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Despicable Action, Despicable Policy
Tuesday, January 10, 2006   By: Juan Paxety

15 human beings shipped off to slavery

In a despicable action, the United States sent 15 human beings into slavery yesterday. The Coast Guard returned the people to Cuba after they had escaped all the way to the Seven Mile Bridge in the Keys. But thanks to the bi-partisan wet foot/dry foot policy, the Coast Guard decided clinging to a bridge did not constitute being on dry land. The refugees had the misfortune of landing at an old span that had some chunks missing - and was not connected to dry land on both ends. CBC News has the story and the photograph to the right.

"The historic Seven Mile Bridge runs side by side with a newer bridge," NBC2 News of Fort Meyers observed. "But it's missing several chunks – and the migrants had the misfortune of reaching pilings from an isolated section that no longer touches land."

Even the Miami Herald thinks returning the Cubans was wrong, and makes a very important point. Remember the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security. 

The incident also illustrates DHS's skewed priorities: DHS officials who split hairs over technicalities to deny Cubans U.S. entry only divert resources from real national-security threats, such as terrorists and other violent criminals.

The paper also reports the probable consequences for the families who fled fidel's island workers' paradise.

Back in Cuba, the families likely will return to homes stripped of all valuables. They will have no jobs and be subjected to acts of repudiation; some may even be jailed.

Lawyers say they will file a legal challenge saying the Cubans were improperly sent back -and ask the court to require the Coast Guard to pick them up and bring them back.

Ziva is writing President Bush. Alfredo comments here. The Conductor has news of the hunger strike in support of the balseros here. Killcastro writes on the pain of loving two countries. CB says the criminal act is complete. Babalublog has the AP story - read the comments, too.

The wet foot/dry foot policy is a despicable absurdity. There is no basis in law for it - in fact, The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 declares Cubans escaping communism to be exactly the same as former East Germans escaping over the Berlin Wall. We didn't throw any of them back over the wall. It's time to stop tossing Cubans back across the Florida Straits.


(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren