Welcome all against the anti-Cuban family
Now let's get to work and have
By Alvaro F. Fernandez
We are living interesting
times. I say this for numerous reasons, including the fact that I appear to
share many feelings regarding travel to Cuba, and the help we are allowed to
offer family members on the island, with groups like the Cuban American National
Foundation, the Cuba Study Group and Democracy Movement, among others.
In a strange and funny way,
this fact makes me shudder. Still, I say welcome to all who see the light and
stand up for what's right – be it sooner or later.
I am proud to serve as
president of the Cuban American Commission for Family Rights. We came together
as a group in May of 2004. Our reason for being was unwavering opposition to the
harsh and extremely cruel measures imposed by the Bush Administration that year
making it much tougher to travel to Cuba, even for people with family members on
the island. Along with restricting family travel to once every three years –
with no exceptions, not even to visit sick family members – the new regulations
also made it more difficult to help loved ones on the island with one's own
But the most outrageous
stipulation of the measures dealt with a definition. Yes, the Bush
Administration was the first in U.S. history that deemed itself fit to define
what comprised a family. A Cuban family at that. I can assure you that the
measures made every Commission member's blood boil over.
In June of 2004, the Cuban
American Commission for Family Rights agreed on one thing: we would not stop
working until the day these un-American restrictions were lifted. After more
than two years of work – toiling often quietly, but like the ant, tirelessly – I
believe today we are closer to undoing some of the dirty work of this
We are now in December of
2006, and as the song says, "Times they are a-changin." November saw a major
defeat for Republicans in both the congress and senate. Add to this the fact
that more people have come to the realization that these regulations just don't,
and won't, work – at least for what they were supposedly designed for. Although
there are many, including me, who believe they were simply designed to win
I look at these events and
sniff the political air in Miami and I get a whiff of political opportunity
wafting through the air which seems to have enticed many to jump on the
bandwagon. Changes seem to be coming and expediency tells us that it's always
better to jump on the bus before it turns the corner.
Victory must be just around
the corner, I thought.
I believe that with hard work
that still must be done changes are coming in 2007 for these Bush Administration
anti-Cuban family measures.
When victory is achieved,
there are many who will claim it as theirs – they will say they were responsible
for the changes. I say, as long as the restrictions are overturned, I don't
care. I just hope people remember there were groups like the Cuban-American
Commission for Family Rights, and others, who were there from the
And at the time of rejoicing,
we will be doing so for one reason and one reason only: it was the correct and
moral thing to do – right from the start.