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February 9, 2004

“Detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Denied a visa to attend the Grammy Awards, in which he’s a nominee: Buena Vista Social Club musician Ibrahim Ferrer. And five colleagues.

ferrer.jpg Did the people who made this decision see Wim Wenders’ movie? The sheer joy of these elderly Cuban musicians when they finally got to New York City—if there’s a better advertisement for America, I can’t think of it.

Oh, that’s right: the people making these visa decisions hate New York City as much as they hate Cuba, and anything else outside their poisonous, pinched, provincial worldview.

Tell me again how John Kerry, with all his drawbacks, would be “barely any improvement” on this crowd of censorious, vengeful, authoritarian pecksniffs. [12:08 AM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on "Detrimental to the interests of the United States.":

Lucy ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:13 AM:

Has the government no judgment left? That's insane.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:17 AM:

Well, I for one, never said he'd be barely an improvement. My brain damaged cat, Loki, would be an improvment. But I have doubts that Kerry can beat Bush. Just sayin'.

MKK

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:24 AM:

It's perfectly obvious why he was refused admittance: anyone named "Ibrahim" is probably an Arab terrorist. Just be glad he wasn't arrested as an enemy combatant.

Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:36 AM:

Since September 2001, entertainment visas are harder to come by in general, entertainers with visas are more likely to be denied admission for overstays in the past, and Cubans in particular are more likely to get their petitions/applications turned down.

I thought about noting this in my blog when I saw it, but it's so common now for me to see these stories (petition/application denial or denial of admission) that I guess I didn't find this particular case discussion-worthy.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:37 AM:

Mean, petty, small, pinched, nasty, sour in the mouth as pecans gone bad. The kind of thing that'll be casually said to their detriment a century from now.

And dammit, we don't get Ibrahim Ferrer. I feel deprived.

Stephanie Dray ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:40 AM:

There are, quite unfortunately, many people who claim that Kerry would be no improvement on Bush. They are the same people who said that Al Gore would have been no different than Bush.

Many of them now work for Howard Dean. The Irony.

I wouldn't have lost any shut-eye at night worrying about whether or not my ACLU card was going to qualify me for a subpeona before a grand jury under President Gore. And I have no nightmares that President Leiberman/Kerry/Edwards/Clark would have our soldiers goose-stepping down Pennsylvania Avenue either.

Even if the next President did nothing but sit around in the oval office all day calling 1-800-SEX-LIVE and eating doritoes, it would be an improvement on what we have today.

People who cannot differentiate between active destruction of your country, and passive neglect, deserve what they get--unfortunately because I live in the same country, I get it too.

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:33 AM:

The real tragedy of the Grammy Award Ceremony was that they had Yoko One live, Ringo Starr by video, and Sir Paul McCartney by video, without including George Harrison's son or one of John Lennon's sons. That way, they could have argued that they had the genetic equivalent of the Beatles.

I got a thrill from seeing even the incomplete assemblage. But I noticed only polite applause. My wife pointed out that the equivalent of this 40th anniversary event would have been to have, in 1964, some aged musicians who'd had a huge hit in 1924, wheeled out onstage.

My 15-year-old helpfully points out that Yoko Ono was parodied on Powerpuff Girls, so she must be somebody really important. You know, like Stephen Hawking in The Simpsons.

Say, can it be that Bush doesn't like Cuba? But why? The Castro administration executes drug dealers?

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:43 AM:

Jonathan, they had Olivia Harrison, George's widow. She spoke before Yoko did; maybe you missed her. But I thought that was nice parallelism. I even had the fleeting thought that maybe Barbara and Heather would speak instead of their husbands, too.

What disappointed me was that Ringo and Paul, though both apparently in London, spoke from separate locations. Seeing them together would have been nice.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:44 AM:

Youd think NRO could get behind their concentration camps for the HIV+. It would fit in so nicely with his tattoo their penii initiative.

Alan ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:57 AM:

Petulance, spite, ignorance and insularity have been the foundations of the foreign policy of the USA for many years. The interior decoration has varied, but not the foundations.

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 03:50 AM:

Well it seems to me that this actually would have little chance of being different under Kerry, presidents very rarely involve themselves in individual immigration cases, even for entertainers (pointing out an isolated incident or two in this case does not invalidate the word rarely). This is not any way a foreign policy decision, it is an immigration decision, which is generally handled by autocratic assholes without oversight.

