James Cason marched past the hostile glares of Cuba's minister of interior and a handful of generals gathered inside the air control tower at Havana's José Martí International Airport. It was early in the morning on April 1, 2003, and the officials didn't say a word to the blue-eyed, gray-haired Yankee who, in his first year as head of the U.S. Interests Section, had gloriously succeeded in getting under Fidel Castro's beard by daring to deliver U.S.-branded democracy to Cuban dissidents.

Castro couldn't stand Cason and had even carried out a surprisingly imaginative propaganda campaign against him. But now a crisis had enveloped the Communist regime, forcing el comandante to seek the assistance of his imperialist foil, el guapeton, el cabo Cason — the showoff, Colonel Cason. It was a slap-in-the-face insult for la revolución. But averting an act of terrorism was more important.

From the tower, Cason peered down at the Cubana airliner parked on the tarmac. A day earlier, at around 9 p.m., the plane had departed Nueva Gerona on the Isle of Youth carrying 46 passengers, including Adermis Wilson González, his common-law wife, and his stepson.

When he graduated from Virginia's Fairfax High School in 1962, Cason (center) was voted "Most Likely to Be Ambassador to Uganda."
Courtesy of James Cason
When he graduated from Virginia's Fairfax High School in 1962, Cason (center) was voted "Most Likely to Be Ambassador to Uganda."
Cason became involved in Coral Gables civic affairs after the remodeling of his house introduced him to the city's draconian building permit process.
Michael McElroy
Cason became involved in Coral Gables civic affairs after the remodeling of his house introduced him to the city's draconian building permit process.

As the plane cruised to Havana, the 34-year-old Cuban produced what appeared to be grenades from the pockets of his shorts. He threatened to blow up the plane unless the pilot detoured 90 miles north to Key West.

The pilot, however, managed to convince Wilson the jet didn't have enough fuel to make it. Landing in Havana was the only option. The pilot shut off the plane's engines and fuel systems after touching down at José Martí, fearing that if the grenades detonated, a massive fire would erupt.

On the ground, the hijacker demanded food for himself and his hostages and more gas for the getaway. Via the plane's radio system, Cuban officials stationed in the tower pleaded with Wilson to give up. In the sweltering plane, Wilson only grew antsier. He grabbed a female passenger and looped the black cord of the intercom phone around her neck. "I'm going to put the grenade in your mouth!" he screeched at her. An hour later, the desperate would-be defector let the woman go.

Around the same time, a male voice speaking fluent Spanish with a funny American inflection crackled through the intercom. "Oye mi hijo, es James Cason de la oficina de los Estados Unidos," the U.S. Interests chief relayed in Spanish.

Wilson didn't buy it.

"You can't be el cabo Cason," Wilson replied, "because the government doesn't talk to you." Since his arrival on the Communist island in 2002, Cason had been encouraging the dissident movement in Cuba by providing regime opponents with Internet access and journalism courses inside the U.S. Interests Section building in Havana. His efforts would end in controversy — with 75 dissidents imprisoned. Castro ridiculed Cason's democratic activities with a crude cartoon series lampooning the American diplomat. Cason was so despised by Cuba's dictator, Wilson must have reasoned, that there was no way Castro would turn to the enemy to resolve a hijacking.

Cason shook his head in frustration. He turned to the interior minister. "I'm going up to the plane to talk to him," Cason said. The minister didn't stop him. A jeep dropped off the American diplomat 200 feet from the plane, which sat isolated on the runway. The aircraft's hull was close enough to the ground for Cason to walk up to the cockpit's window, where he handed his passport to the pilot. The pilot showed it to Wilson.

The pilot returned to the cockpit and handed Cason the radio through the open window. Inside, Wilson's face was drenched in perspiration. He gripped the explosives in his pockets as Cason's voice came over the intercom.

"If you take this plane to Key West, you will be prosecuted and you will get 20 years in prison," Cason explained in Spanish. "Don't do this to your family."

Wilson shook his head no. "I've been in prisons all my life," he said. "At least this way my family can be free because of the wet-foot-dry-foot law." The hijacker was fully aware that Cubans intercepted on U.S. soil are allowed to stay.

