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Entries in Cuba (6)

Sunday
Apr142013

Marco Rubio: Jay-Z Needs to Get Informed on Cuba

STR/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio Sunday morning slammed Jay-Z over his recent trip to Cuba, saying on This Week that the rapper needed to “get informed” and that he missed an opportunity to meet the politically oppressed people that live on the island nation south of Florida.

“I think Jay-Z needs to get informed.  One of his heroes is Che Guevara.  Che Guevara was a racist.  Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African descent, so he should inform himself on the guy that he’s propping up,” Rubio said during an interview with ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

“Secondly, I think if Jay-Z was truly interested in the true state of affairs in Cuba, he would have met people that are being oppressed, including a hip-hop artist in Cuba who is right now being oppressed and persecuted and is undergoing a hunger strike because of his political lyrics,” Rubio added. “And I think he missed an opportunity.  But that’s Jay-Z’s issue.”

After returning from Cuba last week, Jay-Z produced a new rap entitled “Open Letter,” in which he criticized politicians for questioning his trip with his wife Beyoncé to the communist nation. The trip was authorized by the Treasury Department under a licensed program that encourages “meaningful contacts” with the Cuban people.

Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, criticized current U.S. travel policy to the island, which he said was being run by a “tyrannical regime.”

“The bigger point is the travel policies.  The travel policies need to be tightened because they are being abused,” Rubio said. “These are tourist trips, and they are – what they’re doing is providing hard currency and funding so that a tyrannical regime can maintain its grip on the island of Cuba, and I think that’s wrong.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May292012

Marco Rubio to Visit Gitmo in Cuba

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is traveling to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Tuesday for the first time, a spokesman told ABC News.

“This visit will allow Sen. Rubio an opportunity to better understand the role Guantanamo Bay plays in U.S. detention operations, and examine how the military commission process for trying the terrorists housed there is proceeding,” Alex Conant said in an email Tuesday.

Rubio, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, will conduct oversight of the facility, tour the base, receive an intelligence overview and meet with the Joint Task Force Guantanamo commander, Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harbeson of the U.S. Navy.

While visiting Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Rubio, who turned 41 on Memorial Day, will see the Expeditionary Legal Complex, where the military tribunals of detainees are being conducted, along with touring CAMP VI, the building where the detainees are held.

Rubio, whose family emigrated to the United States from Cuba, will not leave the confines of the base and returns to Miami Tuesday evening.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Marco Rubio Biography Reveals Grandfather Was Ordered Deported

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A forthcoming biography of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will reveal that his grandfather was ordered deported from the U.S. after flying in from Cuba without a visa.

A preview of The Rise of Marco Rubio, an unauthorized biography written by Manuel Roig-Franzia, a reporter with the Washington Post, was obtained by Politico and details the immigration travails of Rubio’s grandfather, a fact that could increase scrutiny on the potential VP pick.

According to the preview, Rubio’s maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor Garcia, had emigrated to the United States, but chose to return to Cuba to tend to the shoe store he left behind in Havana after dictator Fulgencio Batista abdicated his rule.  The book explains that upon his return, he began working for the Castro government at Cuba’s Treasury Ministry, but as he grew uncomfortable with Fidel Castro’s regime, Rubio’s grandfather tried to make his way back to the United States without a visa, 10 years before Rubio was born.

“It was that on August 31, 1962, he took an incredibly risky step.  He bought a ticket and boarded Pan American Airlines flight 2422 bound for Miami.  Pedro Victor’s troubles began not long after the plane landed.  He had a Cuban passport and a U.S. alien registration card, but he didn’t have a visa,” the preview reads.  “A U.S. immigration official named E.E. Spink detained the 63-year-old grandfather.  Spink signed a form that read, ‘you do not appear to me to be clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to enter the United States.’  A photographer snapped a mug shot of Pedro Victor with his alien registration number on a block in front of him. … His cheeks were sunken, there were bags under his eyes, and his mouth was tight."

“The paper trail is inconclusive about whether he was forced to spend time in a detention facility," the preview continues. "… On October 4, 1962, Pedro Victor appeared before a special inquiry officer, a kind of immigration judge, named Milton V. Milich … Milich orders ‘that the applicant be excluded and deported from the United States.’”

“Pedro Victor … did not leave the country as ordered," the preview reads.  "In those days deportees weren’t necessarily thrown onto a plane … Pedro Victor’s legal status would remain unresolved for years.  He stayed in Miami … [In 1967] Pedro Victor returned to the immigration bureaucracy to ask, once again, to become a permanent resident. … The form he filled out then states that he had been a Cuban refugee since February 1965.  Refugee status may have been granted retroactively.”

Roig-Franzia’s book will also shed light on the Rubio family’s dabbling in Mormonism while they lived in Las Vegas, beginning when Rubio was seven or eight years old.  In an interview earlier this month, Rubio said he remembers little of his family’s involvement with Mormonism and says he is a practicing Roman Catholic.

The Rise of Marco Rubio
is set to be released on June 19, the same day as Rubio’s autobiography, An American Son: A Memoir.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan252012

Romney Vows Not to Engage in ‘Appeasement’ with Cuba

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) -- Mitt Romney accused President Obama of a policy of “appeasement” toward Cuba and said that he looked forward to the day Fidel Castro dies.

“This is a critical time. I think you realize that. We’ve waited a long, long time for the opportunity that is represented by a new president, and by new leadership, or by old leadership finally kicking the bucket in Cuba,” said Romney, referring to Fidel Castro, during a speech given to a US-Cuba Democracy PAC event in downtown Miami. “I want to be the American president that is proud to be able to say that I was president at the time that we brought freedom back to the people of Cuba.”