Ginger pointed out: "Since September 2001, entertainment visas are harder to come by in general..."

That is probably true, and that is something that would probably be different under Kerry. But that this particular incident would not have happened under Kerry is not necessarily certain, although he might be willing to send an order down reversing such a decision.

NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 06:36 AM:

Let's not take it too personally. Ibrahim Ferrer's visa request was probably handled by a low-level particle of the bureaucracy, who doubtless treated the form on a strictly mechanical basis. They may be no more of a philistine or New York-ophobe than I am, but have their instructions, check-lists and point systems.

Ferrer's an entertainer, therefore unlikely to have a very high priority; and he comes from Cuba, which is likely to be a big minus. And I don't know that there's a box on the visa form for "Attending highly prestigious and visible award ceremony as nominee" so the bureaucratic particle may have had minimal awareness of why Ferrer needed a visa.

Alas, I doubt many bureaucrats get rewarded for letting people into the country. The purpose of these procedures, after all, is to keep people out, even during more normal times.

That being said, it sucks.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 08:05 AM:

Many of them now work for Howard Dean. The Irony.

Yes, because we'd prefer not to vote for someone who voted for the law being used to keep this perfomer out of the country. Some of us refuse to support those who were in a position to actively resist what BushCo was doing to this country, and, instead, rolled over and supported these actions.

People who cannot differentiate between active destruction of your country, and passive neglect, deserve what they get.

People who support those who supported the active destruction of thier country deserve the same.


Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 10:39 AM:

Lois Fundis:

Whoops, I missed Mrs. Harrison. That's what comes from ranking low on the channel changer hierarchy.

My wife bought the TV, that puts her on top. Also, she's been a professor longer. Second is my son. He's a teenager, and thus requires more vitamin T (TV). Plus, he has a brown belt in karate. So I only see the TV when they have nothing they'd rather see. Oh, I guess I outrank the dog. Our dog, Kramer, would rather watch squirrels and human passersby.

There was the episode of Saturday Night Live where a calling all Beatles request was made, and two Beatles were actually in New York watching. Unfortunately, although they admitted the impulse, they did not take cabs to the studio.

My brother (whose group "The Planets" used to open for Kiss and the New York Dolls) says, of the Beatles, and why they really broke up:

"Paul will never say, and Ringo doesn't know how."

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 10:43 AM:

Ha, it turns out Cory Doctorow doesn't know what pecksniff means. This decline in standards scares the dickens right outta ya.

/blogospheric-snark

Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 10:49 AM:

If this was handled by a low-level bureaucrat using a checklist, someone created that checklist. It did not fall out of the sky, it was not picked up off the ground like a pebble, it was written by human beings for political reasons. And someone higher up decided not to overrule the bureaucrat when it became known that Ferrer had been denied a visa to come get an award for his music.

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 10:55 AM:

'My wife pointed out that the equivalent of this 40th anniversary event would have been to have, in 1964, some aged musicians who'd had a huge hit in 1924, wheeled out onstage.'

I can't help but think the equivalent would have been having some aged musicians and songwriters who'd had huge hits in 1924, followed by nearly a decade of huge hits, followed by another dozen years of intermittent hits and various media enterprises, and who had managed still to have a couple of hits from new releases of old songs sometime in the last decade (I seem to remember some sort of Beatles related stuff in the mid-90s), wheeled out onstage.

So basically that would be Bing Crosby.

maybe.

Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 11:32 AM:

My reflection on the continuing popularity of the Beatles forty years on was that it would have been similar to people in the 1980's (my peak radio listening years) enjoying popular singers from the 1940's.

Weren't the 1940's the height of Frank Sinatra's popularity? He was still quite popular in the 80's, and got quite a bit of airplay if you listened to the right stations. And you could make a good case for Frankie Blue Eyes having been the Beatles-analog of his era.

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 12:04 PM:

yeah, but the original comment was contrasting the current year with the first year of the beatles U.S popularity.

chun the unavoidable ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 12:10 PM:

Was I removed from your blogroll because of my "Kerry Will Be Destroyed" post? It was more of a general bit of apocalyptic gnomism than a political statement, one that should be read anagogically.

For the record, I'd vote for Alexander Haig if he were the Democratic nominee this year.

