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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Fidel Castro, and the Undermining of U.S. Security
| Jesus J. Chao
Posted on 08/01/2002 9:13:13 AM PDT by Dqban22
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee 403 Cannon House Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20515 Tx18@mail.house.gov.
July 31, 2002
Dear Representative Jackson Lee:
I am writing this letter with a heavy heart after seeing you in CSPAN defending the permanency in this hemisphere of a tyrant and a terrorist instead of the interest of your constituency and, above all, undermining the security of the United States.
It was a disgraceful spectacle witnessing American representatives and senators of both parties allowing the use the American taxpayers money to finance Cubas repressive apparatus and Castros international terrorism network.
All of you have shown extraordinary naiveté in thinking that business and tourists contacts with Castros regime would transform the brutal tyrant into a peaceful and benevolent leader. Over 150 nations around the world have been dealing with Castro for 43 years without achieving any change in the Stalinist economic and repressive model chosen by Castro. What makes you think that the American tourists and businessmens mere contract with them will infest the Cuban leaders with the virus of freedom and democracy?
In order to deal with Castro you have to overlook the fact that Castro is a cold-blooded murderer who approved the death by firing squad of each one of tens of thousands Cubans put to death by his direct orders, including some Americans, whose crime was opposing his reign of terror. You have been insensitive to the more than 500,000 thousand political prisoners, men, women and even children of every race and creed who were tortured in his dungeons, and over thirty thousand who died trying to cross the Florida straits in fragile makeshift rafts in their pursuit of freedom in what might be recognized as an unprecedented mass suicide. Still now, after 43 years, there are hundreds of prisoners of conscience whose human rights are being violated every day in Castros dungeons. Add to this horrific picture, the more than 2 million Cubans that were forced into political exile from a population of 7 million.
I also realize that what happened to these unfortunate people had no bearing on your conscience. But, this is the same dictator who tried to nuke our cities during the Missile Crisis and whose henchmen brutally tortured our POWs in Vietnam. I expected that as representatives of the American people, regardless of any other considerations, you must have been concerned that Castros Cuba is the main haven and sponsor of terrorism in this hemisphere and those politicians and business people, in dealing with Castro, are aiding and abetting terrorism. The Iranian terrorists who blew an Argentinean Jewish Center in Buenos Aires in 1994 were trained and had their base of operations in Cuba.
Recently, British intelligence exposed Castros relationship with the IRA, the Colombian guerrillas, the Spanish Basque and Chilean terrorists, provoking a strong protest to the Cuban regime by the Chilean socialist administration. In fact, IRA terrorists based in Cuba were introducing more devastating techniques in the use of explosives for urban attacks in Colombia. Just this month was revealed that the most wanted Greek terrorist was detained after almost three decades in hiding and how he was trained in Castros Cuba. He was responsible for numerous terrorist attacks throughout Europe. Carlos The Chacal, the son of a Venezuelan Communist millionaire and the most famous and murderous of the terrorists in the 70s was also trained in Cuba and is serving a long prison sentence in France. Castros Cuba has been the headquarters for the coordination of activities of over one hundred international terrorist organizations.
With President Chavez, a Castros subrogate in power in Venezuela, cooperating with Cubas terrorist designs, the U.S. is confronting the worst menace since Castros puppets in Central American were defeated in the 1980s. Venezuela is one of our main providers of oil. To secure another source of oil, in case Chavez stops the flow of oil to our country, our government just provided $90 million dollars to reinforce the protection of the Colombian oil pipelines, which are under constant attacks by the Castros supported Marxist guerillas.
A few weeks ago, six pilots working in the U.S. with Venezuelan passports and who were flying airplanes with different American companies were detained. An informant alerted the American authorities that they had sophisticated false credentials that allowed them to bypass all security checks while going in and out of our airports. Was this grave security break another undercover operation of the Cuban terrorist network? Tens of thousands of terrorists were trained in Cuba by Castro, as far back as 1962, his camps were taking in 1,500 Latin American guerrillas a year. Any revolutionary movement anywhere in the world can count on Cubas unconditional support, declared Castro at the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana where the international terrorism network was consolidated under Castros leadership.
We have in this hemisphere another axis of evil in the troika Castro/Chavez/ Colombian guerrillas and you are pursuing the normalization of commercial relations with a terrorist Stalinist regime that has state of the art biological, chemical and cyber warfare capabilities, and the will to use it against us. As a matter of fact, Cuba has more than 3,000 biological and chemical warfare researchers trained in the Soviet Union and East Germany who has been working in tandem with Iraq and Iran in the development of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Last week Castro sent a personal envoy to Iraq in order to reiterate Cubas support of that terrorist state in case of an American attack.
We should keep in mind that in May 2001, Castro visited the main centers of terrorism in the Middle East, Iraq, Libya, and Iran, reinforcing his ties with the Axis of Evil. Castro sold to Iran one of his biological research laboratories as part of their cooperation in the production of biological weapons. Iran has well-developed facilities in their own country, why do they need one 90 miles from U.S.?
Was Castro also giving the necessary intelligence information to the Al Qaeda terrorists that made the successful attacks of September 11th possible? The Russians have a spy base in Cuba that is their main source of intelligence. During his visit to Cuba In August 2001, Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Fidel Castro, visited the Lourdes spy center. At a meeting with center specialists, Putin noted that their work is very much needed, "not only by the military, but also by the political leadership of the country." Putin said at a press conference in Havana that both Russia and Cuba are currently interested in continuing the operations of the Lourdes base. According to Putin, this center serves the interests of the Russian military and also provides some information obtained for appropriate Cuban government agencies. Such information might have been also very valuable for Al Qaeda and the terrorist network.
