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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:10 PM
Original message
2 to be sentenced for Cuba travel ban violation
Edited on Wed Oct-10-07 06:11 PM by Mika
Source: Miami Herald

Posing as men of the cloth, businessman Victor Vazquez and his wealthy friend David Margolis flew back and forth to Cuba by cleverly exploiting a religious loophole in the long-standing travel ban to the communist island nation. But on the afternoon of Dec. 13, 2006, a team of U.S. Treasury and Customs agents finally caught up with them upon their return to Miami International Airport.

When asked about the Fort Lauderdale waterfront home that he used as a ''church'' to obtain his religious license, Margolis admitted, ``You have me dead to rights.'' Vazquez, at first defensive, admitted he assisted Margolis in preparing his application and that ''he knew the church did not exist,'' agents said.

Vazquez, 40, of Delray Beach, and Margolis, 76, of Fort Lauderdale, would soon become the nation's first defendants to be charged with illegally obtaining religious travel licenses to get around the 44-year-old travel ban to Cuba. Vazquez, who had obtained five such licenses illegally, profited by selling his permits to thousands of Cuban Americans seeking to dodge restrictions that became even tighter under the Bush administration.


Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking_dade/story/267205.html



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Interesting that Cuban Americans who supposedly "fled" Cuba are buying fake permits to go vistit the island they "fled" from.

More interesting is that Americans and US residents need a permit to exercise the right to travel. Freedom. :eyes:
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LakeSamish706 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. This outdated pile of crap needs to change ASAP... Preventing US...
citizens from traveling to Cuba... How stupid!
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Hey, now! Don't you try to take away Murka's freedom by legalizing something!
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LakeSamish706 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Must really piss off US Administrations that Canadians travel to Cuba...
on a regular basis, and buy Cuban Cigars as well. Haven't been myself, but certainly not ruling it out!
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. No, I'm sure that those in the Admin can get all the Cuban cigars they want.
Seriously, the law isn't for them!
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LakeSamish706 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. No I didn't mean that the law was for them, but their neighbors to the North...
didn't follow suit when it came to hating Cuba and specifically Fidel Castro. It's sort of like Venezuela in the modern day era...
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I have no idea why we have all the anti-Cuba sentiment in this country.
We do business with communist China -- and they keep trying to kill us with bad food and toys.

What do we have to be afraid of from Cuba? I'm stumped.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
18. I'll make it simple. Here..
Cuba = Bad
USofA= Good

See how easy it is?

==

:hi:

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 02:15 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. The Bushes and many Republicans have been close to Cuban "exiles" for decades.
Those guys come and go at will. They've even bragged about going ashore and murdering people and returning without being caught. Of course they could bring back all they could carry any day.

Here's a photo of Tom DeLay having a toot on his own Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey double corona.

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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Do you think that Disney and the 'gaming' industry wants an end to the ban?
If/when the travel sanctions placed on US citizens and residents by the US gov end, millions will flock to Cuba instead of Disney. The Bahamas, Jamaica, DR, and other Caribbean islands would take a big tourism hit too. That's why they all lobby hard (read: $$$$) to keep the US travel sanctions in place.


Pro and con anything regarding Cuba and US politics is a big moneymaker for campaigns in the US.



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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. Too bad they aren't just plain brave like Pastors
for Peace. They say they will neither ask for nor accept permission to do something that is our human right, travel. www.ifconews.org
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. I ran the blockade earlier this year,
and you have to be pretty fucking stupid to get caught - I know people who travel to Cuba frequently.
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PretzelWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 02:31 AM
Response to Original message
11. FUCK STUPID LAWS ABOUT WHERE I CAN TRAVEL
you FBI, CIA, mothafuckin PIGS can kiss my big fat ass.
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Vogon_Glory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
29. An Irony You Might Enjoy, PW...
One of the bitter political ironies you might enjoy, PW, is that many of the older "red-neck"-minded conservatives used to agree with you right down the line. They thought that the US government had no business whatsoever telling its citizens where they could and could not go.

