersburg Times is a daily newspaper based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that serves the larger Tampa Bay area. said in an editorial that the new CANF leadership could help improve Cuba-US relations and "have a positive effect on all the Democratic and Republican politicians who have grown accustomed to baiting Castro for votes and campaign money."
Hard-liners pushed out
CANF has nearly been torn apart by what analysts say is a combination of internal generational and policy differences. Many of those who resigned were contemporaries of Fidel Castro in their 60s and 70s and were close to CANF founder Jorge Mas Canosa Jorge Mas Canosa (1939 – November 23, 1997) was a Cuban-American activist best known for his strong opposition to Fidel Castro and his leadership of the Cuban-American National Foundation. , who died in 1997.
There were signs for several months that the older hard-line elements were fighting a losing battle against the leadership of younger people like Mas Santos, 38, and Garcia, 37, who have never lived in Cuba and did not begin their political lives with the expectation of leading a triumphal return to Cuba.
An analysis published in The Miami Herald suggested that even prominent anti-Castro Florida lawmakers Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (also known as Ileana Ros; born July 15 1952) is a Republican United States Representative for Florida's At-large congressional district (map), having held that office since 1989. (R-FL) and Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart Lincoln Rafael Diaz-Balart (born August 13 1954), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1993, representing Florida's At-large congressional district (map). (R-FL) are no longer adhering to the CANF line. Some in the Bush administration are unhappy with what they see as insufficient CANF support in the 2000 election and the campaign contributions CANF made to Democrats.
The rift became obvious in July when Ninoska Perez resigned from CANF. Perez was CANF's most visible spokesperson and the host of a popular radio talk show, La Voz Many media outlets use the name La Voz (Spanish: "The Voice"), including:
Jose Antonio Llamas, who also left last year, said, "There has been huge discontent, and little by little, some of us have jumped ship."
In all, 22 directors resigned, including Alberto Hernandez, president of the board of directors, and CANF founders Feliciano Foyo, Elpidio Nunez, Horacio Garcia, and Diego Suarez Diego Suarez (Bogotá, Colombia, 1888 - New York City, New York, 14 September 1974)) was an American garden designer known for his work at James Deering's Villa Vizcaya in Miami, Florida. .
Mas Santos said that as many as 40% of the organization's 153 directors are younger members. He said he received strong support for his policies at the CANF conference held in Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. in July. But many of the old guard were not present. Before the convention, several directors held their own meeting and said they would boycott the conference.
"A lot of the people who started with Jorge Mas Canosa in 1981 will not attend this meeting," they said.
Mas Santos said the resignations were the result of a conspiracy originating in Havana. Another explanation came from CANF president Francisco Hernandez, who said the resignations were ordered by the Republican Party as revenge for Mas Santos' invitation to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to visit CANF in June. Hernandez said the visit was in line with new foundation efforts to reach out to both parties.
Perez and others who resigned said in a statement that CANF under Mas Santos' direction had taken an "undemocratic path" that was not compatible with the original goals of the organization. The statement also accused Mas Santos of making unilateral decisions, breaking agreements, and engaging in "futile battles."
Some complaints centered on Mas Santos' attempt to respond to the bad publicity surrounding the Elian affair by presenting a more centrist face to the public. The legislative package, featuring direct taxpayer assistance to Cuban dissidents, may have been right politically as a counter to the trend in Congress against the embargo, but it was not popular with the organization's hard-liners.
In her first public explanation of why she resigned, Perez said she and others had been pushed aside. She said Mas Santos gave her three months to leave her radio program, and he said that the foundation could buy out any station where she might broadcast. She also charged that CANF was planning to shut down her short-wave broadcasts to Cuba to save money.
Perez told The Miami Herald, "When they decided to make changes and bring in new people, they did it with total disregard for those who had been there so long. If you criticized anything they did, you became the enemy, and they marginalized you; they excluded you."
In response, Mas Santos said, "The foundation has the same goals and objectives as it has always had, which is freedom and democracy for the people of Cuba."
"A lot of people said the Cuban exile The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century. community and the foundation were dead...after Elian Gonzalez, but I think we're still powerful and making more noise than ever," said Mas Santos.
Invitation to Latin Grammys was last straw last straw
The last of a series of annoyances or disappointments that leads one to a final loss of patience, temper, trust, or hope.
Mas Santos outraged some hard-liners by lobbying to bring the Latin Grammy music awards to Miami even though several performers from Cuba were expected to attend. The late Mas Canosa's bodyguard, Mario Miranda Mario Miranda is a well-known cartoonist based in Loutolim,Goa, India. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2004. Miranda has been closely involved with large daily newspapers in Mumbai, including The Economic Times. , told The Miami Herald that the Grammy issue was the "last drop" that caused the bucket of resentment to overflow.
"This is not the democratic organization that Jorge Mas Canosa intended it to be," he said, and accused Mas Santos of "rubbing elbows with the communists."
