Rivera Doesn’t Want Cubans to Vote in the US or Prosper in Cuba

By Dawn Gable

Cuban family in Havana. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — In August of last year, Rep. David Rivera introduced two proposals for legislation in an attempt to modify the Cuban Adjustment Act. If passed the two combined would stop Cuban immigrants from voting or visiting Cuba for 10 years!

Currently Cuban’s who reach dry land in the United States are automatically admitted into the country. In one year + one day they can apply for permanent residency. Five years later, they can apply for citizenship, which comes with the right to vote.

With HR2771, Rivera seeks to make Cubans wait five years before being eligible for permanent residency and thus ten years for citizenship and voting rights.

Why would Rep. Rivera want to deny Cuban immigrants the right to vote? Isn’t their lack of democratic participation on the island one of the reasons they are given asylum in the US?

It’s simple. Newcomers do not agree with Rivera’s attitude toward Cuba, but they are likely to settle in his district! Polls by Florida International University have revealed that Cubans who immigrated after 1994 and those between 18-44 years old are against the embargo, favor dialogue with the Cuban government, and think all US-Americans should be free to travel.

The second bill, HR 2831, would forbid Cuban immigrants who have not yet attained citizenship from travelling to Cuba for any reason. Rule breakers would automatically lose their special status and be treated like any other immigrant, which could lead to denial of reentry or deportation in many cases.

New arrivals make up the majority of the more than 400,000 Cubans who return to the island each year. Many of them are helping family members back home to set up recently licensed private businesses. They do so not only by sending remittances, but also by delivering supplies and equipment necessary for these ventures that are not available to average Cubans on the island.

Why does Rivera want to hamper Cubans from becoming economically independent of the Cuban government? Again the answer is simple. Any economic development on the island provides relief to the people and thus lessens pressure on the Cuban government.

Pondering the future. Photo: Caridad

The original intent of the embargo was to destroy the economy and make the Cuban people so miserable that they would revolt. If Cubans start becoming prosperous, even of their own accord, the extreme right’s dream of violent insurrection toppling the Castro regime becomes less likely. It may seem astonishing that anyone still adheres to this line of reasoning after 50 years of failure.

Of course, Rivera does not admit that these are his reasons for proposing changes to the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Instead, in a brilliant bit of political jujitsu, Rivera has embraced the argument of the Cuban government and others who believe that the purpose of the Act is to lure people into life-risking journeys that provide publicity and support for the US narrative regarding the plight of Cubans.

Rivera argues that if Cubans can return to the island without fear, then they are not “refugees” and should not be given “asylum”. They should be treated like any immigrants.

He’s right, but his solution is nonsensical. Rivera’s “solution” is to force Cubans to behave like refugees in order to fit the law, instead of doing away with a law that does not fit reality.

Cuban immigrants can travel back to Cuba without fear, so therefore they are not refugees and should be treated just like any other arrivals.

Rivera wants his cake and to eat it too. He wants to maintain the perception that Cubans are ruthlessly persecuted, but he doesn’t want those who “escape” to be able to vote against him or to get in the way of his plans to incite a violent revolution.


6 thoughts on “Rivera Doesn’t Want Cubans to Vote in the US or Prosper in Cuba

  • There is one thing that cannot and will not happen Rivera cannot stop freedom. However those like himself who try will get run over

  • it IS certainly astonishing that 51 years and 2 months after the bay of pigs anyone expects a revolution against the revolution. the main precondition of a revolution is a large percentage of the population in extreme poverty. i noticed that obesity among the poor is common in cuba just like america. the standard of housing is poor but 99.99% of people have a roof over their heads. few can afford a car so the air is clean and there are few wheelchairs and paraplegics. there are new chinese bendy buses so public transport is not too bad but the buses are crowded at peak hours but are cheap. unless people have a job in the CUC economy they can`t afford a mobil so teenagers don`t become brain dead texters. a real horror is no facebook to give the world all the details of your worthless life for 2 hours a day. you have to talk to the neighbours which is a real worry. didn`t those young cubans find paradise in america? what`s their problem? cuba has the lowest crime rate in the americas and you can`t put a dollar value on that.

  • Thanks for the article.

    You cannot imagine how many times I have had to explain the following to many indoctrinated U.S people:

    that the U.S is waging a fifty+ year war on Cuba’s people in order to make life so tough that they will rise up and overthrow THEIR revolution.

    Then, after Mariel the U.S and Cuba came to an agreement regarding the number of Cubans allowed to come into the U.S through legal means and the U.S reneged on the deal by substantially lowering the number actually permitted to immigrate .

    Then they passed the “Wet Foot-DryFoot” clause of the Cuban Adjustment Act to make it seem that Cubans were risking their lives as “balseras’ to escape the horrible “communist dictatorship of the Castro brothers.

    I always end my explanation of this by saying if the “wet-foot-dry-foot ” clause were written to include anyone in Latin America and the Caribbean seeking better economic conditions, you would be able to walk across the Caribbean on all the boats and rafts heading for the Florida shore.

  • There may be another reason why Rivera–and those behind him–would be hoping to discourage small capital investment in Cuba.

    The historic strategy of the monopoly bourgeoisie to defeat the socialist transformation has been to split the small bourgeoisie–farmers, ranchers, restaurateurs, small manufacturers, shopkeepers, et cetera–from the industrial and commercial proletariat. Capitalism might have been superseded long ago, had it not been for this historic split (brought about by the falsification of socialist theory, ideology and program).

    If the political leadership in Cuba should ever get over its incorrect, unscientific fear and loathing of the small bourgeoisie, and should ever bring this hard-working, highly productive class into the socialist construction project wholeheartedly, the Cuban–and world–counter-transformation would be defeated. Its enough to scare the heck out of some people in South Florida!

  • Rivera and the cabal of anticastristas are fiercely maintaining the remaing vestiges of our Cold War-based relation with Cuba because now more than ever they can hope for the success of the trifecta of regime change. First, Fidel and little bro’ Raul are coming into their last days. I am not being cruel or morbid, just realistic. They have identified no real replacement to their leadership roles. Second, Chavez ain’t gonna be around much longer either. Third, internal resistance increases every day with more and more internet access and blogs such as Havana Times giving the world a true glimpse of the repression that continues unabated in Cuba. The angry exiles in Miami believe now is not the time to let up the pressure. In fact, “kickin’ em’ while they are down” is the modus operandi for the day. They believe measures such as HR2771 and HR2831 will only hasten the inevitable.

  • Actually, Rivera’s tactics are part of a general strategy. The Republicans in Florida also are attempting to limit the franchise for blacks and for old folks, too, by: purging the roles of all former felons (an idiosyncratic law particular to Florida and other Souther states, whose unwritten agenda is to continue the post Civil War restrictions of the Black Code), and requiring many older folks to get current, updated I.D.’s, such as a valid Florida State Motor Vehicle Operator’s License, or current passport, etc., prohibiting, or making it difficult, to conduct voter registration drives (again, by requiring new registrants to go to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, or a town hall with absolute proof of who they are. Since many elders have mobility issues, the effect is to shrink the the voter roles, especially of those who are Democrats, Independents, or in the case you highlight, recently arrived immigrants who would threaten the grip of the Miami Mafia!

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