"He would not budge," Cason recalls. "He was determined to leave the country. There was no way I could talk him out of it."

That same day, some 12 hours after the standoff began, the Cuban government caved, refueling the airliner. Before taking off, Wilson released some of the hostages. But Cason was right — the hijacker wouldn't turn back. A U.S. Customs Black Hawk helicopter and two U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets escorted the plane as it landed in Key West. FBI agents and Key West SWAT team snipers took positions around the airfield as the 32 people on board disembarked. A hostage negotiator directed the passengers off the plane with their hands over their heads.

Wilson was separated from his wife and son, and arrested. Under intensive questioning by federal agents, Wilson admitted the grenades were fake. He just wanted to escape with his family, who were released after being briefly detained by immigration officials. Wilson's wife apparently knew nothing about her husband's plot, and she and her son have since settled in the United States. Four months later, Wilson was convicted and got a 20-year sentence for the hijacking.

Cason, meanwhile, continued his test of wills against Castro and his Marxist acolytes until 2005, when he was reassigned to be the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay — the final stop in a diplomatic career that spanned four decades.

Cason admits he enjoyed wrangling with the Western Hemisphere's longest-running Communist dictatorship during his Cuba tour, a feat that helps build his name recognition as he prepares to run for elected office in Coral Gables, the troubled suburban oasis where 40 percent of the population is Cuban American.

"I definitely enjoyed the sparring," Cason says of his time on the island nation. "It was a very gratifying time for me, because we helped the people who will one day help bring democracy to Cuba."


In the living room of his home on Alhambra Circle in early November, Cason wraps up a meeting with campaign manager Jorge de Cardenas, who, after leaving Cuba in 1958, worked with a CIA-backed university group against Castro. The 64-year-old publicist and political consultant shuffles out of Cason's home.

During the infamous Operation Grenpalm Miami scandal of the late '90s, the feds arrested de Cardenas and three City of Miami officials in an attempted shakedown of a vendor. De Cardenas was convicted in 1997 of obstruction of justice, serving a year in prison and three months in an immigration detention facility. In his first run for elected office, Cason has quickly learned that in Miami-Dade County, it is imperative to have campaign operatives who know how to corral the Cuban American vote, even if they happen to have felony records.

In his heyday, de Cardenas's clients included a who's who of Miami-Dade's elected elite, from Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez to Coral Gables Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli to Maurice Ferre, when he was a county commissioner running for county mayor. He most recently worked on Miami City Commissioner Willy Gort's 2009 campaign. "I thought his [criminal conviction] was irrelevant to his ability for running campaigns," Cason says. "Jorge knows people in Miami-Dade County and knows how to win local elections."

Dressed in a white polo shirt tucked neatly into dark gray trousers, Cason, 65, reclines in a chair behind a three-dimensional painting by the Scull sisters, Cuban siblings whose mixed-media works capture Cuba's days before Castro. On a nearby table, a wood-carved Charlie Chaplin el cabo purchased from a street artist in Cuba's capital waves at visitors coming through the front door.

According to de Cardenas, Cason isn't ready to settle into a life of drinking beers and watching football games. "His mind and body are not ready for retirement," says de Cardenas, who was familiar with Cason's exploits in Cuba before they met four months ago. "Jim has a very distinguished diplomatic career, and everywhere he's been, he engages the community and learns everything he can about it. He is doing the same in Coral Gables."

Cason has been a government man since 1970, when he passed a difficult foreign service exam that prompted a job offer from the State Department to work as a deputy consul in El Salvador. During his 38-year career, the lifelong Republican and American patriot has served on more than 19 diplomatic missions. Along the way, he's tangled with the Castro brothers, recorded a Paraguayan folk song CD in Guarani that got significant airplay, and audited the U.S. government's operations in Baghdad. Now he wants to put his experience to work turning around Coral Gables city government, which is in dire financial straits. As the city's property tax base has plunged in the past few years, so has its ability to meet its obligations. "About 77 percent of all the income generated by the city goes to pay salary and pension obligations," de Cardenas says. "It is a nightmare."