As part of the conditions set in 1968 by the former Soviet Union in order to supply Cuba with unlimited free weapons and an additional 6 billion dollars annually in economic subsidies, Castro allowed the Soviets direct intervention in Cubas economic, military and intelligence apparatus. Soviet Colonel Viktor Simenov of the KGB took direct supervising control of the DGI, Cuban Intelligence Services. All the DGIs operational decisions, and its annual budget, had to be cleared through Colonel Simenov. Anything Cuba did in aid to worldwide terrorism after that would have to be done with the Russians knowledge and consent, under their close supervision if not their express command.
Evidently the Russian intelligence new quite well Castros involvement with Al_Qaeda and every other kind of international terrorism for the last 4 decades. Why did the Russians decide to close their spy base in Cuba immediately after the attack without even consulting with the Cuban regime? After several postponements, and in spite of Castros public tantrums and opposition, the base was dismantled. Were the Russians trying to disassociate themselves from Castro and the Al Qaeda partnership? Nevertheless, even though the equipment should have been returned to Russia in December of 2001, so far Castro has not allowed it to happen and is negotiating to give the former Russian base to the Chinese.
During one of those pilgrimages to Cuba that have become fashionable among American politicians, Senator Specter recognized the extraordinary intelligence capabilities of the Cuban regimen, a service that rivals the Mossad and the CIA. In one instance, the Pentagons most trusted analyst in charge of evaluating Castros menace to the U.S. was found to be a mole working for the Cuban intelligence. Are we going to put our security in the hands of one of our worst enemies?
Nevertheless, some American legislators went so far as to ask that the American taxpayers provide Cuba with state of the art radar under the pretense that Castro, whose main source of personal income is drug trafficking, would cooperate with us in the interdiction of drugs coming into the U.S. That is absolutely insane. In fact, this will further facilitate the importation of drugs into the U.S. and enable him to easily fulfill his dream of obliterating our country.
It is unconscionable that you are advocating a policy of abject appeasement toward Fidel Castros regime, while undermining Presidents Bush war against terrorism. You are advocating relations with a terrorist state whose leader pledged on May 2001 at the University of Tehran, that their alliance would bring U.S. down to its knees. This was an ominous threat that came to fruition on September 11 with the brutal terrorist attacks to our country. Was Castro aware of the attack? Was he part of the planning? Russian Prime Minister Putins reaction after the attack attests to that possibility.
In a recent visit to Cuba, Rep. Diane Watson, attacking the U.S. bipartisan policy toward Cuba for more than four decades, arrogantly affirmed: "That might be the executive branch's view, but that is not the legislative branch's view, and we make the policy
More and more lawmakers are coming here by themselves, seeing for themselves, developing good will." I always thought that, according to our Constitution, the President was in charge of U.S. foreign policy.
Secretary of State Collin Powell reiterated Castros menace to this country and exhorted you to support President Bushs war against terrorism. You and your colleagues in the U.S. Congress are single handedly removing from the terrorist list of the Sate Department a regime that has been one of the main sponsors of terrorism in the world for 43years, abrogating upon themselves the duties of the Secretary of State and of the President of United States by deciding our foreign policy and undermining our war against terrorism.
Although Castro, with a personal fortune of over 1.5 billion dollars is among the richest chief of state in the world according to Forbes magazine, Cuba, nevertheless, has defaulted on all its international debts. But, thanks to the irresponsibility of legislators such as yourself, the American taxpayers are going to finance Castros purchases and Cuba will buy a billion dollars worth of American food each year while the American workers foot the bill. Lenin affirmed that we would be the ones selling the rope to the communists in order for them to hang us. These American legislators go much further; they want to provide the rope free of charge to Castro and should be ashamed of themselves.
Jesús J. Chao
TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: castro; cuba
posted on 08/01/2002 9:13:13 AM PDT
It is unconscionable that you are advocating a policy of abject appeasement toward Fidel Castros regime, while undermining Presidents Bush war against terrorism. You are advocating relations with a terrorist state whose leader pledged on May 2001 at the University of Tehran, that their alliance would bring U.S. down to its knees. This was an ominous threat that came to fruition on September 11 with the brutal terrorist attacks to our country. Was Castro aware of the attack? Was he part of the planning? Russian Prime Minister Putins reaction after the attack attests to that possibility.
Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees," Castro said at the University of Tehran. "The U.S. regime is very weak and we are witnessing this weakness from close-up. .....Castro's own warning to the United States during his swing through the Middle East last May.
I wonder what gave Jesus Chao the notion that Rep. Jackson Lee, or anyone one her staff, could read.
posted on 08/01/2002 9:20:49 AM PDT
Must be some money for here on the table somewhere. Money motivates her. She can be bought. Yep. She sure can.
That's "anyone ON her staff, can read". (got nailed on your own post, huh Bucko!)
posted on 08/01/2002 9:24:13 AM PDT
To: Dqban22; All
U.S. congressmen say increased investment in Cuba unlikely in short term
***"As a member of Congress and a businessman I recognize that it is going to be difficult to see, in the short term, significant flows of investment capital into Cuba," Representative Cal Dooley, a Democrat from California, told a news conference. "But it is important that we move forward with policies that create a political and regulatory environment that is more conducive to foreign investment in Cuba." Dooley did not elaborate on the changes that Cuba would have to make. But his comments came after reporters asked him about recent complaints from the European Union which represents 50 percent of the island's business about the government's cumbersome bureaucracy, security problems and high costs. Dooley also noted that there was not sufficient political support in the United States to lift sanctions the government placed on Cuba more than 40 years ago.
