July 16, 1996 |
President Clinton mulled conflicting recommendations from top advisers yesterday over whether to bring the full weight of the Helms-Burton Act to bear against foreign companies that use Cuban property claimed by Americans. Clinton returned from Camp David after studying briefing papers that essentially pitted his economic and foreign-policy advisers against the political team focused on his reelection bid. An announcement on his decision is expected today. The administration has been deluged with faxes from European diplomats threatening to retaliate against the United States if the law remains intact, and with calls from Cuban American Democrats vowing to desert Clinton in November if Helms-Burton is diluted.
August 20, 1994 |
Reversing nearly 30 years of U.S. policy, President Clinton yesterday announced that fleeing Cubans intercepted at sea would not be allowed into the United States. Clinton said the Cubans would be detained at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He and other administration officials ducked questions about when they might leave there and where they might go. The President was acting to stem a growing wave of Cubans headed for South Florida. He warned that he was not going to permit a replay of the 1980 Mariel boatlift - a high-seas exodus to America of 125,000 Cuban refugees.
July 26, 1994 |
El proximo ano en Havana. Next year in Havana. For 35 years, ever since Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba and triggered a mass exodus to the United States, Cuban exiles have greeted each other with that phrase. And that's not just in Miami. It can be heard also in New Jersey, home to the second-largest Cuban American population in this country, with 90,000 exiles living in Hudson County. In these two Cuban strongholds - even as Castro marks today the 41st anniversary of the revolution's first battle - thousands are preparing for a Cuba without Fidel.
July 4, 1994 |
Exactly two years ago I became an American citizen after being a resident of the United States since my arrival from Cuba (via Spain) in 1974. I've always bought the idea that the power to vote is not only a luxury, but important enough to make my one vote count and make a difference. Call me an idealist. And I wanted my vote to make a difference in the last presidential elections. My side won. I watched the election returns on television with a group of American friends in Baton Rouge.
February 17, 1993 |
The artist in exile never really settles down; he or she always lives in two places and in two time zones. For such an artist, the past is always part of the present. He or she may eventually become habituated to an adopted culture, but many exiles discover that the culture they left behind continues to shape their identity and their art. This is true for many African American artists, even though they're now many generations removed from their ancestral roots in West Africa. And it's also true for artists who were born in Cuba either before or just after Fidel Castro transformed the island republic into a communist state.
February 15, 1993 |
It was 34 years ago tomorrow that a bearded young Communist revolutionary by the name of Fidel Castro came down from the hills to overthrow the president of Cuba. Seven American presidents have come and gone since then. The Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Red Menace, as generations of Americans knew it, has been exorcised not with a bang, but a whimper. But Castro, in the face of a tough U.S. trade embargo imposed in 1962, has clung tenaciously to power in one of the last bastions of old-style Communism.
February 6, 1993 |
When Bill Clinton settled on Mario Baeza as his new assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, administration officials thought it was a brilliant choice. Here was a gifted lawyer specializing in international business who had built contacts with Latin American leaders. Just as important, he is a black Cuban American. African Americans would be happy, Hispanics in general would be happy, and Cubans in particular might be induced to take a step away from the Republicans toward the Democrats.
July 28, 1992 |
You can tell a lot about a man by the people he thanks for helping him get to the top of his profession. Eduardo C. Robreno, 51, who yesterday became the first Latino federal judge in Philadelphia and the first Cuban-American in the United States to wear federal robes, had a list a mile long. Surrounded by more than 20 federal judges sitting in the packed ceremonial courtroom in U.S. District Court, Robreno thanked "Ramon" who "spent years in Cuban prisons for smuggling out visas for youngsters like myself to live in freedom.
May 30, 1992 |
The food was Mexican at a luncheon last week sponsored by the Denver community group Hispanics of Colorado, where I was the invited speaker. Salsa, yellow rice, chile verde, tortilla, tamales, refried beans. Mexican food is unlike the Cuban food I grew up on. Mexican dishes are characteristically spicy hot; Cuban food is starchy - roots like yucca and malanga, and lots of white rice and black beans. Even terminology is different. To a Mexican a tortilla is a flat corn pancake, while to Cubans a tortilla is an omelet.
March 28, 1992 |
The Mambo Kings, the new movie about Cuban musicians trying to make it in the New York of the early 1950s, reveals some good things and some bad things about how Hispanics in general are making it in the Hollywood of the early 1990s. First, the bad: Hollywood still seems unable to make a truly authentic film about Hispanics. The main problem here was the accents. The characters were supposed to be Cuban, but, with the exception of salsa star Celia Cruz, none sounded it. The two stars, Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas, gave it a valiant try. Insofar as "acting" they did a fine job, yet their accents betrayed them.