During his diplomatic tours of Latin America, Cason would sometimes have to pass through Coral Gables on his way to Washington, D.C. His visits convinced him to make the City Beautiful his home when he retired in 2008. "Coral Gables is a multiethnic, multilinguistic city with a high quality of life," Cason explains. "It reminds me of places I have been to all my life."

Two years ago, Cason and his wife Carmen purchased their home, a new Spanish-tiled house on a corner lot, for $417,000. "Soon after we moved in, we started fixing this place up," Cason says. "It used to have purple walls and pink floors. We repainted the whole house and put in the new floors ourselves." The couple hired a contractor to install an iron fence around the property. "That is when I found out why Coral Gables's permitting process is so famously onerous," Cason says. "When I talked to builders and architects, they all comment on Coral Gables's great quality of life but complain about the city making it so hard to do business."

According to de Cardenas, Cason had a hard time finding a contractor to work on his home because "of all the bureaucratic red tape in Coral Gables." Discussions with neighbors and friends about the city's draconian zoning rules led to conversations about the city's financial problems. Cason did his own digging, obtaining copies of the city's union contracts. He found out Coral Gables is struggling to come up with $198 million in the coming years to cover the skyrocketing cost of pension benefits for 343 full-time employees. Five years ago, the figure was $69 million. Coral Gables's budget woes come at a time when the city's tax base has dropped by seven percent in the past 12 months, and the city commission has raised property taxes for the last two years.

What's more, to balance this year's $127 million budget, the city commission increased the number of hours for metered parking and upped the fire inspection fees for commercial properties to $75 — from $25. In other cost-cutting moves, Coral Gables slashed $300,000 in street resurfacing funds and $30,000 to replace trees.

Cason says he is appalled by the city's financial mess. "The mayor and the city commission have been asleep at the wheel for the past decade," he grouses. Then there is the scandal that tarnished the city's image in 2009. George Volsky, a columnist for Coral Gables Gazette, exposed how former City Manager David Brown was blowing taxpayer money on extravagant lunches and then backdating the receipts to cover himself. Brown eventually resigned.

Volsky contends the Brown scandal and the city's skyrocketing pension costs happened under the watch of current mayor Donald Slesnick, so he is ultimately responsible. Cason agrees. "The more I researched and spoke to people about the city's problems, I started thinking about a run for office," Cason says. "As mayor, I would bring a new management perspective culled from 40 years of diplomatic experience."

On July 10, Cason filed to run for mayor, six months after Coral Gables attorney Thomas Korge, former chairman of the city's pension board, put his name on the ballot. On October 18, Slesnick announced he would seek a fifth and final term, surprising city hall gadflies who expected him to step aside.

Volsky, a Polish-born journalist who spent part of his career covering Cuba for the New York Times, believes the City Beautiful's voters want new blood. "I think Slesnick should have stuck to his public assertions that he wasn't going to run again," Volsky says. "We are fortunate to have two good candidates to challenge him."


It's mid-June during Cason's last assignment for Uncle Sam. A small bus carrying the diplomat and a half-dozen other State Department officials cruises through Baghdad's Green Zone, the heavily guarded area in Iraq's capital where U.S. government officials and American citizens live and work. Even with its barriers of coiled barbed wire, high concrete walls, and security checkpoints, the Green Zone is not impervious to attack.

The bus navigates the streets toward the U.S. Embassy compound, located on a sprawling campus along the Tigris River that includes Saddam Hussein's former presidential palace. It shares the road with taxis, M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Humvees equipped with .50-caliber machine guns.

"Incoming! Incoming!" someone screams.

The bus driver stomps on the brakes, bringing the ride to an abrupt halt. The driver opens the front door and runs out. The chauffeur ducks into an alley and scurries into a concrete bunker. Cason and his companions follow into the cramped space. "First we heard the kaboom," Cason recalls. "Then came the emergency siren. We had seven mortar and rocket attacks during the 12 days I was there."

