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US Cuba policy, Cold War special interest, holds Elian, hostage

01/18/00

Special interests corrupt US democracy

There are interesting parallels between the US domestic politics which control US foreign policy on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and those now which are causing Al Gore and other political candidates (from both major parties) to pander to the fanatic anti-Castro Cubans in Miami and New Jersey over their seizure of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez. Such "tail wags dog" spectacles, including the US voting alone in the UN, among all the countries of the world, to protect Israel's 50-year occupation of the Palestinian homelands, are a profound disgrace and should shame and offend the conscience of every fair-minded person.

The Congress, the presidential candidates, Al Gore, Bill Bradley, and all the Republicans, are tip-toeing around the issue of sending the poor child back to his father in Cuba. If US politics cannot stand up to such a small right-wing pressure group as the Cuban fanatics in Miami and New Jersey, how can there ever be political decisions that are not dominated by far more powerful interests, Israel, Phillip Morris, Boeing, Archer Daniels Midland Inc., Lockeed-Marietta, and Merck, Inc., etc. ?

The US cannot role-model democracy to lead the world toward citizen-led governments if this is the best we can do. Fewer than half of US citizens participate in elections in national, state, and local contests. Americans by the millions are disillusioned to the point of non-participation. The reason: money is speech and is protected by the ultra-conservative Renquist/Scalia/Thomas Supreme Court which expanded the meaning of First Amendment Constitutional protections to include "soft money" advertisements. The threat that wealthy Cubans exiles will finance soft-money attack ads intimidates US politicians into holding Elian Gonzalez hostage and allowing three million Palestinians to remain refugees for over 50 years. These same forces kept the dirty secrets of the tobacco industry quiet for at least 50 years while their poison addicted and killed millions of Amerians.