The inside scoop on the ICCAS scandal at the University of Miami

José Azel

For many years, José Azel was a senior scholar at UM’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

His role at that institution ended abruptly this summer when UM’s president Julio Frenk fired everyone at the Institute.

Yes, Frenk fired everybody.  It was an academic massacre.  And it’s clear he wanted to shut down the Institute.

When news of Frenk’s autocratic execution orders caused a stink in the Cuban exile community, a UM vice-president denied that Frenk had tried to shut down ICCAS, and that the “retirement” announced by director Jaime Suchlicki had been “misunderstood.”

As the uproar increased, Frenk named an interim director who has close ties to a cruise ship company that takes American tourists to Cuba, and who actually leads such tours himself, on a luxury vessel.

This information comes straight from someone on the inside, who was summarily fired, along with everyone else.

See for yourself how Dr. Frenk, aided by Harvard’s Castrophilic professor Jorge Dominguez, a Cuban exile, tried to to get away with murder — metaphorically speaking, of course…

Below is José Azel’s full exposé.

Fired: Jaime Suchlicki

From PanAm Post 

ICCAS-gate at the University of Miami: It’s the Cover-up that Gets You

The Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration and President Clinton’s forcefully claiming “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…” are two of the most infamous examples of the “it’s the cover-up that gets you” dictum.

The suffix “-gate” has become synonymous with presidential scandal and cover-up. I introduce it here to expose the ICCAS-gate cover-up by University of Miami President Dr. Julio Frenk. The buck stops with the President, and I seek to show, responsibly and factually, that Dr. Frenk intended to dismantle ICCAS, and is now engaged in a cover-up of those intentions.

My association with the University of Miami dates back to the late 1960s when I was a business student. Over the years, I earned bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees, becoming a three-time UM alumni. I am also a former adjunct business professor, and a member of the ICCAS team. This is to say, I wish only the best for my beloved Alma Mater and my community.

But, whether Dr. Frenk intended to dismantle ICCAS is, as Alexander Hamilton noted in Federalist No. 23, “one of those truths which, to a correct and unprejudiced mind, carries its own evidence along with it.”

The controversy surfaced with a July 10 Miami Herald article citing Dr. Jaime Suchlicki as having been instructed to effect the cessation of ICCAS operations. In June, Dr. Suchlicki wrote to his staff:

“This is to inform you that as of August 15, 2017, I will be leaving the University of Miami. I have been instructed by the Office of the Provost to effect the cessation of operations for the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, consequently your position has been eliminated and you will be placed on layoff status as of August 15, 2017.”

I respectfully complied by vacating my office, returning my keys, and retiring in sad silence. Now, compelled by the cover-up, I speak publicly for the first time on ICCAS-gate.

I swear…I did not try to strangle that institute…

As instructed by Dr. Frenk the entire ICCAS staff was fired in June. Yet, the July Miami Herald article quotes Jacqueline R. Menendez, UM’s Vice President for Communications, caustically refuting Dr. Suchlicki: “the only thing that has happened is that Jaime retires on Aug. 15 there are no plans to close ICCAS.”

I will generously assume that Ms. Menendez was misled by her boss, President Frenk. Her statement that “there are no plans to close ICCAS,” when, in fact, ICCAS had already been effectively closed by the firing of all its personnel is patently false.

I hope Ms. Menendez would not be as callous as to consider the firing of the entire ICCAS staff a non-event as implied by her statement that “the only thing that has happened is that Jaime retires on Aug. 15.” Is the firing of all ICCAS personnel not a “thing”?

I have verified that Dr. Suchlicki’s termination agreement explicitly requires him to “…effect the cessation of operations for the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.” Similarly, Ms. Menendez should have sought the truth from her boss to avoid misleading our community. She has now been made complicit in the cover-up.

Those are the facts as I know them. Now we can ask: If Dr. Frenk’ did not intend to dismantle ICCAS, why did he find it necessary to fire, without the courtesy of an explanation, the entire ICCAS staff? Were they incompetent, or were they an impediment to the implementation of his plans? What were those plans?

Castrophile Prof. Dominguez

Dr. Frenk had been formulating his Cuban studies ideas for many months, and he had commissioned a comprehensive study of options to his friend, Harvard Professor Jorge Dominguez.  Given this careful advanced planning, if there was no intention to dismantle ICCAS, the announcement of Dr. Suchlicki’s departure would have been accompanied with the announcement of the new interim director, or perhaps even the new director.

That was not the case, and the untimely appointment of an interim director appears to be an improvised, disingenuous cover-up to placate the community’s outrage. Dr. Frenk has been untruthful with our community, and now, under pressure, he will meet with community representatives on 18 August. I pray he uses that opportunity to come clean about his designs.  Our community deserves honesty, not an ICCAS-gate cover-up.

2 thoughts on “The inside scoop on the ICCAS scandal at the University of Miami”

  1. Well, as the saying goes, the more you stir up shit, the more it stinks. The extremely heavy-handed way Frenk initially went about this clearly contradicts and gives the lie to the subsequent damage-control public statements praising the work of Suchlicki and the ICCAS. Basically, Frenk acted as if the center had been found to be heavily involved in such unsavory activities that it had to be dismantled ASAP, not to say razed to the ground. Obviously, if he had cared about the Cuban exile community and wanted its input, he would have consulted its members before he did anything, not well after the fact.

    As it happens, Ms. Menendez (who has apparently dropped the accent from her surname) is of Cuban extraction, like designated interim director Andy Gómez and Harvard’s Professor Domínguez. Frenk at least is a Mexican, so one can hardly be surprised, let alone shocked, that he would act like one, and he cannot be accused of betraying or disgracing his own people (who were already quite disgraced vis-à-vis Cuba).
    As for that meeting with Cuban exile figures two weeks from now, the question is not whether it will insult our intelligence, but how badly. Lord, the disgust.

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