Back in the saddle again

As the U.S. government steps up the pressure on Cuba, the State Department is relying on a veteran diplomat with experience in hotspots throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Michael G. Kozak is a senior official at State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, or DRL. He was born in Pasadena, California, on … Read more

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Nearly four years after release, Alan Gross is grateful

My Nov. 29 post about the Alan Gross case led to some lively debate on Facebook. I had raised the possibility that U.S. officials were slow to negotiate for the release of the American development worker because hardline Florida lawmakers needed a victim. Janet Ballantyne, a former honcho at the Agency for International Development, had … Read more

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Cuban American “terrorism” overlooked

Many historians “have largely ignored” or played down “Cuban American terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s,” a Temple University scholar writes. Yet “the wave of terror unleashed on parts of the United States during the 1970s, especially, was arguably the most serious and impactful in U.S. history, fully on par with Gilded Age anarchism, Vietnam-era … Read more

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U.S. government broke Guantánamo lease

The U.S. government has tried to topple the Cuban government, kill its president, strangle its economy. Now add this minor indignity: The U.S. “is technically in default” of a 1901 treaty allowing a military base at Guantánamo in Cuba, a State Department official wrote in 2006. That’s because the lease says the base can only … Read more

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Secrets along the money trail

Government spending records are easier to decipher than they were a decade ago, but U.S. government projects in Cuba are still cloaked in secrecy. A Washington, D.C., friend said he wondered if finding out about such projects just might be “mission impossible now.” He said: The bureaucracy now hides it under multiple layers of operational … Read more

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