IS CUBA IMPLEMENTING MIGRATORY REFORM IN A FEW MONTHS?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro accused Barack Obama of looking down on Latin America.

Cuba will implement migratory reform in the next months to eliminate the old restrictions impeding Cubans from traveling abroad

“One of the issues currently under discussion at the highest level of the Cuban State is the issue of migration. We will carry out a radical and deep immigration reform in the coming months, in order to eliminate this type of restriction,” said Alarcon, president of the National Assembly of the People’s Power. Alarcon said the migratory control in the last five decades was one of the resources used by the revolution that began in 1959 to defend itself from “the long terrorist campaign,” for which some Cuban immigrants were responsible. “Now things have changed a lot,” Alarcon said, adding that “nearly half a million Cubans living abroad visit us each year. The vast majority of Cuban emigrants have normal relations with their country of origin.” “Currently it is an economic emigration, whose fundamental interest is to keep peaceful links with its country of origin, they have family and friends on the island, and they wish above all stability,” he said. “This new reality leads us to a ‘substantial’ reform of our migratory policy. Some rules must be changed and others eliminated,” Alarcon saidAlarcon also recalled that the migration issue has been always a “weapon used by the U.S. government to destabilize the revolution.” Cubans are the only foreign immigrants who may automatically gain residence after a year in U.S. territory according to the Cuban Adjustment Act, established in 1966 to encourage illegal Cuban immigration by crossing the Florida Strait in unsteady boats, he said.

The first announcement on a migratory reform in Cuba was made in August 2011 by President Raul Castro at the parliament and was ratified in December

HAVANA – People walk through the streets December 3, 2006 in Havana, Cuba. The island nation continues to wait for a glimpse of President Fidel Castro, who has ruled Cuba since 1959, he temporarily transferred his powers as president to his younger brother Raul Castro, the defense minister, due to his ailing health on July 31. Since that time he has been seen by the public only in videos and photographs released by the government. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Castro’s government has removed several restrictions observed in the country for half a century, but Cubans still can travel into and out of the country freely. To travel abroad, a Cuban citizen must suffer a winding net of limitations and expensive permits that cost nearly 1,000 dollars. If successful, the travel permission is granted for 30 days and may be extended ten times. People must return within the time limit, otherwise they will lose the right to reside on the island.

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WHEN DID POLITICIANS BEGIN TO CAMPAIGN TO HISPANIC VOTERS?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

One of the earliest Spanish-language political ads dates back to 1960, when a young Jackie Kennedy spoke into the camera in Spanish, urging voters to elect her husband, then-Senator John F. Kennedy.
Voten ustedes por el partido Demócrata el día 8 de noviembre,” she said, adding “Que viva Kennedy.” Her husband’s “Viva Kennedy” clubs were some of the first efforts to energize Latino voters in a presidential race.

These days, courting that voting bloc is a must for anyone running for president, or any office in the Southwest. But syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr., says too many political operatives are still clueless about this country’s diverse Latino population.

“They feel now obligated to learn about it,” Navarrette said. “But we really are sort of this foreign entity to them, and they are just like walking on the moon trying to figure it out.”

So to get their bearings, campaigns and candidates have historically reached for a few familiar props to help them connect with these voters. The most obvious prop? Mexican food. Though Navarrette says he is sick of campaign events that come with a side of salsa.

“There are a lot of different ways you can relate to me, things we may have in common,” Navarrette said. “You don’t necessarily have to break it down to — ‘you know, you like tacos, I like tacos, let’s have a conversation about tacos’.”

In fact, that brand of superficial campaigning is known as “taco politics.” That is according to Stephen Nuño, a professor of politics and international affairs at Northern Arizona University.

But taco politics can backfire.

“One of the most famous moments was when Gerald Ford ate tamales,” Nuño said. Ford was in front of a Texas crowd in 1976, during the Republican primary. But he didn’t know the tamale’s corn husk wrapping isn’t edible. “So he took a bite out of the tamale with the husk still on it,” Nuño said. “And of course that doesn’t look good, it doesn’t taste good, and it only shows just how distant President Ford was to the Hispanic culture.”

Nearly a half-century later, the current Republican presidential contenders have their share of gaffes under their belts.
Mitt Romney used Fidel Castro’s slogan in a speech to a Cuban American crowd in Miami. Rick Santorum told Puerto Ricans they should speak English if they want to be a state. And there was the time Newt Gingrich seemed to call Spanish the language of the ghetto. “The words I chose to express myself weren’t the best ones,” Gingrich said afterward in a video message delivered in Spanish with a heavy American accent. He explained that he meant to say that English is necessary for progress and success in this country.

”]While criticizing Spanish speakers may be a sure way to lose Latino votes, it’s not clear how effective reaching out to voters in Spanish really is. Stanford University political scientist Gary Segura estimates that around 70 percent of the Hispanic electorate uses English as their main language.

“Even if you advertise in Spanish, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are reaching the preponderance of voters,” Segura said.

Plus, producing ads in Spanish can be risky if campaigns don’t get the wording just right. Because of regional language differences, certain Spanish words can sound innocent to one audience, but obscene to another. Take this ad from Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democratic congresswoman running for the U.S. Senate. The ad, in Spanish, attacked her Republican opponent, Sen. Dean Heller, on his immigration record.

Her ad said Heller opposed immigration reform and would even deport grandparents and separate children from their mothers—or “hijos de sus madres.” It is subtle, but that phrase unintentionally sounds the same as the Spanish equivalent of ‘S.O.B.’s.’

In a way, most of these examples could be chalked up as cosmetic missteps. But Ruben Navarrette says there is a fundamental problem with how presidential campaigns are reaching out to Latinos.

“The number one reason campaigns are struggling is they need to shut up and listen,” Navarrette said. His advice circles back to the Kennedy family, the pioneers of Latino voter outreach. “Famously in 1968, Bobby Kennedy went before the Mexican-American community and he asked two questions, ‘What do you want, and how can I help?’” Navarrette said. “Think about that for a second. Nobody does that anymore.”

This LA Times photo captures a moment of
friendship between Bobby Kennedy and Chavez
during Chavez's 25-day fast in 1960.

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