On July 23, the House of Representatives passed a series of measures that would lift restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba and on the amount of money Cuban Americans can send back to relatives each year, as well as allowing the financing of agricultural products bought from the United States. But President George W. Bush has threatened to veto the bill if it passes the Senate, saying that any significant changes in U.S. policy toward the island hinged on the Cuban government making democratic reforms.
"Unfortunately, I don't think we have developed the political support in the House, in the Senate, that will prevent President Bush from vetoing those measures this year," Dooley said. "We have confidence that, in the next few years, we will continue to develop support in Congress for a policy." ***
To: Cincinatus' Wife
CASTRO AND TERRORISM: A CHRONOLOGY
07-29-2002 05:30 PM
by Eugene Pons, with a foreword by Jaime Suchlicki
Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies Occasional Paper Series September 2001
"Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees. The U.S. regime is very weak, and we are witnessing this weakness from close up."
Fidel Castro, during his tour of Iran, Syria and Libya. Agence France Press, May 10, 2001
OPS Advisory Board
Luis Aguilar León, Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies
Graciella Cruz-Taura, Florida Atlantic University
José Manuel Hernández, Georgetown University (Emeritus)
Irving Louis Horowitz, Rutgers University
Antonio Jorge, Florida International University
Armando Lago, Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy
Lesbia Orta Varona, University of Miami
Jaime Suchlicki, Director Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies
Since 1948 when, as a young student, Fidel Castro participated in the violence that rocked Colombian society and distributed anti-U.S. propaganda, he has been guided by two objectives: a commitment to violence and a virulent anti-Americanism. His struggle since and his forty-two years rule in Cuba have been characterized primarily by these goals.
In the 1960's Castro and his brother, Raul, believed that the political and economic conditions that produced their revolution existed in Latin America and that anti-American revolutions would occur throughout the continent. Cuban agents and diplomats established contact with revolutionary, terrorist and guerrilla groups in the area and began distributing propaganda, weapons and aid. Many Latin Americans were brought to Cuba for training and then returned to their countries.
At the Tricontinental Conference held in Havana in 1966 and attended by revolutionary leaders from throughout the world, Castro insisted that bullets not ballots was the way to achieve power and provided the institutional means to promote his anti-American, violent line. He insisted that "conditions exist for an armed revolutionary struggle" and criticized those who opposed armed struggle, including some Communist leaders in Latin America, as "traitorous, rightists, and deviationists."
Castro's attempts in the 1960's to bring revolutionary, anti-American regimes to power failed. His support for guerrillas and terrorist groups in Guatemala, Venezuela, and Bolivia only produced violence and suffering to those countries and their people, which repudiated violence as a means to achieve power. Violence resulted in military regimes coming to power in several Latin American countries
For the next two decades, the Cuban leadership, supported by the Soviet Union, modified its tactics. In addition to agents from the America Department, the subversive arm of Cuba's Communist Party, Castro used his Armed Forces to help friendly groups achieve power in Latin America and Africa. In Nicaragua Cuban military personnel, weapons and intelligence supported and helped bring to power the Sandinistas. In El Salvador, a bloody civil war in part fomented and aided by Cuba, ended in a stalemate and a negotiated peace. In Africa, Castro achieved his most significant victories. The Soviet-Cuban backed Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) faction was installed in power in Angola and other Cuban supported regimes came to power throughout the continent. The Cuban military also trained and supplied the South-West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO) and the African National Congress (ANC), forces fighting the South African regime.
Castro also became involved with African-Americans in the U.S. and with the Macheteros, a Puerto Rican terrorist group. Cuba focused particular attention on the black struggle in the U.S., providing aid and training to the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army, as well as a safehaven on the island for black leaders. Castro continuously promoted the independence of Puerto Rico and supported the Macheteros who committed terrorist acts and bank robberies in the United States. Several still live in Cuba.
Cuban military and intelligence personnel aided Middle Eastern groups and regimes in their struggle against Israel, and Cuban troops fought on the side of Arab States, particularly Syria, during the Yom Kippur war. Castro sent military instructors and advisors into Palestinian bases; cooperated with Libya in the founding of World Mathaba, a terrorist movement; and established close military cooperation and exchanges with Iraq, Libya, Southern Yemen, the Polisario Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara, the PLO and others in the Middle East.
Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, Castro continues to undermine U.S. policies in the Middle East in several ways: a) by portraying U.S. actions and diplomacy in the region as those of an aggressor, seeking to impose hegemony by force, particularly in Iraq and the perpetration of unjustified economic sanctions on Iraq and Iran; b) by portraying the U.S. as the main obstacle to a peaceful settlement of the Israel/Arab conflict; and c) by discrediting U.S. policies and seeking support for Cuba at the U.N. These anti-American views and policies are conveyed as a systematic message through a network of Cuban embassies and agents, as well as at the U.N. and other non-governmental political, religious and cultural organizations.
While not abandoning his close relationships in the Middle East, Castro has recently concentrated his support on several groups: the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), where Castro, and his new ally Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, see significant possibilities for success; ETA, the Basque terrorist/separatist organization from Spain, which has found refuge and support in Cuba, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which established its Latin American headquarters in Havana.
American policymakers should pay careful attention to the intricate web of relationships which emerges so clearly from this chronology. It carefully details Castro's involvement with and support for terrorist regimes and organizations during the past four decades. Cuba's geographical location, Castro's continuous connections with these groups and states and the harboring of terrorists in Havana creates a dynamic that requires vigilance and alertness. It should be emphasized that in addition to violence and terrorism, Castro and his regime, have been for more than four decades, the most vocal and active proponents of anti-Americanism. The often-repeated view in many countries that the United States is an evil power, guilty for much of the problems and sufferings of the developing world, is owed in great part to the propaganda efforts of Fidel Castro.