Like so many other practices and beliefs, the old "traditional conservative" belief in freedom to travel is another belief that today's Republican Party and today's so-called "Conservatives" have sold out on in order to hang onto power. Otherwise the former Dixiecrats might have told the Cuban exile political establishment where to stick the Cuban travel restrictions as long ago as when Ronald Wilson What's-his-name was in the White House.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. As you know, the sanctions on Cuba has resulted in a jackpot for campaign contributions..
.. for both parties. Pro and con on sanctions.

Status quo rules (as does corruption in US politics).



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robcon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
12. The embargo is stupid policy. It was stupid 40 years ago.
Edited on Thu Oct-11-07 08:36 AM by robcon
And the policy is stupid now.

Although Mika's finding two people who have tried to enter Cuba, while thousands and thousands have fled the island, many risking their lives to do so, is unintentionally hilarious.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Maybe you should read the article before making a ridiculous comment.
Edited on Thu Oct-11-07 09:04 AM by Mika
The two people you mention had sold the falsified permits to thousands of Cuban-Americans and Cuban US residents who wanted to go on trips back to the country they had "fled" from.

Hilarious how they would return to a country that is ruled by (according to many Cubaphobes) a brutal dictatorship police state, for a visit/vacation.

They aren't really "exiles" who "fled" if they return for mojitos on the beaches of Cuba.

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robcon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Cuba is in fact ruled by a dictator in a police state for 48 years.
Edited on Thu Oct-11-07 09:48 AM by robcon
No freedom of press, brutal imprisonment for variation from the Dear Leader's political line, fear of a free election - no one who genuinely ran against the Dear Leader would escape prison for long.

Visiting Cuba should be availabale to Americans as it is to other people. I'd love to go to Cuba for a vacation: cheap, beautiful beaches, wonderful weather in the winter. Visiting Cuba should have nothing to do with politics.

But fleeing that police state has been mostly politics - escaping the brutal oppression of Castro's gulag.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #16
17.  "escaping the brutal oppression of Castro's gulag" and then returning for mojitos on the beach?
Makes sense. :eyes: NOT!



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robcon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. Totally illogical statement, Mika.
I'll answer by analogy. My family is a Catholic family from Northern Ireland. Do you mean that when we've visited our ancestors' native land we automatically agree with the partition of Ireland? Or that we've forgotten Irish history, or the brutal British oppression, and Orange atrocities in that land?

Revisiting our roots has nothing to do with agreeing with the current government.

Cuban-Americans should be free to visit their native or ancestor's country. The U.S. policy is awful.

But Cubans should live in a free country, with open elections - not the current system of nominating party members through local associations that are monitored by the gulag, thereby guaranteeing that no one who objects to current policies can run.

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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. And you've personally witnessed/attended how many nomination proceedings?
Edited on Thu Oct-11-07 10:12 AM by Mika
Bad analogy. When the US places extra territorial sanctions and a USA travel ban on Ireland, when the Irish Americans call themselves "exiles" who are fleeing a brutal dictatorship, then your analogy might fit, but as of now.. it doesn't.

Cubans who "escaped" Cuba who then return for mojitos on the beach aren't exactly fleeing Cuba.

As for the rest of your post, I agree with one thing.. that current US policy regarding Cuba is awful.


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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. A second hand rum company story has more merit? LOL. I have actually attended nominations in Cuba..
Edited on Thu Oct-11-07 10:50 AM by Mika
.. and they are much as described in various articles and books by persons who also have attended nominations.

BUT WAIT! A second hand rum company executive (with corporate skin in the game) story is waaaay more accurate than the personal experiences of many authors and researchers?

--

http://www.poptel.org.uk/cuba-solidarity/democracy.htm
This system in Cuba is based upon universal adult suffrage for all those aged 16 and over. Nobody is excluded from voting, except convicted criminals or those who have left the country. Voter turnouts have usually been in the region of 95% of those eligible .

There are direct elections to municipal, provincial and national assemblies, the latter represent Cuba's parliament.

Electoral candidates are not chosen by small committees of political parties. No political party, including the Communist Party, is permitted to nominate or campaign for any given candidates.


