Monday, February 18, 2013

When it comes to Cuba and the right wing Cuban American lobby, nothing is ever as it seems ... by gimleteye

Last week, the right-wing, online newsletter "Capitol Hill Cubans" posted, "Odebrecht Has No Respect for Cuban-Americans". The post begins with a story repeating a faded theme: that the Miami Beach W Hotel removed a Che Guevara portrait from its lobby citing "respect and sensitivity" to the local community. The post then moves to the meat of its discontent: the old Odebrecht story.

There is no news in the fact that Odebrecht, a foreign-owned corporation, is very active both in Miami and Havana. But read it carefully. The focus of ire lands on Miami airport director Jose Abreu. Interesting.

Abreu -- a Cuban American and Republican -- is rumored to be on the short list for a Cabinet level appointment in the Obama administration...
So why, the attack on Mr. Abreu, a highly competent airport director by all accounts?

What Capitol Hill Cubans seems determined to avoid is the reality that there are plenty of business contacts being forged between Miami and Havana. This complaint isn't about Odebrecht or paintings of Che Guevara. It is, as it has been since Mas Canosa's time, about who (and which political party) will profit from trade with Cuba when the Castro brothers, pass on.

What matters is that the Cuban American right-wing -- as evidenced by the orchestrated smear campaign against senior Democrat US Senator Bob Menendez (read, NY Times, Inquiry on Democratic Senator Started With A Partisan Push") -- is determined to maintain control of foreign policy in DC and "money" outcomes in future US trade with Havana.

The attack against Miami airport director Abreu is a veiled signal, directly mainly within the ranks of right-wing conservatives. The Capitol Hill Cubans nominally address the Miami-Dade County Commission; but this signal is not about local government contracts. It is about the fierce efforts to protect prerogatives. Who exactly is the veil protecting?

Odebrecht Has No Respect for Cuban-Americans
Posted: 14 Feb 2013 07:53 AM PST
Yesterday, the W Hotel in South Beach removed a painting of Che Guevara from its lobby.

The hotel did so after widespread complaints from Cuban-Americans who rightfully see the Argentine revolutionary as a symbol of violence and murder.

“We did it as a matter of respect and sensitivity toward the local community. We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused,” the W's manager told The Miami Herald.

Kudos to the W Hotel.

Yet, ironically, on the very same day, Miami Airport Director Jose Abreu announced that he wants to hand over a concession of nearly 50 acres of the public's most valuable land for 50 years to Brazil's Odebrecht.

Odebrecht is currently the Cuban military's largest and most important business partner.

This company is at the heart of the Castro regime's economic survival strategy and is currently building -- at the behest of the Cuban military -- the largest industrial port in the Caribbean at Mariel, Cuba.

This is the same Cuban military that is currently responsible for the beatings, torture and imprisonment of innocent Cubans -- in the same manner as Che decades ago.

Has Odebrecht expressed any remorse for its dealings with such tyrants?

To the contrary, it has doubled down and -- at the behest of the Cuban military again -- is now looking to also revitalize the sugar industry for the Castro brothers.

Odebrecht obviously has no respect or sensitivity for the victims of the Castro dictatorship.

As if this were not enough, for "good government" advocates, the terms of this deal are more akin to something cooked up in Havana, rather than what the people of Miami-Dade deserve.

It has been put together with no public input, shifting terms, no open bidding process and therefore -- no transparency.

That's why the Miami Airport's Director revealed this project yesterday and wants it approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission quickly -- for the less scrutiny, the better for them.

Odebrecht also wants it quickly approved because pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta is the temporary injunction issued by a local judge against the nearly unanimous will of the Florida legislature to prohibit public contracting with brutal regimes, such as Cuba and Syria.

This provision was backed by over 62% of Miami-Dade County voters in November.

But Odebrecht and its revolving-door partners at Miami Airport want to skirt the law before a final judgement.

So will the Miami-Dade Commission approve this non-transparent concession to Castro's most important business partner?

Or, since Odebrecht has no respect for the community, will the Commission exercise transparency and self-respect on behalf of its community?


Anonymous said...

Simply cheesed off because a Brazilian company has dared to work in their supposedly perpetual Cuban colony. News for you, the Asians are coming.

Anonymous said...

I posted a picture of Batista on my Facebook page and asked, "how many of you would be pissed if this guys pic showed up in the 305." Still waiting on replies. Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

As the writer above surely knows, the inheritors of Batista are all over Miami-Dade. They own sugar mills and development companies and run banks. They entertain in the Dominican Republica where there are no newspaper reporters or TV cameras. Yet.