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General political chat

Discussion in 'Politics and Social Issues' started by truecoat, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    I understand that, which is why I didn't include Haiti in my comment. My point was.. I don't think it's a fair point to blame the US Government or make it seem like Obama suddenly made things so much better. Only their own government has the power to do that.
     
  2. SorcererMC

    SorcererMC Well-Known Member

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    While it's true that economic disparity is a factor that drives migration patterns, I believe @21stamps has this right...the proper context of recent Cuban immigration to the US is the anticipated shift in US policy. The number of Cubans coming to the US doubled from 2014-16. You can read more about the surge in Cuban immigration here: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/13/cuban-immigration-to-u-s-surges-as-relations-warm/

    Also worth noting is that there are 2 million people in the US who are Cuban or of Cuban heritage...since this immigrant diaspora is concentrated in FL(Miami/Tampa), that partly explains their ability to be politically influential when it comes to national policy. Aka strength in numbers, which is how our system is designed to work. (Other countries who are human rights abusers simply do not have sufficient numbers of emigrants to the US to influence policy).
     
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  3. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    I don't even know what Europe wants from us anymore. No matter what we do, they criticize.
    I think change will come to Cuba, and I believe it would have had much less of a chance to ever happen if we continue to allow cruise ships and tourism to financially support their government.
     
  4. SorcererMC

    SorcererMC Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. As I understand it, the new policy favors the non-state owned casa particulares. I think it's important that the Cuban people see the direct benefits from tourism, rather than indirectly via the government. Because of the labor contract system with the Ministry of Tourism for hotel employees, ~90% of the wage payment per employee goes to the state treasury (although some is redistributed to employees as 'bonuses').
     
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  5. Sir_Cliff

    Sir_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    Isn't that just evidence of the fact that Cubans anticipated that their favoured status as immigrants was coming to an end and if they were going to make the journey they had to do it soon? Surely if a similar arrangement had existed with, say, Guatemalan immigrants there would have been a similar surge of immigrants from that country if a similar change in policy was foreshadowed.

    There is certainly an influential voting bloc concentrated in an important state under the US electoral college system. It's fine to say that this is just how your democracy works, but I personally find it disgusting that 11 million people in Cuba have to suffer for more than 50 years because it has historically been smart politics to pander to this group of 1 issue voters for US politicians. To say that they would be fine if the Cubans just did what the American government told them to do is the absolute height of arrogance. Trust me, they learn about the Platt Amendment and the long history of US-Cuban relations in school so they know how this relationship has traditionally worked.
     
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  6. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    I have to defend Cuban Americans for a second, most of them are really not one issue voters. Not from what I've ever seen.

    They are strong believers in capitalism, in lower taxes, small government, in personal freedom.. not just Cuban- American relations.
     
  7. SorcererMC

    SorcererMC Well-Known Member

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    W/ respect to the decision to flee, I'm suggesting that the dramatic increase in Cuban refugees is due to the failure of the incremental changes taken by the Raul Castro government since 2008, that they are insufficient to convince the current population that their circumstances are improving. They are voting with their feet. They would stay if they believed that rapprochement between the US and Cuba was going to benefit them. (wouldn't they?)

    Re: Guatemala - the answer to that is....it depends. Immigration policy is implemented according to bilateral relationships, on a case by case basis, where country of origin is a factor in adjudication. What is the current political and economic climate in that country? What is the historical relationship between the US and that country? For example, do you recall when Hondurans were fleeing narcoviolence, sometimes sending their children unaccompanied to the US-Mexico border, by the tens of thousands? The US shifted their resources in order to accommodate the changing circumstances/ crisis; sometimes children were placed with a relative here in the US, sometimes detained and returned (if I remember correctly)....which is to say that there were temporary policy changes. But at the start of the crisis, the migrants could not have known whether or not the US would accommodate them on a special case basis.

    In my view, it is more than 'smart politics' (although they were fortunate in that their desired policies aligned with US strategic interest)....it is personal. Maybe you have never known Cuban exiles? I have. Families who fled Cuba, who lost everything - their businesses, their homes, and friends/ family. So I tend to agree with the 1996 Libertad Act which seeks formal negotiations for compensation....the Title III provision is renewed about every 6 months, I don't know whether or not the Trump administration has or will renew it.

    I do not think that the Cuban government 'should just do what the American government tells them to do'. Rather, I don't think that US policy should, in effect, financially reward the Cuban government (and military), without the Cuban government making any adjustments or allowances, to ensure that the Cuban population benefits directly from those gains. You don't have to like it, but issue linkage is often how foreign policy is conducted, for better or worse. It's a negotiation...which usually means that both sides have to compromise or make concessions.

