Outspoken diplomat leaves mark in Cuba

September 27, 2005

Miami Herald- Frances Robles

Corporal Cason wears a pink robe and with a swing of his magic wand -- poof! -- the cartoon character converts one of Cuba's free medical clinics into a private hospital adorned with Mastercard logos.

The character in the comic strip Transition Man is the Cuban government's answer to James C. Cason, the outgoing top U.S. diplomat in Havana and thorn in Fidel Castro's side since his arrival there in 2002.

'Dictatorships are not good at humor,' Cason said during a recent speech at the University of Miami. ``The cartoons inadvertently reminded all Cubans that a transition is inevitable, exposed the regime's scare tactics and converted me into an icon of dissent.'

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