Monday, April 16, 2007

What's a Polisario? (Part 7)


Making Hispanic Business Magazine's "100 Influentials" list last year, Emilio Gonzalez also has remained committed throughout his long political career to the Cuban exile cause. Within the first years of the Revolution, his family left Cuba when he was 4 years old. In 1997, Gonzalez authored a study titled "The Cuban Connection: Drug Trafficking and the Castro Regime." The study was published by the ICCAS at the University of Miami. Gonzalez's political career spans from being "a key National Security and Foreign Policy advisor to President George W. Bush" to the current Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of Homeland Security. According to his USCIS bio, Gonzalez also belonged to Tew-Cardenas LLP. In 2003, Gonzalez represented Tew-Cardenas as "Senior Managing Director of Global Government Affairs" before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding the issue of US policy towards Cuba. Consequently, the Cuban government views Emilio Gonzalez in a very different light.

According Granma (Cuba's State-owned newspaper), Emilio Gonzalez is considered "public enemy No. 4 of the top 10 'anti-Cuban Miami Mafiosi'" and also part of a powerful Cuban-American "triumvirate" that includes Otto Reich and US Senator Mel Martinez.


In 2004, a Cuban group performing in Las Vegas, named Havana Night Club: The Show, made some headlines when their immigration status became a heated political issue. The group eventually got help from the Cuban American National Foundation and Tew-Cardenas LLP, specifically Dennis Hays.

During the Clinton Administration, Dennis Hays became Coordinator for Cuban Affairs for the State Department. He has been described as being a "staunch opponent of liberalizing trade with [Cuba] or changing U.S. immigration policy [for Cubans]." So, when the Clinton administration left him out of high level negotiations with Cuba for the Migration Accords of 1995, he resigned from the Cuba assignment. In 2000, Hays finally left the US State Department altogether after 24 years of service and found a new home with the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) where he served as Executive Vice President until 2003. As Executive VP, Hays was one of the strongest supporters of the US embargo towards Cuba. He has written that the embargo has served as an "excellent 'defense'" against "Castro’s ambitions for regional and global mischief." During his political career, Hays befriended Al Cardenas and Emilio Gonzalez, and in 2003 made a smooth transition into the partnership of Tew-Cardenas LLP.

Hays (representing Tew-Cardenas) and CANF together lobbied the US government to secure visas for the Havana Night Show group, after tight restrictions historically left many other Cuban artists out of the country. Once in the US, the Cuban performers eventually asked for asylum after the Cuban government threatened to retaliate against the performers for having sought the help of hard-line Cuban exiles, and other official enemies.

Emilio Gonzalez and Dennis Hays no longer appear on Tew-Cardenas' professional roster. But, Gonzalez appears to have been a partner until 2005, and Hays until 2006. Nevertheless, Tew-Cardenas LLP currently has one of America's most controversial political figures handling the case of the Moroccan American Center for Policy.

[Part 8]

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