    ETA: I'm not sure how that reads but for the record I was and am in favor of the reestablishment of US-Cuba relations; nor do I think that the Cuban population should suffer for the shortcomings of their government. I understand the complicated history behind it....I think it was a major shift for the US to drop 'regime change' as its policy, and that moving forward in good faith is a welcome step.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  8. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    Your first sentence was my exact point of posting the statistics.

    I'll add to your comment as well.. I think most of us, especially Cuban expats.. want good relations.

    So far the Castro regime has failed to show that they are making any positive changes. Seriously, they won't even give a cop killer to us.

    Until some kind of change happens, we can not reward and empower that government to be even more harm inflicting than they already are.
     
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  9. SorcererMC

    SorcererMC Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think that there are steps that they could be taking, however small, to back up a good faith effort with action...for example, allowing independent human rights orgs to access political prisoners, easing up on detentions and harassment, or lifting some of the media restrictions, which does not mean that I'm calling for outright freedom of speech and criticism...I'm just saying that there are small things that they could do. It's a process and it's going to take time for both sides to adjust...sometimes that means taking a step backwards to assess and revisit issues, or call attention back to desired objectives, which is fine. Both sides have to be accountable for holding up their side of the bargain.
     
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  10. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    I'm so glad you're back. :)
    And it's nice to see that this is one of those few times where we agree.. lol.
     
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  11. Sir_Cliff

    Sir_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate your perspective on this, but I honestly find it difficult to read the statistics in that way. A sudden spike like that seems far more likely to be connected to an imminent change in immigration policy than a bunch of people simultaneously getting fed up with their lives at the same time as this imminent change.

    That said, I do think there is cynicism about how much people will actually benefit from any reforms. What I heard when I was last there was mostly that people were increasingly disgruntled about the rising prices that were coming with the slow liberalisation of the economy.

    I'll put it this way, I have dual UK/Australian citizenship. I, like millions, am now scrambling to get an Irish passport in the wake of Brexit. The Irish government has in fact had to ask people to stop applying it's taking up so much of their time & resources. The reason for that is not a sudden enthusiasm for Irish heritage or hatred toward the Queen's tyranny, but the prospect that all the privileges that come with having an EU passport are suddenly going to be stripped from UK passport holders. Cubans were facing a similar stripping away of their immigration privileges in the United States with the imminent normalisation of relations.

    I know it's incredibly personal, but I also think that it's unrealistic to expect a very poor country like Cuba to start paying out compensation to relatively wealthy people in Miami. That is not to denigrate the genuine hardships they have suffered. History, however, has moved on and it would be suicide for a Cuban government to start sending money over to Miami when they are struggling to feed, house, and clothe their own people. Even worse would be those people coming over and either kicking people out of their homes or becoming their landlords.
    I think, though, the relaxation of relations was good for the people of Cuba. The Cuban government like all governments has various internal groups competing for power, and this strengthens the hardliners who were against negotiating with Obama in the first place.

    This article, which basically states that the detente under Obama opened up limited but growing spaces for civil society and independent business people who now feel threatened, resonates with what I imagine the actual impact of these moves (whatever they end up being) with be: https://www.apnews.com/977e23a56a4b...ine-toward-Cuba-delights-hardliners-on-island
    Cuba is a difficult issue and I do appreciate hearing different views. I'll be interested to see what actually happens following this speech. It's possible that we'll see more posturing than actual concrete actions from both sides, but it is still early days.
     
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  12. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    I really want to comment on this, but we're heading to an after hours event at a water park right now. So if the topic changes.. forgive me for bringing back this post. Lol
     
  13. SorcererMC

    SorcererMC Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough - I disagree with your 'far more likely' assessment but that's fine, we can disagree on that; perhaps we are having a causation vs correlation disagreement. It's hard to tease it all out here, ie push-pull factors. I also failed to mention previously that the Cuban government lifted the exit visa requirement for travel...Occam's razor = it was easier for them to leave, so they did.

    ETA: Brief timeline.
    ~14 Jan 2013 Cuba lifts exit visas
    17 Dec 2014 Obama Announcement.
    20 July 2015 Embassies reopen.
    15 Dec 2015 41,000 Cubans left since announcement
    18 Sept 2015 US eases some travel and business restrictions.
    15 March 2016 US eases travel and bank transaction restrictions
    17 Jan 2017 End of 'Wet Foot, Dry Foot' Policy

    I appreciate you writing out this added perspective. I too am grappling with a circumstance of obtaining foreign permanent residency/ dual citizenship; it's both stressful and hopeful at the same time.

