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Cubans' return 'just not right,' Gov. Bush says
Miami Herald ^ | July 31, 2003 | PETER WALLSTEN

Posted on 07/31/2003 11:15:11 PM PDT by FairOpinion

With political tension building over the U.S. government's decision to ship 12 boat hijacking suspects back to face prison in Cuba, Gov. Jeb Bush took the unusual step Thursday of criticizing his own brother's administration for the negotiations that led to the repatriation.

The governor's rebuke, delivered during an interview with The Herald, comes as President Bush and the Republican Party face a rising tide of anger among Cuban-American exile leaders, who say last week's repatriation of the boaters is the latest offense by a GOP president who has failed to fulfill campaign promises to toughen policies targeting Fidel Castro's government.

''Despite the good intentions of the administration to negotiate the safety of these folks, that is an oppressive regime, and given the environment in Cuba, it's just not right'' to have sent the Cubans back, Gov. Bush said in an interview aboard his plane from Tampa to Miami.

''There's an expectation that I'm going to be in lock step with the administration, and that tends to happen,'' the governor added. ``But from time to time I have to disagree, and this is one of them.''

While such a public critique of his brother's administration is striking, the governor was also quick to defend the president's overall record on Cuba -- an indication his remarks are intended to diminish any political fallout that could hurt the president's reelection bid and other Republicans next year.

The governor said that he has asked several high-level officials in the administration to review what happened and why, although he said he has not spoken directly to his brother. He said that neither he nor his brother knew of the decision to send the 12 back to Cuba until it was too late.

''Early on, I was under the impression they would be sent to a third country,'' the governor said.

CHANGE IN POLICY

The governor hinted at a major announcement of some kind by his brother's administration in the coming months related to Cuba policy. ''I think this can be rectified,'' he said.

The issue could prove politically damaging to the president, who relied, in part, on hundreds of thousands of typically loyal Republican Cuban Americans in 2000 to narrowly win Florida and, as a result, the White House.

The president's advisors believe Florida could be pivotal for his reelection next year. Democratic challengers are already angling to exploit the flap, with Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman calling a South Florida news conference earlier this week to declare the repatriation an ''abandonment of American values,'' and then showing up at the Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana to mingle.

But the statements by the president's younger brother -- a Miami resident and fluent Spanish speaker with credibility among exile activists -- could serve to help repair the damage by reminding Cuban Americans of the brothers' close ties to them.

The governor acknowledged in the interview that losing Cuban-American support could be devastating to the GOP, noting that President Bill Clinton's success in wooing even a mere third of their vote helped him win Florida in 1996.

A key critic on Thursday welcomed the potential for changes in policy but attributed the governor's assurances to politics.

''I think they're going to have to do something, because they can't win Florida without the Cuban-American community's overwhelming support,'' said Joe Garcia, executive director of the influential Cuban American National Foundation, whose top leadership has been especially critical of the Bushes in recent days. ``Unfortunately, it took the foundation and others demanding action over things that were promised three years ago.''

In the interview, Gov. Bush called Lieberman's move a ''repugnant'' political play, saying that he registered his disagreement with the White House ``with respect, not rancor.''

Acknowledging a failure by the White House to articulate a ''coherent policy'' on Cuba, the governor added that the president would announce major changes in policy sometime before the 2004 election.

He declined to offer specifics, offering only that ``there's been work over the last six months to develop a coherent policy.''

Officials at the White House and the State Department did not return calls for comment.

The decision to send back the 12 hijack suspects was particularly stinging to exile leaders in the wake of months of crackdowns by Castro's government against political dissidents.

The U.S. government negotiated with Cuba to return the would-be migrants. The agreement: Their lives would be spared, but the Cubans, suspected of hijacking a boat and three of 15 passengers, could each be sentenced to serve up to 10 years in prison.

The deal unleashed a storm of discontent from foundation leaders, who bashed President Bush along with the three Republican Cuban Americans who represent Miami in Congress.

Exile leaders are upset that, despite Bush's assurances, financial aid to dissidents in Cuba has not been increased and turmoil remains at Radio and TV Martí.

