Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Gov. DeSantis Role at Guantanamo, Attack on Cuba's Ambassador

 DeSantis’s pivotal service at Guantánamo during a violent year

‘Hey, you can actually force-feed,’ Ron DeSantis said he advised, endorsing a practice detainee lawyers described as torture

By Michael Kranish

March 19, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Ron DeSantis was a 27-year-old Navy lawyer fresh out of Harvard Law School when he arrived in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, amid an escalating crisis at the U.S. military base.

Hundreds of “enemy combatants,” held without charges, had gone on hunger strikes. As pressure grew to end the protests, DeSantis later said, he was part of a team of military lawyers asked what could be done.

“How do I combat this?” a commanding officer asked in 2006, as DeSantis recalled in an interview he gave years later to a local CBS television station.

“Hey, you actually can force-feed,” DeSantis said he responded in his role as a legal adviser. “Here’s what you can do. Here’s kind of the rules for that.”

Ultimately, it was the Pentagon’s decision to authorize force-feeding. Detainees were strapped into a chair and a lubricated tube was stuffed down their nose so a nurse could pour down two cans of a protein drink, according to military records. The detainees’ lawyers tried and failed to stop the painful practice, arguing that it violated international torture conventions.

Seventeen years later, as the governor of Florida and a potential 2024 presidential contender, DeSantis has largely skimmed over his experience at the base, giving it a brief mention in his new book, “The Courage to Be Free,” and rarely speaking in depth about his actions in Guantánamo — where prisoners have alleged they suffered abuse and human rights violations. Independent groups have decried their treatment, with the U.N. Commission on Human Rights concluding that force-feeding amounted to torture, and the International Committee of the Red Cross reaching a similar conclusion about overall conditions at the prison — both claims that the U.S. military has denied.

DeSantis had an up-close view of some of the most disturbing incidents at the detention camp during one of its most violent years, according to a review by The Washington Post of public records, media reports and dozens of interviews, including with DeSantis’s commanding officer, the prison warden, other base officials, former detainees and defense lawyers.

Over the course of nearly a year traveling to and from the base, DeSantis met directly with lawyers and detainees to hear their complaints as they were held without formal charges. He walked through corridors of steel mesh enclosures, “looking eyeball to eyeball with a lot of the detainees,” according to his commander, Capt. Patrick McCarthy. And he spoke regularly with McCarthy and others about pressing legal issues.

His own account of his service at the base and those of his associates also makes it clear that it was a transformational experience that hardened his views about politics, conflict and the Constitution.

He has repeatedly argued that the United States was correct in imprisoning detainees outside the legal system, and after joining Congress in 2013, he became a leading voice to keep the prison open, even though few of the detainees there were ever charged and most have been released. He has described the hunger strikes as part of a “jihad” against the United States, and characterized claims of abuse from detainees and their lawyers as attempts to work the system — foreshadowing his conservative views as a lawmaker on issues ranging from constitutional rights to military and criminal justice.

A shackled detainee is transported away from his annual Administrative Review Board hearing with U.S. officials on Dec. 6, 2006 in Camp Delta detention center at the Guantánamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

Asked about the hunger strikes, DeSantis said in the local CBS interview in 2018 that “what I learned from that … is they are using things like detainee abuse offensively against us. It was a tactic, technique and procedure.”

Former detainees, defense lawyers and other human rights advocates said in interviews that DeSantis’s actions at the base — and his continued view of what happened there as fully legitimate — present one of the most revealing and troubling chapters of his life, noting that he has never publicly expressed any concern or questioned his own role in what transpired.

“If DeSantis is honest with himself, having served as a naval officer and as a lawyer at Guantánamo, then he surely knows that Guantánamo is a human rights disaster and its continuing existence demeans the United States and is an affront to human rights and the rule of law,” said Dixon, who represents one remaining detainee and is a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

DeSantis’s office did not respond to a detailed list of questions from The Post.

DeSantis was thrust into a major crisis early in his stint as a legal adviser. On June 9, 2006, around two months after military records say DeSantis began periodically visiting Guantánamo from his home base in Jacksonville, Fla., three detainees were found dead on the same night.

With the Bush White House urging a quick resolution, DeSantis was part of a legal team tapped to help the Naval investigators who were interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence, according to McCarthy, although he did not recall specifics of DeSantis’s role. The Navy’s final report, which does not include the names of all JAG officers who helped investigators, ruled the deaths as simultaneous, coordinated suicide by hanging — a finding that is still disputed by detainee attorneys, a former prison guard and human rights groups.

Two former detainees interviewed by The Post also said they vividly recalled interacting with DeSantis but did not know his name until he became governor of Florida. One said he personally urged DeSantis to report mistreatment of prisoners to higher-ups. Another said that DeSantis witnessed his force-feeding in person. The prisoners’ accounts could not be independently verified, but broadly match details of DeSantis’s responsibilities.

Others still stand by the conduct of the U.S. military in Guantánamo Bay, including Adm. Harry Harris Jr., who oversaw the sprawling facility while DeSantis served there. Harris said in an interview he had “no regrets” about anything that occurred there and was “very proud” of those who served with him.

McCarthy also said DeSantis should not be faulted for following orders. “He would have been working directly under my direction,” McCarthy said. “So what I would hate to see is somehow they get shaped into, ‘It’s DeSantis’s fault, these allegations, they are all falling on DeSantis.’ He was a lieutenant. I’m the captain.”

A journey to Guantánamo

One day at Yale University, according to a classmate, DeSantis joined with some friends reciting the closing scene of “A Few Good Men,” in which Tom Cruise plays a Navy military lawyer who defends Marines accused of murder at the Guantánamo base.

“I want the truth,” Cruise says. The commander, played by Jack Nicholson, famously responds, “You can’t handle the truth!”

DeSantis knew the sequence well. When the classmate later heard that DeSantis signed up at Harvard Law to serve in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, he was surprised that DeSantis would pass up a potentially lucrative private law career. Then he recalled his friend’s interest in the movie and “it made sense,” the classmate said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect his relationship with the Florida governor.

DeSantis has attributed his decision to join the military to growing up in blue-collar surroundings in Dunedin, Fla. — where his baseball skills led him to the Little League World Series and a spot on Yale’s team — and a desire to serve in the Navy instead of a white-shoe law firm.

