Blogging about Cuba from the frosty heartland...gotta love it!
Perusing through the back-home online fish wrap, I noticed the headline which reads Moderate Exile Groups Join In Urging Easing of Cuba Restrictions
, written by none other than Oscar Corral.
This came on the heels of last week's statement by leading Cuba dissidents
that pretty much expressed the same desire to ease travel restrictions. As I stated in that post last week, I can understand why many people feel that way.
There are a couple of interesting things which immediately caught my attention after reading the article. One that the article makes clear is the large number of "moderate" Cuban exile groups out there. We're not just talking about unknown groups who came out of the woodwork, but organizations such as the Cuban American National Foundation and Democracy Movement, groups which I consider to be firmly in the Cuban-American mainstream.
So much for the "extremist locos
" running the show, eh?
Another much more important thing I noticed was that these moderate groups didn't just stop at demanding that U.S. policy change, they demanded change from Cuba as well. Of the 13 bullet points included in the released document which unfortunately only appears in Spanish, 9 demand changes exclusively from the Cuban government. To quickly summarize, these include:
- Eliminating Cuban government permission for Cuban nationals to freely travel in and out of Cuba.
- Eliminating Cuban government restrictions on Cubans establishing temporary or permanent residency inside or outside of Cuba.
- Elimination of payment in foreign currencies for arrangements to leave Cuba and a revision of taxes and fees in better agreement with regional standards.
- Elimination of the Cuban government's confiscation of property, loss of jobs and other acts of harrassment against emigrants.
- Modification on the part of the Cuban government of long distance telephone rates to agree more with regional standards.
- Open up internet and e-mail access to all Cubans with rates that correspond to regional standards.
- The repeal of all measures that restrict the Cuban people's access to the adquisition of computation and communications devices.
- Elimination of the Cuban government's excessive taxes and restrictions on remittances and aid packages received from foreign countries, using prevailing regional rates as an indicator.
- Allowing Cubans on the island to use money received from remittances and family aid to establish small businesses and other self-employment activities.
These demands are what separate the true moderates who see the Cuban government as a significant obstacle to Cuba's freedom, from those Miami groups who constantly take shots at the "hard-liners" and demand that those folks change instead of the regime in Havana.
You would think these significant demands would have gotten major mention in Oscar Corral's article.
Instead, we get this lonely sentence: "Consenso groups are also asking the Cuban government to lift restrictions on family travel.
" Period. Basically, if you can't read Spanish, you would have missed a large chunk of the story.
This is a classic case of a one-sided story which focused only on the group's demands for the U.S. government, while virtually ignoring the list of rational demands placed on Cuba itself. My feeling tells me that for Corral to acknowledge that would have put a damper on his biased views.
Maybe I'm wrong, but the way this story, among others, was handled tells me otherwise.