People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 23, 2004
Bush Cabal Targets Cuba
Notwithstanding the humiliations it is facing in Iraq daily as a result of the misadventure undertaken there in defiance of world opinion, the discredited Bush administration, not learning any lessons, has embarked upon fresh steps to undermine the Fidel Castro-led Cuban Government against whom it has been waging a war for the last 45 years for the only crime it has committed that is demonstrating the will to be the arbiter of the destiny of its people and preserving its independence and refusing to be a sattelite of the US. It has recently on May 6 announced a series of draconian measures aimed at throttling the Cuban state.
The "neo-conservatives" running the United States hope to achieve what previous American administrations could not do in the last forty years. The sudden shift of focus to Cuba is also related to the upcoming American presidential elections. It was the fraudulent vote count in the state of Florida that helped George Bush step into the White House.
Right wing Cuban émigrés close to the President’s younger brother, Jeb Bush, had played a key role in subverting democracy in the state during the last presidential elections. Miami, the capital of the state, is also the city where terrorist plots are constantly being hatched against the socialist republic.
On May 6, president Bush talking to select members of the media while on the campaign trail in Florida, announced that his administration would bring into force new interventionist measures against Cuba (see page 12 for details). The main aim of these measures, the American president announced grandiosely was "to hasten the day that Cuba is a free country". The American assistant secretary of state, Roger Noriega, spelt out the Bush administration’s plans on the same day.
Incidentally, Noriega, who is of Cuban descent is a veteran anti-Castro activist having close links with the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). The ultra-right CANF has a stranglehold on politics in Miami. He said that the US government was acting on the basis of a US State Department report. The report according to Cuban officials is a litany of lies and reflects the bitterness and frustration of the anti-Cuba elements in the US.
Cuban officials hasten to add that even among the Cuban exile community, those harbouring anti-Castro and anti-socialist views are in a minority. The majority of American Congressmen, Democrats as well as Republicans, are in favour of the lifting of the sanctions against Cuba, which has caused immeasurable harm to the people of the island.
LITANY OF LIES
Among the significant recommendations of the report which the Bush administration proposes to implement include the creation of an international fund to develop "civil society" in Cuba which will hire volunteers from third countries to travel to Cuba to ostensibly spread the message of democracy. The Cuban government views this as blatant interference in its internal affairs and an undisguised attempt to provide financial and logistical support for the counter-revolution and mercenaries working inside Cuba. The Bush administration proposes to make available $59 million over the next two years to implement the recommendations of the report. An extra $18 million will be earmarked for the American run TV and "Radio Marti". To beam its offensive counter-revolutionary propaganda, the Bush administration proposes to use a C-130 Commando Solo platform. The Americans hope that the Cuban government will not find ways to jam signals emanating from an airborne plane.
The other recommendations which the Bush administration has pledged to implement include the further limiting of remittances sent by Cubans resident in the US. Cubans resident in America will be allowed to send money only to blood relatives. Remittances of any kind will be prohibited if the recipient is a "government official or member of the Communist Party". The number of visits by Cuban-Americans to their homeland will now be limited to one visit every three years. Till recently, they could visit their country, once every year. The Cuban government has pointed out that the Bush administration is taking these measures when the price of food and transportation have doubled in most developing countries, including Cuba.
The Bush administration wants to stop people from coming to the island at a time when tourism was once again picking up. Tourism is one of the important sources of hard currency for Cuba. Due to the American blockade and machinations, it has very little access to international financial aid or loans. The American media has reported that the Bush administration had assigned five times as many agents to investigate violations of the embargo on Cuba than it had assigned to track Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida. A Democratic Senator, Byron Dorgan, reflecting the mainstream opinion in the American Congress, expressed the hope that "somebody in the administration will come to his or her senses and start directing our resources where they are needed. Politics is clearly diverting precious time, money and manpower away from the war on terrorism here".
TARGETING ON DIPLOMATIC FRONT
On the diplomatic front, the Bush administration is now targeting Cuba in third countries, accusing them unfairly of interfering in their internal affairs. A case in point is the recent diplomatic incident in Mexico.
The Mexican President, Vincente Fox, who has on previous occasions caved under American pressure, accused two Cuban Communist Party officials on a visit to the country of espionage. The officials were in Mexico at the invitation of fraternal parties there. Every year there is an exchange of visits by Cuban and Mexican Communist party officials. A senior Cuban diplomat was declared persona non grata. Cuba has since recalled its ambassador to Mexico. Interestingly the majority in the Mexican parliament has expressed its solidarity with Cuba. Mexico along with Peru for the first time voted against Cuba in the UN Human Rights Commission meet in Geneva. Before Fox took over, Mexico and Cuba had the best of relations.
Fidel Castro during his traditional May Day speech, described Mexico under Fox as a pawn of the United States, its "prestige and influence gained in Latin America and the world – turned to ashes". Another reason why the Mexican President is upset with the Cuban government was because of revelations of "dirty tricks" against one of Fox’s political rivals – the popular mayor of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. A businessman who has close links with the President’s Party confessed to Cuban authorities that he had secretly videotaped an associate of the Mayor allegedly accepting kickbacks. The plan was hatched to discredit the mayor who many Mexicans think is going to be the next president. The businessman was arrested by Cuban authorities after Interpol alerted them of his presence on the island.
The details about his shenanigans came out during his interrogation by Cuban authorities before he was sent back to Mexico.
DUPLICITY ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Cuba has also been successful in exposing the duplicity of the United States on the issue of human rights when the UN Commission met in Geneva. Washington had put immense pressure on poor developing countries to vote against Cuba. The number of countries which voted with Cuba and those which abstained comprised the overwhelming majority. The American ambassador in India is reported to have personally visited the Bhutanese King to convince him to vote against Cuba. It is to the credit of South Asian countries that despite the tremendous pressure that was put on them they either abstained or voted to support Cuba. In all 22 countries voted in favour of the American resolution on Cuba, 21 against and there were 10 abstentions. "It is almost suicidal to vote in Geneva against a resolution drafted and imposed by the United States, especially if it is against Cuba, the country which for almost 50 years has defied its arrogance and imperiousness. Even the strongest and most independent states find themselves obliged to take into consideration the political and economic consequences of their decisions", Fidel said in his May Day address.
Cuba wanted a resolution passed against the US for the illegal and arbitrary detention of over 600 people including minors at the Guantanamo Naval Base which has been illegally occupied by the United States on Cuban territory.
Tremendous pressure was brought to play on the countries represented on the UN Commission by Washington. "The new US administration and the states in the European Union made the mistake of forgetting that at the extreme eastern end of Cuba one of the most horrendous examples of human rights violations ever to take place in this world was underway", Fidel had said in his recent speech. Even Cuba’s suggestion of sending a representative from the UN Commission to Guantanomo was not accepted. American diplomats had to work overtime to convince countries like India not to support the Cuban resolution. For diplomatic reasons, Cuba did not force a vote on the Guantanamo issue. "Cuba reserves the right to go back on this issue at the forthcoming session and in any other forum that it deems appropriate", the Cuban foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, told the 60th session of Commission on Human Rights.