Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Equality in Immigration Policies

I was reading one of my favorite local blogs, Critical Miami, and found a link to a comment from 26th Parallel that I must have missed when it came out a while back. It refers to a Carl Hiassen column in which he highlights the special case of the wet foot/dry foot policy and claims that the unequal treatment of Hatians is a result of racism.

Hiassen's thinking on this is not new. We've heard it all 1000 times (as well as historical reasons for the "special" treatment), but perhaps my thinking may be new to you.

Not all Cubans are white. In fact a great percentage of Cubans are black or mulato. The wet foot/dry foot policy (which is no bowl of cherries by the way) does not restrict itself to whites. It's for all Cubans.

I was speaking to someone at Cuba Nostalgia the other day and what he said was so clear that it was almost an epiphany for me. In a nutshell he said that the U.S. invaded Haiti to remove Aristide who had become a dictator. We'd be glad to have same immigration policy towards Cubans if the country would follow the same foreign policy as it did in Haiti's case. Instead our country became fidel's protector after the missile crisis.


gansibele said...

The US intervened (not invaded) Haiti not to remove Aristide, but to put him back in power. He had been elected democratically in 90 or 91 and then was removed by a military coup. The head of the coup was colonel Raoul Cedras, he was the one who was forced to resign under threat of invasion (btw, by Bill Clinton, after Bush refused to intervene). The negotiations to make Cedras step down were led by Jimmy Carter and Colin Powell. The US went in afterwards, as part of a UN peacekeeping force. There was little bloodshed. Cedras and his cohorts were allowed to leave for Paris and I believe he's still there.

Aristide's corruption issues came much later. Back then he was a populist priest.

I don't really see a parallel with Cuba. Maybe the US should have taken the same approach when Batista made his coup in 52. Or (it's a stretch) but if the famous air support in Bay of Pigs had materialized. An invasion of Cuba will be the catalyst of an insurrection that will make Iraq look like a walk in the park. Unless you are proposing that the Castros and their clique are allowed to leave the country.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

On Feb. 29 2004, the United States armed forces "facilitated [aristide's] safe departure from Haiti."

Call it what you will but it was a regime change. Like I said I would not mind the US facilitating a safe departure from Cuba for Fidel Castro, except that I would want it to be to an 8' x 8' cell.

gansibele said...

Oh, if you were referring to the 2004 operation where Aristide was put on a US military plane and flown to the Central African Republic; that was not the removal of a dictator, that was France's and the US idea to stop civil war in Haiti. Aristide accepted the plan (altough later he claimed to have been kidnapped by Marines).

In any case, it's not a realistic scenario for Cuba either. Note that the US only intervened AFTER anti-Aristide rebels had control over significant areas and were on the verge of victory. Something that's not happening in Cuba any time soon.

BTW, if a Cuban-led rebellion were to happen and after it was established as a legitimate threat to Castro the US intervened to avoid further bloodshed, then I'm totally with that. What's not acceptable to me is a direct military intervention ala Iraq.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

I don't think using Iraq as the example is fair. Intelligence failures aside, Iraq violated several UN resolutions, was subverting the oil for food program and was not living up to the terms of the surrender of the first gulf war which was started strictly because of Iraqi agression. All that said, I understand what you mean but don't agree with it. I'd welcome a Noreiga style raid but hey that's just one simple man's opinion. Certainly there are charges that could be brought against fidel and raul.