Leonel with Chavez and Fidel

frank alvarez

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As a result of the PetroCaribe Summit in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, organized by Chavez and attended by most Caribbean nations, including Cuba, yesterday's papers had a lot of front page pictures of America's latest Latin bad-boy, Chavez, with Fidel (America's all-time Latin bad-boy) on his right and Leonel on his left. I wonder how this is being played in Foggy Bottom and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and what the repercussions will be, if any, for Leonel's government and/or the Dominican Republic in general.

No one has the right to 'lead' a country for 47 straight years and that is terrible on Castro's part but you have to admire how he has outlasted 10 American presidents, an overagressive exiled community in Miami that hates his guts and countless assasination attempts. Personally, 13 years ago I stayed up all night outside the Ritz in Madrid waiting for Castro to arrive for
a summit and got the pleasure of seeing him up close and applauding him.
My admiration is partly due to having seen my father, when I was a child,
staying up late quietly listening to 'Radio Rebelde' while Castro was still in the mountains of Cuba. His original idea was good but I realize and reiterate that no one has the right to assume the leadership of a nation in such a totalitarian way.
 

daddy1

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frank alvarez said:
As a result of the PetroCaribe Summit in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, organized by Chavez and attended by most Caribbean nations, including Cuba, yesterday's papers had a lot of front page pictures of America's latest Latin bad-boy, Chavez, with Fidel (America's all-time Latin bad-boy) on his right and Leonel on his left. I wonder how this is being played in Foggy Bottom and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and what the repercussions will be, if any, for Leonel's government and/or the Dominican Republic in general.

No one has the right to 'lead' a country for 47 straight years and that is terrible on Castro's part but you have to admire how he has outlasted 10 American presidents, an overagressive exiled community in Miami that hates his guts and countless assasination attempts. Personally, 13 years ago I stayed up all night outside the Ritz in Madrid waiting for Castro to arrive for
a summit and got the pleasure of seeing him up close and applauding him.
My admiration is partly due to having seen my father, when I was a child,
staying up late quietly listening to 'Radio Rebelde' while Castro was still in the mountains of Cuba. His original idea was good but I realize and reiterate that no one has the right to assume the leadership of a nation in such a totalitarian way.


He has lasted because the U.S. has no interest in Cuba ..and he has watched his P's and Q's as well, I don't admire him at all, he had a golden oppurtunity to oust Batista and make Cuba the envy of the Carribean, but instead he keeps his people living in less then livable conditions, because of his pride and ego.
 

Andy B

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Repercussions of this are...

economically scary for those of us in the tourist industry. With a large segment of our tourism being from the US, to position Fernandez with Castro and Chavez further identifies the DR with dictators, violence, corruption and unstable governments, just the very thing we need to avoid. As it is, no matter how many ballplayers we send to the big leagues, many North Americans still view the DR as an unsafe place and presenting a picture like this just reinforces that. Leonel's PR people should have known better.
 
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blondie

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frank alvarez said:
As a result of the PetroCaribe Summit in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, organized by Chavez and attended by most Caribbean nations, including Cuba, yesterday's papers had a lot of front page pictures of America's latest Latin bad-boy, Chavez, with Fidel (America's all-time Latin bad-boy) on his right and Leonel on his left. I wonder how this is being played in Foggy Bottom and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and what the repercussions will be, if any, for Leonel's government and/or the Dominican Republic in general.

No one has the right to 'lead' a country for 47 straight years and that is terrible on Castro's part but you have to admire how he has outlasted 10 American presidents, an overagressive exiled community in Miami that hates his guts and countless assasination attempts. Personally, 13 years ago I stayed up all night outside the Ritz in Madrid waiting for Castro to arrive for
a summit and got the pleasure of seeing him up close and applauding him.
My admiration is partly due to having seen my father, when I was a child,
staying up late quietly listening to 'Radio Rebelde' while Castro was still in the mountains of Cuba. His original idea was good but I realize and reiterate that no one has the right to assume the leadership of a nation in such a totalitarian way.
The "over agressive exile community in Miami" do not hate his guts, we hate what he has done for the island, for the freedom we don't have for the taken of humans life and the total control of the cubans .You can't speak of
the "agressive community in Miami" if you did not lived in the MONSTER entranas and know the life in there, My friend take a hike and leave your DR paradise and go and live for a year or two in CUBA not as a foreigner, but as a Cuban, get a taste of the Castro garras, and then, only then, you could talk about the everagressive exile community.
 

liam1

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an average Dominican is no better off than an average Cuban. and if US government would let the Cuban exile community send as much money as they want back to their relatives in Cuba, like they let the Dominicans do, Cubans would live better that Dominicans.
 