Director Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies
Castro and Terrorism A Chronology By Eugene Pons
Raúl Castro and Che Guevara visited Cairo and established contacts with African liberation movements stationed in and supported by Cairo. Both Cuban leaders visited Gaza and expressed support for the Palestinian cause.
Members of the Dominican Republic "Agrupación Política Catorce de Junio" received military training in Cuba.
Major emphasis was placed on instructing several hundred pro-Castro Latin Americans in violence and guerrilla warfare. Dominicans, Guatemalans, Venezuelans and Chileans were trained in special camps in Cuba and infiltrated back to their countries.
Castro established relations with the Algerian FLN; official and public support was extended, weapons were shipped to the FLN through Morocco (1960-1961). Cuba provided shelter, medical and educational services and cooperation in the fields of counter-intelligence and intelligence.
African leaders from Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Spanish Guinea, Tanganyika and Zanzibar arrived in Cuba for military training.
Che Guevara engaged in guerrilla operations in Congo-Kinshasa (former Zaire) in 1965.
A revolutionary trained in Cuba, John Okello, overthrew the pro-Western government in Zanzibar in 1964 and proclaimed the "People's Republic of Zanzibar" which was promptly recognized by Cuba and the Soviet Union.
Conference of Latin American Communist Parties held in Havana agreed to "help actively the guerrilla forces in Venezuela, Guatemala, Paraguay, Colombia, Honduras and Haiti".
Group of Venezuelans, members of the Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR), trained in Cuba and landed in the Venezuela coast in the State of Miranda.
Cuban trained Guatemalans Cesar Montes and Luis Turcios Lima led a violent terrorist/guerrilla campaign against the government in Guatemala. Montes organized the Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres (EGP) in Guatemala. In the 1980's he joined the FMLN in El Salvador and participated actively in the bloody civil war in that country.
Cuba welcomed the founding of the PLO. First contacts with Palestinian FATAH in 1965 in Algiers and Damascus.
The Tricontinental Conference was held in Havana in January, 1966 to adopt a common political strategy against colonialism, neocolonialism, and imperialism. Cuba provided the organizational structure to support terrorist, anti-American groups in the Middle East and Latin America. The Organization for the Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAL) was created.
Fidel Castro created The National Liberation Directorate (DLN) in Cuba to support revolutionary groups throughout the world. DLN was responsible for planning and coordinating Cuba's terrorist training camps in the island, covert movement of personnel and military supplies from Cuba and a propaganda apparatus.
A Cuban controlled Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASO), with its permanent seat in Havana was created to "coordinate and foment the fight against North American imperialism".
In Venezuela, Castro made a relentless and determined effort to create another Cuba by supporting the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) and promoting violence and terrorism against the democratically elected regime of Rómulo Betancourt.
Castro sent weapons via Cairo, to the NLF in Southern Yemen. Cuban agents were sent on fact-finding missions to North and South Yemen (1967- 1968).
Cuba published a small book by French Marxist journalist Regis Debray Revolution in the Revolution, promoting guerrilla warfare in Latin America. The book was translated into various languages and distributed widely.
Cuban supported guerrillas led by Che Guevara moved into Bolivia in an attempt to create "many Vietnams " in South America.
Cuba and Syria developed a close alliance and supported FATAH and the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF).
* Cuba continued its military and political support for FATAH after the Syrians broke with the latter, and Cuban military, political and intelligence support was granted to other Palestinian organizations.
Castro sent military instructors and advisors into Palestinian bases in Jordan to train Palestinian Fedayeen (1968); first high-level delegation from FATAH-PLO visited Cuba (1970).
Several missions sent to Southern Yemen to support NLF/FATAH Ismail both politically and militarily.
Castro began supporting and training of M19, a Colombian guerrilla group that captured the Dominican Embassy and the Justice building in Bogota and assassinated several prominent Colombian judges.
In 1970 a "Mini Manual for Revolutionaries" was published in the official LASO publication Tricontinental, written by Brazilian urban terrorist leader Carlos Marighella. The mini manual gives precise instruction in terror tactics, kidnappings, etc. The short book was translated into numerous languages and distributed worldwide by Cuba.
Cuba commenced political and military cooperation with Somalia's Siad Barre (1969).
Economic and political cooperation began with Libya in 1974.
In 1974 the National Liberation Directorate (DLN) was reorganized into the America Department (DA) under the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee. The DA centralized control over Cuban activities for supporting national liberation movements. The DA was responsible for planning and coordinating Cuba's secret guerrilla and terrorist training camps, networks for the covert movement of personnel and material from Cuba, and a propaganda apparatus. DA agents also operated in Europe and other regions. Trusted Castro ally Manuel Piñeiro, " Barbaroja" was placed in charge.
Cuba provided training and support to the Tupamaros, a terrorist group operating in Uruguay.
Cuba's America Department (DA) set up a network for the funneling of weapons and supplies to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
In 1979 second in command in Cuba's America Department (DA) Armando Ulises Estrada, helped unify Sandinista factions fighting Somoza.
Closer connections with FATAH-PLO and other Palestinian organizations were reinforced, including training of Latin American guerrillas in Lebanon; Cuba's military support included counter-intelligence and intelligence training.
Arafat visited Cuba in 1974.
Cuba provided military support and personnel to Syria during the Yom Kippur War (1973-1975).
Black Panther Party members from the U.S. were trained in Canada by Cuban personnel. Black Panther leaders and other U.S. blacks also received weapons and explosives training in Havana.
Cuba joined with Algeria and Libya on a diplomatic/political offensive in support of Frente POLISARIO (People's Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara and Río del Oro); later on provided military cooperation, and medical services.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that there were 300 Palestinians training in Cuban camps.
Cuba supported the so-called "Steadfastness Front" against the U.S. backed Camp David accord.
