CubaBrief: The latest episode on the University of Miami soap opera can be summarized as follows: Dr. Julio Frenk, UM President, met with a group of prominent Cuban Americans today which included writer Carlos Alberto Montaner, Facts About Cuban Exiles’ Sam Verdeja, business entrepreneur and civic leader Diego Suarez, Humberto Arguelles president of the Brigade 2506, and others. The meeting went over serious concerns by the Cuban American community about the future direction of Cuban Studies at the university. Later in the day UM released a statement indicating that the university will not establish exchanges with Cuban universities.
In this CubaBrief: Ben Rhodes, President Obama's fomer speech writer says that"“It just doesn’t strike me as something the Cuban government would do” about the sonic attack on the U.S. diplomats in Havana while The Washington Free Beacon reports that the State Departmenthideskey details of mystery attacks on American diplomats in Cuba from Congress.
In this CubaBrief we are focusing on the ongoing Venezuelan tragedy. While President Maduro visits Cuba, press reports indicate that Venezuelan soldiers have crossed into Guyana asking for food.
In this CubaBrief:
Cuban economic crisis deepens, Raul Castro reneges on some reforms.
Raul Castro’s protégé ordered Senator Rubio killed.
Cuba Spends Less on Healthcare Despite the Aging of the Population.
The Spurious Goals of Cuba’s ‘Free’ Health And Education
Will UM President help college student expelled by regime from Cuban school after speaking at UM?
CubaBrief: The University of Miami Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies released this afternoon an urgent appeal on behalf of a Cuban university student expelled from his school after he visited Florida and spoke at the University of Miami. According to Professor Jaime Suchlicki, director of the Institute, “The deteriorating situation at Cuban universities should be a matter of concern, especially to American academics engaged in exchange programs with schools on the island.” Dr. Suchlicki asked that “polite expressions of concern about Felix Llerena be sent to General Raul Castro, President of the Republic of Cuba, Plaza de la Revolución, Havana, Cuba.”
CubaBrief: In this issue we bring to your attention today’s Mike Gonzalez article in The Federalist. Gonzalez is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and when we met him many years ago he was at the Wall Street Journal in Brussels.
CubaBrief: The Washington Post published this afternoon an Associated Press story about two Cuban diplomats who were expelled in May “after Americans in Cuba ‘reported incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms.’" During previous Administrations American diplomats were targeted by Cuban secret police: their windshields were broken after they had met with Cuban dissidents and the American diplomatic pouch was repeatedly compromised. It is not uncommon for regimes hostile to the United States to test American resolve after a new president is elected.
CubaBrief: The House of Representatives “”overwhelmingly backs intelligence Bill, according to an Associated Press storypublished Friday (July 28) by The New York Times: “The bill states that it's the sense of Congress that agencies should submit prompt, written notification to the intelligence committees after becoming aware that an individual in the executive branch has disclosed classified information outside established channels to an official of North Korea, Iran, China, Russia or Cuba.”
CubaBrief: The controversy between the University of Miami and outgoing Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies Director, Dr. Jaime Suchlicki is a matter of concern in the Cuban American community, according to an article by Nora Gámez Torres just published by El Nuevo Herald. The Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 Veterans Association in a letter to Julio Frenk, UM’s president, compliments the outstanding work of the ICCAS and its efforts focusing on “the real history of Cuba during all these years.”
CubaBrief : Cubanet and Diario de Cuba reported today online that two Catholic Cuban parish priests officiated a mass at the headquarters of the Ladies in White, the courageous women who every week try to attend mass all dressed in white, part of their campaign to obtain the release of Cuban political prisoners unjustly in jail.
In this CubaBrief reprint from column Heberto Padilla, The Wall Street Journal, CubaDecide, 14ymedio, and The Washington Post.
On the eve of this 4th of July, I think about our servicemen and women whose lives are at risk defending U.S. interests and the cause of freedom around the world. I also think about Cuba, so close to the United States, where a despotic regime continues to misrule; and about the Ladies in White, a group of women—mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives of Cuban political prisoners, punished for desiring the same freedoms that Americans will celebrate this weekend.
In foreign policy news, in USA Today, executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba Frank Calzon writes “let’s support the president and send the message to Havana that if the military regime wants millions from America, its anti-American foreign policy and repression at home must change.”
The brief includes today a response by Frank Calzon to Rick Christie’s blog in the Palm Beach Post today. Mr. Christie’s objections are part of the many criticisms directed at President Trump. Christie this time was focusing on The President’s Cuba speech in Miami. One of the great virtues of American society is the ability of everyone to express an opinion. Readers interested in reading Mr. Christie’s tirade may do so by visiting the Palm Beach Post’s opinion zone blog. CubaBrief prints below Frank Calzon’s response.
CubaBrief: “My administration’s policy will be guided by key U.S. national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people,” according to a draft of President Trump’s directive to be issued tomorrow. According to Politico, the President is also reviewing what to do about GAESA, the business arm of the Cuban military that receives millions from American tourists visiting the island. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) are said to have had major input into President Trump’s Cuba policy.
The Center for a Free Cuba sent a letter of gratitude to President Donald Trump Wednesday for his decision to come to Miami and said it was pleased that he would soon begin the “dismantling of Barack Obama’s concessions to the Castro regime.”
CubaBrief: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today that Cuba policy must be “done in full compliance with our existing statutes, and not provide financial support to the Cuban regime.” The Secretary also said that the current policy provides “financial support to the Cuban government, which would violate U.S. law.” It is too bad that some business interests not only put profits over principles but that are willing to do so illegally. The Reuters story “Tillerson signals tough Trump administration stance on Cuba” follows.