Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Study: Exodus From Cuba If Economy Doesn't Improve

Jun 25, 2007 8:08 pm US/Eastern
Study: Exodus From Cuba If Economy Doesn't Improve
Ileana Varela

(CBS4) MIAMI The Institute of Cuban Studies at the University of Miami
has come up with several models, suggesting that unless the economic
situation improves in Cuba, there could be a mass exodus.

Andy Gomez from the Institute for Cuban Studies said, "In the first
year, you can see half a million people trying to leave the island."

That would be the equivalent of four Mariel boatlifts, the sudden 1980
exodus that flooded South Florida with Cubans who fled their country.

Gomez says, "The clock has already started clicking for Raul, the moment
Fidel appeared on Mesa Redonda."

He's referring to Fidel Castro's last appearance on Cuban TV, in which,
at times, he says, he was totally incoherent, and showed the ailing
Cuban leader is no longer charge, that his brother Raul is in charge of
the government.

Gomez said, "We give him six months to a year to bring about some type
of change along the economic side." If not, according to Gomez, then the
likes of Mariel could happen again, and Cubans will attempt to leave by
the thousands, heading for South Florida.

Which was probably what prompted US officials in March to conduct sea
operations with the coast guard, and federal authorities having started
to build a ten-thousand-bed facility to

Ironically, Gomez believes the best case scenario for the U.S. depends
on Raul Castro's success, in keeping Cuban's happy so they won't want to
leave en masse.

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