Tuesday, March 27, 2007

News Bites!

This month's issue of Costco Connection displays the debate on the US embargo with remarks by Wayne Smith, senior fellow for the Center for International Policy, and Jaime Suchlicki, director of UM's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. The editors of Costco Connection display tolerance and fairness for expression of opposing viewpoints, a demeanor found intolerable by some in Miami, especially towards Wayne Smith.


This past Saturday, dozens of protesters gathered in opposition to the Cuban family travel restrictions. They are made up mostly of Cuban exiles who are frustrated with travel restrictions that only allow visits every three years to see direct family members. The restrictions have prohibited visas to see cousins, uncles and aunts. Last week, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement by Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy, saying that:

"No one should be prevented from visiting a dying relative or attending a loved one’s funeral simply for having traveled to Cuba once in the previous three years... It is an inhumane policy that does no honor to our country.... It continues to be our position that the goals of improving the lives of the Cuban people and encouraging democracy in Cuba will best be advanced through more rather than less contact between the Cuban and American people."

The US State Department believes that the travel restrictions will "continue to reduce the flow of resources that enable Castro to keep the Cuban people repressed." These are the same allegations that the US supports towards general tourism travel to Cuba. Yet, Cuba continues to commit acts of repression regardless of current US policy.


Yesterday, Scott W. Carmichael visited the local anti-Castro Cuban-American media (Radio Mambi, WQBA, and Maria Elvira's Polos Opuestos) touting his forthcoming book "True Believer," which recounts the tale of how he helped expose the international spy Ana Belen Montes who is currently serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison. She was an analyst for the US Defense Intelligence Agency on Cuba for about 16 years. She was born in Puerto Rico.

Carmichael says that the damages done to secret US programs have been "exceptionally grave," but the true extent is "classified." He further acknowledges that "we are [Cuba's] priority target" since the revelations about Montes' intentions.

The reasons behind her motivation has been expressed as being "morally obliged to help the Cuban state protect itself from US attempts to force its values and political system on Cuba... [and] that the USA had been demonstrating intolerance and disdain toward Cuba for the majority of the past forty years and never respected Cuba’s right to follow its own way to its own ideals of justice and equality."

The local Spanish-language media has yet to report the reasons and details about why Ana Belen Montes became a spy for Cuba.

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