Mirador

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economically scary for those of us in the tourist industry. With a large segment of our tourism being from the US, to position Fernandez with Castro and Chavez further identifies

Article in a Venezuelan newspaper (on line) mentions that last year the country's tourist establishments received 27 million tourist visitors, and almost at the end of the article it finally mentions that of that number only about 200.000 were 'foreign' tourist.
 

daddy1

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But it sends the wrong impression!

These men are clearly are not in any good standings with the U.S. and yes! he should care..and realize that Dominican's travel and live in U.S., and not in Venezuela or Cuba, Hooray for his oil contract with Chavez! but at what price, there is already a buzz in Washington about that meeting... this can send the U.S. gov't conflicting messages.


these are the enemies of the biggest friend he has as a nation, this move could have brung him problems for approval of the DRCAFTA...Cuba is still under an embargo, and not even communist Japan interfere with U.S. santions on Castro..the issue is..

Democratic Government's should not be mingling with dictators in laughter in public nor in private, these countries are under surveliance for human right's violations, and extra curricular activities...bad move on leonel's part!
 

daddy1

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But it sends the wrong impression!

These men are clearly are not in any good standings with the U.S. and yes! he should care..and realize that Dominican's travel and live in U.S., and not in Venezuela or Cuba, Hooray for his oil contract with Chavez! but at what price, there is already a buzz in Washington about that meeting... this can send the U.S. gov't conflicting messages.


these are the enemies of the biggest friend he has as a nation, this move could have brung him problems for approval of the DRCAFTA...Cuba is still under an embargo, and not even communist Japan interfere with U.S. santions on Castro..the issue is..

Democratic Government's should not be mingling with dictators in laughter in public nor in private, these countries are under surveliance for human right's violations, and extra curricular activities...bad move on leonel's part!
 

Mr_DR

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daddy1 said:
Democratic Government's should not be mingling with dictators in laughter in public nor in private, these countries are under surveliance for human right's violations, and extra curricular activities...bad move on leonel's part!
Who cares about what the US thinks

They already think that DR is a top human rights violator and have labeled us as a failed state........Now, tell me if that was not a big blow to LF's face as well as to all the dominican people.
 
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What the US thinks is important and the Dominican people and government should care. Playing footsie and flirting with the 2 biggest anti-americans in the neighborhood will not improve your image in washington. The US is the one country with the means to help the DR improve its condition. Passage of DR-CAFTA can only help and if more goodies like this are to come, there's a need to stop cozying up to those guys. Besides, if the country needs help, monetary or otherwise, Dominicans would be wise not to hold their breath waiting for the French or Germans. Also I can hear the laughter on the phone now.... FIdel, it's Leonel, do you have a few million pesos we can borrow to build a new power plant?? Comrade.......ha ha ha ha haha haha........Cuba has no .........ha hah hahah ha money. Leonel, mi amigo, you make me laugh sometimes....... hah ha hah hah ha
 

Andy B

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It will hurt

With tourism being the primary cash cow for the DR, anything that threatens this primary source of income for the republic and it's people should be avoided. We need all the positive imagery we can generate. As it is, even though it's been 40 years since the violence of the Truillo era, many North Americans still think the DR is not a nice place to visit. Picturing Leonel with Castro and Chavez, both reviled by most of the Americas, does nothing but reinforce that the DR is still a place to be avoided. THAT'S what hurts everybody, Leonel included.
 
daddy1 said:
Cuba is still under an embargo, and not even communist Japan interfere with U.S. santions on Castro..the issue is..

Since when is Japan communist???

Leonels PR people are obviously very naive and or stupid, especailly with Cafta on the table in the US.
Actually the less people who travel to the DR will lower prices, a simple case of supply and demand.

What has Fidel got to offer the DR?

"We need all the positive imagery we can generate." AndyB one smart man.
 

frank alvarez

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blondie said:
The "over agressive exile community in Miami" do not hate his guts, we hate what he has done for the island...

blondie...when I mentioned the "over-aggressive exiled community in Miami" I am just stating a fact and not qualifying it one way or another...I realize and understand why this is so and definitely would not want what happened to Cuba with Fidel's arrival to happen to the DR.

I admire what Fidel has done personally, mainly thumb his nose at the big empire and his revolution has already survived 50 years! Now, as I said, no one man has the right to rule a country for so long without the people having a chance to make a choice...I agree with you...I would not want to live in Cuba as it is, right now, and it is obvious people have been under hardship for many decades. Now, the question to be asked is why haven't the Cuban people revolted against this totalitarian system? Aren't there a few 'patriots'
willing to give their lives to get rid of Castro? After 31 years of Trujillo, luckily, a bunch of people risked their lives and got rid of him for us. When will the Cuban people do this or do they have an opposite view of the Miami exiles?