“I volunteered to serve in Gitmo,” he told the Florida CBS station, using the shorthand for Guantánamo. In “The Courage to Be Free,” DeSantis said he was attracted to the job because he was told “there would be a need for military JAGs to lead prosecutions in military commissions of incarcerated terrorists.” DeSantis began traveling between Florida and the Cuban outpost around March 2006, according to his military records. The records do not specify how long his visits lasted; generally, JAG officers stayed on base for weeks at a time.

His responsibilities included “provision of prosecution, command advice, and court-reporting services” in seven southeastern states and Guantánamo Bay, the records say.

But DeSantis quickly realized that prosecuting terrorists was not in the cards. “That turned out not to be what happened,” he wrote in his book, “but it seemed plausible at the time and also seemed like a good opportunity to make an impact.” He also didn’t act as a defense attorney on base.

His military records specify his responsibilities at Guantánamo such as “scheduler/administrative officer” — but those who served with him said that understates the broad swath of DeSantis’s work after McCarthy came to trust him as a top aide.

He was “someone that I could rely on to do a high-visibility mission,” McCarthy said in an interview with The Post. “And if anything went wrong, Guantánamo was in the papers before the folks even got back over to their place. So it a was very high-visibility mission. It was a no-fail mission.”

McCarthy’s job included ensuring that legal procedures were followed in interrogation and detention, at a time when complaints from defense lawyers about mistreatment of their clients was at a peak. He made DeSantis part of his team that responded to the issue.

In practice, that meant that DeSantis spent much of his time talking with detainee lawyers. “There were hundreds of attorneys who were coming and going to Guantánamo,” McCarthy said. “He and the people who did the job he had had to deal with all of them.”

Abu Sarrah Ahmed Abdel Aziz, a detainee who said he conveyed complaints of numerous detainees because he spoke fluent English, said that he is “100 percent” certain he spoke a number of times with DeSantis. Abdel Aziz said that he sought out DeSantis — whose name he didn’t know at the time, as military personnel in Guantánamo did not wear names on their uniforms as a security measure — because he knew that JAG officers offered him an opportunity to air mistreatment claims.

“These people are the only gate we have to hear our voices, to hear our complaint,” Abdel Aziz said of DeSantis. “We cannot forget these people.”

Abdel Aziz and others had significant concerns to convey to DeSantis and his colleagues. A majority of the detainees were never found to have committed any hostile acts against the United States. They were held thousands of miles from family without a clear legal process to determine their guilt or innocence and potential release. Abdel Aziz said he told DeSantis words to this effect: “You need to understand what is happening. You need to report to your higher-ups that we don’t know what is our status, no legal trial or anything.”

Abdel Aziz said that DeSantis repeatedly promised to make sure his senior officers heard those complaints. But conditions only got worse, he said.

‘It violated our principles’

As the hunger strikes stretched into 2006, the Pentagon authorized widespread force-feeding despite international outcry. Retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, the former head of the Southeast Army Medical Command, who at the time was affiliated with Physicians for Human Rights, said he advised detainee lawyers about challenging the practice.

“It violated our medical ethics, it violated our principles,” Xenakis said in an interview, adding that he concluded it was torture. “I would have challenged it,” Xenakis said in an interview, referring to DeSantis’s advice about force-feeding.

Many of those who endured the procedure also say it was torture — and one detainee said he recalls DeSantis witnessing it firsthand.

Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni who was 19 when he arrived at Guantánamo, described the force-feeding process in his memoir, “Don’t Forget Us Here,” writing that “a male nurse forced that huge tube into my nose. No numbing spray. No lubricant. Raw rubber and metal sliced the inside of my nose and throat. Pain shot through my sinuses and I thought my head would explode.”

One day, Adayfi said in an interview with The Post, DeSantis watched from outside a fence as he was tied to a chair and force-fed. He recalled that DeSantis stood among several people who were “smiling” at him, which he said made him angry, so he spit out food at them, with some hitting DeSantis. “I did it intentionally,” he said. The Post could not independently verify the claim, and DeSantis’s office did not respond to a question about it.

“When DeSantis started interacting with us, he [said], ‘We are here to listen to you and like, make sure we are treating you humanely,’” Adayfi said. But by the time Adayfi said DeSantis witnessed his force-feeding, “it was really harsh, it was inhumane.”

Adayfi did not note his claims about DeSantis in his memoir; he appears to have first cited it in an interview last November to the podcast Eyes Left. He said he did not know DeSantis’s name until recognizing him in a photo more than a decade after leaving the prison.

DeSantis did come in close contact with detainees in their cells, according to his commander. McCarthy said he advised DeSantis not to worry about what the media said about conditions at the base and focus instead on being “proud of your mission.”

Another JAG officer, Cmdr. Daniel Jones, who was in Guantánamo Bay around the same time as DeSantis, confirmed in a Navy publication that lawyers in the office interacted “with detainees on a daily basis” and advised on legal issues surrounding hunger strikes and forced feeding. Jones could not be reached for comment.

In his interview with the Florida TV station, DeSantis recalled that “guards would have feces thrown at them and other stuff.”

Investigating three deaths

Tensions were already simmering in Guantánamo by early June 2006. Riots broke out in one cell block. Guards rushed inside and were attacked. A senior guard later said he ordered that shots be fired at the inmates. One media report said it was the “most violent uprising yet.”

Then on June 9, 2006, Col. Michael Bumgarner, the prison commander, said in an interview that he was called to the medical clinic, where he learned that three detainees had been found unresponsive in their cells. All three were soon declared dead: Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi Al-Utaybi, 30; Ali Abdullah Ahmed, 26, and Yasser al-Zahrani, 21.

Harris, the top base official, promptly told reporters that the deaths were the result of suicides, calling them “an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

But with international outrage spiking, it was clear a deeper investigation was needed. McCarthy soon arrived at the scene, and later asked DeSantis to help gather information for a follow-up probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, he said.

“I cannot tell you specifically what [DeSantis] did,” McCarthy said, but it was likely that DeSantis was “involved in facilitating access to information, trying to make sure that privileged information did not get swept up. He would have been one of the folks that I dispatched to help facilitate the investigative effort.”

