August 10, 2006 |
FIDEL CASTRO is close to his 80th birthday and in poor health. No doubt the Cuban communists are planning for what comes next, but are we? I hope so, because now is the time to end the Cuban embargo. This has been my view since I made an incredible visit to Havana in January 2002 as a journalist accompanying U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. During the visit, I was part of a small group that met with Castro, spending just under seven hours with him during one long night. I'll never forget being a fly on the wall for an amazing battle of wits, Specter vs. Castro, or as I could see Don King billing it, the DA vs. the Dictator.
April 2, 2006 |
From the earliest days of his political career, to his current race for the U.S. Senate, Bob Menendez has benefited from being Cuban American. The New Jersey Democratic senator likes to tell audiences on the campaign trail that his parents emigrated from Cuba to Union City, N.J., for a better life. Those Cuban roots help him tell his immigrant story to voters in a state rich with similar family histories: 29 percent of the residents are immigrants or have a parent who was. As his hometown of Union City was becoming increasingly Cuban American, he and others were able to galvanize the growing voting block.
October 29, 2004 |
In the heart of Little Havana, sipping Cuban coffee under the awning of the Versailles Restaurant, Manny Perez announced his choice for president with a wave of his hand. He pointed across the street, where a Kerry/Edwards office has established a beachhead in this heavily Republican section of Miami. "I'm Republican, and I'm Cuban, and I'm voting for Kerry. I'm very unusual," said Perez, 46, a sales manager for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. In 2000, President Bush captured about 82 percent of the approximately 400,000 Cuban American votes cast in Florida.
October 3, 2004 |
The judge who approved the FBI's electronic surveillance in the City Hall corruption investigation, including the bug in Mayor Street's office, is a Republican who has served a dozen years on the bench and was the first Cuban American to become a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, 59, was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 with the support of Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. Legal motions by defense lawyers only recently disclosed that Robreno was the judge who approved the wiretaps underpinning the government's cases against 19 defendants in two indictments alleging corruption, as well as a third indictment accusing five people of ripping off a taxpayer-paid adult-education program.
September 12, 2003 |
Fidel Castro was never a fan of casinos, but that did not stop the Tropicana Casino Resort from putting him and his cigar on a billboard touting its new Havana-themed expansion. Nor, apparently, did the fact that the Cuban dictator is reviled in the Cuban American community. Now, 44 years after Castro's followers pillaged casinos in Havana on New Year's Day, including the old Tropicana nightclub, the Cuban dictator is again causing trouble for a gambling joint. Yesterday, responding to incensed Cuban Americans from New Jersey to Miami, Tropicana officials said they would alter the two peach-colored billboards that feature the likeness of Castro, cigar smoke rising around him and the words "The next revolution.
April 21, 2003 |
I spent spring break in Cuba with students and faculty colleagues. It was a beautiful, uneasy visit. The Cuban government says it welcomes American tourists. But since 1961 the U.S. government has tried to restrict visits by Americans to Cuba, to deprive its government of U.S. dollars. It's illegal for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba without a license (which we fortunately had) from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department. Cuba is a fabulous destination for tourists and visitors - but not so nice for the people who have to live there all the time.
May 17, 2002 |
For four decades the United States has been trying to force Fidel Castro from power with an economic embargo. We all know how well that's worked. Yet, a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union, President Bush still stands by this Cold War relic. Next week he will announce plans to tighten the embargo and crack down on tens of thousands of Americans who travel illegally to Cuba. A tighter embargo is supposed to help Cubans gain their freedom. Nothing has better exposed the sham of our Cuba policy than Jimmy Carter's visit to Havana this week.
September 11, 2001
Leonard Pitts says Miami has "it" as a multicultural city, but the town is not mature enough yet to benefit (Inquirer, Aug. 25). The reason for the urban immaturity, he claims, is the sudden transfer of the Latin Grammys to Los Angeles because Miami could not guarantee the safety of some of the artists. I would like to offer an explanation. The Latin Grammys would have welcomed Cuban artists from the island itself and regaled them with awards. To the Cuban exile community in Miami, that is tantamount to having your current wife throw a birthday party in your house for your former wife - and then asking the poor woman to enjoy it. There are some deeply felt things that identify the character of ethnic groups and define their ethnic boundaries.
September 5, 2001 |
MAYBE PROFESSIONAL celeb Anne Heche was a milkmaid in a previous life. That might explain how she's able to squeeze all the fame out of her 15-minute allotment. ABC has "revealed" some deliciously bizarre nuggets from Heche's "20/20" interview with Barbara Walters, which airs tonight on Channel 6. The actress had two personalities until last year when she became sane, apparently. "I had a fantasy world that I escaped to. I called my other personality Celestia," says Heche, who's promoting her upcoming memoir, "Call Me Crazy.
April 3, 2001 |
Chris Calciano took the West Chester University baseball head coaching job in July with his eyes wide open. He knew that the Golden Rams were coming off an 11-38 season. He knew that West Chester had won a grand total of 22 games in three years. He knew that the recruiting window was practically shut because of the late hire. The Eastern College graduate, who had served as an assistant at Drexel for five years, also knew something else. "For your first head coaching job, you're not going to get something where the team is coming off three straight championships," Calciano said.