Illich Rámirez Sánchez, known as "Carlos, the Jackal", responsible for numerous terrorist acts in Europe, trained in Cuba. He attended the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana and later trained in urban guerrilla tactics, automatic weapons, explosives and sabotage in Cuba.
Abu Iyad, a close aid to Yasser Arafat, stated in 1978 that hundreds of Palestinian had been sent to Cuban terrorist camps.
Additional military and political support provided to the Palestinian cause; Arafat attended the Sixth Non-Aligned Conference in Havana (1979).
During Havana visit, Arafat signed agreement for military cooperation and arms supply.
Significant hard currency loans (tens of million) were facilitated by Arafat-PLO to the Cuban government under very soft terms; Cuba granted diplomatic and political support to Arafat during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
The Aden (South Yemen) regime supported the Ethiopian radical officers commanded by Mengistu Haile Mariam, sending Yemeni military units in support of the latter against Somali aggression, and asking the Cubans to do the same. Cuba joined in, first with a group of officers headed by General Arnaldo Ochoa, a move that was followed later on by the deployment of large Cuban forces against the Somali invasion. Also as part of the alliance with the Aden regime, Cuba granted some small-scale support to the Dhofaris in their armed struggle against the monarchy in Oman.
The Cuban trained Congolese National Liberation Front invaded Shala, Zaire.
As part of Cuba's alliance with Mengistu Haile Mariam's regime in Ethiopia, the Cuban leadership decided to engage in active political and military support of the Liberation Movement of Southern Sudan headed by John Garang against the Arab-Muslim regime in Khartoum.
Cuba developed closer ties with and sent military advisors to Iraq.
Cuba's America Department (DA) operated a weapons pipeline to the Farabundo Martí National Front (FMLN) a terrorist group attempting to gain power in El Salvador.
Cuba cooperated with Libya in the political founding of the World MATHABA in Tripoli, to provide political support and coordinate revolutionary violence throughout the world. Cuba supported Libya's stand on Chad and the FRENTE POLISARIO.
Cuban trained terrorists members of the Guatemalan EGP kidnapped a businessman in Guatemala. Several were arrested in Mexico when attempting to collect ransom.
Despite its close links with Baghdad, Cuba recognized and praised the Iranian Revolution. Once Iraq attacked Iran, Castro withdrew his military advisors from Baghdad and adopted a
of official impartiality, though more sympathetic to Baghdad, due to his past relations.
Argentine born Cuban intelligence agent Jorge Massetti helped funnel Cuban funds to finance Puerto Rican terrorists belonging to the Machetero group. The Macheteros highjacked a Wells Fargo truck in Connecticut in September 1983 and stole $7.2 million.
Cuba's America Department (DA) provided, thru Jorge Massetti, weapons and several thousand dollars to the Chilean MIR.
Libyan support to Latin American revolutionary movements, especially in Central America and the whole of the World MATHABA project, declined after the U.S.bombing of Tripoli in 1986.
Cuban agents in Mexico engaged in bank robberies to finance several terrorist groups from Latin America operating out of Mexico.
The Palestinian Intifada increased Cuba's support for Arafat and the PLO, both diplomatic and military.
Several dozen Mexicans received training in terrorism and guerrilla warfare in Sierra del Rosario, Pinar del Rio Province and in Guanabo, in eastern Cuba.
After the negotiations leading to the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority, Cuban-Palestinian military cooperation was enhanced, including the areas of counter-intelligence and intelligence.
In early 1989, Cuban General Patricio de la Guardia directed a plot in Havana and charged Jorge Massetti with blowing up the U.S. transmission balloon of TV Martí located in the Florida Keys.
Cuba condemned Iraq for its invasion and annexation of Kuwait, supporting the latter's sovereignty; it also condemned U.S. military operations in the Gulf and abstained at the U.N. from supporting the bulk of the sanctions imposed on Baghdad. A Cuban military delegation was sent to Iraq to learn and share what was considered vital information and experiences from U.S. combat operations in Kuwait and Iraq.
Cuba provided advanced weapons and demolition training to the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in Perú. The Tupac Amaru attacked the U.S. Embassy in 1984; bombed the Texaco offices in 1985 and attacked the residence of the U.S. Ambassador in 1985 all in Lima, Perú.
ETA, a Spanish terrorist organization seeking a separate Basque homeland, established the Cuartel General (General Headquarters) in Havana.
A high-level PLO military delegation including the head of Intelligence paid a visit to Cuba.
On February 24, 1996, Cuban Air Force Migs shot down, in international waters, two small unarmed civilian planes belonging to Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami based group. All occupants were killed, including three American citizens.
The election of Abdelaziz Bouteflika (April 1999) as President of Algeria, opened new opportunities for Cuba, given Bouteflika's close relationship with the Cuban government for more than three decades.
PLO leaders continue to have close relations with the Cuban leadership, having access to specialized military and intelligence training, either in Cuba or Palestinian territory, and in the sharing of intelligence.
A spokesman for the Basque government in Spain met in Havana with two high level ETA terrorist taking refuge in Cuba, José Angel Urtiaga Martinez and Jesús Lucio Abrisqueta Corte.
Cuba continued to provide safe haven to several terrorists fugitives from the U.S. They include: Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard aka Assata Shakur, one of New Jersey's most wanted fugitives for killing a New Jersey State trooper in 1973 and Charlie Hill a member of the Republic of New Afrika Movement wanted for the hijacking of TWA 727 and the murder of a New Mexico State trooper
A number of Basque ETA terrorists who gained sanctuary in Cuba some years ago continued to live on the island, as did several Puerto Ricans members of the Machetero Group.
Castro refused to join the other Ibero-American heads of state in condemning ETA terrorism at the 2000 Ibero-American Summit in Panamá and slammed Mexico for its support of the Summit's statement against terrorism.