--

The Cuban government was reorganized (approved by popular vote) into a variant parliamentary system in 1976.

You can read a short version of the Cuban system here,
http://members.allstream.net/~dchris/CubaFAQDemocracy.html

Or a long and detailed version here,

Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections
Arnold August
1999
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0968508405/qid=1053879619/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-8821757-1670550?v=glance&s=books
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #22
27. Who doesn't get the sniffles considering the plight of those poor, beaten down, beautiful,
freedom-loving original "exiles?" I am so reminded of this tender, poignant remark offered in such sweetness by the kindly little "exile" asshole in Miami, Jorge Mas Canosa, in an interview:
7/31/94 The Miami Herald reprints an interview with Jorge Mas Canosa from the Spanish newspaper El Pais. Mas Canosa was asked by El Pais whether he believed Americans would take over Cuba if Fidel Castro fell. The Herald quoted Mas Canosa as saying, in part, "They haven't even been able to take over Miami! If we have kicked them out of here, how could they possibly take over our own country?" (MH, 7/28/94; WP, 7/28/94)
(snip)
http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:xQqmOHDYWkoJ:cuban-exile.com/doc_126-150/doc0146b.html+Jorge+Mas+Canosa+%22El+Pais%22+%22They+haven%27t+even+been+able+to+take+over+Miami%22&hl=en

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Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #19
23. Actually you are lacking logic in your posts.
You claim that there is "brutal imprisonment for variation from the Dear Leader's political line" in Cuba.

Then you state that travel to revisit one's "roots has nothing to do with agreeing with the current government".

So, by your logic, Miami Cuban exiles (who are Cuban citizens and are subject to Cuban law while there) who visit Cuba must either agree with the Cuban government OR they must face brutal imprisonment for disagreeing with it.

I live in Miami most of the time, and I know that neither is true. All exiles who travel to Cuba return with no problem.

I have also traveled to Cuba a few times.

Your fantasy Cuba has little to do with the actual Cuba.

Your accusations of Mika's lack of logic are not well grounded.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #16
21. New York Times reporter, Ann Louise Bardach, who has been back and forth to Cuba
many, MANY times, doing research on various stories, has a different view of this from yours, but what would she know? Here's something from one of her books:
In Cuba, one used to be either a revolucionario or a contrarevolucionario, while those who decided to leave were gusanos (worms) or escoria (scum). In Miami, the rhetoric has also been harsh. Exiles who do not endorse a confrontational policy with Cuba, seeking instead a negotiated settlement, have often been excoriated as traidores (traitors) and sometimes espas (spies). Cubans, notably cultural stars, who visit Miami but choose to return to their homeland have been routinely denounced. One either defects or is repudiated.

But there has been a slow but steady shift in the last decade-a nod to the clear majority of Cubans en exilio and on the island who crave family reunification. Since 1978, more than one million airline tickets have been sold for flights from Miami to Havana. Faced with the brisk and continuous traffic between Miami and Havana, hard-liners on both sides have opted to deny the new reality. Anomalies such as the phenomenon of reverse balseros, Cubans who, unable to adapt to the pressures and bustle of entrepreneurial Miami, return to the island, or gusaeros, expatriots who send a portion of their earnings home in exchange for unfettered travel back and forth to Cuba (the term is a curious Cuban hybrid of gusano and compaero, or comrade), are unacknowledged by both sides, as are those who live in semi-exilio, returning home to Cuba for long holidays.


Page XVIII
Preface
Cuba Confidential
Love and Vengeance
In Miami and Havana

Copyright 2002 by
Ann Louise Bardach
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #21
26. That's right. MiamiCubans face more grief in Miami than in Cuba for visiting the island.
Some posters ignore (or are ignorant of the fact) that the gulag is exilio Miami.


http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2000-04-20/news/mullin/
The following list of violent incidents I compiled from a variety of databases and news sources (a few come from personal experience). It is incomplete, especially in Miami's trademark category of bomb threats. Nor does it include dozens of acts of violence and murder committed by Cuban exiles in other U.S. cities and at least sixteen foreign countries. But completeness isn't the point. The point is to face the truth, no matter how difficult that may be. If Miami's Cuban exiles confront this shameful past -- and resolutely disavow it -- they will go a long way toward easing their neighbors' anxiety about a peaceful future.

