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Mas Canosa, Jorge (1939–1997)

Mas Canosa, Jorge (1939–1997)

Jorge Mas Canosa was a Cuban exile in Miami, Florida, who became one of the most prominent opponents of Cuba's Communist regime under Fidel Castro. His organization, the Cuban American National Federation (CANF), founded in 1981 with support from the administration of President Ronald Reagan, became the most influential lobbying group on Cuban affairs. Sponsored by the U.S. government, CANF produced Radio Martí and TV Martí to provide alternative information and anti-Castro messages to the island. The Cuban government accused CANF of also financing terrorism to bring down Castro.

Mas and his organization were instrumental in crafting and passing the 1992 Cuba Democracy Act, which relaxed travel restrictions for academics but generally strengthened the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. When Cuba shot down two unarmed, private planes operated by a Miami-based Cuban refugee support organization in 1996, Mas used the incident to push for passage of the Helms-Burton Act, which established penalties for foreign companies that did business with Castro's government. Moreover, the act required the U.S. Congress to meet stringent requirements to lift trade sanctions. The death of Mas, on November 23, 1997, weakened the Cuban exile community's opposition to the Castro government. In 2001 CANF split over tactics. Even though Cuban-Americans have become more ideologically diverse in the early twenty-first century, the laws that Mas helped pass still define U.S. policy toward Cuba's communist government.

See alsoCuba: Cuba Since 1959 .


Torres, María de los Angeles. In the Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics in the United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999.

Vargas Llosa, Alvaro. El exilio indomable: Historia de la disidencia cubana en el destierro. Madrid: Espasa, 1998.

                                          Byron Crites

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