According to an NCIS report, a team from the Regional Legal Service at Naval Air Station Mayport in Florida, including four JAG officers, was activated on Oct. 23, 2006. The NCIS said at the time that it had collected 34 boxes and one bag of material, weighing a total of 1,065 pounds, all of which had to be reviewed by the JAG officers and others.

The public version of the report doesn’t provide the names of those officers, and the NCIS has declined to release a version without redactions. The timing of the team’s work coincides with DeSantis’s service and fits the framework of McCarthy’s recollection.

The team’s findings remain the subject of significant controversy. Investigators determined that the three men simultaneously died by suicide by hanging themselves.

Some family members did not accept that the deaths were suicides; their lawsuits against the federal government have been unsuccessful. Joseph Hickman, an Army officer who led a group of guards beyond the cell block perimeter, later contested the official version of the events in his memoir, “Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantánamo Bay.” He alleged that the three were killed after an interrogation went too far.

DeSantis has never publicly discussed his role in the investigation. In his Florida TV interview, he appeared to incorrectly describe the findings of the probe, saying that there were “three detainees that committed suicide with hunger strikes.”

The three men, who had never been charged, were all slated to be released, said Bumgarner, who remains convinced the deaths were suicides. Harris, in an interview, also stood by that assessment. Bumgarner said he inadvertently helped facilitate the deaths by providing sheets, turning off bright lights at night, and taking other measures designed to be more closely aligned with the Geneva Convention — all in response to the hunger strikes.

“I failed,” Bumgarner said. “There are two overarching missions that any prison commander has, one, nobody escapes, and two, nobody dies.”

Hardened views

DeSantis’s service at Guantánamo Bay ended on Jan. 31, 2007, according to military records. He later served with the JAG Corps in Iraq before being elected to Congress in 2012.

The conservative views DeSantis brought to his political career gestated during his Guantánamo service, according to former base officials — and were particularly driven by his direct path from the cloistered world of Yale and Harvard Law to a remote prison full of alleged terrorists.

“It would have been shocking,” Bumgarner said. “You’ve seen the really bad side of human beings, of human nature. You know what bad can be and you dealt with it. And so I’m sure it hardened him.”

As a House member, DeSantis became one of the leading proponents of keeping the prison open, insisting it was unsafe to transfer detainees to the country’s most secure prison.

In a Fox News interview on Oct. 11, 2014, host Greta Van Susteren pressed DeSantis on why the detainees needed to be kept there at what she said was an annual cost of $2.7 million each compared with $78,000 at a highest maximum-security federal prison in Colorado known as the supermax.

Calling the detainees “terrorists,” DeSantis blamed Guantánamo’s high costs in part on religious accommodations. “They get three special halal meals a day,” DeSantis said. “They get round-the-clock medical care, they get the Qurans when they want it. So they’re treated far better than they would be treated almost anywhere else. And that’s costly.”

A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons responded to questions about DeSantis’s comparison by providing documentation that says federal prisoners — including in supermax facilities — are entitled to a “religious diet,” “religious books,” “ministering to you at the level of your need,” and medical care.

DeSantis in the interview also maintained that detainees can’t be sent to the supermax because “they’re unlawful combat terrorists. They’re not common criminals. Supermax has common criminals.”

Robert Hood, warden of the Colorado prison from 2002 to 2005, said in an interview that supermax was designed to hold the most dangerous inmates. Hood noted that current prisoners include Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski.

DeSantis, in a subsequent Fox News appearance, on Sept. 7, 2015, also argued against closing Guantánamo because detainees would be given an opportunity in U.S. court to dispute their cases. “There will be judges who are going to issue a writ of habeas corpus, and you either got to take them to trial or you got to release them at that time,” DeSantis said.

In May 2016, DeSantis chaired a House national security subcommittee that examined what do with the 80 detainees who remained at the base. He said that he continued to oppose closing the base or transferring detainees to other countries out of concern that they would commit acts of terrorism. Nor did he support giving detainees normal rights that would be accorded to a typical defendant.

“I fear that going in the other direction where you somehow need to give them a quasi-civilian trial with basic constitutional rights almost, at the end of the day in the normal battle you are not going to be able to do that without really diverting the mission,” DeSantis said at the hearing. “And I don’t want to be doing that.”

Two years later, as DeSantis ran for governor, he made his service a major campaign theme, running an ad that showed him in his Navy uniform as a narrator said he “dealt with terrorists in Guantánamo Bay.”

DeSantis’s commanding officer made clear he dealt with numerous detainees whom the administration deemed terrorists. DeSantis did not deal with the highest-level group of 14 top suspects, including Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. While they were transferred to Guantánamo in 2006, access to those high-level detainees was restricted to senior officers, and McCarthy said DeSantis was “not granted access.”

Of the 779 individuals once held at Guantánamo — about 400 of whom were there in 2006 during DeSantis’s main time of service — most have been released to their home countries or elsewhere, including Abdel Aziz and Adayfi, the two who say they remember encountering DeSantis.

Today, a military spokesman said, 34 detainees remain at the Guantánamo facility, which requires about 1,000 personnel to run. President Biden promised in February 2021 to close the base by the end of his term, but it is not clear if he will succeed, because of opposition from Congress, complications with military trial procedures and other issues.

With no definitive plan in place to close the prison, its fate could fall instead to whoever wins the 2024 presidential election.

Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Michael Kranish is a national political investigative reporter. He co-authored The Post’s biography "Trump Revealed," as well as biographies of John F. Kerry and Mitt Romney. His latest book is "The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor." He previously was the deputy chief of the Boston Globe's Washington bureau.

2979 Comments as of 3/22/23

In Guantanamo Bay, Ron DeSantis backed force feeding amid violent crisis - The Washington Post

My comment:

Thanks to Michael Kranish and the Post for further revealing the immoral character of Governor DeSantis and the perfidy of the Guantanamo prison.

 It is long past time for the US to return this territory to Cuba.  US occupation is based on a classic unequal treaty, a condition for allowing Cuba to achieve its independence and the withdrawal of US troops.

 President Biden should do what President Obama feared to, follow-through on the negotiations by Ben Rhodes and Alejandro Castro that provided a path for return of Guantanamo.

