The Honolulu Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii on July 3, 2000 · 10
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The Honolulu Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii · 10

Honolulu, Hawaii
Issue Date:
Monday, July 3, 2000
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A10 Monday, July 3, 2000 The Honolulu Advertiser Cubans get rare TV glimpses of Miami exiles Knight Ridder News Service , HAVANA Since Elian Gonzalez was rescued off Fort Lauderdale on Thanksgiving Day, Cubans have been bombarded with images of Miami's Cuban exiles on state-run media. On television shows such as "The Roundtable," created to inform Cubans of Elian's plight, interviews with exile leaders, recorded by CNN and other American networks, were shown, followed by Cuban scholars dissecting their every word. Exile leaders such as Ninoska Perez Castellon of the Cuban American National Foundation and Brothers to the Rescue founder Jose Basulto have been regulars. In a rare and unprecedented event on the censored news shows, ; Cuban TV even broadcast clips of ; exiles criticizing Cuban President Fidel Castro. One showed Armando Gutierrez, spokesman for Elian's Miami family, calling Cuba a place of tyranny and dictatorship, "a place where Elian will never be free." Apart from those rare episodes, however, the Cuban government has tried to discredit the exile community. Rarely are Miami Cubans mentioned without the word "mafia." The Cuban daily newspaper, Granma, referred to political leaders by derisive nicknames, often substituting "the Fierce She-wolf" (La Loba Feroz) for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and calling Gutierrez "El Cerdo" the Pig. Gutierrez did not return a call to his home, but Ros-Lehtinen said she was not bothered by the epithet. "It's a tremendous honor every time the communists attack me," Ros-Lehtinen said, adding that she had put the phrase on her car li-cense plate. The images, along with the tactics used by Miami Cubans to keep Elian in the United States, further alienated exiles from Cubans on the island, said Juan Carlos Aguero, a high school teacher in Cuba who said he used to respect exile efforts before the Elian case. "They've lost a lot of prestige here," he said. Since Elian's return to the island, the carefully selected images of Miami Cubans have been overwhelmingly negative. Consider two often-repeated clips: in one, a woman outside the Miami family's former home in Little Havana is ripping an American flag; in another, a woman overcome by grief upon Elian's return to Cuba, says "Knock down that airplane, knock down that airplane." Aguero, 30, said he takes all state 3 an"!-' -' Vr vFiin l"s ri r iwwrt rii.. rifcwui rwitfc Foreclosure rZVlTSJ Garnishment Open 7 days. Saturday & Sunday appointments. GREG DUNN, Bankruptcy Attorney 524-4529 (Filed over 2500 cases since 1997) ! Former Navy JAG Attorney. Kamehameha Schools Graduate j 841 Bishop St, 2221 "Grtg Dunn gets it dons" i Call today. It's Fun & Exciting. Meet new people and make more PREPARE NOW Parties Vacations Business Events Cruises Weddings LEARN THE LATEST Swing Latin Disco Nightclub and many more! Fiist Lesson is FREE! cm Singles & Couples Welcome. n-5o7 Arthur yKMurratj f 1860 Ala Moana Blvd. ' (Across from Hilton Hawaiian Village) ; ' Mot-hi til 9pm Weekendi (Answering MouW) , ivk km CwcH Carts Welcom ' j f r f""-r broadcasts with a grain of salt and gets information elsewhere from friends abroad and people who visit the island. But he said he is discouraged by what he has seen of Miami, particularly the woman asking for the plane to crash. "What are the Cuban people supposed to think of that?" Aguero asked Guillermo Perez, 39, a mechanical engineer who now drives a taxi in Cuba, said the images only confirm his feelings about the exile groups. He said he hopes those images are spread through the United States and the world "Finally the North American people will see the horrible things the Miami mafia does," he said The son of two Communist Party members, Perez said he has never had any affection for Miami exiles. To him, the Cuban American National Foundation is full of people who backed former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. Basulto, of Brothers to the Rescue, said it isn't surprising that Cubans are getting misimpressions of Miami exiles after watching selected TV clips. He said the goal is to smear the names of exile opponents so people in Cuba will lose respect for them. "It's part of the vilification of their foes, their opponents, to make themselves look good and us look hateful," Basulto said The tactic of the Cuban regime is always to try to discredit individuals rather than ideas, and this is what's happening in this case, and have turned some of us into cartoon characters with the goal of discrediting our ideas." To Perez, Elian's case was simple: A son belongs with his father. Perez became addicted to "The Roundtable," which focused on the case daily. As a result, his knowledge of South Florida political leaders became extensive. To a visitor in a taxi, a 1980 Russian car he crank-starts with a wrench, Perez talks as easily about the politics of President Clinton as those of Miami Mayor Joe Carollo and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas. On a recent morning, Granma published a summary of a New York Times article about how the Elian case has polarized Miami along ethnic lines. Perez quickly laid blame on Penelas, who he said angered many blacks and white non-His-panics when he said Miami-Dade police wouldn't assist federal authorities in removing the boy from his Little Havana home. To him, Penelas' words were just another example of exile politics gone astray. nnr.n Consultation. Low fixed fees. Harassment H fc n friends. c ' h A 1 Cocame By Tim Johnson Knight Ridder News Service BOGOTA, Colombia On a tropical Hawaiian island, a killer fungus once ravaged a field of coca bushes that Coca-Cola hoped would provide flavoring for Its soft drinks. i The plague in the 1970s ruined Coca-Cola's plan to buy coca outside the Andean region. But it excited counterdrug experts in Washington, who later spent millions of dollars, some secretly, on a multi-year quest for a biological weapon to destroy the Andean bushes fueling the cocaine