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  1. #1
    Senior Member moosetracks's Avatar
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    Jun 2005

    Gov. Bush: Try to prevent mass migration

    Gov. Bush: State would try to prevent mass migration
    By Alan Gomez, Larry Lipman and Hector Florin

    Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    UPDATED: 2:16 p.m. August 01, 2006

    Gov. Jeb Bush said today that state and federal officials would try to prevent a mass migration from Cuba if Fidel Castro dies from his current medical complications or the situation becomes more chaotic on the island.

    Bush said he urged the creation of a national plan four years ago, which would include the Coast Guard halting Cubans fleeing their home country in hopes of convincing other Cubans not to take to the open seas.

    "You don't want to have mass migration that creates the loss of life and creates tremendous hardships for local communities and for our state," Bush said. "We've already seen what the impacts of mass migration are. Better to have an orderly process and a focus on the transition."

    By early this afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard was simply monitoring the situation along coastal waters and abroad, Petty Officer James Judge said.

    "In the event of a mass migration, we would be picking people up at sea" as well as delivering water and offering medical attention, Judge said.

    There had been no signs of people from either country departing on boat. The federal government would be in charge of enacting any plan if that were to happen, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said at a 10 a.m. news conference.

    "We haven't received any information of that sort. There isn't any unusual activity that has been reported to us," Alvarez said.

    Emergency operations officials in Miami-Dade County increased to a Level 2 activation – just shy of a full activation – late Monday night.

    Level 2 means police and fire rescue departments, as well as representatives from the county's cities, the Red Cross, the National Guard and Coast Guard are watching events from the EOC headquarters in Doral, said Cynthia Martinez, a county spokeswoman.

    The Level 2 was activated between 10 and 11 p.m. Monday night. During the 15-minute news conference, Alvarez offered few details on the county's deployment plans if Castro died.

    "It depends on what is happening at that moment," Alvarez said. "You have to be flexible."

    Martinez's views
    U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, the Senate's only Cuban-born member, said today that he believes news of Fidel Castro's transfer of power marks the end of his reign over Cuba.

    "Now that there is no longer a Fidel Castro on the scene - and I frankly, don't believe he will be able to be back and govern again - that may be a hope more than a knowledge ... it is beginning to be a moment of opportunity for there to be different voices and different thoughts," Martinez said at a news conference.

    Martinez, R-Fla., said he had no way of knowing whether Castro was still alive, but the manner in which the news of Castro's hospitalization was released in Cuba indicates Castro is either "very, very ill or dead."

    "If one were to diagnose how the Cuban government would react to the death of Castro, this is kind of how you would do it, you would trickle it out. It would try to avoid the shock to the Cuban people," Martinez said.

    "It's certain that their plan is for there to be a transfer from one dictator to another. That isn't really a just way of dealing with the Cuban peoples' desire for freedom. There ought to be an opportunity for the Cuban people to also be heard on this."

    Martinez, who left Cuba when he was 15, said he has long dreamed of the time when Castro would no longer be in power and he was having a difficult time realizing that such a time might soon be at hand.

    He said he has long hoped to return to Cuba when he felt he could "speak freely in the town square" of his hometown of Sagua la Grande without being persecuted, but "I am not sure the moment has come." (Bye!!!)

    Martinez, who was appointed by President Bush in 2003 to be a member of a Cabinet-level Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, urged fellow Cuban exiles in South Florida not to participate in a mass migration similar to the 1980 Mariel boatlift, when tens of thousands of Cubans fled the island and arrived in Miami in a short period of time.

    He said the Bush administration - including the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy - has made plans to prevent such a mass migration.

    Martinez warned that any mass boat movement between Cuba and South Florida - in either direction - could result in a "tremendous loss of life," and urged exiles to keep their emotions "in check, as difficult as it is."

    Martinez said he did not believe Raul Castro would be able to remain in power for very long and said he was concerned that other countries, such as leftist-led Venezuela, might seek to interfere in a post-Castro government.

    "This is a matter for the Cuban people to resolve," he said, indicating there could be some people, even within the current Cuban regime, who might seek a more democratic post-Castro form of government.

    Martinez said he was concerned that the Cuban armed forces, under Raul Castro's control, could over-react and that there could be bloodshed in Cuba in a post-Castro era. He said he hoped Cuba would follow the model of much of Eastern Europe after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., noted that "we've been through this before. So we don't know whether this really is the beginning of the end. But let's hope it is. Let's hope it's over for the dictator. Then we can move forward towards a free and democratic Cuba."

    Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican from Miami whose family fled Cuba shortly before he was born, said: "For nearly 50 years, this murderous thug has threatened global security with his terrorist agenda and has abusively oppressed the Cuban people. By transferring his power to Raul, he has made it clear that his health is failing – how severely, we do not yet know.

    "This should remind us all that we must vigilantly focus on helping the oppressed Cuban people make an active transition from communist tyranny to freedom and democracy," Diaz-Balart said. "I've always said that Cuba will be free, and that day is rapidly approaching."

