The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 31, 1995 · Page 169
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 169

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, March 31, 1995
Page 169
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12A THE PALM BEACH POST FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 1995 Msl w President Clinton Comes To Florida 13-year-old immigrant's music captivates politicians By LARRY KAPLOW Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau TALLAHASSEE Before President Clinton and his entourage entered the Florida House on Thursday, 13-year-old Lizbet Martinez enchanted Florida's most powerful luminaries with her violin and The Star Spangled Banner. It was the song she played eight months ago, on the decks of a U.S. Coast Guard ship after being plucked out of the sea in her flight from Cuba. "The first time I played The Star Spangled Banner was very special, because it was in gratitude to the government of the United States for rescuing me from the sea," she said after her solo in the cavernous House chamber. "I felt the same honor and same feelings today playing for the president of the United States." From the moment she was introduced and paused Trip shows importance i i" 6f state votes 'I think she ought to play that in the White House, and I hope she will.' to pray for several seconds with her hands at her sides and her violin jutting from under her jaw she captivated the hundreds gathered for the president. Clinton listened to her play the national anthem on closed-circuit television. "Lizbet gave me a beautiful little angel and I told her I was going to put in on my table in the Oval Office and I wanted her to come see it," Clinton said later. "I think she ought to play that in the White House, and I hope she will." House Speaker Peter Rudy Wallace, among others, was visibly moved, bowing his head as tears welled up in his eyes. Clinton reassured her that the other children about 1,000 she left behind in refugee camps in Guantanamo, Cuba, will come to the United States soon. Martinez has been living in Miami for about two months. In Cuba, Lizbet's mother, Danne, was a dentist and her father, Jorge, was a truck driver. They left the island Aug. 15 with about a dozen others on a raft made of nine truck inner tubes. They floated for seven days before being spotted. While the others received their first food on the Coast Guard ship, Martinez played the violin she brought for the journey. She also brought a Bible. She learned The Star Spangled Banner in Cuba. A teacher had found the sheet music in a trash can. From the ship, Lizbet and her parents were taken: to the refugee camp at Guantanamo Bay, and stayed there five months. fr Clinton heard of Martinez's act of gratitude at sea Si and how she frequently played in Guantanamo. SheQ has asthma, and was getting increasingly ill in the-ti tent living at the camp when Clinton interceded tc';l bring her family to Miami. ' "-?' Now they're on immigration narnlp awaitin cr chance to apply for citizenship. Lizbet is in seventh,'! graae ai a private scnooi and wants to be a profession-; ai musician. She said Clinton's invitation to play at the White House was a "mnsmifirn" i'Hm nnH cho nUno t m .. But, she said Clinton's promise to settle the'! uiuaren sun on ouantanamo is more important. i1 V ' ' T r . CLINTON From 1A violence than Florida," Clinton said. IHis swing through Florida demonstrates how critical the state is for his chances of reelection. Cli&ton lost Florida by 2 percentage points in 1992, bu Thursday he reached out to those whose votes he -desperately needs Southern conservatives, such as many of the state lawmakers who jammed the House chamber for his speech. 'And by standing behind the wooden speaker's podium of the Florida House, Clinton symbolized hisT willingness to return some of Washington's power to state governments. "Governors and legislators tend to be more practical people," he said. "I believe the role of the national government in 1995 should be not to be a savior, not to be a government knows best, a one-size-fits-all government nobody believes that anymore," Clinton saiJ.""But I also don't believe in the new rage that government is the source of all of our problems." ;?The former Arkansas governor railed against the; congressional agenda to return programs and blocfi grants to the states. ij'Xet me say just one thing about block grants. Thlyj could be extremely harmful to the high-growth states. Don't get caught in the rhetoric, look at the reality." 'With that, Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, applauded and jumped to his feet, followed by Republican Senate President Jim Scott of Fort Lauderdale. Soon, everyone on the House floor joined the standing ovation. -Praising Florida's experiment with welfare reform, Clinton promised a national reform program this year. He said the emphasis should be on child support, saying that 800,000 families could be moved off the welfare rolls if more parents supported their children financially. Lunch raises $500,000 -Cfediting Florida for moving forward, Clinton seemed unaware that Republicans in the state Senate blocked Chiles' program to provide health insurance with Medicaid savings. Like Clinton, Chiles has been unable to sell lawmakers on his plan, and legislators say Chiles' plan is a dead issue this year. After his speech, Clinton ventured out into the Capitol courtyard where Dade County Day was in full swing and helped stir a 20-foot pan of paella, chicken and yellow rice. He then attended a $5,000-a-plate luncheon with about 100 Democrats, raising a half-million dollars for the state Democratic Party. He then flew to Tampa, where he met the families of two police officers wounded in the line of duty and thanked the quick-thinking paramedic who helped save their lives. He gave a highly partisan speech criticizing Republicans and headed for Palm Beach. When Air Force One touched down at Palm Beach International at 4:26 p.m., Clinton was dressed in tennis shoes, a pullover shirt, casual pants and a cap from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. He headed to PGA National, where he played several holes on the championship course, leaving in his wake thousands of rush-hour drivers who suddenly found themselves unable to get on Interstate 