And I don't know if you had anything to do with the cover art for the Short Sun books, but how the same publisher could commission the (by the standards of the genre) sublime Long Sun omnibus covers and then follow up with something so embarrassing I had to cover with grocery bags remains one of the vital mysteries.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 12:13 PM:

While it's true that a president is unlikely to be involved in individual decisions, it's unlikely that a Democrat would have to suck up to anti-Castro fanatics; I think it's plausible that word would have gone right down the line, from Ashcroft to the people who stamp papers, that being Cuban costs points when being considered for a visa. (The word might or might not have been subtle enough to include "unless they can't get exit papers from Cuba.") It might not be quite that blatant, but it could be -- after all, we're talking about someone whose ~first official act was to clothe a statue whose deshabille he disapproved of; that kind of catering to the voting bigots wasn't a one-time stunt.

Alan: next week I'll be seeing Threepenny Opera; I'll think of you during the "Song on the Futility of Human Endeavor".

pudge ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 12:16 PM:

Just to reiterate: there are two things at work here, the policy that disallowed him, and the individual action that disallowed him. Bush had nothing to do with the latter, and Kerry supports the former. To think things would be different under Kerry is entirely unwarranted if you look at the, you know, facts.

Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 12:41 PM:

Yup, Kerry and Bush agree on every single thing in the world. That's why Bush is going on about the "sanctity of marriage" and "preserving a sacred institution" and Kerry voted against DOMA, even if he is waffling on the current Massachusetts situation.

Yup. No difference at all. Sheesh.

lou ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:19 PM:

The AP story says "the president can deny entry to foreigners when their visit is deemed "detrimental to the interests of the United States." " that makes it sound as though the decision was made at a higher up level than normal immigration decisions. How petty.

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:35 PM:

Christopher Davis writes: " That's why Bush is going on about the "sanctity of marriage" and "preserving a sacred institution""

While failing to comment on his brother's adultery with countless prostitutes in Asia and using an email message to tell his wife he wanted a divorce.

Really on the forefront of defending marriage, that George.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:51 PM:

Pudge, nice try, but no cigar. Not even close.

As Lou just pointed out, the decision to exclude Ferrer was made 'in the name of the President of the United States'. The law did not make it mandatory, it was strictly a judgement call, based on guidlines set out by this administration, not a previous one. The Clinton administration had exactly the same power to exclude Ferrer before, and chose not to exercise it. This might not be Bush's fault in a direct sense, as he did not personally make the decision, as best we know. But he is responsible for it as it was done in his name, and was a easily forseen consequence of a policy he approved.

As Ginger pointed out above this policy has been a problem for a while.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 01:55 PM:

Stephanie Dray wrote,

Even if the next President did nothing but sit around in the oval office all day calling 1-800-SEX-LIVE and eating doritoes, it would be an improvement on what we have today.

I think that's pretty much what our last president did. You're right, it wasn't as bad as what followed.

But I recall musical performers from dicey countries being denied visas under his administration, too. In those days the usual excuse was "There must be Americans who can do this job, why hire a foreigner?" Uh-huh.

Jonathan Vos Post wrote,

The real tragedy of the Grammy Award Ceremony was that they had Yoko One live, Ringo Starr by video, and Sir Paul McCartney by video, without including George Harrison's son or one of John Lennon's sons.

Lois pointed out the video presence of Olivia Harrison. I didn't watch the ceremony, but my newspaper showed a photo of Sean Lennon on-stage in a white tux.

t0ddlg ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:06 PM:

CHip wrote

it's unlikely that a Democrat would have to suck up to anti-Castro fanatics;

Um, yeah they would too. Until the rabid anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in Florida die off, no administration will seriously look at backing off of Cuba. Basically that small group has US policy towards Cuba held hostage. Whether right/left wing, those damn Florida electoral votes are too much risk.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:07 PM:

Right F***ing ON, Patrick.

Rachel Brown ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:07 PM:

Here's a draconian post-9/11 immigration enforcement story which is even more depressing. A sixteen-year-old boy who was illegally brought to the US by his mother when he was _three_ is about to get deported to Mexico, even though he is estranged from his only relative who lives there.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-salas9feb09,1,4949648.story?coll=la-home-local

Regarding entertainment visas, the last time I looked into them the application requires a detailed explanation of what sort of entertainment you're going to be doing. There is no way that Ibrahim Ferrer's visa just fell through the cracks in the system. The person who denied it had to have known exactly what he or she was doing.