One of those other attacks was a missile that hit an apartment two floors below Cason's living quarters. "The insurgents put a rocket on the back of a pickup truck, light it, and then run," Cason says. "They just aim for the Green Zone, so you really have to know where all the bunkers are because you never know where it is going to hit."

Cason was on a team of auditors sent in 2010 by the State Department's inspector general to evaluate the transition from military to civilian security for Baghdad's U.S. Embassy, the largest American overseas diplomatic post. The embassy has about $125 million in government property and 1,700 people assigned to the mission. It spends more than $1.5 billion a year on operations and security. "The plan was to establish three branch offices and two consulates in Baghdad," Cason says. "That is going to be very expensive and difficult to do. As the military pulls out, our civilian personnel will have to provide for their own security with private contractors. We had the task of assessing how that transition is going."

The report, titled "Compliance Follow-Up Review of Embassy Baghdad, Iraq," was released in October. Among the findings were that the U.S. Government would need to provide anywhere from 15 to 60 security and life support personnel for each of the 59 full-time embassy administrators expected to work in Baghdad this year. In other embassies in Beijing, Cairo, and New Delhi, the ratio is four security/life support people for every three full-time high-ranking officials.

"Security concerns loom large," the report concludes about the transition from military to civilian control. "Resources, structures, and the approaches could hardly be more difficult."

Cason says the report is an "unvarnished opinion that had nothing to do with political correctness." After that assignment, he returned to Coral Gables, where his strategy has shifted from ensuring the United States's future in Iraq to trying to convince voters that he is the fresh-faced candidate. "I have run very large embassies with budgets that are similar in ways to Coral Gables," Cason says. "I'm bringing a new set of eyes and ears. And typically mayors are a city's ambassador, so why not get a real one?"


Cason's childhood and adolescence resemble a Norman Rockwell portrait of a classic American military family. His father, Arthur, was a Naval captain who flew dive bombers in World War II and manned patrol planes scanning the Mediterranean and the Atlantic for Russian subs during the '50s. The Casons lived in 19 different locations, including Jacksonville and Miami Beach, where James's brother Bill was born. James is the oldest of five siblings.

"We were very proud of our father," says Bill, who is a year younger than James. "We would all go out to the base wherever we lived to watch his plane come in. We were in awe of our dad."

In 1951, when James was 8 and Bill was 7, the Casons lived on a French-U.S. base in Morocco. The parents hired Berbers, an indigenous Arabic people from North Africa, as nannies to watch their brood. "We were fascinated by their culture," Bill says. "It made us want to spend more time exploring the world. It was a total eye-opening experience for us." A year later, James decided he would pursue a career in international affairs after one of his teachers gave him a copy of The Complete Works of Winston Churchill. He read it. "From that moment I was hooked on becoming a diplomat," Cason says.

The family returned to the United States, bouncing between bases in Florida and Virginia. When he graduated from Virginia's Fairfax High School in 1962, he was voted "Most Likely to Be Ambassador to Uganda." Bill remembers his older brother as a teenager waking up at 4 a.m. to deliver newspapers. The siblings also mowed neighbors' yards for extra cash.

Cason earned a full academic scholarship to Dartmouth, where he majored in international relations. While he studied for his degree, he worked at the U.S. Park Service in Washington, D.C., during the summers. "He rode the garbage truck emptying out the trash bins," Bill says. "He wasn't ashamed to work his way from the bottom to the top."

After graduating from Dartmouth, Cason went to Johns Hopkins University for a master's degree in international studies. In 1968, he won a Fulbright scholarship to go to Uruguay, where he spent 18 months researching the rise of the leftist movement in that country. In 1970, he packed his Chevy Camaro and drove to San Salvador for a job in the foreign service as vice-consul to the American consulate in El Salvador.

Later that year, he met Carmen, a young Salvadoran woman who worked for the Chilean airline LAN Chile. Cason married her in 1972, shortly before his next assignment took him back to Washington, D.C., where he became assistant to the State Department's head of Latin American affairs.