Critics also complain that Bush has maintained the Clinton administration policy of preventing lawsuits by U.S. citizens over land seized by the Cuban government after the 1959 revolution.

DEMOCRATIC SWAY

At the same time, Democrats are trying to make a case that Cuban-American voters should not remain singularly loyal to the GOP. Many leading Republicans in Congress and the business groups that fund their campaigns are pushing to end the trade embargo with Cuba -- a reality that Democrats hope gives them a chance to woo Cuban Americans on other issues such as education and healthcare.

Besides Lieberman, Florida Sen. Bob Graham, another Democratic contender for president, is a popular figure among exile leaders for his support of the embargo.

Two other candidates, Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina, have met with exile leaders in recent months as well.

The governor was careful during Thursday's interview to defend his brother's overall record on Cuba policy.

He blamed the lack of action on the national security team's focus on terrorism and war.

''One incident is not what will be remembered about the record of my brother's administration,'' the governor said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Cuba; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: cuban; florida; jebbush; refugees; repariated; return
"The governor hinted at a major announcement of some kind by his brother's administration in the coming months related to Cuba policy. ''I think this can be rectified,'' he said."

---

I hope it will be that Bush rescinds the terrible Clinton policy of "wet foot, dry foot", which is what caused the return of the Cuban refugees.

1 posted on 07/31/2003 11:15:11 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: FairOpinion
Latin Americans hail the new U.S. policy chief***WASHINGTON - After years of feeling all but forgotten by Washington, Latin American officials Wednesday welcomed Roger Noriega's confirmation as the first Senate-approved assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs since 1999.

''This is one of the best decisions the Senate has made in more than five years,'' El Salvador Ambassador Rene Antonio León Rodríguez said after the Senate vote late Tuesday. ``U.S. policy will have a champion now. And the region will finally get the attention it deserves.''

Noriega's confirmation came after a long delay because Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., had been blocking the vote for months in an effort to force a Senate vote on his proposal for easing restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba.

''We had all been waiting for so long that we stopped watching,'' said Ana Navarro, a longtime Miami lobbyist and friend of Noriega, the current U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States.

Until Tuesday, the Senate had refused to confirm a series of nominees for the State Department job, in charge of relations with Washington's hemispheric neighbors, since 1999 because of a string of political disputes. The post had been held since then on an interim or appointed basis by four officials.***

2 posted on 07/31/2003 11:48:50 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: FairOpinion
George wrong, Jeb right.
3 posted on 07/31/2003 11:51:23 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: jwalsh07
>George wrong, Jeb right.

I agree. Now where do George Sr., Barbara, Barbara Jr., and Jenna stand?
4 posted on 08/01/2003 1:58:38 AM PDT by jagrmeister
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To: FairOpinion
Cubans returned, Cubans throw tantrum, Cubans get their way.

Hatians returned, no one gives a rats ass.

The double standard is sickening at best, racsist at worst.

5 posted on 08/01/2003 2:25:23 AM PDT by zarf (Dan Rather is god.)
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To: jwalsh07
I disagree. Any illegals caught here or in territorial waters should be sent back.
6 posted on 08/01/2003 6:44:24 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: FairOpinion
Jeb Bush to Fidel: "Let your people go. I will take them in." = pandering
7 posted on 08/01/2003 6:54:32 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: raybbr
Why would you think sending freedom seekers back to the commie Castro to kill would be a good idea?
8 posted on 08/01/2003 7:03:28 AM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: FairOpinion; walrus954
Thanks for posting this article; you beat me to it! :)

Here's the photo published with it:


DISAGREES: Gov. Bush said the U.S. lacks a coherent Cuba policy, but defended his brother's overall record on Cuba.

walrus954, FYI. :)
9 posted on 08/01/2003 8:19:46 AM PDT by summer
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To: jwalsh07
Re your post #3 - I agree, and I am glad Gov Bush spoke out here.
10 posted on 08/01/2003 8:20:44 AM PDT by summer
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To: FairOpinion
Also reported in the Associated Press.
11 posted on 08/01/2003 8:27:32 AM PDT by summer
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To: jwalsh07
Because I see them as invaders of our country.
12 posted on 08/01/2003 10:39:18 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: raybbr
I disagree. Any illegals caught here or in territorial waters should be sent back…Because I see them as invaders of our country.

