Saturday, October 02, 2004

Why can't Cubanos visit Cuba?

Bush Administration policies usually make sense. Not in the "I can see how this would make the country better" kind of way, but in the "I can see why Karl Rove thinks this will help Bush get reelected" kind of way. A notable exception is the Bush Administration's new restriction on Cuban-Americans visiting their families in Cuba and sending them money. The younger generation of Cubans doesn't have the furious anti-Castro sentiment that would get them to support something like this, and many people in the more hardline older generation doesn't see any substantial benefit in it. This measure is a loser with the only community of people it seriously matters to, and it's not a winner with anybody else. So why is Bush pushing it?

I had a conversation tonight with Cuban history expert Rebecca Scott (wife of metaethics superstar Peter Railton). She made me aware of the weirdness of this situation and said that she didn't know how to explain it. Family is everything to Cuban-Americans and being deprived of the opportunity to visit a dying grandmother if they've already visited Cuba that year is something that will make them very unhappy. She can only conjecture about some kind of strange backroom deal between Bush and some major Cuban-American leaders, who have far more anti-Castro fervor than their constituents, under which Bush passes this agreement and the Cuban leaders deliver some dark and shadowy favor unto him. It's something to keep in mind when you're thinking about Florida.

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