 Imagine a twenty-year joint transitional administration of a free trade zone that would permit cruise ships to use Cuba's best deep water port to access the rich history of the US in Santiago,  including San Juan Hill. 

 The cruise companies will not have a legal problem in US courts for use of nationalized docks with Cuban-American claimants as in other parts of the country.  The poorest region of Cuba will benefit from employment by private and state companies and foreign investors.

 President Biden can turn a horror show into hope.

John McAuliff


‘Go back to Cuba’: Ron DeSantis rages after Ambassador’s Tampa trip

A.G. GancarskiMarch 8, 20233min
DeSantis condemned the Cuban regime as a 'crime against humanity.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis is outraged over a Cuban ambassador visiting Tampa earlier this month.

“I think they should go back to Cuba where they belong,” DeSantis declared, condemning a dinner at the tony Mise en Place that included Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera and Cuban Consul Nora Albertis Monterrey, along with various politicians from the Tampa Bay region.

While Mise en Place is known for a “delectable variety of innovative dishes” and “creative plates in a refined space,” Florida’s Governor couldn’t stomach the state visit to the Sunshine State.

“And so to wheel in a Cuban ambassador from a corrupt totalitarian regime, and acting like we have anything to benefit in Florida from that … no thank you,” DeSantis decried.

DeSantis condemned the Cuban regime as a “crime against humanity,” asserting that they “extinguished people’s liberties and freedom on the island of Cuba.”

“I think that the folks that have fled that regime there and their descendants, particularly in southern Florida because of that experience, have represented the beating heart of freedom in this state because they understand that it could all be taken away,” DeSantis added.

DeSantis’ outrage about the visit follows in the wake of a rage tweet from Rick Scott, his predecessor as Governor who currently is in the U.S. Senate.

“I’m furious that the ‘ambassador’ for Cuba’s illegitimate, communist regime was in Tampa last night. The evil she represents will NEVER be welcome in Florida. Joe Biden needs to wake up & condemn this NOW. It’s clear that his failed appeasement policies aren’t working.”

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the following politicians were at the restaurant: Guido Maniscalco, a member of the Tampa City Council; Karen Perez, a Hillsborough County School Board member; and Cindy Stuart, Clerk of Court and Comptroller in Hillsborough County.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Speech of Assistant Secretary Nichols in Miami (annotated)


Assistant Secretary Brian A. Nichols’ Remarks on Cuba Policy at the Cuban Research Institute of Florida International University March 7, 2023

Home News & Events | Assistant Secretary Brian A. Nichols’ Remarks on Cuba Policy at the Cuban Research Institute of Florida International University March 7, 2023


U.S. Embassy in Havana

Havana, Cuba

March 7, 2023

Hello, thank you all for joining me to discuss our policy toward Cuba and support for the Cuban people.

I am honored to gather here today with an impressive group of Cubans and Cuban-Americans who are incredibly knowledgeable about Cuba and U.S.-Cuba policy.  Your efforts, your expertise, and your commitment to a better future for the Cuban people have never been more important than they are at this moment.

I welcome your perspectives and thank you in advance for the insight you will share with us here today.

Everyone in this room is aware that the Cuban people are facing among the most difficult and dire political, economic, and social circumstances since Fidel Castro came to power. Analysts suggest the economic situation is worse even than the so-called Special Period of the 1990’s, and the human rights situation is grimmer than it has been for decades.

As I am sure you do, we hear over and over again from our contacts in Cuba and outside that many Cubans believe there is no future left for them on the island.

That sense of desperation and a yearning for greater freedoms led to the protests in July 2021 – the largest nationwide demonstrations in Cuba in recent history. Instead of recognizing the moment and addressing citizens’ legitimate concerns, the Cuban government responded with characteristic repression, condemning hundreds of protestors to prison with sentences up to 25 years.

[The disappointing inability of the Biden Administration to reverse the destructive policies of the Trump Administration was a contributing factor, not least regarding remittances and travel.]

Unfortunately, in the more than 18 months since these historic protests, the regime has only doubled down. NGOs estimate that over 700 protestors are among the more than 1,000 total political prisoners that remain behind bars today.

Publicly – and privately in discussions with Cuban officials – the U.S. government continues to call for the release of political prisoners. And we always stress that the Cuban people should be able to choose where to live and the government should allow its citizens to return to Cuba.

While we strongly oppose forced exile, the United States will not turn its back on political prisoners, and if they want to come to America, we will explore available avenues under U.S. law to welcome them.

[A very important practical step that will facilitate Cuba's response to the Pope's call for amnesty.]

Our Embassy in Havana has constant communication with the dissident community on the island, including the families of political prisoners. These dissidents and families are an incredibly brave group of people, facing extremely difficult conditions.

I would like to review the key aspects of the Administration’s policy toward Cuba. As this group is aware, President Biden directed us to take action in two primary areas.

First, to promote accountability for human rights abuses. As the President made clear, the U.S. government supports the right of Cubans and people everywhere to exercise their freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.  We announced targeted sanctions against Cuban officials and security forces involved in abuses related to the July 11th protests and visa restrictions on officials implicated in attempts to silence the voices of the Cuban people.

Second, the President directed us to explore meaningful ways to support the Cuban people while limiting benefits to the Cuban regime.

[Ending the embargo would be the most meaningful way.  Treating Cuba like Vietnam would enable, even force, the government to make significant reforms.]

To that end, on May 16 last year, we made several policy announcements. One of the most important elements of that support is family reunification through legal migration.

As you well know, the desperation that led to the protests also led to a wave of migration, with more Cubans arriving at our southern border and the beaches of Florida in the last year than during the waves of maritime migration in 1980 and 1994 combined.

In 2022, almost 300,000 Cubans crossed the southwest border, representing almost three percent of Cuba’s estimated population.

At the same time, the number of Cubans attempting to cross the Florida Straits also surged. Both these dangerous routes put migrants at extreme risk and led to an unknown number of deaths.

I know migration is a topic very close to home for this audience, as the vast majority of Cuban migrants are ultimately settling right here in South Florida. Thank you for your efforts to help new arrivals.

