Thursday, November 09, 2006

Carlos Lazo Resurfaces

A quick breakdown of who Carlos Lazo is for those that aren't familiar with his story.

Carlos Lazo is a Cuban-American that lives (or lived) in the Seattle area. He came from Cuba some years ago. He served in Iraq as a combat medic in the National Guard. While he was in Iraq and shortly after he returned, he began publicly denouncing the restrictions that the US currently enforces on travel to Cuba.

Lazo had left his two sons behind in Cuba and the restrictions limit family visits to Cuba to once every 3 years. Lazo didn't want to wait the 6-8 months he had left before 3 years had elapsed from his previous visit. I should add that one of his sons was reportedly recovering from a serious illness. So he became a media darling with publications all over the country (and the official Cuban press) picking up his sad story last summer.

At first I had sympathy for Mr. Lazo, especially given his distinguished service to his adopted country. But it soon became apparent that what Mr. Lazo wanted to do, more than see his sons, was change US policy. That's fine, that's his prerogative but he used his personal situation as a pretext. Why do I say that? Because at the time, he was offered visas for his sons to visit him here in the US and he refused them. If his sons were allowed to come here, he'd lose his pretext.

An excerpt from a story that ran in El Nuevo Herald last July:

Lazo complained that officials from the United States Interest Section in Havana (USINT) contacted his sons this week to give them an appointment at their diplomatic offices to consider extending them visitor visas.

"This was done behind my back, and against a family decision that we had discussed," stated Lazo. "For various reasons, they [the sons] can't come now."
You see, at the time that Lazo was lobbying congress to lift the travel restrictions there were amendments to a Treasury bill, that would accomplish that goal, being debated by the House of Representatives. The amendments failed and in October of 2005, after the media glow died down, Lazo quietly relented and his sons were given the visas and came to the US. They were supposed to stay for 3 months. I say quietly because there was nowhere near the amount of media fanfare surrounding the reunion as there was the original story.

Well Mr. Lazo reappeared last night, this time on local TV. He was a on show called Desvelados on Mega TV. He was debating the travel restrictions with someone that was in favor of them. I didn't get to see the whole thing, but I believe I heard the gentleman who was debating Lazo say that he was happy that Lazo "now has the company of his sons." So I'm left to assume that the sons asked for political asylum and have decided to live in the US permanently. Good for them.

Mr. Lazo, please stop using the story of your sons to curry sympathy. Everything worked out for you. You have the right to your opinions but you should be honest about your political views and stop hiding behind your boys. You left your sons behind in Cuba, not knowing when you'd see them again. You were then permitted to visit Cuba even though you were a member of the US military and Cuba is officially recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism by our government. You also know full well that castro apologists like Francisco Aruca and even the official Cuban media have used your story in their ongoing propaganda war. You have sought publicity for yourself and advocated for a change that would only serve to enrich the murderous castro regime that governs the country you fled from and that your sons have also decided to abandon.

Click here for earlier posts on Lazo and his saga click here, here, here, here and here.


Alex said...

Why is it OK whan Hilda Molina calls attention to the injustice of her family's separation, but not Lazo?

This is not about Lazo's political beliefs. He can be a Republican and a Bush supporter, and still consider the travel restrictions wrong, as many other CAs do. You don't know how he thinks.

And if Aruca uses Lazo's story for propaganda, well, maybe Bush should take down the measures so Aruca shuts up. Does that makes sense to you?

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

No it doesn't. Carlos Lazo is a castro apologist douchebag. Is that clear enough?

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

How about this? We lift the travel restrictions when Castro lifts his travel restrictions. Why can't your sister just come over and pay you a visit, it's a 30 minute flight?

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

And you know damned well that the difference between Lazo and Molina is that Lazo could visit with his boys in any other country in the world at any time and in Cuba every 3 years. He was then offered visas for his sons to visit him here in the US which he initially rejected. Molina has no such options, she can't leave to go to any country.

Alex said...

But her son can travel to Cuba anytime, he is an Arggentinian citizen why doesn't he? Because that doesn't solve the problem, which is that Hilda Molina should be allowed to leave Cuba. Or the larger problem, which is that family travel should be allowed, no restrictions.

I'm not going to argue with you why my sister can't come, because it's a moot point. I know very well is because a dictator doesn't let her. But I don't live under a dictatorship. I live in a system where I can, like Lazo, lobby and campaign and push for those restrictions to be lifted.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

I never said that Lazo shouldn't or shouldn't be able to campaign and push for whatever the hell he wants. Re-read the post. What I said is that he used his personal situation in a crass manner and when he was offered relief he refused it because it would have taken away his pretext.

In my many posts on the subject, I have also criticized the media which takes any opportunity to criticize the Bush administration and its policies while never criticizing the dictator. The fact that Lazo's kids are still here, a year later isn't news? The fact that they rejected the workers paradise, not interesting? I guess it's not interesting if you're only interested in trying to make the US look bad and making excuses for a tyrant.

I'll say it again and again because I have rights too: Carlos Lazo is castro apologist douchebag. I hope his kids have better sense than him.

Alex said...

I agreed with you on the media focus way back in Babalu, so no argument here either.

But let me ask you something: if Hilda Molina is allowed to go to Argentina and live with her son, should she also stop using her story to curry sympathy? Should she stop dennouncing the Castro regime since it'll all have worked out for her? That's the part I don't get. I know you say that Lazo has the right to campaign, but honestly I don't understand the animosity. Why apologist douchebag?

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Lazo complained that officials from the United States Interest Section in Havana (USINT) contacted his sons this week to give them an appointment at their diplomatic offices to consider extending them visitor visas.

"This was done behind my back, and against a family decision that we had discussed," stated Lazo. "For various reasons, they [the sons] can't come now."

Lazo CHOSE separation, not once (when he left Cuba) but twice (because it suited his desires to make an issue out of it). At the moment of truth he CHOSE separation.

Secondly, you and I work in the communications business. We both know that Mr. Lazo's media tour was no accident. It was one of the best P.R. campaigns of the year and should have won an "Inside P.R." award from "Reputation Management". I'd like to know who was pulling the strings and paying the freight for that.

Lastly, Dr. Molina is no bowl of cherries. Ella estaba con eso hasta ayer. But the situation is not analagous. It would be if she finally was able to leave and then started grousing about nor being able to go back.

The same old castro tactic (of accusing his accusers of the same behavior he's being accused of) is being employed here and Lazo is a faciliating it. It's easy because the media and the American public don't have the time or desire to see the nuances.

Here we are a country that opens its arms to Cubans who claim they are fleeing political opression. Then when they get the first opportunity they are on a plane right back to the country they fled. When a restriction is placed on them, they howl like banshees. Never mind that Lazo was uniformed member of the military and Cuba is designated as a terrorist state.

Whatever. The guy just rubs me the wrong way.

And yes Molina's son can go see her in Cuba, and he'd be taking a chance with his liberty. Even though he may be an Argentinean citizen he is also a Cuban citizen. And castro makes the rules for all Cubans (capriciously, I might add). Will he dare make an international incident by detaining a foreign citizen? Maybe not. But who would have thought that he'd shoot down two civilian aircraft over International waters, killing 3 US citizens and a US resident?