After the Supreme Court struck down a 1996 Dade County ordinance prohibiting Cuban artists from appearing in county venues, Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, Miami city Mayor Joe Carollo, and Mas Santos bid for the show. Indicating a major shift toward a policy less hostile to Cuban artists, Mas Santos said music and politics should be separated. "This is a community that is a center of ideas of freedom of expression and cultural exchange," he said.
However, Grammy organizers awarded the show to Los Angeles out of concern that hard-liners in Miami could instigate To incite, stimulate, or induce into action; goad into an unlawful or bad action, such as a crime.
The term instigate is used synonymously with abet, which is the intentional encouragement or aid of another individual in committing a crime. violence after 67 exile groups announced plans to protest the appearance of Cuban performers. Grammy executive Michael Greene said, "We have people coming from all over the world. Having them have to run the gantlet to suffer the punishment of the gantlet; hence, to go through the ordeal of severe criticism or controversy, or ill-treatment at many hands.
See also: Gantlet is demeaning de·mean 1
tr.v. de·meaned, de·mean·ing, de·means
To conduct or behave (oneself) in a particular manner: demeaned themselves well in class. at best and dangerous at worst."
The loss to South Florida in tourist revenue was estimated at US$35 million. CANF executive director Garcia said, "It's a loss for Miami. When Miami looks bad, Cuban-Americans look bad and so does the Cuban American National Foundation."
There are now two Cuban American National Foundations
In mid-June, former bodyguard Miranda announced he had registered the name Cuban American National Foundation with Florida state authorities, listing himself as president. Since Mas Santos had let his rights to the name expire, Miranda said the name had been abandoned.
Mas Santos said the organization would seek a legal remedy to get the name back, but meanwhile, the foundation changed its name for tax reasons.
The Miami dailies El Nuevo Herald El Nuevo Herald is a McClatchy newspaper published daily in Spanish in Miami, Florida, in the United States. The Herald's sister paper is The Miami Herald, also produced by the McClatchy Company. and The Miami Herald reported that, in 1994, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS An abbreviation for the Internal Revenue Service, a federal agency charged with the responsibility of administering and enforcing internal revenue laws. ) audited CANF to determine if it was using tax-deductible donations to finance its lobbying efforts, which would have been a violation of the IRS code. Part of the problem was that CANF and its Washington lobbying arm, the Cuban American Foundation, had similar names.
Though no major tax violations were found, the IRS required the organization in Miami to change its name and officers to more clearly separate the two organizations.
CANF then renamed itself the Jorge Mas Canosa Freedom Foundation, and changed the name of its lobbying arm to CANF. Mas Santos also replaced longtime officers of the foundation with Mas family members.
The Herald reported that critics of Mas Santos said he used the IRS agreement to take control of the Miami organization. One of those who resigned, foundation treasurer Feliciano Foyo, said, "There are two million Cubans out there in exile who could have replaced us, not just the Mas family."
Fight over money
Press reports also said that, besides the political disagreements, the resignations also stemmed from arguments about control of the Jorge Mas Canosa Freedom Foundation operation fund, set up after Mas Canosa's death to maintain the organization's activities. The fund, now worth US$2.6 million, is generated by an endowment started with shares of the family telecommunications firm MasTec.
Dissidents set up new organization
Contrasting with Miranda's organization, which exists mostly on paper, on Aug. 22, Perez, Alberto Hernandez, Foyo, Ignacio Sanchez, and Luis Zuniga, among others of the old guard who resigned, formed a new organization in Miami called the Consejo Cubano por la Libertad (CCL 1. CCL - Coral Common LISP.
2. CCL - Computer Control Language. English-like query language based on COLINGO, for IBM 1401 and IBM 1410. ) to work for "freedom and democracy for Cuba." [Sources: Daily Business Review (Miami), 02/15/01, 02/16/01; World Data Service, (Cuba), 07/20/01; Agence France-Presse, 07/20/01, 07/21/01; Associated Press, 07/23/01; The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times, 07/24/01; Juventud Rebelde (Cuba), 07/29/01; The Wall Street Journal (Boston), 08/07/01; St. Petersburg Times, 08/10/01; Cubanueva.com (Spain), The Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times
Morning daily newspaper. Established in 1881, it was purchased and incorporated in 1884 by Harrison Gray Otis (1837–1917) under The Times-Mirror Co. (the hyphen was later dropped from the name). , 08/08/01; Legal Times (Washington), 08/21/01; South Florida Sun-Sentinel The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, owned by the Tribune Company, is the main daily newspaper of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and all of Broward County. Its main competitor in this area is the Miami Herald, out of neighboring Miami-Dade County to the south. , 08/06/01, 08/09/01, 08/22/01; Reuters, 08/25/01; The Miami Herald, 07/20/01, 07/21/01, 07/24/01, 08/21/01, 08/26/01; El Nuevo Herald (Miami), 07/21/01, 07/29/01, 09/31/01; Spanish News Service EFE EfE Environment for Europe (EU)
EFE Einstein Field Equations (general relativity)
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EFE Endocardial Fibroelastosis , 04/03/01, 07/20/01, 07/24/01, 08/08/01, 09/29/01, 10/10/01]