To fulfill the President’s May 16 commitments, we have been working to expand safe and legal migration options. Our Embassy in Havana is now fully open for immigrant visa processing and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has resumed processing under the Cuban Family Reunification Program.

Additionally, the Administration took the very bold and innovative step of launching a new parole program. The Administration committed to granting parole to up to 30,000 individuals from Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Haiti each month.

About 10,000 Cubans have successfully used the program to enter the United States to date. Cubans from all walks of life have benefited, including members of the human rights community.

I am pleased to report that since the launch of the parole program in particular, the number of Cuban migrants attempting dangerous irregular migration has plummeted. Recognizing it is still early days, we are pleased to see Cuban families choosing these legal options.

Our other areas of meaningful support for the Cuban people aim to support greater freedom and expand economic opportunities while limiting benefits to the Cuban regime.  These areas complement the ever-present focus on and support for Cuban human rights defenders and civil society.

For the first time since 2019, flights are now operating between the United States and cities outside of Havana.

We have strengthened family ties and facilitated educational connections between the American and Cuban people by expanding categories of authorized group travel.

The United States is increasing support for independent Cuban entrepreneurs and everyday citizens.

For example, we removed the cap on remittances and now allow for those in the United States to send remittances to non-family members.

Direct remittance flows resumed in November 2022 for the first time since 2020.

We increased support for private Cuban entrepreneurs by authorizing travel for professional meetings or conferences, including those that help connect the U.S. private sector with Cuban entrepreneurs, providing opportunities for networking and training.  

{Conferences in Cuba will permit the greatest participation but they will be hard or organize if Americans can't use hotels.]

We are working to expand access to technological services and tools that will enable trailblazing Cuban entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses and thrive in the global digital economy, which will create jobs and opportunity for the Cuban people.

We are exploring expanded access to cloud-hosted services and other development tools for the Cuban people. These tools will help activists and civil society connect with each other and facilitate the flow of information on and off the island.  They will also help the Cuban people access more services, including those that circumvent censorship.

[All very good, but when will it happen?  This technological opening has been discussed for more than a year.  At the same time the US refused once again to allow a fiber optic connection to a nearby cable system.]

The current crisis, as you well know, is marked by very high inflation and chronic shortages of food, medicine, and electricity. The August 2022 fire at the Matanzas oil storage facility demonstrated the fragility of Cuba’s energy infrastructure and exacerbated pre-existing energy shortages which manifest in widespread and lengthy blackouts around the island.

The Cuban government is quick to try to blame others for its economic woes without acknowledging the decades of mismanagement that led to the current crisis. 

[Correct but only half the story and hypocritical if we never acknowledge the damage we intentionally do with the embargo and the still in place Trump restrictions, including State Sponsor of Terrorism.}

We continue to call on the Cuban government to put in place economic policies that would improve the country’s situation, such as greater freedom for private sector actors and much-needed agricultural reforms.

[Easy to criticize them, but how about us putting in place modest reforms to benefit the private sector and agriculture like a general license exemption from the embargo including agricultural supplies and equipment, U turn and other normal banking provisions.]

These are all crucial steps which the President believes are the best means to support the Cuban people, while minimizing benefits to the regime.

As we implement these measures, we will continue to call on the Cuban regime to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Cubans and unconditionally release all political prisoners.

To support the Cuban people and protect our U.S. national interests, we also do have direct engagement with the regime when it is in our interest to do so.

Such engagement includes discussions on migration, scientific and technical cooperation including maritime and aviation safety, and food and animal health protocols. It also includes law enforcement cooperation as appropriate. 

[How can we have real law enforcement cooperation and keep Cuba on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism?]

The United States will consider all options available to continue supporting the Cuban people as they call for greater freedom, access to resources, and respect for human rights.

[How about the option of ending economic warfare and regime change policies?  Cuba should learn from Vietnam's successful economic policies.  The US should learn from its successful bilateral relations with Vietnam.]

Thank you and I look forward to listening to remarks from the panelists and answering your questions.

By U.S. Embassy Havana | 8 March, 2023 | Topics: NewsU.S. & Cuba

Assistant Secretary Brian A. Nichols’ Remarks on Cuba Policy at the Cuban Research Institute of Florida International University March 7, 2023 - U.S. Embassy in Cuba (

Monday, March 20, 2023

Larger Meaning of Cuba-US Baseball Semifinal

 Political protests transform U.S.-Cuba WBC semifinal into something beyond baseball

Cuba manager Armando Johnson looks on from the dugout as fans hold a Cuban flag displaying the words "Patria y Vida” on it.
Cuba manager Armando Johnson looks on from the dugout as fans hold a Cuban flag displaying “Patria y Vida” — the slogan and song linked to protests in Cuba in 2021 — during the United States’ 14-2 WBC semifinal win Sunday.
(Eric Espada / Getty Images)

The sporadic “¡Libertad!” chants and the protesters running onto the field Sunday night were reminders that the World Baseball Classic semifinal between the United States and Cuba was not just another baseball game.

This was the first time the Cuban national baseball team played in Miami, home to the largest Cuban community in this country, since the Cuban Revolution ended in 1959. It was played in, of all places, Little Havana, the neighborhood Cubans made their own when they began arriving in droves. The dynamic was impossible to ignore. As was Team USA’s superiority between the lines in a 14-2 win at loanDepot Park.

Cuba took a quick 1-0 lead with three infield singles to start the game, but the U.S. dominated from there in the teams’ first WBC meeting. 

Former Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner, batting ninth for the second consecutive game, led the charge, going three for four with two home runs after blasting the go-ahead grand slam in Team USA’s quarterfinal victory over Venezuela on Saturday. His four home runs in the tournament are the most for a U.S. player in a WBC. His 10 RBIs are tied for most.

In all, the Americans had 14 hits, including four home runs. They scored in every inning they batted in but the seventh. They dismantled a Cuba team that surpassed expectations reaching this point without most of the Cubans playing in the major leagues. Team USA, the tournament’s defending champion, will face Japan or Mexico, which play Monday, in the final Tuesday.

“I usually don’t hit very well here,” said Turner, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in December. “But I’ll take these last few days. They’ve been fun for me.”

