27 February 2007

New U.S. Policy toward Cuba: Play Dumb

From the Congressional Quarterly, Representative Serrano questions Bush’s man before a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

The 2/16/07 hearing was on the U.S. Visit Border Security Program

Mochny’s incompetence is chilling:

See, this may not fit here, but I've been for a while trying to figure out how a known terrorist by the name of Luis Posada Carriles was wanted both in Venezuela and in Cuba for different acts, including blowing up a plane carrying the Cuban Olympic fencing team in the 1970s, showed up in Florida, gave interviews to the local press saying, if he could do it again, he would do it again.

He's never been deported. He's being held on immigration charges for illegal entry into the country. And while we tell the world that we are in a war on terrorism, this man sits there because we won't deport him back to Venezuela, which was his last citizenship and the place where he escaped from jail.

Was US-VISIT, first of all, to your knowledge, in place when he entered the country recently? And secondly, what role did you play, or what role would you have been charged with playing, in looking after a situation like this?

I don't know if we were in place. I don't know when he came into the country. We began operations at 115 airports on January 5th of 2004. So if he came in before that time, then he would have come in without having gone through the finger scan process.

Well, I believe he came in after that, that he was smuggled into the country. But have you heard of this case, incidentally?

I can't say that I have. I mean, I had not heard of that, but I can look into it.

Well, maybe that's one of the problems that we have before us, folks who are involved in monitoring who enters the country. And your agency -- and I'm not giving you a hard time -- your agency wouldn't know that there's an ongoing controversy over a guy who is not an alleged terrorist. I mean, five, six, seven countries in Latin America know that he is a terrorist.

He was in prison for it and escaped from prison. He was in another prison in Panama, and he was let go on the last day of the former president's tenure as president, and he showed up illegally in the country, and he says he'll do it again if he has to. In his late 70s, and I suspect we're going to hold him and not deport him. And I just thought you would know something about it. Is there a possibility you could get back to the committee?

And then at a recent state department press conference, where ordinarily Bush’s band never misses a beat :

A man who represents three Cuban boxers says that they have been denied entry to the United States. They apparently applied for visas from Colombia. And they were -- according to their representative, they were denied visas because they don't have a permanent residence. The reason they don't have a permanent residence is that they defected from Cuba, so it's kind of a catch-22.
Do you have anything on this? Is this true? Were these men denied visas? Are you reviewing the case?

You know, I think I had some stuff in here earlier. But I can't seem to find it.
My guess here is that this new Play Dumb policy is in preparation for Bush’s upcoming visit to Left leaning Latin America.

At least, I certainly hope the Director in charge of US visit has access to information on how and when known terrorists cross our borders!