Friday, December 28, 2007

Humanitarian Crisis and The Blame Game

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the waters off Florida and Cuba has been in the news lately:

Forty who fled Cuba from the town of Perico have not been heard from in a month and are feared dead.

Last week, a boat carrying thirteen capsized, killing two who were fleeing Cuba.

This week, word that only three survived out of twenty eight on a boat heading to the United States.

Not surprisingly, the press has parroted the Regime claim that it is US policy which encourages people to flee. Not a single news report that I can find makes mention of conditions on the socialist paradise as the prime motivator for the exodus. Oh, well, you can count on some things not to change.

The single most insensitive comment comes from the Coast Guard, a branch of the military that is slowly sinking in my estimation.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil, public affairs officer for district in Miami, criticized South Florida migrant smuggling operations and what he said was "the tacit or direct protection of the local community." Here for the article.

Would he have the community turn their backs on those pitiable refugees, their brothers, sisters, cousins, who run the gauntlet of the Cuban patrols, the Gulf, and the Coast Guard? This is the community that has half an idea what they are fleeing. What about those who land in other areas? Not too long ago, refugees were put ashore at Boca Grande. They weren't pelted with stones. Members of the anglo community brought them blankets, soup, a translator, etc....

The reason people are fleeing Cuba is not our policies; it is the oppression, political and economic, of their own government. To tighten our policies would do no good. Being illegal has not stopped Mexicans from crossing the border. As long as current conditions exist in Cuba, there will be boatloads of people willing to risk their lives to flee them. So don't blame the US.

If we are to criticize the US, it is to say that our present policy, the infamous Wet foot/Dry foot is immoral. Any policy that results in the Coast Guard firing on unarmed refugees is just plain wrong. I understand that there are political considerations in play here, but another approach is needed. One of the most novel I've read is to turn Guantanamo into a model city, a propaganda tool against the regime. Not a bad idea.

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