Cuban refugees on our soil are not illegal.

They are candidates for asylum.

13 posted on 08/01/2003 10:42:06 AM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: dead
Not as far as I'm concerned.
14 posted on 08/01/2003 10:47:32 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: raybbr
You're free to call anybody who isn't breaking the law "illegal" to your hearts content, as long as you don't try to jail them yourself.
15 posted on 08/01/2003 10:51:39 AM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: raybbr
The way i look at it ...

1. Mexican Illegals = invaders ... generally vote Dem ... send them back
2. Islamic Illegals = terrorists ... blow up things and kill Americans ... shot em on sight
3. Cuban Refugees = Asylum seekers ... generally conservative and vote Rep and may have provided the votes to win Fl. ... let em stay

16 posted on 08/01/2003 10:52:54 AM PDT by clamper1797 (Conservative by nature ... Republican in Spirit ... Patriot by Heart ... and Anti Liberal BY GOD)
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To: raybbr
Why don't we start with the Mexicans first and get to the Cubans last. Mexicans aren't killed when they are return to their country but are instead encouraged to go back to the US.
17 posted on 08/01/2003 10:53:15 AM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: FairOpinion
Oh, I am sure he will. In time for maximum Campaign Exposure.
18 posted on 08/01/2003 10:57:13 AM PDT by hobbes1 ( Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you don't have to" ;)
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To: dead
If they were breaking no laws then why were they sent back? Is it not illegal for foreign citizens to come to our country without going through proper channels?
19 posted on 08/01/2003 11:07:38 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: clamper1797
So, you are saying as long as an illegal alien is willing to vote Republican let them stay. You are just as bad as the mexicans who come here and vote illegally.
20 posted on 08/01/2003 11:09:28 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: RockyMtnMan
Either way it is not my concern. They are foreign citizens entering our country illegally.
21 posted on 08/01/2003 11:10:35 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: raybbr
So, you are saying as long as an illegal alien is willing to vote Republican let them stay. You are just as bad as the mexicans who come here and vote illegally

Most illegal Mexicans are here to milk the system and don't really want to be Americans
Most Cuban Refugees (none of which are illegal BTW ... unless you are a Castro shill) Most cuban REFUGEES are coming here to escape tyranny and want to be Americans ... big difference ... personal attack ignored for now

22 posted on 08/01/2003 11:16:33 AM PDT by clamper1797 (Conservative by nature ... Republican in Spirit ... Patriot by Heart ... and Anti Liberal BY GOD)
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To: raybbr
If they were breaking no laws then why were they sent back?

They were sent back for hijacking, which is a crime. Cubans emmigrating to the US are not guilty of a crime, unless their crime is something else (like hijacking.)

Is it not illegal for foreign citizens to come to our country without going through proper channels?

No, it is not illegal for Cubans to come to this country without any paperwork. The only “proper channel” they have to go through is the Straights of Florida.

23 posted on 08/01/2003 11:24:27 AM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: raybbr
Because I see them as invaders of our country.

You'll notice that most of the people who are pro Cuban invasion don't have to live next to them. It's OK for Republicans to pander for Cuban votes, but it is wrong for Rats to pander for Mexican votes. If Cubans want to be ingenious and risk their lives, they should do it attempting to assassinate Castro.

24 posted on 08/01/2003 11:36:51 AM PDT by Moonman62
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To: Moonman62
You'll notice that most of the people who are pro Cuban invasion don't have to live next to them.

Exactly how did you calculate this astonishing fact via people's anonymous internet postings, Kreskin?

BTW, I’m currently within five miles of Union City, New Jersey, which has more Cubans in its one square mile than there are in Havana.

