February 6, 2023

The Editor Speaks: How food can unite ‘enemies’

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One has to give credit to US President Trump. He is a forgiving man.

Before he was president many in his own party not only criticised him but openly said they would not vote for him even after he won the nomination.

One such senator was Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who himself suffered a presidential bid in 2012. Incumbent Barack Obama, who actually was unpopular, at that time, still beat him.

Trump sat down at dinner with Romney twice after Trump won the presidency race. He even considered Romney for a top job.

Trump’s most bitter enemy was Florida Republican senator, Marco Rubio. Even when Trump invited Rubio to speak at Trump’s inauguration which Rubio did, Rubio refused to tell the Republican gathering to vote for Trump!

Now I learn Trump and Rubio sat down to dinner at the White House on Wednesday (15) and said during a press conference on Thursday that he shares Rubio’s views on Cuba.

Mexico deported 264 Cubans and turned away 144 who were trying to illegally enter the country through airports. The Bahamas and the Cayman Islands deported a combined 156 people.

A total of 50,082 Cubans entered the United States in 2016, according to the Office of Field Operations of the Customs and Border Protection Service. Of those, 38,310 arrived illegally, while 11,772 had a visa.

Last year’s numbers exceeded the 36,700 Cubans who fled the island in 1994 in makeshift boats headed for the US coast some 90 miles away, during the so-called “raft crisis.”

That was the second-largest mass exodus from Cuba since 1980, when 125,000 people fled to Florida on boats launched from the port of Mariel, in an incident known as the Mariel boatlift.

Rubio was born in Miami, Florida, the second son and third child of Mario Rubio Reina and Oriales (née Garcia) Rubio. His parents were Cubans who immigrated to the United States in 1956, prior to the rise of Fidel Castro in January 1959. His mother made at least four trips back after Castro’s victory, including for a month in 1961. Neither of his parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of Rubio’s birth, but his parents applied for U.S. citizenship and were naturalized in 1975.

Cuba’s Communist government had opposed the “wet-foot, dry foot” policy on grounds that the special treatment encouraged illegal migration and human trafficking and it was rescinded on January 12 by then-president Barack Obama as part of the broader normalization of US-Cuban relations.

White House Spokesman Sean Spicer has said that Cuba policy was under review and that human rights would be a priority.

So where is the common ground now that Rubio and Trump share?

Amazing how a good dinner can mend fences.

I remember years ago Benson Ebanks and Truman Bodden were shouting at one another in the Legislative Assembly. It got very heated and there was even name calling. The Speaker had to intervene on a number of occasions. Then there was a recess for lunch.

Benson and Truman both left for a Rotary lunch together ion the same car!

I well remember Orson Welles saying: “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”

So if you have an enemy invite him or her to lunch or dinner.

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