    Storm complicates situation

    Further complicating the possible exodus from Cuba, or a Mariel-style flotilla departing South Florida for Cuba, is the slow crawl of Tropical Storm Chris.

    "Another good reason why mass migration would be a bad idea," Bush said.

    Florida Division of Emergency Management Spokesman Mike Stone said conditions do not look favorable for the storm to intensify in the coming days.

    But regardless of its status, the storm will still create rough seas and hard-to-navigate waters for anybody taking on the 90-mile stretch between the Florida Keys and northern Cuba.

    "We're looking at our Florida citizenry to make sure that they understand that it's hurricane season," Stone said. "Right now, we are monitoring both events."

    Stone said their team would respond to a mass migration much like they do for hurricanes or other events that affect large portions of the population.

    Providing shelter, water, food and health services would be their main priority as they backed up either local governments responding to the influx or Coast Guard officials trying to stop a possible flow of migrants.

    But Bush stressed that a mass migration would be hard on everyone involved and hoped that any transition in Cuba - if it is indeed eminent - would be better resolved in Cuba.

    "The best solution for mass migration is to have a free Cuba - to have people have hope there. So long as Castro's in power, that's difficult to imagine if not impossible to imagine," Bush said. "A wave of migrants arriving to the coast of Florida is not the solution for a free Cuba. To have a free Cuba with a democracy is going to be the best we can do to give hope in the island for the citizens there."

    Miami celebrations
    In heavily Cuban-American Miami neighborhoods, normal life resumed this morning after spontaneous celebration broke out Monday night.

    Miami-Dade County officials, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, hunkered down at the Emergency Operations Center this morning following Monday night's announcement that Cuban leader Fidel Castro was undergoing a "complicated surgical operation" and, at least briefly, ceding power to brother Raul.

    Hundreds took to the streets of Miami-Dade's more populous Cuban enclaves moments after Monday night's announcement, televised live on Cuban television, that Castro, turning 80 on Aug. 13, handed power for "several weeks" to brother Raul, 75.

    And the revelry spilled into this morning's early hours. (Geesh,
    anything for a party!)

    They banged pots, honked horns and exchanged high-fives along Southwest Eighth Street, or Calle Ocho, in Miami; in the community of Westchester about five miles west of Miami; and in Hialeah, a city of more than 100,000 people, of which about 90 percent are of Cuban heritage.

    An exuberant crowd waved Cuban flags and danced past 1:30 a.m. today in front of La Carreta Cuban restaurant in Westchester, where about 250 people shimmied to salsa songs that shared a particular lyrical theme: freedom in Cuba.

    Miami-Dade police closed off three blocks of traffic for the crowd to gather near the restaurant.

    "Oh, the emotions are amazing," Milagros Carbonell, 46, accompanied by her 12-year-old son Daniel Padron, said upon hearing the news.

    Carbonell was born in the Marianao neighborhood of Havana and came to the United States at the age of 2.

    Like many exiles, she's never returned to Cuba, even as much of her mother's side of the family - a grandmother, aunts - still live on the island.

    Carbonell's mother, Eneida Castro, also lives in Miami and "was very emotional. She was crying," once news broke of Fidel Castro's emergency operation, Carbonell said.

    No arrests were made overnight and the county's 311 hotline received 214 calls throughout the night, said Vicky Mallette, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

    She estimated 80 percent of the calls related to questions about Castro's health.

    Radio and television commentators no dobubt fed to the buoyant mood, calling Castro's health a sign that it is "the beginning of the end" of his rule.

    Politicians called into Miami's Cuban radio stations well into the night with reports from the streets and urging calm during the breakout celebrations.

    "In Hialeah, it looks like it's the middle of the day," State Sen. Rudy Garcia told popular radio host Mirta Flores on her 710-AM call-in show "La Noche Y Usted" ("The Night and You") at around 12:30 a.m.

    Honking can be heard in the background and over the airways as Garcia spoke.

    "This is real," Garcia added. "One day, that man has to reach an end, right?" Miami-Dade County commissioners, including Mayor Alvarez, reported to the county's Emergency Operations Center in Doral late Monday night, Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said on Flores' show.

    Spanish television continued split-screen live coverage well past 2 a.m. and resumed into the daylight hours.

    While the street celebrations of Monday night have disappeared, county fire rescue officials appeared on television warning residents about the steamy temperatures.

    Alvarez also suggested street intersections should be cleared for emergency vehicles and regular traffic - not celebrations.

    "This is a time to be happy," he said. "But ... don't block the roads if you're going to celebrate."

    Alan Gomez reports from Tallahassee, Larry Lipman from Washington, D.C., and Hector Florin from Miami. ... 1cuba.html

    This is a good time to go back home and change your country!
    Do not vote for Party this year, vote for America and American workers!

  2. #2
    Senior Member dman1200's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    South Carolina
    More mixed messages by the Bush clowns. Millions of Cubans flooding our borders bad, millions of Mexicans flooding our borders great. Don't ya just love how they give Mexicans preferential treatment over everyone else?
    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here

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