Cason lived in 14 countries and can speak five languages, including Spanish, Italian, and Guarani, the indigenous dialect spoken by 90 percent of Paraguayans. He performed his diplomatic duties from Kosovo to Kingston. Wherever he landed, friends say, Cason worked hard to assimilate into the local culture. In 2008, the final year of his ambassadorship in Paraguay, the diplomat recorded himself singing 16 traditional Paraguayan folk songs entirely in Guarani. He packaged the melodies into a CD called Campo Jurado (Field of Promises).

While he had never sung professionally, Cason was encouraged to flex his vocal cords by Paraguay's most celebrated soprano, Rebecca Arramendi, who sings along with the diplomat on a few of the CD's tracks. In a soft baritone, Cason belts out melodies to the accompaniment of accordions, harps, and guitars. Arramendi is one of four Paraguayan crooners who appear on the album, which has sold more than 10,000 copies. The songs got major play on local stations in Paraguay, and Cason sells the CD at $15 a pop via snail mail or on iTunes. The proceeds pay for scholarships for poor Paraguayan children. "They call me the singing ambassador," Cason says triumphantly, while clutching a CD. "It is a never-ending variety of interesting things you do as an ambassador. You become very cosmopolitan."


The YouTube clip opens with a Looney Tunes-style intro titled "Cosas y Casos del Cabo Cason." This episode is "Human Rights," and the animation looks like a low-budget, cut-and-paste knockoff of Genndy Tartakovsky's work on Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory. The protagonist is a two-dimensional Cason, wearing oversize eyeglasses and speaking in a ridiculously exaggerated American accent.

"My eyes are tearing up," Cason's runt-sized caricature bemoans in Spanish. "My heart is breaking. Oh, the humanity. I shall spread democracy all over." A pair of worms wearing transistor radios around their necks goad him. Cason metamorphoses into a fairy with wings and a magic wand; the arms of his fairy gown are stitched with colonel stripes. He flies out of the U.S. Interests Section building to the streets of Havana, where he informs a crowd: "With human rights, everything shall be like a dream!" Cason waves his hand.

The cartoon images cut from a dirt-caked boy hawking newspapers to a police officer pulverizing a man to a Cuban protester alongside a Klansman and a Neo-Nazi to a drug dealer holding a bag of cocaine. When Cason reappears, he asks the Cubans: "It will be marvelous, eh?" The crowd turns into a mob throwing things and chasing after Cason, who transforms into a rat that scurries back to the U.S. Interests Section building. It is not clear when the video was made, but the Cuban government released it and several others to ridicule Cason during his time in Havana from 2002 to 2005.

Cason reveled in Castro's hatred of him. "I put the caricature on a flag and attached it on my car," Cason boasts. "I had colonel stripes on my guayaberas. I laughed at them. These stodgy totalitarians can't stand it when you laugh at them." From the moment he arrived in Havana, Cason engaged in an unusually aggressive policy of enabling Cuba's dissidents. "We gave them means to be independent journalists," Cason says. "I set up 24 Internet terminals [inside the U.S. Interests Section building] where the dissidents could come file stories without being detected by the Cuban government. We gave out 30,000 shortwave radios, cameras, pencils, and notepads. It was a gratifying time, being there doing something for the people who will bring democracy to Cuba."

Naturally, Cason's activities antagonized Castro, who grew suspicious that el guapeton Americano was looking to get kicked out of Cuba so the Bush administration could have a reason to engage in a military intervention. Cason claims the Cuban government warned him to stop. "I told them to throw me out if they didn't like it," Cason huffs.

After a spate of hijackings, including the taking of the Cubana airliner on March 31, 2003, Castro finally had enough of Cason. But the dictator took his wrath out on the people el cabo was supposedly helping. In early April 2003, Castro ordered the arrest of 75 dissidents, who were all convicted during one-day trials and sentenced to prison terms of more than 20 years. The Cuban government utilized double agents to infiltrate the opposition movement. The spies also gained the trust of Cason. One of the informants, Cuban journalist David Manuel Orrio, even helped organize a journalism ethics conference at Cason's home.

For an interview with the Associated Press following the dissident crackdown, Cuba's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque mocked Cason. El cabo "should know that our nation has learned how to defend itself," Perez Roque told the AP.

