Thursday, December 18, 2014

Local Polls Support New U.S.-Cuba Policy

Above is a sample of polls conducted by South Florida news websites in response to Wednesday's announcement of a new U.S. policy towards Cuba. The majority of the polls show strong support (above 60 percent) for the new policy.

Despite the local media's false presentation of a divided Miami, and constantly refocusing the debate around the opinion of the minority hard-line, the poll results above reflect the more accurate view of a rational Miami. Unfortunately, for as long as I've been monitoring the local media, the news stations have yet to center their reporting (and analysis) on this accurate widespread belief. 

Polls Results shown above (clockwise): Do you agree with the U.S. and Cuba re-establishing diplomatic relations? (Yes, 54%) Do you believe re-establishing relations between the U.S. and Cuba will benefit Cubans on the island? (Yes, 68%) Do you think vacation travel should be permitted to Cuba? (Yes, 66%) Do you agree with the U.S. trying to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba (Yes, 68%)

[The poll results also support the findings of the more recent Atlantic Council poll on U.S.-Cuba policy, and the FIU Cuba Poll.]

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alan Gross is Free

Alan Gross: "I also feel compelled to share with you my utmost respect for and fondness for the people of Cuba... It pains me to see them treated so unjustly as a consequence of two governments' mutually belligerent policies. Five and a half decades of history shows us that such belligerence inhibits better judgement. Two wrongs never make a right."

- Video and transcript available at C-Span website.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Manuel Alzugaray's Provocation Plan

Recent reports of four Miami men arrested in Cuba have also implicated some prominent Cuban exiles in the alleged terrorist plot against Cuban military installations (Miami Herald report). One of those prominent Cuban exiles is Dr. Manuel A. Alzugaray who has denied his involvement with the arrested Miami men. But five years ago Alzugaray mentioned a secret plan to provoke the Cuban government in certain vulnerable areas, possibly through divisions in the military. 

The Cuban government has yet to publicly present any evidence that Alzugaray or any Cuban exile was behind this recent terrorist plot. And we should assume all men allegedly involved are innocent until proven guilty.

Back in 2009, Dr. Manuel Alzugaray, then re-elected as President of the Municipios de Cuba en El Exilio boasted of a secret plan to "provoke" the Cuban government and create the conditions where the Cuban people would "throw themselves [onto the streets]."

What is interesting about the comments in the video above are the details Alzugaray mentions. Alzugaray, as past and current president of the Miami Medical Team (MMT), spoke of plans to use MMT links with dissident groups inside Cuba to cause the provocation. "We have information of where we have to make the provocation," he said. According to the MMT, they have established links with dissident groups inside Cuba through their "Cuba Project" which sends humanitarian packages and provides humanitarian training (more information here). Another detail is Alzugaray mentioning that "we are going to provoke them because inside their military there is a division."

The Cuban government in 2011 accused Manuel A. Alzugaray of being a provocateur which he had also denied. His accuser, a Cuban spy, had infiltrated the MMT and its "Cuba Project."

[Transcript for video above.]

"The youth committee, the labor committee that will work on some programs inside Cuba which shall be with the Miami Medical Team [or] Doctors Without Borders creating what are known as the independent medical clinics.

"We are going to provoke them. And we know where we are going to provoke them because we have information of where they are weak [or vulnerable]. We have information of where we have to make the provocation.

"And, we are going to provoke them because inside their military there is a division. But, that division there that wants to throw itself [onto the streets] needs for the people to throw themselves [out into the streets] so that they can [finally] throw themselves [onto the streets]. They [the military] are not going to throw themselves first. The people need to throw themselves [first].

"We are going to provoke them. Yes, we are going make a humanitarian provocation and with humanitarian things [or actions] because we can't do anything else, but we know how to do what must be done well.

"We have been preparing these last two years since I left the presidency, methodically preparing [to] now begin the provocation against the [Castro] regime. If they accept the provocation they are going to look bad. If they don't accept it, then they are going to look bad as well."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Today in 1961...

If you go to the new Cuban (Exile) Memorial in Sweetwater you will notice a specific series of plaques. Those plaques identify tragic events such as the "Rastra de la Muerte" ("Cargo Container of Death" where nine captured Brigade 2506 soldiers died by asphyxiation) and the 1994 sinking of "El Remolcador 13 de Marzo." But, among those plaques, is the historic tragedy of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

The Bay of Pigs (namely its failure) seems to be one of the origins of the Cuban exile narrative focused on tragedy and suffering.

[Correction: I just recalled that the Cuban Memorial has a plaque for the anti-Castro guerrillas who operated in the Escambray Mountains. This event occurred before the Bay of Pigs and forms the earliest part of the Cuban exile narrative. These guerrillas were formed after the 1959 Cuban Revolution from "disgruntled officers from the revolutionary army" and formed an early potential operating area for the Bay of Pigs invasion. These guerrillas received weapons from the U.S. which were dropped by air. But, the guerrillas suffered from low numbers (around a thousand), lack of support (from nearby residents), and resources (such as food, and weapons would often be intercepted). American William A. Morgan was among the early leaders of the Escambray counter-revolution, but soon arrested and executed on March 11, 1961. Sources: here, here and here.]

[Cuban American Bar Association's 2011 Anniversary Issue on the Bay of Pigs (PDF)]
[ Link to the full April 18, 1961 St. Petersburg Times edition from above]