    Understood...I agree w/ not automatically start paying out...I would like to see negotiations so that it could come to some kind of resolution, even if it is a sort of an acknowledgement and reconciliation process. I know some won't budge, but I think the claimants should be open to other options besides restoration of property. I also think that eventually the US should be open to aid packages (which would probably need to be done through NGOs) in addition to economic development to help ease the transition. (I've already stated some 'strings attached' items that I think the Cuban govt could do in prior post).

    It really is difficult, also sort of a niche issue so I appreciate the discussion on it. And yes, it is still very much at the beginning and will take several more years, but I'm hopeful that there can be progress (perhaps despite some of the current posturing, or the signs of becoming entrenched in 'old habits').
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  14. The Mom

    The Mom Moderator Premium Member

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    As I mentioned earlier, when discussing reparations, how far down the chain do you go?

    Restoration of property prior to Castro? What about those who had property seized by Batista? Or Machado y Morales, who seized my husband's family's property? What about the property that was seized by the Colonials from the natives? I don't think anyone has clean hands in this, and it is impossible to go back and right past wrongs.
     
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  15. SorcererMC

    SorcererMC Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with your last statement. Without addressing the legacy of the past, there is no way that relations can move forward. This applies to both the Cuban government and the US government, and I would argue that this this is a requisite of making a 'good faith' effort for the normalization of relations. (And I understand that this is politically 'tricky' for both, but no one expects it to be easy....the working principle here is justice, not vengeance.)

    Re: property claims - this is not just a political question, but a legal one, and has been part of the normalization process. International and US law limits reparations to those who were US citizens 'at the time of taking'; certified claims (individual and corporate) are registered with the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the Justice Dept. The 1996 Cuba Liberty Act/Helms-Burton Act/Libertad Act specifically cites compensation of claims as a condition for lifting the embargo. Cuba acknowledges rights to 'adequate and just' compensation as a result of nationalization, and also has a counterclaim seeking damages from the embargo, eg $3.8 Bln from losses of the tourist industry (amongst other economic and personal injury claims). Given the amount of time that has passed, restoration of property would likely be the exception rather than the rule. Rather, there are other settlement options such as lump-sum, bonds/vouchers, preferred status for competitive bidding for current property rights, etc. On the US side, there is room to negotiate aid packages and economic development of the tourism industry going forward.

    ETA: Not limited to the tourism industry of course, but focused on that because that is the bulk of Cuba's claim and likely avenue of US development, since the Trump admin is keeping some of those policies in place.
    ETA2: Link to 06-17 Treasury Dept Fact Sheet: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_20170616.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  16. Quinnmac000

    Quinnmac000 Well-Known Member

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  17. Angel Ariel

    Angel Ariel Well-Known Member

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  18. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    The link didn't work for me.. but I'll say that personal stories, or knowledge of poverty, corrupt governments, violence, etc does not make me feel ok with illegal immigration.
    I am 100% for legal immigration and also asylum when applicable.

    I want to say that I appreciate both Your's and @SorcererMC 's comments on this subject. It's an interesting topic and I don't see it discussed very much outside of Florida.

    I also don't know many non Cubans who have been spent time in Cuba outside of a cruise port, so your perspective is very interesting.

    I don't agree with any sort of reparations from the Cuban government, I think it will do more harm than good.
    The better the economy the more people who will stay, or maybe even go back. There are a lot of very poor Cubans in this country, but yeah, relatively speaking they are much better off than what they would be in their homeland- under the current government.

    I will agree to disagree with you on why we saw the spike in the refugees.. I think if they economy was promising then they wouldn't severely risk their lives in hope to hit land.

    I applaud Trump for his decision, and look forward to the possibility of relations with Cuba in the future, and a regime which finally realizes that they must change for the good of their country- not just because the US tells them to change.

    Anyway, thanks again for this convo. I enjoyed it.. even though we disagree..but by now I don't expect us to agree on much (politically). ;)I'd love to buy you a drink and sit at Trader Sam's discussing travel though.lol
     
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  19. Sir_Cliff

    Sir_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I may just take you up on that as tiki drinks and travel are two of my great pleasures in life!

    I am in a bit of rush, but just wanted to say that I have also enjoyed this convo with you and SorcererMC. For me, the US exile perspective on Cuba is also interesting as is Cuban history more generally. Trying to work in Cuban archives in July almost sent me mad, but it is a fascinating country!
     
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  20. BuddyThomas

    BuddyThomas Premium Member

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    John Oliver on COAL - lots of lies exposed, but after all, it's a day of the week, so what else is new?

     

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