Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
GOD SAVE HRC, FROM REALITY — Jeffrey St. Clair on Hillary Clinton’s miraculous rags-to-riches method of financial success; LA CONFIDENTIAL: Lee Ballinger on race, violence and inequality in Los Angeles; PAPER DRAGON: Peter Lee on China’s military; THE BATTLE OVER PAT TILLMAN: David Hoelscher provides a 10 year retrospective on the changing legacy of Pat Tillman; MY BROTHER AND THE SPACE PROGRAM: Paul Krassner on the FBI and rocket science. PLUS: Mike Whitney on how the Central Bank feeds state capitalism; JoAnn Wypijewski on what’s crazier than Bowe Bergdahl?; Kristin Kolb on guns and the American psyche; Chris Floyd on the Terror War’s disastrous course.
Panic in Washington

The Cubans are Coming!

by JEAN-GUY ALLARD

Now they don’t even bother to hide their worry: the same politicians who slandered Cuba for decades, saying Cubans “can’t travel,” and even going so far as to draft laws meant to push disaffected Cubans to hurl themselves into the sea, are now rushing to figure out how to stop Cubans from arriving in the United States and, in case they manage to arrive, how to stop them from returning to Cuba.

Victims of the traps they themselves set at the height of the Cold War, when the Cuban Revolution, criminally isolated by the blockade, was forced to protect itself by any means, including restrictive migration laws, the Cuban American members of Congress and their clan have suddenly realized that they’ve shot themselves in the foot.  The political structure manufactured to serve U.S. annexationist plans toward Cuba is on red alert and desperately seeking a solution to what it has announced is a dangerous and unexpected invasion by those it has pretended to be defending.

“Once the new Cuban immigration laws go into force, on January 14, a Cuban will be able to leave Cuba for two years without losing his residency, and during this time will be able to obtain residence in the United States after spending a year and a day here,” explains a Washington based U.S. immigration expert.

“This will create a new kind of Cuban-American, with dual-residency, making the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) completely obsolete and even counter-productive.  The U.S. will be under urgent pressure to change its “Cuban” policy in order to avoid this taking place.  And right in the middle of a full debate on immigration reform.”

Incredibly, near the end of an interview granted to her friends in the subsidized “anti-Castro” press, the head of the anti-Cuban political mafia in Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, announced that she wants to revise this heretofore untouchable law, a fundamental part of the legal framework developed against Cuba.

The reporter, well known for his collaboration with U.S. government funded Voice of America – Radio Martí, asked if she would support a change to close the gaps in the law in respect to those who claim political persecution and then go on to travel frequently to Cuba.

Ros-Lehtinen’s answer was as twisted as a hot New York pretzel.

“Yes, I’m in favor of a change to the CAA so that those who use this singular and unique benefit that is only available to Cuban nationals, cannot return to visit Cuba.”  She added reasoning that she might have applied for quite some time: “One cannot say that one is subjected to political persecution in Cuba, and then go back to visit.”

In June, one of Ros-Lehtinen’s colleagues, the legislator David Rivera, had already been talking about reforming the CAA in order to cancel the permanent residence granted to Cuban refugees who return to Cuba within five years after their entry to the United States.  In the meantime, the controversial Rivera – under investigation for a number of corruption charges – was kicked to the curb in November’s elections, ending up in history’s great rubbish bin, along with his proposed immigration changes.

The Cuban Adjustment Act, approved in 1966, grants U.S. residency to any Cuban who reaches U.S. territory, while hundreds of Mexicans are hunted down in the land of the free by armed border guards, not to mention the armed vigilantes working on behalf of the repressive national system.

But the most absurd treatment of the subject in the land of Groucho Marx was yet to come.  El Nuevo Herald, the shining example of made-in-Florida journalism published a headline regarding the changes without even realizing the magnitude of its error. “The United States Urges Cubans to Refrain from Heading to Sea in Response to New (Cuban) Immigration Reform.”

The article is based on statements by William Ostick, spokesman for the State Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, acknowledging that the new Cuban immigration rules might trigger “changes” in the flow of immigrants coming from the island.

It goes on to explain that “The United States’ visa requirements will remain ‘unchanged,’ and a visa or other valid authorization will be required to enter this country.”  No mention is made of the other panic – that of the corporate bosses in the professional market who impose a series of norms, study programs, exams, etc. in order to gain entry.  They’re already trying to figure out how to rescind the privileges granted up until now in this sector, in order to provoke Cuban emigration.

English translation: Machetera. Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity.  This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

JEAN-GUY ALLARD lives in Cuba. He can be reached at: jean.guy.allard@gmail.com