What Cuban Exiles Really Want

In the Opinion page article "Treat Castro as Irrelevant," Feb. 6, the author misrepresents the views of Cuban exiles to make his point. It is patent nonsense - but still no less insulting - to claim Cuban Americans want to return Cuba to the 1950s or that somehow exile aspirations for freedom and democracy for family members in Cuba are an impediment to a better future for Cuba.

The author has fallen into the "us vs. them" trap laid by Fidel Castro. Cuba is one nation, but it has been forcibly divided by this dictator. Exiles aren't driven by power or greed, but only by the desire to reunite the nation under freedom and democracy. Many exiles - who realized their dreams in this great country - are economically disposed to assist their brothers on the island to rebuild what communism has destroyed. How many Eastern Europeans have told us how much they would have appreciated a pro sperous exile community willing to come back and help.

As for United States policy, instead of treating Castro as "irrelevant," he should be treated as the problem. With the collapse of his Soviet lifeline and his rejection of democracy and human rights, now is the worst possible time for the US to initiate some wooly-headed process of engagement with him.

Recommended: Cuban Missile Crisis: the 3 most surprising things you didn't know

All freedom-loving persons should dedicate their efforts instead to calling for his unconditional departure from power so that we then can not only begin helping Cubans on the island to rebuild, but also restore US-Cuban relations. Then all could reap the economic and regional security benefits of a stable, market-oriented Cuba. Jose R. Cardenas, Washington Research Director, The Cuban American Nat'l Foundation

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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