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Bush sidelines his Cuban hardman
(Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, January 10, 2003)
The Bush administration yesterday announced a new job - in effect a demotion - for Otto Reich, the controversial Cuban-American who has been responsible for policy in Latin America for the past year. . . . Mr Reich, a hardline anti-communist, has been accused of supporting terrorists in Central America and appearing to welcome a military coup in Venezuela. . . . Mr Reich had originally been appointed to placate "the Miami Cubans", who are a significant body of support for the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, the president's brother. . . . Mr Powell had become increasingly aware of the negative effect Mr Reich's position had on Latin American relations, particularly since the election of the leftwingers Ignacio Lula da Silva in Brazil and Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador. . . . Last April Mr Reich came under scrutiny for apparently welcoming the military coup which led to the brief removal from office of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. . . . Mr Reich, 57, rose to promi nence in the 80s when he was a public diplomacy adviser at the state department. . . . He used his office to promote the cause of the contras, who were then trying to overthrow the leftwing Sandinista government in Nicaragua. An investigation by the comptroller general found that Mr Reich's office had engaged in "prohibited, covert propaganda" on the contras' behalf. . . . He has been accused by his critics of supporting terrorism by his assistance to the contras. He was also accused of assisting the convicted Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch to gain the right to live in the US . . . Mr Birns predicted that Mr Reich would shortly return to the business world, where he used to be a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin and Bacardi rum.

posted by Lorenzo 7:22 PM

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