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Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The "family values" and "human rights" administration

The U.S. is always full of talk about "human rights" and "family values." Here's the reality:
Delvis Fernandez, the founder and president of the national Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, would like to take his blind 88-year-old mother Sara to Cuba to visit with her diabetic 86-year-old sister, whose leg was recently amputated. But their proposed trip is illegal under the U.S. Administration's tightening regulations.

George "Jorge" Milanes of Los Osos wants to travel to Havana to see his dying 94-year-old aunt, Tia Carmen, who--in a typical Cuban extended family custom--helped raise him. However, U.S. rules forbid him to go.

Although other Americans are not allowed to travel to Cuba at all, Cuban-Americans are now allowed one trip every three years to visit family members. But under the new rules, "family" has been redefined only as mother, father, sister or brother. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews don't qualify--which is the reason Fernandez is not allowed to accompany his aging mother on a visit to her sister.

With the Bush Administration's new definition of "family" for Cuban-Americans, Milanes cannot legally travel to Havana again, since he has only aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews there. His California-born children are not allowed a first-hand experience of their Cuban roots. "How gross is that, to hinge foreign policy on the separation of families, especially for a 'family values' kind of guy," Milanes fumes.

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