Anyways, back to the main theme, I agree with most comments above in that Leonel and his government should know better; unless by the back channels they have let the U.S. know that they were surprised by events (Castro appeared at the last minute and no one, including Chavez, was sure he would attend). In any case, Leonel argues that by the DR having diplomatic relations with Cuba and Venezuela, as well as the U.S., this frees him to have a personal relationship with the leaders of those countries. That is a valid point even if it's not totally practical in a sense.
 
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1. Japan is not "communist".
2. The US is NOT the DR's "best friend". (Let's end it at that. A debate on history of interference, military intervention and economic and financial exploitation would take this thread in the wrong direction.)
3. The US government did not label the DR a "failed state". A "think tank" did. However, former State Department Special Envoy for Latin America, Otto Reich, referred to the DR government as "leftist" - a far more meaningful term under the circumstances.
4. A relatively small minority of tourists to the DR come from the US, and Canadian and European governments and tourists don't care what Fernandez does with Chavez and Castro.
5. Talk is cheap. Fernandez has said the DR will join Petrocaribe. Those words cost nothing. Now it's time to see what the US offers to pull the DR back away from Chavez. As long as the US remembers that you "catch more flies with honey than with vinegar", it will work out in Fernandez' favor. The country will come out ahead over the "suck up" attitude of his predecessors as long as Bush doesn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed and order an invasion (again!).
6. If Fernandez ends up sacrificing some US tourists (excluding New York Dominicans, who will come no matter what) in exchange for cheap and plentyful oil, he will have absolutely made the right decision from a political and public policy perspective.
 

Tordok

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Porfio_Rubirosa said:
1. Japan is not "communist".
2. The US is NOT the DR's "best friend". (Let's end it at that. A debate on history of interference, military intervention and economic and financial exploitation would take this thread in the wrong direction.)
3. The US government did not label the DR a "failed state". A "think tank" did. However, former State Department Special Envoy for Latin America, Otto Reich, referred to the DR government as "leftist" - a far more meaningful term under the circumstances.
4. A relatively small minority of tourists to the DR come from the US, and Canadian and European governments and tourists don't care what Fernandez does with Chavez and Castro.
5. Talk is cheap. Fernandez has said the DR will join Petrocaribe. Those words cost nothing. Now it's time to see what the US offers to pull the DR back away from Chavez. As long as the US remembers that you "catch more flies with honey than with vinegar", it will work out in Fernandez' favor. The country will come out ahead over the "suck up" attitude of his predecessors as long as Bush doesn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed and order an invasion (again!).
6. If Fernandez ends up sacrificing some US tourists (excluding New York Dominicans, who will come no matter what) in exchange for cheap and plentyful oil, he will have absolutely made the right decision from a political and public policy perspective.


Good job, Porfi.
Re. #1. I think he meant that even non-communist Japan had diferent Cuban policies than the U.S. I think it was a lapsus of syntax. Everyone knows that the Empire of the Rising Sun is a parliamentary democracy/monarchy.
#s 2-6. : Ditto.

The Dominican state, by its sovereign rights, can make deals with whomever it chooses, but always aware of other international pressures.

The soon-to-be-saint, Pope JPII, shook hands with Fidel. Of course his mission was to reach out to the Cuban people, even if it required putting up with the dictator's presence and opportunism. It didn't make him any less of a well established anti-communist.

Instead on focusing on how Leonel is driving the nation leftwards -in reality he is trying to bring it into the fold of the global market economy-why not think that maybe Leonel can have an influence on those two other leaders about re-orienting to the right, or at least to the center ? What if he can serve as the regional moderate leader who helps to transform the Caribbean basin into a dynamic zone of long postponed prosperity and freedom?
I know it sounds grandiose or even foolish, but it is valid for the DR to expand its relations to nations from all over the world, and certainly with friendly neighbors.

The DR feels genuine friendship with the US, but even friends have been war enemies before. The US has diplomatic and economic relations right now, with former bitter enemies like Japan, Russia, Germany, and Vietnam. The US could hardly be the best example of a communist nation, yet it routinely trades and interacts with China.