1968 From MacArthur Causeway, pediatrician Orlando Bosch fires bazooka at a Polish freighter. (City of Miami later declares "Orlando Bosch Day." Federal agents will jail him in 1988.)

1972 Julio Iglesias, performing at a local nightclub, says he wouldn't mind "singing in front of Cubans." Audience erupts in anger. Singer requires police escort. Most radio stations drop Iglesias from playlists. One that doesn't, Radio Alegre, receives bomb threats.

1974 Exile leader Jos Elias de la Torriente murdered in his Coral Gables home after failing to carry out a planned invasion of Cuba.

1974 Bomb blast guts the office of Spanish-language magazine Replica.

1974 Several small Cuban businesses, citing threats, stop selling Replica.

1974 Three bombs explode near a Spanish-language radio station.

1974 Hector Diaz Limonta and Arturo Rodriguez Vives murdered in internecine exile power struggles.

1975 Luciano Nieves murdered after advocating peaceful coexistence with Cuba.

1975 Another bomb damages Replica's office.

1976 Rolando Masferrer and Ramon Donestevez murdered in internecine exile power struggles.

1976 Car bomb blows off legs of WQBA-AM news director Emilio Milian after he publicly condemns exile violence.

1977 Juan Jos Peruyero murdered in internecine exile power struggles.

1979 Cuban film Memories of Underdevelopment interrupted by gunfire and physical violence instigated by two exile groups.

1979 Bomb discovered at Padron Cigars, whose owner helped negotiate release of 3600 Cuban political prisoners.

1979 Bomb explodes at Padron Cigars.

1980 Another bomb explodes at Padron Cigars.

1980 Powerful anti-personnel bomb discovered at American Airways Charter, which arranges flights to Cuba.

1981 Bomb explodes at Mexican Consulate on Brickell Avenue in protest of relations with Cuba.

1981 Replica's office again damaged by a bomb.

1982 Two outlets of Hispania Interamericana, which ships medicine to Cuba, attacked by gunfire.

1982 Bomb explodes at Venezuelan Consulate in downtown Miami in protest of relations with Cuba.

1982 Bomb discovered at Nicaraguan Consulate.

1982 Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre defends $10,000 grant to exile commando group Alpha 66 by noting that the organization "has never been accused of terrorist activities inside the United States."

1983 Another bomb discovered at Replica.

1983 Another bomb explodes at Padron Cigars.

1983 Bomb explodes at Paradise International, which arranges travel to Cuba.

1983 Bomb explodes at Little Havana office of Continental National Bank, one of whose executives, Bernardo Benes, helped negotiate release of 3600 Cuban political prisoners.

1983 Miami City Commissioner Demetrio Perez seeks to honor exile terrorist Juan Felipe de la Cruz, accidentally killed while assembling a bomb. (Perez is now a member of the Miami-Dade County Public School Board and owner of the Lincoln-Mart private school where Elian Gonzalez is enrolled.)

1983 Gunfire shatters windows of three Little Havana businesses linked to Cuba.

1986 South Florida Peace Coalition members physically attacked in downtown Miami while demonstrating against Nicaraguan contra war.

1987 Bomb explodes at Cuba Envios, which ships packages to Cuba.

1987 Bomb explodes at Almacen El Espaol, which ships packages to Cuba.

1987 Bomb explodes at Cubanacan, which ships packages to Cuba.

1987 Car belonging to Bay of Pigs veteran is firebombed.

1987 Bomb explodes at Machi Viajes a Cuba, which arranges travel to Cuba.

1987 Bomb explodes outside Va Cuba, which ships packages to Cuba.

1988 Bomb explodes at Miami Cuba, which ships medical supplies to Cuba.

1988 Bomb threat against Iberia Airlines in protest of Spain's relations with Cuba.

1988 Bomb explodes outside Cuban Museum of Art and Culture after auction of paintings by Cuban artists.

1988 Bomb explodes outside home of Maria Cristina Herrera, organizer of a conference on U.S.-Cuba relations.

1988 Bomb threat against WQBA-AM after commentator denounces Herrera bombing.

1988 Bomb threat at local office of Immigration and Naturalization Service in protest of terrorist Orlando Bosch being jailed.