A fan holds a sign protesting the Cuban government during Sunday's World Baseball Classic semifinal in Miami.
(Megan Briggs / Getty Images)

The Cuban team that took the field Sunday was the first to feature Major League Baseball players since the country’s revolution. Chicago Cubs left-hander Roenis Elías started Sunday. The Chicago White Sox’s Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert Jr., the team’s two best position players, batted second and third. Former Dodger Erisbel Arruebarrena started at shortstop.

Each of those players took a different path back to the national team. Elías and Robert escaped Cuba by boat. Moncada was given permission to leave in 2014. Arruebarrena defected in 2013 — after a failed attempt that barred him from the Cuban National Series — and signed a $25-million contract in February 2014. He appeared in 22 games for the Dodgers that season and never reached the majors again. Five years later, he repatriated to Cuba and resumed his career there.

The Cuban team needed permission from the U.S. government — sanctions prohibit business with the country — to take part in the tournament. The Cuban Baseball Federation and players, however, weren’t allowed to receive money from the WBC, unlike the other participants.

The Cuban Baseball Federation imposed two requirements for player eligibility: Players could not have criticized the government publicly or defected during international competition to play in the United States. That left the team without several MLB veterans and stars. Some declined an invitation. Others never received one.

One of those players was Randy Arozarena. The Tampa Bay Rays outfielder defected and established residency in Mexico in 2016. Last year, he became a Mexican citizen in order to play for the country in the WBC. He has played a starring role for Mexico, helping the team reach the WBC semifinals for the first time. He told reporters after Mexico’s workout Sunday that he hoped Cuba would beat the U.S. so he could have the chance to defeat his native country in the final.

Trea Turner, left, celebrates with his U.S. teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning against Cuba.
(Megan Briggs / Getty Images)

Arozarena, who attended Sunday’s game, won’t get that chance. Team USA was too much for Cuba to handle. Adam Wainwright rebounded from the strange start to the game to limit Cuba to one run over four innings. Miles Mikola, his St. Louis Cardinals teammate, followed with the same pitching line before Angels left–hander Aaron Loup finished it off.

“I’ve been focused on our pitching,” Team USA manager Mark DeRosa said. “How do we get our pitching lined up to get us in the finals day in, day out? That’s been the biggest thing. How do we honor these parent clubs, get the guys the work they need?”

The pregame news conference, usually a benign event, had a dose of tension. The room was filled with Cuban natives. Most defected to the United States from Cuba. A few others there still call Cuba home. At least one reporter was working for Granma — the official newspaper of Cuba’s Communist Party.

“Us, at this minute, are focused on what really truly matters — a game that’s going to be difficult, against a good team,” Cuba manager Armando Johnson said in Spanish. “I don’t think we’re thinking about what’s going to be said or done.”

The dynamic bled onto the field in the sixth inning when a protester emerged from the crowd. He stopped in center field, where he held up a sign that called for freedom for a group of political prisoners before security escorted him off.

Another protester scampered onto the field before the seventh-inning stretch. He eluded security guards until tripping on the infield. Another protester breached security in the eighth inning.

“I went up and asked if the run rule was still in effect here,” DeRosa said, “because I just wanted to get the guys off the field.”

“Patria y Vida” — the slogan and song linked to protests in Cuba in 2021 — was prominent on flags, signs and clothing. But the crowd was, on the whole, on the Cuban team’s side. Fans roared during pregame introductions and after the Cuban national anthem. They exploded with each hit off a Cuban’s bat. Flags waved throughout the crowd. The people were cheering for the players if not for the government they represented.

Before the game, however, protests formed outside the ballpark, beyond the building’s perimeter. One attracted dozens of people by 5 p.m.

The people gathered around photos of political prisoners and people said to have been killed under the Cuban government’s watch. A few wore red MAGA caps. Anger and the smell of cigar smoke hovered.

One man took the microphone to address the group in Spanish. He thanked the police for allowing the protest and pleaded for it to remain peaceful. His peers complied. The group swelled as first pitch approached. Periodic chants broke out.

“¡Viva Cuba libre! ¡Viva!”



A few dozen feet away, on the other side of a fence, reggaeton music boomed and alcohol flowed. Fans searched for the best entrance to their seats. They arrived with mixed feelings. They left having witnessed history and a drubbing.

The ball is round… Baseball, politics and the nation

Cuba is playing the semifinal of the World Baseball Classic today, with a team made up of players from its national league and professional leagues, which has relaunched baseball as a national passion.

Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.

“The passion begins”, I always heard at the beginning of the broadcasts of ball games in Cuba. "Ball" was synonymous with passion on the island for a long time, although it alluded more to sexuality. "What a ball Carlota has", said a rumba by Alberto Villalón. 

Cuba is playing the semifinal of the World Baseball Classic today , with a team made up of players from its national league and professional leagues, which has relaunched baseball as a national passion.

In the best tradition, everything is discussed. Among others, the debates on the name of Team Asere for the team members, the claims not to politicize the sport, and the type of integration that the Cuban team supposes, issues that run through this text, may have a greater scope.

the asere

The name of Team Asere was born from a meme and caught on until it stayed. Some have pointed out "vulgarity" in the phrase. It is an old problem of Cuban culture and its “anxiety”, as the American academy likes to say, to account for the difficulty of accepting —and above all of including— popular and racialized expressions.

Asere is a Cuban term “loosely translatable in its use as 'brother', which means a good or trustworthy friend” 1 . For the Abakuá culture of Cuba, according to Pedro Pérez Sarduy, as in the ancient Carabalí religion, it is a form of greeting. For Sergio Valdés Bernal, its use is part of the sub-Saharan linguistic legacy in Cuban Spanish, “another identity nuance of our variant of the Spanish language” 2 .

Due to its origin, the expression has historically been marked with “vulgarity”. Juan Formell questioned many times the vision of public dances as spaces where only "the aseres", "the handsome ones" went, when, according to the founder of the Van Van, it was a cultural event of great importance for the Cuban nationality.

However, Formell's phrase has an echo throughout national history.

Dances in meeting places for the poor and blacks have always been accused of "degenerating into a scandal." A party held in 1936 in Llinás and Subirana (Havana) was dissolved by a police captain who arrested the “men and women who scandalously danced sones and rumba” for “moral offenses” 3 .