Cason acknowledges that Cuban spies were always among the dissidents he befriended. "Of course we knew about the infiltrated agents, but we couldn't just point them out," Cason says. "In Cuba, it is a 10-year-prison sentence to reveal the identity of a government secret officer. It was a way to cause confusion and mistrust among the dissidents."

Besides, Cason emphasizes, he wasn't doing anything illegal in Cuba. "Everything we did was aboveboard," he says. "Nothing was clandestine. The Cuban government knew we were teaching dissidents how to become independent journalists."

On April 25, 2003, Cuba's president addressed the nation on the state-run television station. He revealed in painstaking detail every move Cason made to subvert his government up until the dissidents were jailed. "James appeared as the best choice to implement the predetermined policy of an increase in, and escalation of, hostility toward Cuba from his State Department post," Castro railed.

Saul Landau, professor emeritus at California State University, Pomona, is a vocal critic of Cason's tenure as head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. This past September, about two months after Cason declared his candidacy, the leftist scholar cowrote an article for left-leaning, Miami-based website Progreso Weekly accusing the diplomat of conspiring with Roger Noriega, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, to create chaos in Cuba by encouraging dissidents to defy Castro rather than follow written U.S. government policy of using peaceful means to produce "regime change."

"Cason was poking Havana in the eye with the expectation he would get kicked out or Bush would find a reason to close the Interests Section," Landau told New Times. "He was stirring up trouble without realizing what the consequences would be. He got 75 people arrested."

If he was teaching a class in diplomacy, he would give Cason an F-minus, Landau says. "Instead of doing the real work of an embassy," Landau says, "Cason set out to bring down the Cuban government."


On December 3, Cason perches at a conference table inside a small studio at Spanish-language AM station Radio Mambí (710). He is flanked by Armando Pérez-Roura, the hard-line Cuban exile who is Radio Mambí's general manager, and Raúl Chau, a Cuban American anti-Castro activist and a longtime friend of Cason's. The trio spends the first ten minutes reminiscing about Cason's exploits in Havana. "I wanted to let the world know what was going on in Cuba," Cason says with righteous emphasis. "I had a duty to report the human rights abuses under Castro."

He also recounts the tale of hijacker Adermis Wilson González and dismisses allegations he was trying to push Castro into a military confrontation. "Castro was always going on state-run television claiming that we were going to invade Cuba," Cason says. "There was never any truth to it. It was a ridiculous thing Castro made up."

With the mayoral election coming in April, Cason is making the rounds of the Spanish media outlets. He was recently interviewed on Telemundo (Channel 51), where he again took a shot at his old nemesis. "At this stage in his life, Fidel needs to keep portraying us as the enemy," he tells reporter Marilys Llanos. "However, there will not be any fundamental changes in Cuba if the United States keeps following its current policy of 'aggressive niceness.' "

Two weeks later, the ex-diplomat sits in his living room and angrily defends his body of work in Cuba, dismissing Landau's claim that he was responsible for the arrest of the 75 dissidents. "That's bullshit," Cason snarls. "Our policy was to support a rapid yet peaceful political change in Cuba. This guy Landau is a lackey for the Cuban government who has never met me. He doesn't know anything."

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23 comments
Oceanview15
Oceanview15

I agree, the County needs a man like Cason! Coral Gables will benefit greatly WHEN he is elected! The County will just have to wait.

Biteme_06
Biteme_06

the cubans and their problems can go to hell

Milspec390
Milspec390

Type your comment here.==-]'

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Can you think of a better recommendation for James Cason than castro shill parrot, Saul Landau's condemnation by which he accuses Ambassador Cason of 'trying to bring down the Cuban government'? Neither can I. Saul Landau believes that giving shortwave radios, pads and pencils to Cubans constitutes 'trying to bring down the Cuban government'? Wouldn't it be great if all oned needed to bring down castro's blood soaked regime were citizens armed with radios, pencils, and notepads? Doesn't it say that for all the media's gushing praise of castro and his gangster regime, in reality it's a house of cards awaiting a swift toppling by truth's balmy trade winds?

