|Mayor of Coral Gables|
January 20, 2011
|United States Ambassador to Paraguay|
February 1, 2006 – August 2008
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||John F. Keane|
|Succeeded by||Liliana Ayalde|
James Cason (born 1945) is a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer, most recently serving as Ambassador to Paraguay, a post he held from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that post, he was the Principal Officer of the US Interests Section in Havana (2002–2005). On January 20, 2011, he became the new mayor of Coral Gables, Florida.
Prior to assuming his post as United States Ambassador to Paraguay, he served as the chief of the United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, from September 10, 2002 to September 10, 2005. He was succeeded by Michael E. Parmly. As part of the United States' diplomatic embargo against Cuba, it does not maintain official relations with Cuba. The Interests Section is maintained in lieu of a normal embassy. Cuban media has also broadcast a series of satirical animations poking fun at Cason known as Cabo Cason.
Cason also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Kingston, Jamaica. Previously he served as Political Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM) and to NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). Cason also served at U.S. missions in Milan, Italy; Lisbon, Portugal; San Salvador, El Salvador; Panama City, Panama; Maracaibo, Venezuela; Montevideo, Uruguay; and La Paz, Bolivia.
A group of 735 Cuban dissidents (some connected with the Varela Project) were arrested by the Cuban government and accused of accepting gifts (including cash as well as office machines and office space) from Cason and the US Interests Section. Their arrests coincided with the onset of the 2003 invasion of Iraq in March 2003. An exhibit (billboard) was erected by the United States Interests Section in Havana on September 8, 2005, in protest of the incarcerations.[dead link] A number of the dissidents were subsequently released, but most of the individuals remain imprisoned.
While posted in Paraguay, Cason learned the Guaraní language, a language spoken by 94% of the people of that country and in 2008, recorded an album, "Campo Jurado" ("The Field of Promises"), in which he sings folk songs in Guaraní.
- CUBA SOCIALISTA. "THE "DIPLOMACY" OF JAMES CASON Manual for manufacturing dissidents". Retrieved 2003–09. Check date values in:
- A U.S. Ambassador's Parting Gift To Paraguay
- The Miami Herald,Former Diplomat, Local Attorney Latest Candidates in Mayor's Race by Tania Valdemoro; September 4, 2010; Page 3B.
- US Interest Section in Cuba
- US Department of State: Biography of James C. Cason
- United States Embassy in Asunción: Biography of the Ambassador
- Interview with James Cason and statements from Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque on the arrests of dissidents
- US Ambassador Now a Singing Star in Paraguay
- Appearances on C-SPAN