On Friday Night the Houston Chronicle published on its web site (I suppose it was in the paper Saturday morning) an asinine editorial about why the US should shut down its program that extends political asylum to Cuban doctors working on internationalist missions around the world.
I wrote a letter to the editor which was published today. If you click the link, it’s the 2nd letter down. They made a small edit which I wish they wouldn’t have made but overall the content of the letter was unchanged.
Here’s my letter as I sent it with the sentence they changed in italics.
I am dismayed at your recent editorial (Doctor Diplomacy). The United States has always welcomed those Cubans who would attempt to escape the tyrannical rule of Fidel Castro. It shouldn’t matter what kind of propagandistic missions they are being compelled to engage in.
The problem is that even if they were to win the U.S. visa lottery, which is the mechanism by which most Cuban immigrants currently come to this country, Cuban doctors are denied exit visas that other Cubans routinely get, albeit after paying a series of fees and bribes to Cuban government officials. In this sense these Cuban doctors are even more restricted than their non-doctor counterparts. The program that provides visas to these doctors is an attempt to counter the regime’s policy that that the brains of Cuba’s doctors are “the property of the Cuban government“.
The doctors that apply for the asylum can not be guaranteed visas because they have to be investigated to ensure they are who they say they are and they have not participated in repressive activities. This seems to be a reasonable caveat to the program.
As far as what “observers throughout the Americas” think about the program, why should Americans care? The United States is one of the few countries that has had courage to denounce the ridiculous rule of Fidel Castro. Those “observers throughout the Americas” have largely applauded Castro in his anti-Americanism and turned a blind eye toward his abuses of the Cuban people.
Henry Louis Gomez
By the way, I submitted another letter to another paper, about the embargo, yesterday. I’ll post it here at some point whether it gets printed or not.