95. Just beyond the clubhouse where Clinton teed off, people stood beyond a ring of Secret Service and sheriffs agents waiting for a glimpse of the president. All anybody seemed to want was a handshake. "I would like to shake the hand of a president in my lifetime," Alice Hartmann said as she and friend, Rena Levine, recalled their luck spotting presidents. n -j" '- y ----- j UN " J A I) i V . a as " 1 AVAVvV Senate President Jim Scott, Gov. Lawton Chiles, and Senate President pro tempore Malcolm Beard (from left) listen to Clinton Thursday. "The last president I saw was JFK," Levine said. "He was in Brooklyn. He was actually running and they let us out of school. It was kind of a national holiday." Along the presidential motorcade route, the traffic jams and blocked roads set off a few tempers. As a Palm Beach Gardens officer blocked the intersection, irritated motorists argued with the officer to let them through. "How dare he inconvenience all these people," one woman screamed before booing as the motorcade passed on its way to the Palm Beach home of Revlon tycoon Ron Perelman. Called Casa Apava, the home is one of the few on the island that reaches from the ocean to the Intracoastal. Joining Clinton for a three-hour dinner was a very select group of people, some of whom, according to one Democratic Party source, gave as much as $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee for the privilege of dining with the president. Actor, singer on guest list Among the guests: B Singer Jimmy Buffett, who was not on the original guest list but was added later. He may go to Haiti with Clinton and perform for troops. B Actor Don Johnson, best known for his role as a detective in the Miami Vice series. fl Deandra Douglas, wife of actor Michael Douglas. B Sylvia Hassenfeld, active in Jewish causes who married into the founding family of Hasbro toys. B Jeffrey Epstein, a business executive. B Richard Garrett, a prominent Miami attorney. B Bob Kanuth, a business executive. B Alfonso Fanjul, a member of the Fanjul sugar-growing family. B Don Fowler, co-chairman of the Democratic National Committee. B Paul Prosperi, Clinton's Georgetown University school buddy and organizer of the dinner. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? Revlon mogul Ron Perelman and his wife, Patricia Duff, hosted a small dinner party Thursday night for the president at their Palm Beach estate. The party of 15 included: 4 If Ron Perelman and Patricia Duff Revlon mogul and his wife -J Jimmy Buffett Singer , f r: 'V -f f Alfonso Fanjul ; Sugar magnate f " ,.4 ' 1 'VhT1 n Don Fowler Democratic National Committee co-chairman Don Johnson Actor Deandra Douglas Wife of actor Michael Douglas Paul Prosperi a Georgetown classmate of Clinton's Bill Clinton v t Haiti woes downplayed! before visit i MARK WAUBENStaff Artist By ANNE-MARIE O'CONNOR Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ( ' PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -S U.S. officials sought Thursday to ease concerns about growing lawlessness in Haiti on the eve of President Clinton's visit. During his scheduled nine-hour stay today, Clinton was expected to underscore the success of the U.S. military intervention; that restored democracy. ; He also was to witness the" transfer of peacekeeping duties tp a multinational United Nations force and hold talks with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Despite the success of the six-month U.S. military mission in Haiti, the Caribbean island n tion's formidable problems with poverty and violence remain deeply entrenched. Two human rights groups issued reports this week predicting that common crime and political tensions will increase. U.N. Secretary-General Bou-tros-Boutros Ghali will join Clinton for a formal ceremony at the National Palace for the U.N. takeover of a 6,000-strong multinational force. The force is to safeguard Haiti's fragile, newly restored government through the inauguration of a new president in February. ;; GREG L0VETT i Staff Photographer Kristine Stay-rook, Kimberly Harrison and Maureen Dris-coll, all of Boca Raton, get the chance to greet President Clinton Thursday afternoon at Palm Beach International Airport. '1 ; f ft - . 1 Jm j 1 i t : . K In Brief Clinton feasts on fish after jogging Palm Beach Post Wire Services President Clinton started his day Thursday by jogging 3'2 miles around Tallahassee's picturesque Lake Ella, shaking hands with the regular runners. He then ate a Southern-style breakfast of fried fish fingers, grits and biscuits at the Governor's Mansion. Officials miss meeting The mayor and city manager of Palm Beach Gardens waited an hour to give Clinton the key to the city. They ended up giving it to the desk clerk at the PGA National Resort and Spa instead. As Clinton golfed in the warm dusk, Mayor Joe Russo and City Manager Bobbie Herakovich stood in a waiting line at the hotel on the advice of White House staff members who said the president probably would recognize them on his way out. But the president, late for a Palm Beach party, whisked past them and into a waiting limo which sped away as Clinton peeked his head out and waved. Herakovich said she "jumped up and down" but added: "You should have seen the look on Joe's face. He was so disappointed." On the advice of White House staff, Russo left the key to the city and the golfing T-shirts and hats with the hotel desk clerk to pass on to Clinton's staff. An hour later, ' a city police officer interrupted a Palm Beach Gardens City Council workshop so Russo could take a phone call from Clinton's staff. -"They said the president was sorry he missed us but he would try to arrange a meeting if he ever came back," said Russo, a former Democrat turned independent. Woman hopes for call When Clinton's motorcade 1 rode by on Southern Boulevard;-; Kim Duffey was holding a sigiri1 over her head, "Call Me," with her ' ! phone number. And if the presjj,'v! dent does? "I think he needs toA; talk to someone real," said the'' full-time mother. "I voted for hint'-'!'' but I've been disappointed. I don'ta'! think he understands that's"! I what I would say to him." ro"'' J L f 1 I B Staff writers Joe Brogan, Jul' Capozzi, Jon Glass, Meg JamesZ' Mitch McKenney and Jenny Staleto- 1 vich contributed to this report. - ' --"li

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