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 02:19 PM:

There must be Americans who can do this job, why hire a foreigner?

That's the reason. Ibrahim Ferrer didn't have a H1-B or L1 visa.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 03:03 PM:

t0ddlg: That's an interesting assessment. I wouldn't expect the anti-Castro forces to vote for a Democrat regardless of how he pandered to them; it would be about as productive as pandering to the "Christian" right. (Some Democrats -- IIRC Torricelli -- don't seem to know this; most do.) I wouldn't bet on a Democratic president dropping sanctions while Castro is alive, but I also wouldn't expect one to expect to score points with them.

r@d@r ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 03:07 PM:

ibrahim ferrer has more class in his left pinky than exists in the entire united states federal government AND all north american artists awarded a grammy this year, combined.

Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 04:08 PM:

I'd argue that Warren Zevon possessed at least as much class as Ferrer's left pinky. But he does have the advantage of being dead.

Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 05:17 PM:

Keeping Janet Jackson away from the Grammy Awards: a cheap boob.

Watching a Justin Timberlake music video with the sound turned down: an improvement.

Seeing Ibrahim Ferrer live: who want to go to the USA anyway?

natasha ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2004, 07:03 PM:

"There are, quite unfortunately, many people who claim that Kerry would be no improvement on Bush. They are the same people who said that Al Gore would have been no different than Bush.

Many of them now work for Howard Dean. The Irony."

Not especially ironic, no. Many of us would maintain that the party has been losing its distinctions in the mind of the general public, caving, and not standing up for us. I'd like that not to be the case anymore, but I have come to believe that steady pummeling and support (depending) from engaged party members could force the change we want anyway.

This is why I've decided to encourage Dean supporters, delegates, and the supporters of other candidates who fear that Dean supporters will go to a third party (I've heard the rumblings & almost wavered myself after the tricks that were pulled in Iowa and NH, it shouldn't be taken lightly), support Dean for the chairmanship of the DNC if he doesn't win the nomination.

All of his 'negatives' would be huge pluses for the party chair position, including the willingness to say things that would be impolitic for an elected official or candidate, and the ability to cheer on the most partisan and ideological of the troops. He would have a loyal following, be able to raise lots of money, and draw plenty of attention to the party's talking points. Think about how much more traffic Kicking Ass would get, and how many donations would flow to the DNC. The media loves to cover an argument, and it would be nice to see more coverage of Democrats arguing about how liberal we should be, as opposed to the current coverage of *everybody* arguing about how conservative we should be. Think about Dean going head to head with Gillespie, unmuzzled by the concern that what he said would hurt his election chances.

(Terry MacAulliffe is, btw, planning on stepping down soon anyway.)

Greens generally like Dean, Libertarians and independents like Dean, and he even has a moderate Republican following. I'll work to encourage fellow Dean supporters to throw in behind the party, but it would be easier if we had the promise of a concrete reward for it. Treat us like loyal Democrats who have the best interests of the party at heart, and we might just be able to persuade each other to rise to expectations. Mull at will.

And in that spirit, I'm glad that Dean will stay in the race to the end. It'll continue to give Dean supporters delegates and clout (this is no time for 'my way or the highway' from any party to this), and keep the press from going straight to the general election horserace. Our party hasn't, as has been noted by many others, had this much coverage in ages. Our issues have gotten airtime, and Bush has been tanking, improving the eventual position of whoever ends up with the nomination.

Just please don't talk as though some very dedicated, and very disappointed people, had already cast, or refused to cast, a vote that cost the Democratic party the presidency. It's a little early to write us off, plenty of time for persuasion.

Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 10:32 AM:

Some 20 years or so ago, Rare Air (a rock/scottish/jazz group) started having trouble getting permission to play in the US. They were from that well-known dicey country, Canada.

The policy of saying that people can't come in because maybe an American can do the same work (are there any American bands composed of drums, bass, and two pipers?) isn't at all recent, though I'm not at all pleased that it's getting more restrictive.

rea ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 12:22 PM:

"Since September 2001, entertainment visas are harder to come by in general, entertainers with visas are more likely to be denied admission for overstays in the past, and Cubans in particular are more likely to get their petitions/applications turned down."

