Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 02, 2010

House hopefuls can't escape Cuba factor

(pic2) Cuba is a passionate point of contention in the fiery race between David Rivera, at right, a Republican, and Joe Garcia, a Democrat, for Florida's 25th congressional district, which stretches from Homestead and Doral and across the Everglades to near Naples, a Miami Herald article says.
The two Cuban Americans – who at different times each worked for the Cuban American National Foundation – back the trade embargo and a ban on U.S. tourist travel, but are otherwise at odds on greater engagement with the island.
For evidence, look no further than their campaign contributions: Those who want more travel to Cuba are contributing to Garcia. Those in favor of keeping tougher sanctions against Cuba back Rivera.
(pic1) Garcia hopes to demonstrate that Cuban-American voters embrace more dialogue with the island. However, he is facing an uphill fight.
During the primary, almost twice as many Republicans than Democrats voted in the District 25 race. Statewide, Republicans went to the polls in droves, outnumbering Democrats by 350,000.
On Spanish-language radio, Rivera has sought to frame the congressional race as one critical to U.S. policy.
That stance can score points for him among staunch supporters of travel restrictions and the embargo. But the issue could turn off voters who agree with Garcia and do not consider Cuba a key electoral issue.
To read the entire Herald article, click here.
–Patricia Mazzei and Lesley Clark.
Posted by Renato Perez at 11:34 AM in Politics, U.S.-Cuba relations
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September 01, 2010

Dissidents don't mind that Spanish visitors shun them, if their visit aids the prisoners

The Ladies in White on Wednesday said they did not mind that the Spanish socialist officials who visited Havana did not plan to meet with them because "what's really important is for them to do (fot2) something positive for the political prisoners in Cuba."
(For background, see previous blog entry and our Aug. 30 item "Visit by Spanish Socialists Draws Fire.")
"This is not something that worries us," Berta Soler, a spokeswoman for the group, told Europa Press. "If they can do something for the political prisoners, if they can achieve something positive during their trip to Cuba, then it doesn't bother us that they don't want to meet with us."
Soler acknowledged that the Spanish government had much to do with the release of 52 political prisoners.
"Spain has opened its doors to those men and that's something we should be grateful for," she told the news agency in a phoned interview.
Still, the release process "has not been as we would have liked," she said, explaining that the prisoners are freed and taken directly to the airport for the flight to Madrid. She would prefer to see the men released to their homes first.
"Since they'll be banished like the others, at least they should be given the right to bid farewell to their people," she said. And, once in Spain, they should be given political asylum "because they have been persecuted."
To read the Europa Press report, in Spanish, click here.
–Renato Pérez Pizarro.
S: Cuban Colada

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