Doesn't Saul Landau clearly show us the sadistic reality of the Left which lurks behind its saccharine altruistic veneer? The ugly reality is that the Left loves sadistic totalitarian regimes such as that of castro and will say and do anything to protect them, and cares not one whit about the eleven million Cubans who daily experience living death beneath it?

Kudos to Ambassador Cason for bravely showing Cuba's citizens that truth, as does murder, outs - always, and that gutless bullies and their mendacious propagandists will never suppress it.

James Cason is a true American hero for standing up to the fifty year old Cancer of the Caribbean known as the castro regime, and its stateside cheerleaders.

To show just how long the misery has continued, consider that as James Cason was graduating colllege in 1966, castro was celebrating seven years of power by organizing his Tri-Continental Conference. Though the marxstream media knows of it, it surely won't tell us about it. But Dr. Mario Lazo, among others, in his book, "Dagger in the Heart" surely did. Castro's Tri-Continental Summit was held in 1966 for the purpose of convening communist termites from Latin America, Europe especially including the soviet union and East Bloc nations, as well as North America for the purpose of exploring the best methods by which to poison, demoralize, and destroy the West. Conferees agreed that illicit drugs would be a particularly effective method to accomplish the task. Shortly, and surely by pure coincidence, illicit drug use in America soared. For all his overblown railings against drugs, castro is well known to allow narco-traffickers use of his island in return for compensation.

Were one to use the Medical Model to explain communism's baffling staying power, one might portray castro and his fellow tyrants as the bacteria which thrives and endures in a Petri dish generously nourished by communism's many supporters in business, media, and academia, none of whom ironically would survive a day beneath its miserable yoke.

Paul Vincent Zecchino Manasota Key, Florida 23 January, 2011

The Left is an evil, sleazy, relic, a crime syndicate which masquerades as the welcome wagon in your neighborhood and as a legitimate government above, yet which behaves as an avaricious predator, destroying liberty, property, posessions, and life itself whereever its cloven-hooves take it

Sgarcia5990
Sgarcia5990

I would love to see him more as a county mayor than mayor of Coral Gables

305pride
305pride

Coral Gables needs to get over the BS and revitalize the area around Ponce de Leon, between Alhambra and 8 st. I refer to this area as 'the avenue where restaurants go to die.' This area needs new life...open a few bars and night clubs (high-end of course.)

I live in the Gables...I just don't drink here (stole this line from a bar tender at John Martins)!

Let the business people go for happy hour and spend their money. The Gables needs a few more clubs like Uva to attract more people. Why not have people want to stay after they go to diner? Also, Gables city gov. needs to take a look at Miracle Mile. So many empty stores. Empty stores are becoming common all over the Gables. Some streets look like they belong in a ghost town.

In short, Gables need to change it's old women attitude about everything. The residential sections are completely away (almost) from where the crowds and the load music would be.

Robert Hub
Robert Hub

People in Coral Gables do not vote on Cuban issues alone, they are too smart and sophisticated. They do not want anything to do with the City of Miami shenanigans and corruption to take over the "City Beautiful". Jorge De Cardenas has a right to work too, his past should not be judged to affect the future of someone nobody knows yet. The Candidate has to earn the trust of the Gables people who have worked hard to have the best run city in the world

Tigger
Tigger

I simply love the logic of Sual Landau. It's remarkably vapid and shallow.

"Cason was poking Havana in the eye with the expectation he would get kicked out or Bush would find a reason to close the Interests Section," Landau told New Times. "He was stirring up trouble without realizing what the consequences would be. He got 75 people arrested."

So, giving people the tools to be free journalists gets them arrested. And Saul has the problem with the guy giving them the tools, not the dictator who jailed them after one day trials for 20+ years. So much so that he blames Cason for their arrest! As though he cuffed them, shoved them into the show trial, and then dragged them off to the gulag for the next couple of decades.

That is an amazingly revealing response to the situation at hand and shows just how much respect Saul Landau has for a free press and free speech in general. Especially for people unfortunately enough to reside in Cuba.

