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The Only Thing That Interests The Castros About Emigres Is Their Money

The Only Thing That Interests The Castros About Emigres Is Their Money /

Ivan Garcia

Ivan Garcia, Translator: Unstated

They have gone from being persecuted, insulted and accused of being

traitors during the first three decades after the Communist revolution

to becoming the main pipeline for the dollars that prop up the regime.

The story of the Cuban diaspora in the last 53 years is marked by verbal

lynchings, graffiti and artillery attacks of rocks or rotten eggs on the

houses of those who were leaving the country, years in jail for those

who tried to leave, and an irate Fidel Castro at a public trial calling

them "worms, low-lifes and scum."

Taking a plane to Florida or setting off on a rustic craft with a

sailor's compass meant unleashing Castro's implacable fury. During the

1960s would-be emigrés were made to work long hours doing agricultural

work before the government would issue them exit visas.

A letter received from or sent to a relative on the other side of the

pond would prompt an urgent meeting of the trade union or the party, and

the person would be accused of "ideological weakness." Underprivileged

blacks would be intimidated with tales of racism. If they abandoned the

fatherland, the Ku Klux Klan and its dogs, trained to eat Negroes, would

mercilessly tear them apart.

According to the Castro-controlled media, the first wave of emigrés were

bourgeoisie, businessmen, misfits or people who had earned their money

taking advantage of the poor. Later they were low-lifes,

good-for-nothings, convicts, prostitutes and faggots incapable of

becoming examples of the New Man in an "unparalleled society, the

threshold of heaven on earth."

After the fall of the Berlin Wall Cuban professionals and athletes

defected the first chance they got. The offensive language has now been

shelved, but acts of repudiation have been revived as a weapon against

dissidents.

Those who leave Cuba are still written off by the official media. There

are no reports or in-depth articles about achievements of Cubans

overseas.On the island there was no impact from the two home runs,from

both sides of the plate in the same inning, by Kendrys Morales. Of the

awards and prizes given to writers and poets in exile, not a word has

been published.

As Rubén Martínez Villena said, they are only useful once they are dead.

LikeCabrera Infante or Celia Cruz. The nation's press has not reported

on an article written by prominent academics at the University of

Florida, whose data and statistics provide evidence of the strength of

the Cuban exile community.

When leafing through Juventude Rebelde (Rebel Youth), nowhere will you

find any mention that in 2011 the country received more than two billion

dollars in remittances. Cuban Americans spent a similar amount during

vacation trips to Cuba and in endless purchases of consumer goods for

their impoverished relatives.

Radio Rebelde says nothing about a study by the Pew Hispanic Center

which reports that the median income for Cubans in the United States

over the age of sixteen is $26,478, greater than the estimated $21,488

for the rest of the Hispanic community.

It is undeniable that, thanks to the Refugee Adjustment Act*, members of

the Cuban diaspora enjoy privileges that other Latino immigrants do not.

But the gains they have achieved are undeniable. They are leaders of

important companies, are a force behind Miami's growth and vitality, and

constitute a handful of politicians with Cuban backgrounds. Eleven

delegates to the Florida legislature are Cuban.

The official press maintains a low and ambiguous profile with respect to

the exile community. Foolish rhetoric would have us believe that people

emigrate only to get a car and a well-furnished, air-conditioned

apartment. Yes, people leave in order to have decent salaries, satellite

antennae and unrestricted access to the internet.

But they also leave the country to be reborn as free men. Hold a

plebiscite among the more than two million exiles and, I am quite

certain,the results would confirm that a majority do not want to retain

the Castros in power.

The regime knows this. It is aware of the danger that closer ties and a

loosening of emigration restrictions would pose. The exiles' economic

power and business know-how would put an end to the shoddy workmanship

and habitual idleness of Cuban factories. They would become a potential

threat to the status quo of the governing class, which now controls all

reserves of hard currency.

To the Castros the only thing about emigration that interests them is

the money. Exiles can come visit Cuba and spend a lot. Every time they

bring in more dollars. But they do not like them too much. There can be

no investments in strategic economic sectors. It's better to keep

burdening them with brutal tourism taxes and let them send packages to

the island. Castro has no desire to treat emigrés fairly.

They will never allow overseas Cubans to hold political office or vote

in elections. It is very difficult to change this mentality. These

autocrats have always viewed the diaspora as a time bomb, a bunch of

"worms," a legion of traitors.

When exiles learn how to use their economic power as a weapon, it will

force the government to change the outdated dialog and the anachronistic

laws. In the meantime, it needs them only to fill the collection box.

Photo: Taken from the Gold Alert website.

*Translator's note: A U.S. law, passed in 1966 with amendments added

later, that allows Cuban refugees to apply for permanent resident status

after living in the U.S. for one year.

September 1 2012

http://translatingcuba.com/the-only-thing-that-interests-the-castros-about-emigrs-is-their-money-ivan-garcia/

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