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The dread of refugees.

Thirty-five years of foolishness are enough. It's long past time to end the embargo on Cuba. But the topic would not even have come up in Washington had not 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
 allowed more than 20,000 Cubans to try to emigrate em·i·grate  
intr.v. em·i·grat·ed, em·i·grat·ing, em·i·grates
To leave one country or region to settle in another. See Usage Note at migrate.
 to the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .

Finally, Washington is talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 Havana, though President Clinton insists on keeping off the table the very embargo that precipitated the crisis in the first place. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which subsidized the Cuban economy, the U.S. embargo has been strangling life on that island. The markets are empty, gasoline is scarce, hardship is widespread. It is the draconian suffering imposed by the embargo--and not discontent with Cuba's political system--that is sending many Cubans to the life rafts.

The Cuban government is damned if it lets its citizens emigrate, and it's damned if it stops them. For three decades now, U.S. officials have denounced Castro for not allowing Cubans to leave; now that he lets people go, they denounce him again.

The embargo on Cuba always has been hypocritical. The United States does not have an embargo on China, a communist country with a far worse human-rights record than Cuba's. And the United States does not have an embargo on Indonesia, a U.S. ally with a far worse human-rights record than Cuba's.

But the embargo on Cuba was never about upholding values abroad. It was--and is--about winning votes at home. At the outset, U.S. politicians saw the Cuban embargo as a way to prove their own anticommunist credentials. Breast-beating about Castro was a necessary qualifying event in virtually every race for political office. Now the issue of Cuba remains hot mostly in Florida, which has a powerful right-wing Cuban lobby in Miami.

To a disgraceful extent, U.S. policy toward Cuba has been dictated by 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.  and his 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. , which favors the most punitive measures against the island's communist regime. Mas Canosa has delusions Delusions Definition

A delusion is an unshakable belief in something untrue. These irrational beliefs defy normal reasoning, and remain firm even when overwhelming proof is presented to dispute them.
 about heading a new government in Cuba, and his Foundation has contributed money to politicians across the country. Mas Canosa, who had supported Ronald Reagan, raised money for Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential race. And Clinton now bows before him.

The "success" of Washington's Cold War cruelty toward Cuba, however, has collided with another rightwing cause: limiting immigration to the United States This article may be too long.
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. It is this collision that has brought Washington and Cuba to the table.

The dread of refugees is fueling U.S. policy. Were it not for the Cuban-refugee problem, Clinton would not be speaking to Castro. Were it not for the Haitian-refugee problem, Clinton would not be at the brink of war there.

Why are refugees so crucial an issue?

First, refugees from Haiti and Cuba are people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color

race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important
, and behind the dread of refugees--indeed, behind the anti-immigration movement as a whole--is a huge boulder of racism.

Second, anti-immigration sentiment is a powerful political force, with politicians from California to Washington falling over each other to see who can be better at scapegoating immigrants.

Third, the Government, like the society in general, has not faced squarely the issue of immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. . If we, as a nation, want to stay true to our principles, we should welcome immigrants and find a way to handle those who come here. This would mean sharing the short-term financial and social-service burden that a few states, such as Florida, California, and Texas, face when they take in more immigrants than other states.

Meanwhile, we should see to it that our policies abroad don't drive citizens of other countries to the life rafts.
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Title Annotation:U.S. policy vs. Cuba
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 1, 1994
Previous Article:America's new enemy.
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