trade. Now, under prodding from Washington, a United Nations agency wants to test the lab-grown fungus on a small plot in Colombia, where much of the world's coca is grown. The proposal has whipped up a minor tempest Opponents say the fungus might be toxic to farmers and wreak havoc on jungles that are treasures of biodiversity. Advocates say the fungus may become a "silver bullet" to kill coca plants and leave other plants unaffected. "Our experts tell us that it is worth trying," said Klaus Nyholm, director of the UN. Drug Control Program's office in Colombia and Ecuador. Coca-Cola has used the coca leaf for flavoring since 1905, though the cocaine content is taken out under a process controlled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. U.S. scientists say they don't know yet whether the fungus would safely kill the nearly 300,000 acres of coca grown in Colombia without affecting other flora or humans. "The tests show so far that it is a reasonably good control agent. ' .But I wouldn't extrapolate from that that it will work in Colombia," said Eric Rosenquist, a national program leader at the U.S. De- cno free s pi. r i i A,s .s.2 L .! :,! i Oiii 'ivO.sJ k I - idlling "We are waiting for the results of tests, and will proceed only if the scientists working with the government of Colombia tell us that mycoherbicides are safe." RICHARD BAUM POLICY ANALYST AT THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY partment of Agriculture's Research Service in Beltsville, Md. "The ecology is different. There are competing organisms." U.S. counterdrug experts cite compelling reasons to experiment further with the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, which is considered a plant pathogen, or mycoherbicida They say the fungus can be attached to seeds and dropped from high altitude. That beats the current strategy, in which U.S.-financed crop dusters buzz coca fields at 150 feet or so some-times risking a hail of bullets from the ground. Gunmen have hit spray planes 36 times this year, U.S. officials say. Moreover, planes could fly at night, using sensors to target coca fields. "It looks incredibly promising," said Richard Baum, a policy analyst at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "However, we are waiting for the results of tests, and will proceed only if the scientists working with the government of Colombia tell us that mycoherbicides are safe." Doubts exist whether a limited test will even take place in Colom-. bia. ' While aides to President Andres Pastrana have reportedly expressed a "keen interest" to test the fungus, Environment Minister Juan Mayr told The Herald he is adamantly opposed. l 5 i,. ' HMSA. members toe and Sanford Mock. Rae likes to finger paint Sanford collects toy$. They're what you might call free spirits. They're also HMSA members.' ? They don't want to be bound to any one doctor or any one plan. Rae and Sanford want freedom. And they will have it ; - ' This is their plan. To take care of.. 1 Their mind. Their tody. Their spirit. Their Y.zz"X E-3IV3SA fn tr-rrt gue Cross I l' ) Eiue Shield . 4 K y tin t. a V'x o I f Hawaii An Mqwtiimt Uwraee of Hue Cnns and (Sub Oiokes for a Ikallh'u'T gus raises "I told them, 'Gentlemen, your project is not welcome,' " Mayr said. Last year, amid an outcry from environmentalists and ranchers, the state of Florida shelved a plan to test another strain of Fusarium oxysporum against illegal marijuana crops. "If it's bad for Florida, why is it good for us?" said Sea Rafael Orduz, who called a hearing on the test plan in early June. For most of the last decade the US. government has used chemical herbicides against coca plants in Colombia, fighting a mostly losing battle. The hunt for a biological alternative began in earnest in 1987, with secret US. funding and classified research. The research quickly focused on Fusarium oxysporum, the same fungus identified through DNA testing as the cause of the wilt in Hawaii a decade earlier. That wilt, contained to a tiny experimental field, affected the same species as the illicit coca grown in Colombia, i For a while U.S. research focused on the malumbia moth, a relative of the gypsy moth, but "it proved unsafe," said Rosenquist, the USDA expert. The moth attracted hordes of wasps. "We looked at vegetable dyes that might impede growth in a plant," he added, but that, too, it l Siisa AtsttaaiiaB . Hawaii VfWFmHmmmmmmmm iiii.iiwii il i i . . tV ' T it . 1 furor proved ineffective. : A The focus on Fusarium oxysporum gained new impetus between 1990 and 1992, when an outbreak of the killer fungus hit Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley, its largest source of coca. The fungus wilted tens of thousands of acres of coca. Some Peruvians believe the U.S. government surreptitiously introduced the plague to Peru, a charge U.S. officials vehemently deny. , As Washington's interest in the fungus grew, US. scientists tested it to see whether it would harm other plants as well. ? j "Over 100 plant species have been tested for susceptibility to this pathogen. None have been adversely affected," said a report released last month by U.S. drug czar Barry McCMrey's office. J. The fusarium fungus is among the most common on Earth. Hundreds of strains exist, each one attacking a specific, plant, such as tomatoes, peppers or corn. Virtually all cultivated plants have a fusarium specific to them. 'Opponents of the project say the US. government is giving it a multilateral veneer by paying for U.N. testing of Fusarium in Colombia. They also believe Washington will steamroll over Colombian reticence as a condition for letting loose on a nearly $1 billion counternarcotics package. ' y''.'-""'V., The UN. proposal calls for testing on a plot no larger than "a couple of hundred square yards," said Nyholm, the UN. agency director, adding that he believes such experimentation can occur safely. .. l The feeling I get from our contacts is that the Colombians feci that this is politically, well,rjnot dangerous, but sensitive," he said. "I suppose this is because many people who are not specialists see this with biological warfare in mind, which is not the case." 11 I - ... .,. ... -v&r m UNITED BENEFITS J-' ii?Hi,:"A!c:GFA,':r.::A 3-1-11 v: ' : S J

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