What the Media Forgot to Mention When Bob Toricelli Dropped Out of the Race for Senate





Mr. Meyer is an independent scholar, author most recently of The World Court in Action: Judging Among the Nations (2001).

As the embargo against Cuba crumbles, the disgrace of Ex-Congress member Torricelli is marked by mediamnesia about how he elevated himself from representative to senator.

Toricelli's lower house constituency embraced Union City, N J. That had become, by 1992, a branch of embittered expatriate Miami emigre Cubans, dominated by a segment bitterly hostile to the Cuban Revolution.

In behalf of this segment of his district, Rep. Torricelli drafted (or accepted their draft of) a bill that more stringently tightened the embargo against Cuba that had previously been based on executive action. (That status, product of presidential fiat left the embargo more vulnerable to reconsideration and revocation.)

The Torricelli Bill (as it was widely known) was vetoed by then President Bush (the elder) on the ground that provisions with intended extraterritorial application, i.e. directed against other nations and their nationals, would violate International Law.

During the 1992 campaign, Bush vs. Clinton, Torricelli and the leaders of the Miami hardliners, persuaded candidate Clinton to announce that if he were elected, he would sign the Torricelli Bill. At about this time, reportedly, a six-figure sum was given to Clinton at a Florida campaign stop by Jorge Mas Canosa, the extremist anti-Castro campaigner.

Competing candidate Bush then reversed himself, and knowing that he would (or had) Rep. Torricelli led the Congress in re-passing the bill, the prior veto of which had not been overridden. The Torricelli Bill became law and remains on the books, as the Cuban Democracy Act. Helms-Burton, a law that came later, did not enact the embargo. It merely made it worse.

Arguably, his role in this affair greased the path to elevation of Torricelli to the Senate seat that he was obliged to desert.

Amnesia of Americans and their media to international law and its norms could be said to have contributed, at least in part, to the absence of any reference to the bipartisan scandal of the Torricelli contribution to the embargo.



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Bill Heuisler - 10/31/2002

We clumsy polemicists recognize gross ineptitude when we see it.
Torrecelli is not Meyer's subject, Castro-kissing is.
Mr. Meyer piles word on word, awkwardness on absurdity; and he can scarcely restrain his venom for Cuban refugees.
He writes:
"In Union City, N J. That had become, by 1992, a branch of embittered expatriate Miami emigre Cubans, dominated by a segment bitterly hostile to the Cuban Revolution."
Fairly drips, doesn't it? Embittered and bitter, expatriate and emigre, is this "author" being paid by the word? His contempt for Cuban/Americans who fled Communism is embarrassing. His use of the words "Cuban Revolution" is pathetic on a history site.
Meyer continues his barely intelligible hate-fest:
"...given to Clinton at a Florida campaign stop by Jorge Mas Canosa, the extremist anti-Castro campaigner."
Extremist? Campaigner? Is it extreme to be anti-Castro? For Meyer, campaigning against a dictator is apparently extreme.
Come on, Mr. author, tell us how you really feel about Fidel.
Bill Heuisler


don kates - 10/29/2002

Mr. Meyer is -- or at least purports to be -- faulting the media for not reporting on this matter when it reported on Torricelli's w/drawl from the NJ Senate race in the wake of adverse polls results apparently based on charges that he had accepted what amounted to bribes -- having to do w/ the giver's personal business interests and nothing to do w/ Cuba.
Apparently Mr. Meyer is riding a giant hobby horse about the Cuban embargo which he fanatically opposes. Having no deep convictions about that embargo (or even if I had), I cannot see why the media should have said anything about the embargo issue at all in the course of reporting on the Torricelli resignation.