Some new immigrants from Cuba need a second look
Fabiola Santiago: Some new immigrants from Cuba need a second look
BY FABIOLA SANTIAGO
Cuban immigration is stirring up a hornet’s nest of concern, with good
Are some of the Cuban newcomers victims fleeing oppression and economic
hardship — or two-faced opportunists seeking to cash in on generous U.S.
government benefits available only to Cuban refugees?
Are supporters of the Castro regime going into exile already — in Miami
of all places — because they fear internal change? Or because they don’t
want to be left out of the spoils of living on the other side?
Or the worst case, are the new immigrants Cuban government plants, sent
to stir up and diminish the Cuban exile community? A new “Age of
Engagement” way to spy for Cuba?
It’s hard to know for sure.
But enough evidence has surfaced in recent days that something sinister
is afoot — and it’s time for the relations-giddy Obama administration to
pay attention to what’s happening in the underbelly of Cuban Miami, and
It’s time to investigate who is on a stampede from Cuba to touch U.S.
soil and take seriously the accusations of exiled dissidents, who say
that some of their oppressors in Cuba are living it up in Miami and
taking advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act to become residents, and
eventually U.S. citizens.
Take the case of Jenny Freire Rosabal. In a 2012 video in Cuba, she is
clearly seen leading a demonstration against Cuban dissidents who are
barricaded in their house in the eastern province of Camagüey.
From inside their home, the dissidents are filming the angry
neighborhood mob outside engaged in an “act of repudiation” against
them, as these violent attacks are called in Cuba.
Freire and her crew are chanting pro-Castro slogans and threatening to
kick in the door. The barricaded dissidents, in turn, are chanting “Down
with Fidel! Down with Raúl!” and denouncing, on the anniversary of the
massacre, the number of children killed when Cuban government gunboats
sank a tugboat packed with fleeing families in 1994.
Freire is the one in bright yellow tights and red blouse seen holding up
a cardboard banner that says “Long Live the Revolution!” and rallying
everyone around her. She’s also pictured on the Internet in Venezuela
rallying on behalf of chavismo, an indication that she’s more than just
a local small-town activist in Santa Cruz del Sur.
Now, flash-forward to Facebook in June, 2015, and there she is …
married and living in Miami. In her profile photo, she poses smiling in
front of packed store shelves.
The man who identified Freire and brought her presence in Miami to light
is the man whose home she attacked in 2012: dissident Yoan David
Gonzalez, member of a prominent group in eastern Cuba.
Freire’s husband, Adalberto Duvernal — tracked down Monday by a
Univision 23 reporter at his job at a custom boat manufacturer off the
Palmetto Expressway — confirms on camera that Freire is the woman who
staged the videotaped acto de repudio.
Duvernal claims that his wife was “forced to do that” in Cuba so that
she could be seen as a Castro supporter, be allowed to travel, and find
a way out of the island. She had tried four times to leave and failed,
he said. Such displays of doble moral — two-faced morality — are common
in Cuba. We’ve seen this play out before in previous generations, when
people made proclamations of loving Fidel or being Communists and later
defected at the first chance. But people seldom went as far as violently
To make this case more revolting, Duvernal accuses Gonzalez, the
dissident, of being “a criminal” — the preferred Cuban government
terminology to demean dissidents. Duvernal, also a recent arrival, says
he came as a “political refugee” himself and brought Freire — whom he
married in October — with him.
What a mockery of U.S. law and the concept of this country as a place of
refuge to the truly politically persecuted.
Gonzalez says he has filed a complaint against Freire with immigration
authorities and with U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, in whose district he
lives. Wilson should take it up with the Obama administration. The Cuban
Americans in Congress should also support an investigation. Cuba
immigration policy needs a lot of revision and updating.
Who is who, and who is doing what, is not a difficult thing to
investigate these days, when everyone feels the need to be on social
media. It didn’t take me long to follow the online print of Freire and
company to discern who is who — and to make connections to recent Cuban
arrivals in Miami, Tampa and New York who have ties to open Cuban
Looking the other way while rights abusers take advantage of a generous
engagement policy for personal gain and to push their agenda is not an
option in a country that purports to uphold freedom and human rights as
Every American president has made the same mistake: underestimating the
Castro regime and its tactics — among them pushing emigration to its
advantage. President Barack Obama should think himself no different and
develop some skepticism, and quickly.
It’s one thing to pursue engagement as a savvy strategy, a new way
forward. It’s quite another to be played for a fool.
Source: Fabiola Santiago: Some new immigrants from Cuba need a second
look | Miami Herald –