The Cubanization of Xavier Suarez

Whether he enthusiastically joined Mas Canosa's army because he thought it was "the right thing to do," or whether he was forcibly conscripted, the fact is that Suarez is deeply involved. And in many ways, his fate is more closely tied to Mas Canosa than ever before, a situation that carries unlimited potential for political damage.

Already the controversy doesn't seem to be playing well in some quarters. Coverage in the national press has cast it as yet another of those internecine bloodbaths unique to Miami, with Suarez an antagonist, not a mediator. The Inter American Press Association, a group that normally protects journalists against threats from Third World despots, last week decided to investigate the "demagogic attacks" against the Herald, the first time in the organization's history it has turned its critical eye to the United States. Also last week, in an ominous sign of dissension, Armando Codina, the Republican Party bigshot and prominent member of the Cuban American National Foundation, announced that he had resigned from the Foundation's board of directors.

Despite Suarez's efforts to distance himself from the activities of Mas Canosa and his Foundation, the perception is that of a puppet being jerked around by the puppeteer. And in politics, perception is reality.

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