Castro continues to maintain ties to several state sponsors of terrorism in Latin America. Colombia's two largest terrorist organizations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), both maintain a permanent presence on the island.
Colombian officials arrested IRA members Niall Connelly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan and accused then of training the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Connelly had been living in Cuba as the representative of the IRA for Latin America.
Former Defense Department counter-terrorism expert John More told UPI that Cubans, militant Palestinians, Hezbollah and even advisors from the leftist government of Venezuela are all active in Colombia.
During the trial of several Cuban spies in Miami, one of the accused Alejandro Alonso revealed on December 30, 2000 that he was instructed from Havana to locate areas in South Florida "where we can move persons as well as things, including arms and explosives."
Speaking at Tehran University in Iran on May 10, 2001 Fidel Castro vowed that "the imperialist king will finally fall".
Eugene Pons is the Coordinator of Cuba's Information System at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami.
BPP - Black Panther Party - Founded in the United States in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. It adopted Marxist-Leninist principles along with urban guerrilla warfare, and a structure similar to the American Communist party.
DGI - Directório General de Inteligencia - The Cuban Department in charge of collecting intelligence and carrying out covert operations outside Cuba.
DA - America Department - Centralized control over Cuban activities for supporting national liberation movements, responsible for planning and coordinating Cuba's secret guerrilla and terrorist camps, and propaganda apparatus.
DLN - National Liberation Directorate - Organization created in Cuba to support revolutionary groups throughout the world. Responsible for planning and coordinating Cuba's terrorist training camps in the island, covert movement of personnel and military supplies from Cuba, and propaganda apparatus.
EGP - Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres - A political-military Marxist-Leninist organization that followed Cuba and Vietnam as revolutionary models. This Guatemalan insurgent organization was trained in Cuba and was very active during the 1970s, seeking to depose the political and military structure of the country.
ELF - Eritrean Liberation Front - The most influential Eritrean organization fighting for secession from Ethiopia in the 1960s, actively supported by the Cuban and Syrian regime since 1965. Various internal divisions developed later on until the late 1970s, when a new front was built based on very different domestic and external alliances and, eventually led the Eritreans to victory. Cuba's support to Mengistu Haile Mariam's regime in 1978 meant the cessation of previous Cuban backing to the Eritrean cause.
ELN - National Liberation Army - Organized by the Castro regime, this Colombian Marxist insurgent group was founded in 1965. Its main terrorist activities includes kidnappings and extortion targeting foreign employees of large corporations.
ETA - Basque Separatist Movement - This organization was founded by militants and leftist students from the University of Madrid in 1962. They formed guerilla units that commit violent terrorist acts claiming that they are fighting for freedom of the Basque Region, in Spain. This group has close relations with the IRA. The two groups have offices in Havana and their members have found safe haven in Cuba.
FALN - Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional - A Venezuelan guerrilla organization trained by Cuba in violence and terrorism.
FARC - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - Established in 1964, the FARC is the oldest and best-equipped Marxist insurgency in Colombia. It is a well-organized terrorist group that controls several rural and urban areas. It has received financial and military aid from Cuba and many of its members were trained in Havana. FATAH - Palestine National Liberation Movement - Founded in 1959 by younger generations of Palestinians that had experienced the defeats of 1948 and 1956. The FATAH are strongly committed to a radical nationalist platform to fight for Palestine and against Arab intervention and manipulations of the Palestinian problem. Mostly an underground organization until the June War in 1967 when it transformed itself into the most powerful and influential party inside Palestinian and Arab politics. FLN - Front de Libération National - The political and military organization that led the war of national liberation against French colonial rule between 1954 and 1962. Ruling political party until the 1980s in Algeria.
FMLN - Farabundo Martí National Front - Formed in 1970, the FMLN is a terrorist Marxist-Leninist organization intent on establishing a communist revolutionary regime in El Salvador. The FMLN was extremely active in its terrorist campaign, receiving assistance from Nicaragua and Cuba.
FSLN - Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional - This organization was founded in Havana in 1961 when Carlos Fonseca-Amador's Nicaraguan Patriotic Youth organization merged with Tomas Borge's Cuban-supported insurgent group. The group adopted Marxist-Leninist ideology and gained support from the Castro government, employing low-level guerrilla warfare and urban terrorism tactics to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship.
IRA - Irish Republican Army - The IRA is the most dangerous terrorist organization of Northern Ireland dating back to the early 1920s. Although, it wasn't until the 1970's when the IRA began terrorist actions and resurrected the historical conflicts. The IRA targets political transformation for United Ireland by eliminating Britain from Northern Ireland and replacing the government of Northern Ireland with a socialist government. Its Latin American headquarters are in Havana.
LASO - Latin American Solidarity Organization - A Cuban controlled organization founded during the 1966 Tri-Continental Conference in Havana to "coordinate and foment the fight against North American imperialism."
M-19 - Movimiento 19 de Abril - A Castro supported group formed in 1974 to disrupt Colombia's government through acts of terrorism and violence. The M-19 was very active throughout the 1980s receiving assistance and training from the Montoneros and Tupamaros groups and the Cuban government, causing Colombia to temporarily sever diplomatic relations with Cuba.
M-6-14 - Agrupación Politica Catorce de Junio - Dominican guerrilla organization trained in Cuba.
MACHETEROS - This terrorist organization is composed of four Puerto Rican groups: 1) the Macheteros, 2) the Ejercito Popular Borícua (EPB), 3) the Movimiento Popular Revolucionario, and 4) the Partido Revolucionario de Trabajadores Puertorriqueños. Most of the Macheteros have been trained in Cuba, were they have established relations with other terrorist groups. They are responsible for several terrorist acts within the United States and throughout Puerto Rico.