1988 Bomb explodes near home of Griselda Hidalgo, advocate of unrestricted travel to Cuba.

1988 Bomb damages Bele Cuba Express, which ships packages to Cuba.

1989 Another bomb discovered at Almacen El Espaol, which ships packages to Cuba.

1989 Two bombs explode at Marazul Charters, which arranges travel to Cuba.

1990 Another, more powerful, bomb explodes outside the Cuban Museum of Art and Culture.

1991 Using crowbars and hammers, exile crowd rips out and urinates on Calle Ocho "Walk of Fame" star of Mexican actress Veronica Castro, who had visited Cuba.

1992 Union Radio employee beaten and station vandalized by exiles looking for Francisco Aruca, who advocates an end to U.S. embargo.

1992 Cuban American National Foundation mounts campaign against the Miami Herald, whose executives then receive death threats and whose newsracks are defaced and smeared with feces.

1992 Americas Watch releases report stating that hard-line Miami exiles have created an environment in which "moderation can be a dangerous position."

1993 Inflamed by Radio Mamb commentator Armando Perez-Roura, Cuban exiles physically assault demonstrators lawfully protesting against U.S. embargo. Two police officers injured, sixteen arrests made. Miami City Commissioner Miriam Alonso then seeks to silence anti-embargo demonstrators: "We have to look at the legalities of whether the City of Miami can prevent them from expressing themselves."

1994 Human Rights Watch/Americas Group issues report stating that Miami exiles do not tolerate dissident opinions, that Spanish-language radio promotes aggression, and that local government leaders refuse to denounce acts of intimidation.

1994 Two firebombs explode at Replica magazine's office.

1994 Bomb threat to law office of Magda Montiel Davis following her videotaped exchange with Fidel Castro.

1996 Music promoter receives threatening calls, cancels local appearance of Cuba's La Orquesta Aragon.

1996 Patrons attending concert by Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba physically assaulted by 200 exile protesters. Transportation for exiles arranged by Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto.

1996 Firebomb explodes at Little Havana's Centro Vasco restaurant preceding concert by Cuban singer Rosita Fornes.

1996 Firebomb explodes at Marazul Charters, which arranges travel to Cuba.

1996 Arson committed at Tu Familia Shipping, which ships packages to Cuba.

1997 Bomb threats, death threats received by radio station WRTO-FM following its short-lived decision to include in its playlist songs by Cuban musicians.

1998 Bomb threat empties concert hall at MIDEM music conference during performance by 91-year-old Cuban musician Compay Segundo.

1998 Bomb threat received by Amnesia nightclub in Miami Beach preceding performance by Cuban musician Orlando "Maraca" Valle.

1998 Firebomb explodes at Amnesia nightclub preceding performance by Cuban singer Manoln.

1999 Violent protest at Miami Arena performance of Cuban band Los Van Van leaves one person injured, eleven arrested.

1999 Bomb threat received by Seville Hotel in Miami Beach preceding performance by Cuban singer Rosita Fornes. Hotel cancels concert.

January 26, 2000 Outside Miami Beach home of Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, protester displays sign reading, "Stop the deaths at sea. Repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act," then is physically assaulted by nearby exile crowd before police come to rescue.

April 11, 2000 Outside home of Elian Gonzalez's Miami relatives, radio talk show host Scot Piasant of Portland, Oregon, displays T-shirt reading, "Send the boy home" and "A father's rights," then is physically assaulted by nearby exile crowd before police come to rescue.


