Friday, August 11, 2006

In Miami, Graying Anti-Castro Movement Is Losing Steam

A pretty well-written piece here by Carol Williams of th LA Times on the current hapless state of the Cuban-American community. Defending attacks and planning for an invasion of Cuba used to be no-brainers in Miami, but after 9/11 and Elian, things changed, she argues. More recent migrations are also not as fiercely anti-Castro. They want to visit family and send them money, something US Law under "compassionate" Pres. Bush has now made next to impossible.

I might have stressed that the Cuban-American political voice and influence within the Adminstraiton remains quite strong and hard-line, as evidenced by the statements coming out of their mouths about not waiting to intervene and ability to successfully lobby the Pentagon divert military aircraft for Radio and TV Marti (propoganda broadcasts encouraging sedition right now). I might have also stressed the basic moral and legal problems with the hard-line arguments in favor of intervention and violence.

The once-monolithic voice of exiles that dictated a hard-line U.S. policy on the island nation has fractured along generational lines.

By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
August 11, 2006

MIAMI — At the height of the Cuban-American exile rallies after President Fidel Castro ceded power July 31, there were never more than a few hundred participants in the streets. Their noisy celebrations of Castro's latest illness showed a bitter face to the rest of the world.

But the embarrassed quiet that now prevails is perhaps a more accurate indicator of the mood among the city's largest ethnic minority.

The community's once-monolithic political voice that dictated a hard-line U.S. policy on Cuba for four decades has fractured along generational lines and weakened as a national force.

Militancy is out of fashion in this post-9/11 world, as evidenced not only by the recent sparsely attended demonstrations but by government cases against its last defiant practitioners.

It would have been unthinkable just a few years ago for immigration authorities to detain Luis Posada Carriles, a Bay of Pigs veteran, CIA operative and suspected bomber of a Cuban airliner.

When Castro foes held every major political office here, powerful businessmen like developer Santiago Alvarez never faced the indignities of prosecution and jail for allegedly organizing armed assaults against the regime in Havana.

For most of the nearly 48 years that Castro has been in power, Jose Antonio Llama, who now admits to an assassination plan for which he was tried and acquitted, would have feared for his life after revealing in interviews the names of others who plotted with him.

But today, Alvarez idles in a federal jail on charges of amassing assault weapons, Posada awaits deportation for illegal entry into the U.S., and Llama talks with impunity, contending there is nothing to fear from fellow exiles he sees as having gone soft.


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