A Serious Policy Lapse

Monday, November 19, 2012
Why are Castro's repressors getting U.S. visas?

For those arriving "legally", the State Department and the U.S. Interests Section in Havana should undergo a review of its procedures for granting visas to Cuban nationals.

We say "legally" because  it throws a bucket of cold water on President Obama's Presidential Proclamation 8697 of August 2011, which supposedly sought to "close the gap" in granting visas to foreign nationals affiliated with human rights violators -- and singling-out "prolonged arbitrary detentions" as a main violation.

For those arriving "illegally", Congress should consider a reform of the Cuban Adjustment Act in order to exempt Castro's repressors from its generosity.

However, this current policy lapse is unacceptable.

In The Miami Herald:

Cubans lament dirty pasts of hundreds living safe in exile

Hundreds of Cubans with dubious pasts, including State Security officers and snitches, have moved to Miami, much to the disgust of those they tormented.

Havana activist Elizardo Sánchez says he bears no ill will for the Caamaños, neighbors who collaborated with State Security agents to harass him for years. After all, he heads the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

But his sister Marcela, who lives with him, has no problem denouncing the two Caamaños and a son-in-law, who now live in Miami.

“The first thing I would do is bring them back,” she said. “It is not a grudge. But it is a lot of pity for the many people suffering here, while they live without any kind of problem over there.”

Former Cuban provincial prisons chief Crescencio Marino Rivero made headlines over the past month amid allegations that he abused some prisoners and ordered guards to abuse others before he moved to Miami two years ago.

But uncounted hundreds of other Cubans with nasty pasts are also living here, including State Security officers, snitches and collaborators, judges, policemen and members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the neighborhood watch groups [...]

Frank Parodi, a retired official of the human rights violators’ unit of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that after the arrest of one Cuban abuser was announced in 1992, his office received 250 tips and leads about other abusers in Miami. He was transferred to Washington afterward and does not know what happened to those tips.

Elizardo Sánchez said “hundreds upon hundreds” of full-time officers of State Security, the Interior Ministry branch in charge of political repression, moved to the United States in recent years.