Sunday, November 1, 2015

Five points to consider about the Cuban Adjustment Act

"Whoever is elected leader of the empire should not ignore that Cuba demands the total removal of the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act..." - Fidel Castro, July 26, 2000

Refugees massacred by the Castro regime in 1994. Still happens in 2015
1. Cuba is subjected to a totalitarian, communist regime that systematically denies Cubans their rights, including the right to enter and exit their own country. On December 16, 2014, the Cuban coast guard rammed and sank a boat with 32 refugees, one of them, Diosbel Díaz Bioto, went missing and is presumed dead. The rest were repatriated and detained. Less than four months later, Yuriniesky Martínez Reina (age 28) was shot in the back and killed by state security chief Miguel Angel Río Seco Rodríguez in the Martí municipality of Matanzas, Cuba, for peacefully trying to leave Cuba. The Castro regime for decades has engaged in the murder of fleeing refugees. A particularly egregious, well documented, example is the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre in which 37 men, women and children were killed.

Yuriniesky Martínez Reina, in orange, with his dad and son (L). Shot in the back (R)
2. The Castro regime and its agents of influence have been and continue to demand the repeal of the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) claiming that it is this law and not the repressive nature of the regime that provokes massive immigration. The dictatorship denounces it claiming that "from the very beginning, the Cuban Adjustment Act reflected a discriminatory and immoral stance against the Cuban people."

3. Ending the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) will assist the Castro regime in maintaining control of an enslaved population. Not only in Cuba, but also in third countries where they are sent in slave-like conditions to work for the Castro regime in order to profit the Castro family and a tight nucleus of elites in the military and intelligence apparatus. The New York Times echoes the complaint of the Castro regime, protesting policies that allow Cuban doctors working under inhuman conditions to get to the United States.  In 2008 The Miami Herald reported that "more than 31,000 Cuban health workers -- most of them doctors -- who toil in 71 countries brought in $2.3 billion last year, ..., more than any other industry, including tourism. Most of them are paid $150 to $375 a month, a small percentage of the cash or trade benefits the Cuban government pockets in exchange for theirwork."

Cuban health care workers sent abroad in slave-like conditions
 4. Since 2000 there has been large scale trade between American companies and the Castro regime. The Castro regime used openings in trade from the Clinton era (medical products in 1992 and agricultural products in 2000)  to build up a pro-Castro lobby and to target congressional districts in agricultural states to advance its interests. The dictatorship accomplished this by purchasing American exports and requiring U.S. corporations and members of Congress to sign "advocacy contracts" that turned them into lobbyists for the dictatorship as a condition of the Castro regime buying their goods. Trade between these companies and the Castro regime reached their peak in 2008 totaling five billion dollars by 2015 but trade levels crashed during the Obama administration.  The dictatorship is demanding an end to the trade embargo (opening up credits that would leave American taxpayers holding the bag) and an end to the Cuban Adjustment Act.  Two of the Republicans pushing for the end of the Cuban Adjustment Act, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Ted Poe of Texas are also advocates of ending the embargo on the Castro regime and providing those doing business with the dictatorship export financing credits.

Cuban rafters fleeing a repressive totalitarian regime
5. Cubans, despite the rhetoric, do not have a special privilege but rather special circumstances that led to the Cuban Adjustment Act that unfortunately are not historically unique. The 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act  was not the first such measure, the Hungarian Escape Act of 1958 granted Hungarians refugee status predates it by eight years. Nor was it the last, the Indochina Migration and Refugee Act of 1975 granted refugees from the conflict in South East Asia special status. The United States has had an immigration policy favoring those leaving communist states.

Conclusion:  Cubans are fleeing the Castro regime because it is a communist, totalitarian dictatorship that systematically denies their human rights. The Cuban dictatorship has had a long term policy goal of repealing the Cuban Adjustment Act and the ability of Cubans working for them under slave-like conditions to flee to freedom in the United States. Unfortunately, ending the Cuban Adjustment Act will complement the Obama Administration's policy of normalizing relations with the communist dictatorship in Cuba at the expense of the freedom and well being of the Cuban people. This will also have the unintended effect of provoking an exodus from the island.

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