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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
13. That travel ban is absurd, but these guys were USING it to profit.
You CAN get to Cuba if you are a US citizen but you have to do it via Mexico City, Canada, or even Jamaica. Dunno what it is like now, but it used to be that they even sold boat trips to Cuba out of Jamaica--not just flights.

These guys were exploiting a stupid law for personal profit, and for that reason I do hope they spend time in jail.



Laura
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. You can. But, it is illegal for Americans and US residents to do so.
Edited on Thu Oct-11-07 09:10 AM by Mika
More Americans and residents are getting busted for going to Cuba via a 3rd country every year.

The most egregious exploitation for profit from this ridiculous law are US politicians who come to Miami for campaign fund raising and propose gittin' tougher on Castro by maintaining or increasing the level of restrictions on travel and/or trade.



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Vogon_Glory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
28. Regardless of Our Opinions Re Havana Gov't....
Regardless of how giddy some of us are about the present Havana government and its economic and political policies or how less-than-impressed others of us may be, I think that almost all of us agree that it's time to end the travel restrictions the US government places on its citizens and resident aliens wishing to visit Cuba, and most of us think that it's time to end the trade restrictions, too.

A thought to throw at our wingie-dingie acquaintances: many nations, individuals, and corporations had legitimate economic claims against the old Soviet Union and the various Marxist-Leninist eastern European governments that came into power after World War II. That didn't stop the US or other western European governments from encouraging trade in non-strategic goods and services with those countries, despite their disagreements concerning the legitimacy or qualities of those countries' regimes.

It's also a thought worth throwing at the likely Democratic presidential nominee, too. I also see no reason why a Democratic administration should go out of its way to do special favors for a political faction that has been almost unvaryingly hostile towards Democrats since 1961.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Would you be good enough to provide a link to information on Cuba's hostility toward Democrats?
Edited on Thu Oct-11-07 06:54 PM by Judi Lynn
It would be illuminating, for sure, considering the fact that Bobby Kennedy was discussing dropping the travel ban, Jimmy Carter dropped aspects of the travel ban, only to have them restored by Ronald Reagan, and even Bill Clinton, with his strong ties to the Miami Cuban culture through his sister-in-law and campaigning there, still altered the travel ban to some degree, only to have George Bush tighten the ban far tighter than ever before.

Here's a link to a tv program which airs cyclicly on the Discovery Channel:
Kennedy Sought Dialogue with Cuba

INITIATIVE WITH CASTRO ABORTED BY ASSASSINATION,
DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS SHOW

Oval Office Tape Reveals Strategy to hold clandestine Meeting in Havana; Documents record role of ABC News correspondent Lisa Howard as secret intermediary in Rapprochement effort

Posted - November 24, 2003

Washington D.C. - On the 40th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the eve of the broadcast of a new documentary film on Kennedy and Castro, the National Security Archive today posted an audio tape of the President and his national security advisor, McGeorge Bundy, discussing the possibility of a secret meeting in Havana with Castro. The tape, dated only seventeen days before Kennedy was shot in Dallas, records a briefing from Bundy on Castro's invitation to a U.S. official at the United Nations, William Attwood, to come to Havana for secret talks on improving relations with Washington. The tape captures President Kennedy's approval if official U.S. involvement could be plausibly denied.
(snip)

