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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Catch-1.6 million

Catch-22 has nothing on Catch-1.6 million. In 2007, during his campaign, Barack Obama wrote in an op-ed in the Miami Herald: "I will grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island." The budget bill just passed removes funding for enforcement of family travel restrictions. Sounds like a back-handed way to fulfill the promise, does it? Not quite. "In letters to [Senators] Menendez and Nelson, [Treasury Secretary] Geithner sought to distance the administration from the changes and assure them that few of the provisions will actually change U.S.-Cuba policy." Furthermore, travel to Cuba by Cuban-Americans with family in Cuba is still illegal if done more than once every three years.
"What Congress is doing is creating a class of criminals," said Alvaro Fernández, chairman of the Cuban American Commission for Family Rights. "It's like saying, 'It's OK to go to 7-11 and steal, because nobody will enforce it.' It's insulting."
So for those 1.6 million Cuban-Americans? Looks like it's time for a little civil disobedience. Ditto for those of us Americans without relatives in Cuba. After all, if the government is claiming it won't prosecute Cuban-American criminals, it will be even more of an outrage if they prosecute us!

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