Cuban popular culture learned to deal with it. Ignacio Piñeiro composed “Los cantares del abacuá” (1923), with terms typical of that culture: “The bongó goes out of tune / If we don't sing Asere, asere, asere”. Arsenio Rodríguez sang “Los Sitios asere / they call a happy neighborhood” 4 . Both of them, together with María Teresa Vera, were the first to incorporate expressions of Afro origin in Cuban popular music, in a context in which their liturgical celebration was literally a crime, accused of "witchcraft".

Today, they are classics of Cuban national and universal culture. George Gershwin used the famous “Échale salsita”, by Piñeiro, in the introduction to his “Cuban Overture”. Arsenio is one of the founding fathers of Latin jazz. María Teresa Vera is the founding mother of the Cuban trova recognizable around the globe.

The term asere reminds us that the barracón, like the independence war and the port market, are the central sources of Cuban culture. It also happens with the terms palo (coitus), tumbadero (brothel); botar paja (masturbation) and bollo (vulva), which are transpositions of the culture of the sugar mill into Cuban popular speech 5 .

These terms are marks of the violence that gave birth to Cuban nationality, of the forms of sociability that resisted slavery, and of the centrality of racism in the production of national culture from its origins until today. 

Ricardo Sánchez Porro gathers a theory according to which the term lukumí , used in Cuba to identify even different cultural expressions, perhaps "obeys the treatment between equals that the Yoruba gave themselves", which is "as saying asere nowadays" 6 .

The current use of asere perhaps expresses like no other word —señor, compañero, míster, pana— the demands for equality and inclusion, for equal treatment, in today's Cuba, and the complexities of how to achieve it.

The “politicization” of sport

The first official ball club arose in Cuba in 1868. The first competition was held in 1878. It is the period of the Great War. Its diffusion in Cuba responded to a political context: the image of American modernity, and not the reality of Spanish colonial oppression, should provide, says Lisandro Pérez, the desirable symbols for a nascent nationality committed to a "clearly modernist, progressive orientation." and secular” 7 .

The most prominent of those symbols was baseball, which quickly became filled with Cubanisms that were rarely translated from English, such as "ponche."

The Cuban emigration in New York in the 19th century, as soon as he learned English, says Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, discussed baseball while paying homage to Maceo 8 .

A cartoon —reminiscent of the name "old cat" for the ball—reveals the Spanish animosity towards baseball, its association with the United States and the political references that baseball's phrases kept against the colonial regime.

On the other hand, baseball, especially professional baseball—amateurism was for decades an aristocratic luxury, which made Kid Chocolate exclaim, in the boxing field, that he couldn't afford to be an Olympic champion—was a channel for social mobilization.

It represented one of the few avenues available for poor people to "get ahead" as well as dignify the "black race." This is how the anti-racist movements of the first half of the 20th century celebrated Cuban and foreign athletes such as Kid Charol, Black Bill, José — the Black Diamond — Méndez, or Jesse Owens. 

Roberto González Echeverría has shown another facet of the nationalist politicization of baseball in Cuba, by studying the emergence of players from the interior of the country in the 1930s and 40s, who embodied “an ideal type of the Republic” 9 .

Those players were guajiros, the mythical site of the "redeeming bush." They represented “a kind of amateur aristocracy”, used by the nationalism reworked in Cuba after the revolution of 1930. “El Guajiro de Laberinto”, Conrado Marrero, was one of them.

Part of this process was the 1940 Constitution, the first, perhaps in the world, to recognize racial discrimination as a punishable crime, and to ensure affirmative action mechanisms for discriminated sectors. 

The ball played a role here: the Sports Directorate was required, in Prío's time, to put an end to "discriminatory practices in amateur sports and especially in baseball, where the exclusion of blacks became a ' scandal'” 10 .

That is, the link between politics and baseball is well established in Cuban history. It by no means started in 1959.

The integration of the team to the Classic: politics and sport

The conformation of the current team is not the first conflictive integration that Cuban baseball has experienced in its history.

Cuba had an integrated team, black and white, 47 years before the United States. After 1908, José de la Caridad Méndez “was the first great popular idol of sports in Cuba, recognized by whites and blacks” 11 . Another Cuban, Silvio Garcia, may have preceded Jackie Robinson in breaking the color barrier in baseball in that country.

For Ada Ferrer, “many members of the segregated Negro Leagues in the United States loved to play baseball in Cuba. They could play all their games in world-class integrated stadiums, in a beautiful and fascinating city, without having to suffer the humiliations they suffered in the past of the Jim Crow era” 12 .

After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the complete integration between whites and blacks took place on the ball. It happened in 1962, at the beginning of the national series that abolished professionalism (which allowed black players), while denying the tradition of Cuban amateurism in baseball, and its frequent refusal to accept blacks 13 .

Since then, another kind of “disintegration” began. It is the one that is being discussed today about the current team to the Classic: that of the former Cuban professional baseball players —prohibited at that time from playing baseball in Cuba—, of the Cuban League with respect to professional leagues, and of the cancellation, stigmatization and exclusion of those who played in them. 

The succession of successes of this new era was widely celebrated in Cuba, while its competitive prestige strengthened in the world, although under the shadow, not always fair, of not playing against "the best."

The Cold War also provided context: the use of sport as a State policy to affirm the superiority of a system, in a competition that did not leave any of the contenders unscathed 14 . Cuba, in its scale, was part of this global process of instrumentalization of sport, in its case as a socialist achievement and a nationalist victory.

In 2023, the situation is very different. If, as González Echeverría says, “the symbolism of scoring in baseball is as complicated as a modernist metaphor”, the symbolism of this Clásico, and of the integration of the team, is as complicated as the current Cuban political grammar.

Metaphors and consequences of Team Cuba

El Clásico has generated many symbols, both articulations and contradictions, and perhaps it will yield results for the future.

For its part, the Cuban government took the first, essential and long-desired step in the integration of professional baseball players. With all its problems (the exclusion of Yasmani Tomás is the most scandalous slab of the selective integration criteria), it is also a good metaphor for national integration. There should be no going back. 

On the other hand, the agreement with the MLB was suspended by Trump. The result of the Clásico may prompt demands to resume the agreement, also from the United States.

