Friday, November 5, 2010

What's so special about Cuba(ns)?

WNYC's public radio/NPR station has a new website and blog - "It's a Free Country."

Rodolflo de la Garza, a migration scholar at Columbia who blogs regularly there, put up a provicative post recently, "What's so special about Cuba?" suggesting that the special treatment of Cubans as refugees should end.

"As a matter of principle," he writes, "and given our self-image as a nation committed to fair play, we should immediately end the favoritism with which we treat Cuban unauthorized immigrants."

His main argument supporting this position is that the Cold War ended in 1991 and Cubans' special treatment as "automatic refugees" should have ended with it.  But anyone familiar with U.S.-Cuban relations knows that while the Cold War may have ended with the collapse of the USSR, no one seems to have told Washington and Havana that the war is over.

So, should Cubans continue to be aforded special treatment and political asylum as refugees, or should they be treated like any other immigrants?  Readers of El Yuma can weigh in here or go to the comments section of Rudy's post above where a lively discussion is already underway.

My two cents: Refugee and asylum status should be granted on the basis of an individual's well-founded fear of persecution.  Thus, some Cubans can rightfully claim persecution and should be granted refugee status in the U.S.  But refugee status should not be granted to the nationals of any nation en masse. Such a policy sets up a double standard and cheapens the value of the refugee distinction.  Also, imagínate, what if we granted that same special treatment to todos los chinos, hasta el yuma estaria hablando en chino dentro de poco!

1 comment:

  1. China, chinos? I believe the subject was the (¿un?)fairness of the privileges we cubans enjoy under the Cuban Adjustment Act.
    It's like use some african countries to show how great is the cuban Reinvolution.
    And don't worry, you wont speak "cubañol" any soon, we din't came to this country to make 14 kids and put all of'em on welfare; usually we do 14... hours, working double shifts to have a better life.