Yeah, if there's one thing 9/11 taught us, it's not to trust elderly Cuban musicians who've been nominated for Grammy awards--a description which, as all good Americans know, fit all the hijackers (except those from Iraq).

HlVictoria ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 12:47 PM:

Rea wrote: (quoting another)"Since September 2001, entertainment visas are harder to come by in general, entertainers with visas are more likely to be denied admission for overstays in the past, and Cubans in particular are more likely to get their petitions/applications turned down."

Yeah, if there's one thing 9/11 taught us, it's not to trust elderly Cuban musicians who've been nominated for Grammy awards--a description which, as all good Americans know, fit all the hijackers (except those from Iraq).

--

Yes, more xenophobia, that is exactly what the US needs if it wants to provide the rest of world with more comic relief. It seemed to so enough already with the exaggerated reactions to the Superbowl episode (see Rivka's post)

Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 01:56 PM:

Lots and lots of disparaging adjectives in that post, but very little evidence (none, to be exact) that 1) Bush or his political appointees had anything to do with this visa decision, or 2) that Kerry's administration would be any different. (That could be the case, but I haven't yet seen any evidence of it.) It's not as if low-level civil service bureaucrats under Democratic administrations always make good decisions on who gets a visa. (See this story on human rights activists denied visas under Clinton, or this story on the Clinton administration's denial of a visa to the head of Cuba's National Assembly.) In fact, I'd suggest that a good deal more outrage would be appropriate over the Bush administration's decision to continue the Clinton administration's 1995 policy of forcibly returning people to Cuba even when they were desperately trying to escape to America. (As seen most recently in the case of the eleven Cubans who tried to sail to Florida in a 1959 Buick.)

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 02:31 PM:

Oh, c'mon Stuart, we covered this yesterday.

Patrick's post covered a specific case where immigration officials enforced a specific set of policies modified by the Bush administration to make cultural exchanges with Cuba more difficult.

And the evidence that the Clinton administration policy was different is hard to miss -- in 1999 they let Ferrer and other musicians travel to New York, wihtout incident.

Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 02:58 PM:

Claude -- You refer to "policies modified by the Bush administration to make cultural exchanges with Cuba more difficult," and you claim that this was discussed above. Can you be more specific as to 1) exactly what policies were modified to make cultural exchanges with Cuba more difficult, 2) where this was discussed? I can't find anything that corresponds to what you are saying.

If your words are taken very loosely, you might be referring to the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, which is discussed in the Common Dreams article that you linked earlier. But that Act was passed unanimously in the Senate, along with John Kerry's vote. So how, again, does this show a distinction between Bush and Kerry?

Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 03:22 PM:

I'm on board for the "Dean as head of the DNC" idea. I had been trying to figure out where he would fit into a Kerry administration and couldn't really see him anywhere but at the top -- I think he would make an excellent party leader.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2004, 07:32 PM:

Stuart, they were mentioned in the BBC aricle that Patrick first cited. For more information try this, this, and particularly these articles that outline how Ry Cooder, the producer of The Buena Vista Social Club was fined $25,000 for traveling to Cuba legally to produce the follow up to that album, Mambo Sinuendo. He had been granted an exemption from the embargo by the Clinton administration. Unless there is some change, he will not make a third.

My first graduate class in public adminstration (a couple of decades ago) was public policy. The instructor went around the room a couple of times the first day, asking for a definition of what the policy of a government was. After a variety of tortured attempts, he said:

The policty of a government is what it actually does, not the content of formal policy documents or statments by public officials. What is actually done, no more and no less.

By the only real definition, the Clinton and Bush policies regarding the topic that Patrick posted on are not the same at all. So that dog won't hunt, you'll have to get another.

Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2004, 11:28 AM:

Claude -- you're confusing the issue of travel TO Cuba (which is the main issue discussed in the articles you link) with the issue of whether Cubans get visas to come here (which is what the original article was about). And on that latter point, one of the articles to which you linked said that one of Bush's initiatives was to "[i]ncrease the number of new migrants admitted from Cuba 'through a safe, legal, and orderly process.'" Note the word "increase." Whether that's happening or not, I don't know. But it makes it less plausible to complain that low-level bureaucrats at State are deliberately keeping out harmless Cuban musicians because that mean ole' Bush told them to.

In any event, do you agree that it is much more egregious for Bush to have kept the Clinton policy of forcibly returning Cubans who are desperate to escape to America?