Some eight of the 30 players on the team play only in Cuba. It was hard to expect this to be a “normal” integration. However, they have coexisted with each other, and celebrated their triumphs with songs from a shared national soundtrack, until now without news that a civil war has broken out in the locker room.

Cuban contradictions have also made an appearance:

The Cuban government has eagerly accepted the name of Team Asere. However, in 2021, in the face of popular protests, he did not hesitate to call a very large number of "aseres" "vandals and criminals" —the racialized background of these protests does not go unnoticed—, a significant part of whom have been imprisoned to this day with very disproportionate penalties.

On the other hand, the fundamentalist areas of Cuban exile reject the idea of Team Asere, as if all its members were until today Moncadista pioneers. In this, they have called for a boycott of games and wished for the defeat of the team that “does not represent them”, when there are their idols among them when they play in the MLB.

El Clásico has misplaced many compatriots, which may be part of a more general misplacement about what to do in and with Cuba. Now, no tradition becomes national by choice, nor has it been deployed for 150 years without generating consequences and possibilities.

In a documentary by Rolando Díaz, an amateur assures: "it is that everything that the people like is round and square." Hearing him, seeing his face when he says it, explains the best declaration of love, and wisdom, that I have heard both about the ball, and about the core of a national policy that deserves to bear that name. 


Afrocuba. An Anthology of Cuban writing on race, politics and culture , Edited by Pedro Pérez Sarduy and Jean Stubbs, Ocean, Published in association with the Center for Cuban Studies (New York), 1993, p. 157.

Sergio Valdés Bernal, «Oh, what happiness! How I like to speak Spanish!», in Catauro . Cuban Journal of Anthropology. Year 4, number 6. 2002, p.95.

“Three detained by the national police, moral offenses.” The Crucible. 26.12.1936.

The texts of both songs appear in the compilation, in two volumes, ¡Oh Cuba Hermosa! The social political songbook in Cuba until 1958, by Cristobál Díaz-Ayala.

Manuel Moreno Fraginals. The wit. Social economic complex of sugar, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, Havana, 1986, p. 40.

Reinaldo Sanchez Porro. "History of the main African ethnic groups brought to Cuba", in Black presence in Cuban culture, Coordination and introduction by Denia García Ronda, Ediciones Sensemayá, Havana, 2015, p.30

Lisandro Perez. Sugar, Cigars, and Revolution The Making of Cuban New York, New York University Press, New York, 2018, p. 6

Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof. Racial Migrations: New York City and the Revolutionary Politics of the Spanish Caribbean , Princeton University Press, Year: 2019, p. 154.

Roberto González Echevarría, Cuban baseball players. Three testimonies, Nueva Sociedad No. 154 March-April 1998, pp. 87-100, see also Gloria de Cuba: History of baseball on the island, Editorial Colibrí, Madrid, 2004. 

10 Alejandro de la Fuente, A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Cuba, 1900-2000. Madrid, Spain: Editorial Colibrí, p. 308.

11 Felix Julio Alfonso and Victor Joaquin Ortega. «Black Cuban athletes in the Republic», in Black presence in Cuban culture, Coordination and introduction by Denia García Ronda, Ediciones Sensemayá, Havana, 2015, p.264.

12 Ada Ferrer. Cuba. An American history , Scribner, 2021, p. 223.

13 Felix Julio Alfonso and Victor Joaquin Ortega. Ob. cit.

14 This is a brief reminder of this: The German Federal Republic (GDR) certified its cultural birth as a new nation, after World War II, with the conquest of the soccer world championship in 1954. The USSR celebrated, after much scandal, the triumph of his Olympic basketball team in 1972, against the sport of “imperialism”. In the United States, they celebrated the victory at the 1980 Winter Olympics of their non-professional hockey team over the USSR, nicknamed none other than the “Red Army”, as if it were the final victory over communism. The GDR imposed a model of mass surveillance on athletes, and state doping practices. The latter, with less fame, were also organized in that context by the United States. | *important* ON CUBA NEWS/Guanche: The ball is round… Baseball, politics and the nation


PROGRESO WEEKLY: Inclusión is the Key

 Walter Lippmann
Mar 19   

Inclusion: The key

The stubborn reality, like the mangrove swamp, seems – I am prudent – ​​to have been imposing itself.

By Progreso Weekly On Mar 19, 2023

Here, There and Everywhere

javier toledo

Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.

Thee expected baseball game this afternoon between the teams (teams) Asere Cuba and the United States in the afternoon today, has moved the ground on both shores.

Opinions, comments, of all kinds, radicalization of positions, especially in Miami, etc. There is everything, like in an apothecary, demanding the attention of sociologists and psychosociologists so that they carry out a serene study of what is happening and is happening on each side of the 90 miles from the situation created by a baseball game.

Some argue for linguistic delicacies about the use of Asere-Cuba, merged, intertwined, imbricated, exceed, in my opinion, an important moment. Let me explain: Asere, monina, ecobio, ambia, they are worth a friend, acquaintance, partner. And it happens that for the first time the Cuba team is made up of players from the country and by Cubans who emigrated and play in foreign leagues. It hadn't happened before.

Asere=friend, not enemy, not stranger, you=Cuba Cuban, regardless of what you think in political terms because some of our baseball players, Cubans like you, me, that other one, do not sympathize with the Cuban government, but they are from the team , of the team They are Cuban. Cuba is more than a government.

The key to the success achieved in being in the big four lies in the option to INCLUDE to win. The stubborn reality, like the mangrove, seems – I am prudent – ​​to have been imposing itself. And curious: the exclusions "swarm" (abundant) in Florida right now, not only in the networks, but at political levels where they have even explored the possibility that the Cuba-Asere team be prohibited from playing at the LoanDepot Park in Miami ; or find out if any of the players who play in the US MLB have violated the law by joining the Cuba-Asere team.

Regardless of the result of today's game, the Cuba team has already won by reaching the semifinals and it is worth insisting that a key point has been the inclusive policy. Hopefully INCLUDE, a positive experience, will be fully extended to all areas of national life.

Photo taken from Jit

Progreso Semanal/ Weekly authorizes the total or partial reproduction of the articles by our journalists as long as the original source and author are identified.

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