Among the key documents relevant to this history:
  • Oval Office audio tape, November 5, 1963. The tape records a conversation between the President and McGeorge Bundy regarding Castro's invitation to William Attwood, a deputy to UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, to come to Cuba for secret talks. The President responds that Attwood should be taken off the U.S. payroll prior to such a meeting so that the White House can plausibly deny that any official talks have taken place if the meeting leaks to the press.
  • White House memorandum, Top Secret, "Mr. Donovan's Trip to Cuba," March 4, 1963. This document records President Kennedy's interest in negotiations with Castro and his instructions to his staff to "start thinking along more flexible lines" on conditions for a dialogue with Cuba.
  • White House memorandum, Top Secret, "Cuba -- Policy," April 11, 1963. A detailed options paper from Gordon Chase, the Latin America specialist on the National Security Council, to McGeorge Bundy recommending "looking seriously at the other side of the coin-quietly enticing Castro over to us."
  • CIA briefing paper, Secret, "Interview of U.S. Newswoman with Fidel Castro Indicating Possible Interest in Rapprochement with the United States," May 1, 1963. A debriefing of Lisa Howard by CIA deputy director Richard Helms, regarding her ABC news interview with Castro and her opinion that he is "ready to discuss rapprochement." The document contains a notation, "Psaw," meaning President Kennedy read the report on Howard and Castro.
  • U.S. UN Mission memorandum, Secret, Chronology of events leading up Castro invitation to receive a U.S. official for talks in Cuba, November 8, 22, 1963. This chronology was written by William Attwood and records the evolution of the initiative set in motion by Lisa Howard for a dialogue with Cuba. The document describes the party at Howard's Manhattan apartment on September 23, 1963, where Attwood met with Cuban UN Ambassador Carlos Lechuga to discuss the potential for formal talks to improve relations. In an addendum, Attwood adds information on communications, using the Howard home as a base, leading up to the day the President was shot in Dallas.
  • White House memorandum, Secret, November 12, 1963. McGeorge Bundy reports to William Attwood on Kennedy's opinion of the viability of a secret meeting with Havana. The president prefers that the meeting take place in New York at the UN where it will be less likely to be leaked to the press.
  • White House memorandum, Top Secret, "Approach to Castro," November 19, 1963. A memo from Gordon Chase to McGeorge Bundy updating him on the status of arrangements for a secret meeting with the Cubans.
  • White House memorandum, Top Secret, "Cuba -- Item of Presidential Interest," November 25, 1963. A strategy memo from Gordon Chase to McGeorge Bundy assessing the problems and potential for pursuing the secret talks with Castro in the aftermath of Kennedy's assassination.
  • Message from Fidel Castro to Lyndon Johnson, "Verbal Message given to Miss Lisa Howard of ABC News on February 12, 1964, in Havana, Cuba." A private message carried by Howard to the White House in which Castro states that he would like the talks started with Kennedy to continue: "I seriously hope (and I cannot stress this too strongly) that Cuba and the United States can eventually sit down in an atmosphere of good will and of mutual respect and negotiate our differences."
  • United Nations memorandum, Top Secret, from Adlai Stevenson to President Johnson, June 16, 1964. Stevenson sends the "verbal message" given to Lisa Howard to Johnson with a cover memo briefing him on the dialogue started under Kennedy and suggesting consideration of resumption of talks "on a low enough level to avoid any possible embarrassment."
  • White House memorandum, Top Secret, "Adlai Stevenson and Lisa Howard," July 7, 1964. Gordon Chase reports to Bundy on his concerns that Howard's role as an intermediary has now escalated through her contact with Stevenson at the United Nations and the fact that a message has been sent back through her to Castro from the White House. Chase recommends trying "to remove Lisa from direct participation in the business of passing messages," and using Cuban Ambassador to the UN, Carlos Lechuga, instead.
    (snip/...)
http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB103/

On edit:
How could I forget Jimmy Carter's trip to Cuba, and the address he made LIVE to the entire country there on tv and radio?


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Vogon_Glory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. I Wasn't Talking About The Havana Regime
I wasn't talking about the Havana regime (Which I'm not that impressed with) when I mentioned the Cuban faction that has been unremittingly hostile towards the Democratic Party since 1961. I was talking about the hard-line right-wing Cuban exiles. Most of the hard-liners have been nursing grudges towards the Democratic Party dating back to the Bay of Pigs fiasco. I see no reason why the Democratic Party and its candidates should waste its time sucking up to the hard-liners. The Cuban hard-liners resemble no one so much as they do the old "China Lobby" of native-born US right-wingers, anti-communists, former missionaries and Chiang Kai-Chek fans that prevented the US from recognizing the mainland Chinese government until the 1970's. The hard-liners spend almost as much time trashing Democrats and the Democratic Party as they do Fidel Castro.