Jose Gonzalez
Jose Gonzalez

I read the entire story and it sounds like he helped the double agent el comandante weed out some trouble makers,

xio bobadilla
xio bobadilla

THERE ARE ONLY 2 COUNTRIES IN THIS WORLD USA AND CUBA, WHY DON'T YOU STOP IT, THE WORLD IS COMING DOWN TO PIECES BUT NO, ONLY CUBA AND CASTRO, I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF THE SAME SHIT OVER AND OVER, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT, TAKE A LOOK AT THE REST OF THE WORLD, INCLUDING OUR COUNTRY USA. GOD BLESS AMERICA, BECAUSE THINGS ARE BAD HERE AND THIS IS WHAT MATTERS MOST OF ALL.

Anyone But Sleaznick
Anyone But Sleaznick

So, I'm curious as to what international experience and diplomacy have to do with running a financially stressed municipality. How long has Mr. Cason lived in the Gables anyway?

J D Rumi
J D Rumi

This low level diplomat is a dinosaur and a republican to boot.Let Coral Gables deal with him, I don't live there anyway."Give the people what they want", I always say * just don't complain and bitch later.Now there trying to recall Mayor Alvarez but after the fact, they are always getting it wrong,learn how to vote (aprendan a elegir) bunch of dummies! * paranoid,ignorant,racist idiots!

Curt9954
Curt9954

Cason is a disgusting piece of shit for the trouble he caused in Cuba. He was directly responsible for the arrests of 75 dissidents in March 2003. Cason was only there to build his ego, rather than help Cuba toward democracy. Kudos to the Cuban govern ment for foiling his plans.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Enough with Slesnick, has everyone forgotten how much he cost the city when he stopped construction of the new city hall complex? Cason sounds alright to me, it's time for new blood.

On another note, Frank, have you forgotten who the other candidates brother is?!

Cowboy_cuban
Cowboy_cuban

hey 305, you got places where you can party and raise hell till the sun comes up. hialeah, s. dade, and little havana, amongst other places. i used to live in hialeah, i think i was the only one with in a 4 block area that actually worked. my neighbors played salsa, bachata, and boleros 24 hours aday and could care a less about the others that lived around them, that had to work. now i live in the gables, you see people walking, jogging, families outside, etc. its quiet here, and i dont have people trying to break into my vehicle, steal my gas, and its quiet and calm. so, those of us who live here... please keep your ghetto dreams to yourself.

Gmjarquin
Gmjarquin

Totally agree with you XIO, I'm one more who's sick and tire of the same bullshit this bunch of Cubans refugees keep talking about during the last 50+ years. Unfortunately we keep hearing such BS only in Miami, nowhere else in the whole USA. They have taken the Miami Herald to keep airing their yieling and lies.

Pingon
Pingon

Everybody has the right to be stupid. But you're abusing the priviledge!

305pride
305pride

Those 75 arrested have helped advance Cuba further than any Cuban dinosaur from Miami could ever. Get your facts right. The women in white have become a huge international problem from Castro.

nooraj
nooraj

I agree with yoyu he full of shit

Jdrumi
Jdrumi

" Cason sounds alright to you " really???????? Ok, vote for him then

ROLANDO
ROLANDO

And what lies would these be exactly? Go ahead and explain yourself. For someone who says they are tired of such discussions, You sure have a disrespectful manner of expressing it. At least the above post expressed a legitimate priority in the comment. Yours however expresses ignorance and intolerance to the community. If you are so deeply troubled about all this, You always have the option of living elsewhere. You said so yourself that this gets mentioned only in Miami and nowhere else. But I'm afraid that what you have been hearing is due to the right of freedom of speech. And if you are at odds with such a right, Then sadly you are living in the wrong country. I, myself am not fond of everything I hear and read about on media outlets. But at least I respect different point of views and acknowledge and uphold the rights granted to me and everyone else in the country. My advise to the both of you is that you gather your news from sources outside of miami.

Yokolee359
Yokolee359

u can always go to Arizona and take xio with you...........they are running out of Indians

P_Nis
P_Nis

I will, thanks for your approval.

 
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