The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
Dear Mr. President,
I was born in Havana, Cuba in 1956. My parents, grandparents, and extended family came to this country shortly after the revolution in early 1960. I consider the United States of America to be my country, English my language, and America my home. I am extremely proud of my Cuban heritage. Cuba before castro was second only to this great country as a beacon of hope for immigrants. It was an economic marvel, the world's greatest producer of sugar and the world's best cigars. It had one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the Hemisphere, it was an early adopter of American technologies, and as a tourist destination, it was second to none. Cuba was a cornucopia of influences: African and Spanish, Old World and New, all combining to make a unique country and a rich, vibrant culture.
Since January 1, 1959 the country of my birth has been controlled by one of the most evil men in the sad history of the Twentieth Century. He has no rivals, but many equals: Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia, Mao in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Honecker in East Germany. In our hemisphere his evil and tyranny has been second to none. On January 1 of next year it will be 47 years of tyranny, executions, slave labor, and of the imprisonment of dissidents whose crime is that they disagree with Fidel Castro.
Cubans have fled the island since the revolution in an almost unending stream. Today, people yearning to be free of a tyrant, will do whatever they need to do to escape the clutches of Fidel and his monstrous regime. As in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan, these people just want an opportunity to experience the freedoms we take for granted here in the US.
The shameful and revolting events of September 23, 2005, when a boatload of refugees, risking everything to come to America to be free, were rammed by a US Coast Guard vessel and hosed like common thugs, is outrageous and un-American. It is a crime to treat people like this, people who are fleeing from oppression and to liberty! This spectacle, caught on film for all to see, makes me ashamed to be an American. Why the stark contrast between what the US Coast Guard did last Thursday and the heroic deeds they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?
Would we have done such a thing in Berlin? Are we not in Iraq, a war I support for many reasons, to promote the very values the people on that boat risked everything for? How can we take the high moral ground and talk to the world about freedom, liberty, and of the dignity of a person’s right to be free, when we treat people like this? The people in that boat were following Jefferson’s dictum that “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Cubans in exile practice that dictum on a daily basis, praying for the day Cuba is once again a free nation.
Mr. President, the former administration’s policy of “wet foot/dry foot” is a travesty of justice and a mockery of the values we hold dear in this country. I know you feel the same way. As a supporter of your election and re-election, as a contributor to your Party, and as someone who loves freedom, I urge you to sign an executive order rescinding “wet foot/dry foot” and to free the people who were so shabbily mistreated by our US Coast Guard.
The Cuban exile community awaits your response.
George L. Moneo
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