Frell 'em.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Who will ever forget the obnoxious damage they did Democrats during the 2000 Presidential election
Miami-Dade vote recount? How about all those tv news cameras picking up their images as they waddled around wearing their "Gore-Loserman" signs? They took Joe Lieberman's slavish, obsequious bowing and scraping to get their support and shoved it back up his whatsis.
Have Bullhorn, Will Travel
Most anti-Castro groups shun partisan presidential politics, but not Miguel Saavedra and his merry band of protesters
By Jacob Bernstein
Published: December 7, 2000



Laura Vianello and Miguel Saavedra: Vigilia Mambisa ringleaders


The call came over the airwaves as it had so many times before. On Wednesday, November 22, Radio Mamb (WAQI-AM 710) and La Poderosa (WWFE-AM 670) reverberated with the cries of political advocates, among them U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and state Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart, urging people to descend on the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown Miami.
(snip)

It was no secret which political party the majority of local Cuban Americans supported. Stung by Elian Gonzalez's violent removal in April, a popular slogan in Little Havana this past summer was "Mr. Clinton, we will remember in November."

But this time few heeded the call. In fact only one anti-Castro exile organization of the scores that operate in South Florida reinforced the Republicans. Vigilia Mambisa mustered about 25 people for a demonstration outside the county hall, where they gamely shouted, "We want Bush! No more Gore!" Leading them in the chants through his bullhorn was Mambisa president Miguel Saavedra. He and some of the others, encouraged by GOP officials, would continue to follow the Republicans throughout the week as the demonstrations moved from Miami-Dade to Broward and then on to Palm Beach.
(snip/...)http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2000-12-07/news/have-bullhorn-will-travel/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Update to this article:
Unpublished Update to Story on Miami's Cubans
Since these stories were published, it has become clear that those protesting inside the building of the Miami-Dade recount consisted primarily of out-of-state paid Republican campaign workers, congressional staff (including an aide to Tom DeLay), and one Congressman (Lincoln Diaz-Balart). The number of Miami Cuban protesters was relatively small, perhaps only a couple of dozen. They were mostly from a small but tightly-disciplined Cuban splinter faction, Vigilia Mambisa, which has been accused of organizing protests for a fee. (The group's leader denies the accusation.)

Vigilia Mambisa particpated actively in the Bush electoral campaign, some of its members being paid to call radio stations from Republican phone banks. The CANF, in contrast, remained neutral during the election, preferring to cultivate its political influece with both political parties.

All this however increases rather than reduces the importance of the connections laid out in my published story. The protest in the building was in accordance with a permit obtained jointly by the leader of Mambisa and the Republican Party. The day after their victory in Miami-Dade, Mambisa followers were bussed to Fort Lauderdale in Broward County. After a day of protests there, they took part in the victory banquet, to which Governor Bush phoned to express his thanks. In both counties, the Cubans were thrust in front of the TV cameras, to create the false illusion that the demonstrations were the spontaneous outbursts of local citizens.

Do not forget the role of CANF's Radio Mambi in reinforcing this illusion. The whole precedure, which involved violence in intimidating and obstructing the Canvassing Board, is now seen as an event planned and orchestrated jointly by Cuban extremists and elements in the Republican Party.
(snip/...)
http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/pdsup.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What's even creepier, after all the Miami hardcore "exiles" did to screw Al Gore in the election, Joe Lieberman STILL staggers back to Miami to suck up to these guys.

I agree so much with your comments on their sticking it to the Democrats who should just ignore them and start making an effort to concentrate on the entire REST of Florida, for crying out loud. They should not be allowed to wield such inordinate power, and they wouldn't if they weren't so skilled at playing politics like madmen, using the U.S. right-wing's psychotic hatred of everything different from themselves as the lever.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. So instead a Dem admin should go out of its way to keep a ridiculous policy?
The problem with US/Cuba relations have almost universally been on this side of the Gulf Stream. Both political parties (with a few exceptions of some in both parties) DEMAND conditions of Cuba for there to be any change of US policy.

Cuba has been seeking normalization for 47+ years.


-

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Megahurtz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
33. Prosecuted For Travelling.
Un-Fucking-Real! :banghead:
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