“If I’m fortunate to become the next president of the United States it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet,” said Romney. “I doubt he’ll take any time in the sky he’ll find a nether region to be more to his comfort.”

Romney criticized Obama for giving too many “gifts” to Castro during his presidency, remarking that negotiation only works when you get something in return.

“I know I learned something about negotiating,” said Romney. “I found that if I was trying to negotiate with someone else that before I gave them something, I wanted to know what I was going to get back. The idea that I’m going to negotiate, it’s a trade -- I’m going to get something, and they’re going to get something.”

“This president has decided to give a gift, to Castro, to allow remittances to come from the United States to go into Cuba and help the economy of Cuba. He’s allowed more traveling into Cuba. Showing that olive branch if you will,” said Romney. “And how has it been met? It is met with a man, Wilman Villar, who must sacrifice his own life through his hunger strike, with many, many people being oppressed in prison.”

Villar died last week after a 50-day hunger strike.

“This president does not understand that by helping Castro, he is not helping the people of Cuba, he is hurting them, he is not putting forward a policy of freedom, he is accommodating and encouraging a policy of oppression, and if I’m President of the United States, we will return to Helms-Burton and the law, and we will not give Castro any gifts,” said Romney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

‘How Do You Say Delicious In Cuban?’ Cain's Latest Foreign Policy Blunder

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- “We need a leader, not a reader!” Herman Cain exclaimed Thursday at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, stating that there are plenty of foreign policy experts out there -- in other words, he doesn’t need to be one himself.

And while that comment bore an amusing resemblance to the fictional President Schwarzenegger’s declaration that “I was elected to lead, not to read” in the 2007 Simpsons Movie, the past month has seen Cain hurt his cause with a series of foreign policy blunders.

Exhibit one was a stumbling reply last week to a straightforward question about the Obama administration’s response to the Libyan uprising.  Earlier, Cain made light of his lack of foreign policy knowledge when he pointed out that he didn’t know the name of the president of “Uzbeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.”

But his visit to the Cuban hotbed of Miami this week could pose real problems in the important conservative Latino community in Florida.  On Wednesday morning, at the Claude & Mildred Pepper Center in Sweetwater, the crowd implored him to talk about Cuba.

“What about Cuba?” Cain replied.  “One of my principles is go to the source closest to the problem, you will find the solution… I want to get from Cuban leaders a solution of what we should do.”

“I don’t want to take the pressure off.  I want to put more pressure on,” he said.  “Viva Cuba libre!”

According to Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo, Cain “seemed to know little about Cuba” and “seemed stumped” about a U.S. policy that allows Cuban immigrants to remain in this country once they set foot on land here.

During a stop at the famous Versailles restaurant in Little Havana, Cain drank a coffee and ate some croquetas.

“How do you say ‘delicious’ in Cuban?” he asked.  In Cuba, the language is Spanish.

The Cuban vote could prove crucial in Florida, a key state both in the GOP primary and the general election.  Around 540,000 of Florida’s 1.5 million Latino voters are of Cuban origin, a group mostly based near Miami.  Florida is set to vote fourth in the primary, starting in late January after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have all had their turn.

The Sunshine State has already hosted two GOP debates this fall.  It also will be the site of the party’s 2012 convention in Tampa and the final presidential debate next year, set for Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar292011

Dictator Tour or U.S. Diplomacy? Carter's Trip to Cuba Raises Eyebrows

Gary Miller/FilmMagic(HAVANA, Cuba) -- Jimmy Carter, who is in Cuba for a three-day private visit, will travel to North Korea soon in a move that has some questioning the former president's agenda.

Such trips are not unusual for Carter, 86, who in the three decades since he left office has often mediated, on an unofficial level, with pariah states.

In 2002, he became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba since its 1959 revolution. He's traveled to a number of other world hot spots, including Gaza in 2009, where he met with the then-leader of the U.S. designated terrorist group Hamas.

"Carter has been brave and courageous in being unorthodox in his approach. What was once unorthodox has become the Carter orthodox, so going to Cuba right now is not surprising," said author and history professor Douglas Brinkley, who traveled with Carter to Haiti in the early 1990s. "His bully pulpit is the globe, not the White House. He's erased what they think about his track to diplomacy."

It's "Jimmy Carter going by the beat of his own drum," he added. "There are times that he raises eyebrows and it's all part and parcel of Carter's post-presidency. You can't really cherry pick them."

Though Carter has been mum on the issue of jailed U.S. government contractor Alan Gross, his release is likely to be a central topic of discussion in the former president's meeting with President Raul Castro, who invited Carter to Cuba.

Carter, a prominent figure on the international stage known for his diplomacy, traveled to Pyongyang in August 2010 to retrieve an American citizen, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who had been sentenced to eight years in prison for entering North Korea illegally from China that January.

While his efforts may not be as visible as those of former President Bill Clinton, those who follow his work say Carter has been more successful in this arena than any of his peers.

It could be days before Gross is on his way back home because of Carter's trip, Brinkley says.

"Carter has an extraordinary record, as ex-president of getting political prisoners released," Brinkley said. "I would expect that Gross will be out because of Carter's trip. You're just seeing the warm-up act. He's just arrived. When he's done there, Gross will be released because Carter's bringing the prestige towards the Cuban government that they're looking for out of an American figure of his stature."

Carter rarely travels as an official envoy, or with an official delegation, of the U.S. government, unlike Clinton. Of his upcoming North Korea trip, the State Department said they had not had any contact with Carter about it except to be informed of the trip.

His unorthodox style and rogue trips have often resulted in a clash with U.S. administrations. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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