ALEX PENELAS, MAYOR OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, MISSES THE GOLDEN MOMENT
by Elias Seife
Ted Koppel of Nightline, asked the correct question. He asked Alex Penelas, Mayor of Miami-Dade County if he was willing to tell Janet Reno, the US Attorney General, in her face, that she was personally responsible for any acts of violence that would occur in Dade County. Much, to the dismay of freedom loving Americans, Mr. Penellas backed down and was made to appear apologetic.
It would have been the right moment to express to a national audience, what the Cuban community really felt, and why Ms. Reno deserves criticism.
39 years ago. On April 17, 1961, Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General of the United States along with his brother John Kennedy, the President of the United States, in the most despicable act of betrayal against the Cuban people, after having promised Air cover, ammunition, and logistical support, left 1500 Cuban freedom fighters on the beaches of Playa Giron to die with nothing.
It is only fitting, a true sense of justice, that today so many years later, that the same Cubans, their brothers and sisters are in a position of economic and political influence in the most powerful country on earth. Life in exile and "The American Dream" have not been able to erase the deep rooted sentiments of heritage, freedom and justice of the Cuban community.
The saga of the Cuban-exile-US relation of friend, trust and betrayal continues. It is ironic that today, the individuals in the same 2 positions in the United States government are refusing to hear arguments in the political asylum case of 6-year old Cuban boy Elian Gonzales.
The administration is in a furious rush to lift all sanctions against Communist Cuba, which include normalizing relations, lifting the embargo and revoking the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. Every time a Cuban rafter is interdicted at sea, he is sent back to slavery in Cuba. The right to Political asylum is being vilified, due to fact that Communist Dictatorships are being characterized as a "different political ideology", and not for what it really is, morally unacceptable, plain, simple slavery.
There is a moral dilemma in this country, and the Cuban cause is a just cause. Whether or not to be friendly to communist countries because having their people forced to work as slaves would benefit the US and world economy. China, Vietnam, North Korea. Should Cuba be next? There is one problem. There is political force made-up of many thousands of Cuban-Americans living in the South Florida area that is in the way of such immorality. For this we have been hated, and envied not just here in the United States but around the world. Ironically we are speaking in behalf of the principles upon which this great nation was founded.
Although some characteristics might seem the same, poor countries are not to be compared to communist countries. Communism is a political system that promotes poverty for the workers and wealth for the dictatorial elite.
So, YES, I do hold the Attorney General and the President of the United States responsible for the frustrations of the Cuban people and for not protecting the principles of freedom and democracy.
God Bless America, home of the Free and Land of the Brave. May it forever be this way.
April 8, 2000