Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cuba Consulate in South Florida: Continuing the dialogue

On April 1, 2016 The Miami Herald published my letter to the editor which discussed why a Cuba consulate in South Florida would be a bad idea. The response by a critic was that:
 "We have consulates from countries we don't necessarily like but they're here."

This did not respond to the issue raised which was the concern that Cuban diplomats are often in reality intelligence officers, as was the case with the individual that the Miami Beach mayor and commissioner met with during President Obama's visit to Cuba. Furthermore that intelligence operations in the past in South Florida had crossed the line into sabotage, and murder conspiracy. Finally that these practices by Cuban intelligence agents stretches back over decades.

Cuban diplomats expelled in 1962 plotting terror attack in NYC
Cuban "diplomats" Elsa Montera Maldonado and Jose Gomez Abad, a husband and wife team at the Cuba Mission in New York City, who in reality were State Security agents who plotted to murder large numbers of Americans. Both were expelled for their role in a planned terrorist attack on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1962 which sought to detonate 500 kilos of explosives inside Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Bloomingdale’s and Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.

This un-diplomatic behavior is not limited to the United States. At the Cuban embassy in Paris, France on April 24, 2003 so-called Cuban diplomats engaged in the brutal beating of nonviolent protesters with iron bars and threatened them with deadly force.
"Not only did members of the embassy come out with iron bars to hit us, but one of them was carrying a firearm, which he loaded while outside the embassy," RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard said. "This new element is extremely serious. It is unacceptable that persons linked to a foreign embassy should commit such offences on French territory."
The behavior of Cuban diplomats in other countries should also serve as reason for caution in opening consulates across the United States, and especially in South Florida with a population of Cuban-Americans that would be specially targeted by the dictatorship.

Norwegian girl of Cuban descent on her mom's side was bitten by a Cuban diplomat
On May 22, 2010 Norwegian media reported that Cuban diplomat, Carmen Julia Guerra, insulted, threatened, and bit a young Norwegian woman, Alexandra Joner age 19, of Cuban descent on her mother's side while she was across the street from the Cuban embassy in Oslo. She was filming a non-violent demonstration in solidarity with the Ladies in White and in remembrance of martyred Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo. The main national newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten,  photographed the young girl with bite marks on her hand. The video is embedded below.

The fact of the matter is that on occasion due to political and security issues consulates and embassies are closed by the United States. For example, on March 18, 2014 the Obama administration ordered the closing of the Syrian embassy in Washington DC and the closing of Syrian consulates elsewhere in the United States.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea. North Korea does have a permanent UN mission in New York City but no embassy in Washington DC or consulates in the rest of the United States. This is a reasonable policy due to the Hermit Kingdom's outlaw behavior. Considering Cuba's extensive history of sponsoring terrorism North Korea is an appropriate comparison for U.S. policy makers considering opening up embassies. 

Opening Cuban consulates around the United States is a bad idea that will come back to haunt those who are now advocating this.

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