MIR - Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria - A Chilean insurgent organization founded in 1965 and supported by Castro. The MIR was very active in the mid-1970s when they promoted violence and occupied several rural areas in Chile. The group encountered several set backs during the 1980s that essentially ended their activity.
MONTONEROS - An Argentinean guerilla organization that was formed in 1968 as a Peronist urban anti-government group. It adopted a Marxist ideology in the mid-1970s after it united with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Argentina. In 1977, many of its members were exiled and its numbers reduced to less than 300.
MRTA - Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement - Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organization formed in 1983 and supported by the Castro regime. The MRTA's intent was to establish a Marxist regime in Peru through terrorism, although Peru's counter terrorism program diminished the groups' ability to effectively carry out terrorist attacks.
NLF - National Front for the Liberation of South Yemen - Created in 1962 in the course of the revolution in North Yemen against the monarchy and supported by Nasser, the NLF is another important and successful branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement. Since 1965 it has had very close relations with Cuba. In 1966-1967, it broke with Nasser and finally forced the British to negotiate and evacuate Aden. OSPAAL - Organization for the Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America - Founded in 1966 in Cuba at the Tri-Continental Conference, this organization aims to support the struggle of the people of Africa, Asia and Latin America against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. PLO - Palestine Liberation Organization - This organization was founded in Cairo in 1964 under the auspices of Egypt (then known as the United Arab Republic) to serve Nasser's manipulations of the Palestinian cause. The group was composed mostly of conservative Palestinian intellectuals and bureaucrats serving Arab governments. The PLO was an instrument of Nasser's foreign policy until the June War of 1967, when the old PLO leadership collapsed to be replaced by FATEH's leadership headed by Arafat. POLISARIO - People's Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara and Río del Oro - The Frente POLISARIO was inspired by the ANM tradition and the Algerian FLN and was created to fight against the Spanish-Morrocan-Mauritinian arrangements to split the former colony of Saguía el Hamra/Río del Oro (known as Western Sahara) between the two African states. This group enjoyed active support from Algeria and Libya and Cuba. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINES - The most important branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), created in the 1950s as radical followers of Nasser. After the June War of 1967, the group disassociated itself from Nasser and focused on building a more radical alternative within the Palestinians under the name of Popular Front. The group has strong alliances within Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, and the Gulf, and was heavily engaged in terrorist activities during the 1970s. TRICONTINENTAL - Cuban publication disseminated by the Organization for the Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAL) in four languages: Spanish, English, French, and Italian / promoting the Castro line of armed struggle.
TUPAMAROS or MNL - Movimiento Nacional de Liberación Tupamaros - This Uruguay insurgent group was organized in the early 1960s by law student Raul Sendic. The Tupamaros were one of the first terrorist groups to use guerrilla warfare in urban areas and established independent terrorist cells throughout the country.
WORLD MATHABA - A Libyan project from the late 1970s to promote political, financial, and military support for revolutionary movements throughout the world. Ghaddafi called on other "revolutionary governments" to support this project, which Cuba did. MATHABA was essentially a tool in the hands of the Libyans to project their individual goals and agenda. Financial and military assistance was never a collective decision, but responded for the most part to bilateral arrangements between Ghaddafi's regime and individual organizations, some of which resorted, at different stages, to terrorist methods like the IRA and ETA. Insurgencies in Central America, like the Sandinistas and others, were privileged beneficiaries along with the African National Congress, Frente POLISARIO, and others.
Alarcón Ramírez, Dariel, "Benigno", Memorias de un Soldado Cubano: Vida y muerte de la Revolución. Barcelona: TusQuets Editores, S.A. 1996.
Amuchastegui, Domingo, Cuba in the Middle East: A Brief Chronology. Coral Gables: Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami, 1999.
CubaNet News, "Fidel Castro: comandante en jefe de ETA". December 1999. Cuba On-Line: An Online Database of Information. http://cuba.sis.miami.edu/,
Coral Gables: Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami, 2001.
Geyer, Georgia Anne, Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991.
Horowitz, Irving Louis and Suchlike, Jaime eds., Cuban Communism. New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers, 2000.
Kline, Michael, "Castro's challenge to Latin American communism" in Suchlicki, Jaime, editor, Cuba, Castro, and Revolution. Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1972.
Kopilow, David J., Castro, Israel & The PLO. Miami: The Cuban-American National Foundation, 1984.
Kozak, Michael G., Cuba: A Threat to Peace and Security in Our Hemisphere. Department of State Bulletin, pp 75 - 78, November 1989.
Mallin Sr., Jay, History of the Cuban Armed Forces: From Colony to Castro. Virginia: Ancient Mariners Press, 2000.
Masetti, Jorge, El Furor y el Delirio: Itinerario de un hijo de la Revolución cubana. Barcelona: TusQuets Editores, S.A. 1999.
Miami Herald, The, "Witnesses link Castro, drugs." January 2000.
Mundo, El, "El portavoz del Gobierno vasco estuvo en Cuba con dos etarras en octubre de 1999." España; February 2000.
Pavlov, Yuri, Soviet-Cuban Alliance (1959-1991). New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1994.
Pérez Giménez, Alberto; "El Departamento América cubano." Diario ABC S.L.U., http://www.abc.es/archivo,
Profaca, Mario, "Project for Excellence in Journalism in Washington, D.C.," http://mprofaca.cro.net/carlos.html#top.
Reitan, Ruth, The Rise and Decline of an Alliance: Cuba and African leaders in the 1960's. Ann Arbor: Michigan State University Press, 1999.
Ross, Enrique, Castro y las Guerrillas en Latinoamerica. Miami: Distribuidora Universal, 2001.