25 posted on 08/01/2003 11:40:04 AM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: dead
BTW, I’m currently within five miles of Union City, New Jersey, which has more Cubans in its one square mile than there are in Havana.

Thanks for the warning. I know some Cubans that are nice, educated, well-behaved people. They almost all came from Cuba in the early 1960's. The vast majority of Cubans who've come over since then, and have remained around Miami are friggin animals.

26 posted on 08/01/2003 11:48:16 AM PDT by Moonman62
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To: summer
Thanks! I've been following this story and thought it was very interesting the Governor's comments today. Still don't know which Bush I agree with.
27 posted on 08/01/2003 2:39:13 PM PDT by walrus954
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To: raybbr
Because I see them as invaders of our country.

I see them as freedom seekers who have had it up to there eyeballs with commie totalitarinaism.

Funny how we see things so differently.

28 posted on 08/01/2003 3:01:53 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: jwalsh07; clamper1797; dead
If it was legal for Cubans to come here then why were they sent back?

If it is legal for Cubans to come here then why don't they come in droves?

If it is legal for Cubans to come here then show me the State Department law/regulation endorsing this!!!!

29 posted on 08/01/2003 3:29:17 PM PDT by raybbr
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To: raybbr
If it was legal for Cubans to come here then why were they sent back?

How many times do I have to answer this stupid question? Post #23 didn’t do it? Cubans, who are also hijackers, do not share the same rights as you average Cuban boat person.

If it is legal for Cubans to come here then why don't they come in droves?

Because they live in a communist prison, and if the guards catch them trying to escape, they kill them. Then they often imprison their surviving family. Where the hell have you been for the last 40 years?

If it is legal for Cubans to come here then show me the State Department law/regulation endorsing this!!!!

See The Cuban Adjustment Act, signed into law by Lyndon Johnson, November 2, 1966. It was further clarified and reiterated on April 26, 1999 by the INS’s Clarification of Eligibility for Permanent Residence Under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

It read, in part:

Cubans — along with their spouses and children— who arrive at other than designated ports-of-entry into the United States are eligible for parole, as well as eventual adjustment of status to that of permanent resident, under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA).

30 posted on 08/01/2003 5:29:13 PM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: dead
It read, in part: Cubans — along with their spouses and children— who arrive at other than designated ports-of-entry into the United States are eligible for parole, as well as eventual adjustment of status to that of permanent resident, under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA).

Okay, but they didn't make it, did they?

I, personally, don't care about Cubans. If you are so concerned about them why not publicly advocate invading their country and killing Castro so all these wonderful people can be free?

31 posted on 08/02/2003 5:39:13 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: raybbr
If you are so concerned about them...

I'm not that concerned about them, I'm concerned about people who are obviously completely ignorant of the law, yet keep insisting that they are right.

And then, after you spend an entire day trying to convince them that they are ignorant, you finally succeed and they change the argument to unrelated talk of invasion.

I just think people like that should that should admit that they don't know anything, and they should stop pontificating on issues they know nothing about.

But America's a free country and those people are allowed to flaunt their ignorance without fear of reprisals. Unlike Cubans.

32 posted on 08/02/2003 6:53:47 AM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: dead
You can't convince me of something that isn't true. Cubans cannot legally enter this country. It is the policy of the U.S. to return them unless they make landfall which these people clearly didn't.
33 posted on 08/02/2003 12:56:57 PM PDT by raybbr
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To: raybbr
My initial post to you:

Cuban refugees on our soil are not illegal. They are candidates for asylum.

Your response:

Not as far as I'm concerned.

You were wrong. You’re still wrong.

I’m done trying to educate you. It’s impossible.

34 posted on 08/02/2003 2:37:59 PM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: FairOpinion
I hope it will be that Bush rescinds the terrible Clinton policy ...

As far as I'm concerned, if President Bush is continuing to follow Clinton's policy, it has become Bush's policy.

35 posted on 08/02/2003 2:46:32 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: dead
Gosh, it must be tough being the smartest person on FR. I still don't care about the ugly Cubans or their plight.
36 posted on 08/03/2003 3:31:11 AM PDT by raybbr
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