Mike Hoye ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2004, 11:35 AM:

Strange, that nobody's said it: we all understand that this is happening because Jeb is George's brother, right?

jeff ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2004, 05:59 AM:


Ibrahim Ferrer?

I saw him play with a 20-piece salsa band last July. It was a hot night on the coast in Juan-les-Pins, and as the sun set and the stars came out he played music that made it anatomically impossible to sit still. How many 20-piece bands do you know that require three percussionists?

He's a wizened piece of tobacco leaf, that guy; lean and wiry and wrinkled. But he sings beautifully and he still dances as best as he can--a few little steps here and there and you can see that even at 90-plus years he still loves the music and he still feels the music.

But, hey, I'm with Bush on this one. A serious threat, I'd say. He's the sort of dangerous terrorist that is likely to start spouting pro-Castro slogans during his acceptance speech (did I mention that he only speaks Spanish?), and you know how susceptible we Americans are to the siren song of Cuban communism...

David ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2004, 12:44 PM:

Claude -- you're confusing the issue of travel TO Cuba (which is the main issue discussed in the articles you link) with the issue of whether Cubans get visas to come here (which is what the original article was about). And on that latter point, one of the articles to which you linked said that one of Bush's initiatives was to "[i]ncrease the number of new migrants admitted from Cuba 'through a safe, legal, and orderly process.'" Note the word "increase." Whether that's happening or not, I don't know. But it makes it less plausible to complain that low-level bureaucrats at State are deliberately keeping out harmless Cuban musicians because that mean ole' Bush told them to.

Except that Ferrer is the wrong kind of Cuban. The Bush administration wants Cubans to flee from Castro's tyranny and enjoy capital-F Freedom in sunny Florida (where they can become grateful, Republican-voting citzens). Visiting musicians who will be returning to their homes in Cuba, on the other hand, are not welcome.

Demosthenos - TGO Freedom of Speech ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2004, 04:51 AM:

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ATTENTION:

Go visit Joe Trippi's new Blog and read his statements. It's at ChangeForAmerica.com

This is an excerpt:


"I think it is great to think about running good people seeking change at the local level -- but I also think once we find someone at the local level we want to put out a national alert to all who care about our cause and get that candidate the support they need to beat this system."


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David Moles doesn't know if that's spam or not ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2004, 09:33 AM:

But even in a good cause, I think those asterisks are outside the bounds of civilized online discourse.

Camilo ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2004, 11:00 AM:

The issue here is not the application of the law or the correct jurisdiction. I am sure that all involved acted within their limits.

The really nefarious aspect of this event is that they only conformed to the most stringent interpretations of the law, without bothering to acknowledge the difference between an entertainer and a possible terrorist.

These blanket interpretations of the law not only affect foreigners, but are a sad symptom of the disregard that this administration has for the individual: the state becomes paramount, and all other considerations fall aside. And that is when abuses occur.

Ferrer is not the one being kept from coming into the USA. It is us, the ones that are not allowed to go outside.

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2004, 04:18 PM:

Demosthenos is a regular blogger on Dean's blog. Not a spammer; just exceedingly enthusiastic, occasionally off topic gormless guy.


-l.

Ricky Vandal ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2004, 08:37 PM:

I dislike the murderous beard in Havana with a vengeance for what he's done to the good people of Cuba for the past 40 years, but I must agree that denying these old musicians a visa is beyond the pale.

pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2004, 05:09 AM:

Claude -- you're confusing the issue of travel TO Cuba (which is the main issue discussed in the articles you link) with the issue of whether Cubans get visas to come here (which is what the original article was about). And on that latter point, one of the articles to which you linked said that one of Bush's initiatives was to "[i]ncrease the number of new migrants admitted from Cuba 'through a safe, legal, and orderly process.'"

Stuart, seems to me you're confusing immigration with visiting. I don't see a contradiction in noting that George would want to increase the population of Jeb-supporters while denying temporary accommodation to someone who would return to Cuba (and Castro) wreathed in America-bestowed honours and accolades. Both stances serve the same political goal: harass Castro while storing up goodwill in an important state.

Cesar ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2004, 11:31 AM:

He is a useless political figure!(Kerry) Can we get a switch-off?....Ibrahim should have the right to attend the Grammy's!!