Cuba happens to be taboo in US internal politics, and one of a handful of nations that are outright rejected as illegitimate by the US government under both parties. The US has to deal with its issues about Cuba. Canada, Britain, Spain, and many others deal with Cuba. The US chooses not to. The DR has chosen to reach out. Simple. Of course, the DR also must understand its responsibilities whenever dealing with someone like Fidel, or 'raconteour par excellence' Ch?vez. The stupid thing for Bush and/or Congress would be to take the DR out of CAFTA. It would be acknowledging a loss to their opponents' team instead of a victory for the free team. The DR needs to have relations with both the US and with Cuba. Geography, history and culture demand it. Everyone should make an effort to learn about the other. It promotes understanding among nations, even when ideologically apart.

- Tordok
 

daddy1

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Mr_DR said:
Who cares about what the US thinks

They already think that DR is a top human rights violator and have labeled us as a failed state........Now, tell me if that was not a big blow to LF's face as well as to all the dominican people.
Thanks for correcting me fella's I meant China, I apologize to any Japanese out there!

Anyway Mr Dr..where should I begin with you!!...There is not a country that exist in the world today..that has helped the D.R. more than the U.S.of A. It never seems to amaze me how some of you continue to live in a shell when it comes to U.S. and Dominican relations...the report on the failed state was a report done during the Hippo's reign in office in 2004, and with all the scandals and drug trafficking convictions going on today after his gov't, the country was definately in big trouble, please understand that D.R. and there inconsistant leaders made an error in judgement and they are the reason for there own negative press.. look there P.R. people goofed again!
leonel sent the wrong message to the people, I mean what's next a meeting with the dictator in North Korea...have you ever seen a democracy like P.Rico, Isreal, Great Britian, or Japan mingle with these men I don't think so...
 

Escott

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Porfio_Rubirosa said:
1. Japan is not "communist".
2. The US is NOT the DR's "best friend". (Let's end it at that. A debate on history of interference, military intervention and economic and financial exploitation would take this thread in the wrong direction.)
3. The US government did not label the DR a "failed state". A "think tank" did. However, former State Department Special Envoy for Latin America, Otto Reich, referred to the DR government as "leftist" - a far more meaningful term under the circumstances.
4. A relatively small minority of tourists to the DR come from the US, and Canadian and European governments and tourists don't care what Fernandez does with Chavez and Castro.
5. Talk is cheap. Fernandez has said the DR will join Petrocaribe. Those words cost nothing. Now it's time to see what the US offers to pull the DR back away from Chavez. As long as the US remembers that you "catch more flies with honey than with vinegar", it will work out in Fernandez' favor. The country will come out ahead over the "suck up" attitude of his predecessors as long as Bush doesn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed and order an invasion (again!).
6. If Fernandez ends up sacrificing some US tourists (excluding New York Dominicans, who will come no matter what) in exchange for cheap and plentyful oil, he will have absolutely made the right decision from a political and public policy perspective.
The US may not be the DR's best friend but the US is the DR's most important friend and not by a little but by a lot. The DR should not put the US on it's heels to turn around ever.

While the US tourism to the DR may NOT be the biggest part of the sector I would guess it is certainly the most important part of that sector for the Future of the DR. I know you have issues with the US but do NOT minimalize the effects of even insulting the US by the government of the DR. That price will be way too high to pay for Dominicans and others that live there. The US can be the number 1 country in importance to the DR tourism quicker than you can spell leftist. It is also presently the fastest growing segment in dollars spent I would bet. I know it is on the North Coast. It has certainly grown considerably in the last 5 years here.

Fernandez should be tiptoeing though those tulips and NOT shoving anything up the butt of the US. That will NOT be a great political move for him. I believe he should be dealing to get cheap oil. Why not?

Getting on the Castro/Chevez political bandwagon no matter what the oil costs would be suicidal for the DR in my opinion.

Escott
 

bob saunders

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In 2000 27% of tourists came from the usa and 10% came from Canada. Although europeans collectively were\are a higher percentage in the last 5 years the numbers from both Canada and the states have climbed considerably, so tourists from the states are of considerable importance to the DR economy.
 
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Check those statistics!

Porfio_Rubirosa said:
4. A relatively small minority of tourists to the DR come from the US....

Porfio:

Normally I concur with most of your observations, but this one I must take issue with.

If the Central Bank arrival stats are to be believed, (check the April 12, 2005 Travel News and work back) then US tourists comprise 25+ % (and growing) of the tourism base. This is hardly a small minority.

Further, from my personal observations in the Punta Cana area, many of those same US tourists are starting businesses and building homes (a shameless subtle plug for my upcoming blog).

And, as I understand from the Northcoasters many of those former tourists have bought and/or are buying there as well.

My point here is to make you aware of the financial impact, and ultimately the geo-political impact, that those US tourists will surely make over the next few years in/on the D.R.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2