Sale, Richard, "Analysis: U.S. Policy Morphing in Colombia." United Press International, 2001.
Sheheri, Tami, "N.J. Governor Blasts Chesimard Letter." APBnews.com; http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a391adbb70910.htm,
Terrorism Research Center, The, "Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). Next Generation Terrorism Analysis." http://www.terrorism.com/terrorism/MRTA.shtml,
1996 - 2000. Times, The, "Arrested IRA man 'is Sinn Fein Cuba link'". British News, August 2001.
Washington Post Foreign Service, "Havana is Haven for Fugitive '70s Hijacker." August 1999.
posted on 08/01/2002 1:17:09 PM PDT
To: Cincinatus' Wife
REPUTED LEADER OF GREEK GUERRILLAS IS CHARGED IN MURDERS
By Anthee Carassava
The New York Times
Armando F. Mastrapa III
La Nueva Cuba
Julio 20, 2002
ATHENS, July 19 A 58-year-old mathematician believed to be a ringleader of the guerrilla group November 17 was charged today with crimes including murders, bomb attacks and bank robberies carried out during the 1980's.
The suspect, Alexandros Yiotopoulos, appeared in court, where he requested the assistance of a lawyer and extra time to prepare his deposition. He was granted a two-day extension.
Completion of that first legal procedure could lead Mr. Yiotopoulos to confinement in a maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Athens pending trial in connection with a string of attacks by November 17.
The Marxist-Leninist group, named for the date of a violent student uprising in 1973, has haunted Greece for nearly three decades. It has killed 23 people it accused of helping American or imperialist interests, including American intelligence officers, Turkish diplomats, a British military officer and several Greek businessmen.
It has long been on the State Department's list of terrorist groups. Despite pressure from the United States for action against the group, Mr. Yiotopoulos was the first person suspected of being a senior member to be identified by the Greek authorities. The pressure has only grown as Greece prepares for the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis promised that the police would thoroughly investigate the case.
"The time has come for the terrorists finally to account for their acts," he said in his first public comments since Mr. Yiotopoulos's arrest on Wednesday. Mr. Yiotopoulos has denied the charges against him.
Two other suspects were charged today with being foot soldiers in the group, bringing the total number of people in custody in the case to eight. The authorities said at least six more arrests were expected by the end of the week.
"It's like peeling an onion," said the United States ambassador to Athens, Thomas Miller. "We've got a strong sense of the perimeter, but we don't know what more we'll find as the case unfolds."
The police say they have fingerprints of Mr. Yiotopoulos from a November 17 weapons cache in Athens. The cache, hidden in an apartment building, was found after Greek counterterrorism agents questioned a man wounded in a bungled bombing attempt on June 29. That man, Savas Xiros, is among those in custody.
A four-page printout of a proclamation, found with the weapons cache, featured text corrections in handwriting that matches Mr. Yiotopoulos's, the police said.
"The investigation is ongoing," said a senior police official. "But rest assure that our cause for calling him a leading figure is well founded."
In Washington on Thursday the State Department spokesman, Richard A. Boucher, said it was premature to discuss any possibility that the United States might seek the extradition of Mr. Yiotopoulos and November 17 members linked to attacks against Americans in Greece.
Mr. Yiotopoulos was born in Paris. His ties to armed violence, the authorities say, date to his student years in Paris and the rebellious groups he formed as part of a Greek resistance movement that helped topple the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.
Mr. Yiotopoulos, an admirer of the guerrilla leader Che Guevara, went to Cuba for urban guerrilla training, according to a report in the Athens daily To Vima. His father, Dimitris, was a prominent figure in the Greek and international Trotskyist movements.
posted on 08/01/2002 2:21:22 PM PDT
Mr. Yiotopoulos, an admirer of the guerrilla leader Che Guevara, went to Cuba for urban guerrilla training, according to a report in the Athens daily To Vima. His father, Dimitris, was a prominent figure in the Greek and international Trotskyist movements.
To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; South40; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; ...
Black conservative ping
If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)
Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.
posted on 08/01/2002 2:42:02 PM PDT
THE US EMBARGO ON CUBA: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
By Ricardo E. Calvo MD PhD
La Nueva Cuba
Agosto 2, 2002
In the last few years there has been a persistent demand by US political and financial figures to lift the embargo of the US on Cuba.
They claim that the termination of such embargo is necessary for the American and Cuban people to interact and thus bring democracy to Cuba since American visitors and businessmen with dollars, with democratic ideas and notions of liberty and enterprise will become a formidable influence on the transformation of Cuba out of Marxism. They also claim that the end of economic sanctions will help American farmers to obtain access to the Cuban markets and sell their products to new customers.
1.7 million visitors from all over the world (including around 200,000 americans) went to Cuba in 2001 bringing with them $ 2.2 billion dollars. It is logical to wonder how a population of tourists in a ratio 8:1 with respect to the Americans and spending almost 10% of the GDP of Cuba was not able to make inroads into democracy. What special characteristics whether worldly or divine will posses the new American visitors who supposedly will convert the rigid communist system still under the original Marxist leadership after 43years?
How will the Cuban government pay for the traded goods? What will the Cubans offer the U.S. merchants in exchange for their articles? What could represent to the U.S. markets the initiation of trade with Cuba?
In 1993 the dollar was legalized in Cuba and its influx has produced a two tier society in the Island: those with dollars who can acquire goods in the official and only authorized State shops and those without them who are condemned to obtain products through the official rationing books. The real consequence: economic apartheid.
There is absolutely no private property in Cuba and the distribution of future U.S. products will be directed exclusively by the Party. There is no law of supply and demand in Cuba and the trade of U.S. goods will have no relation to the needs of its citizens but rather follows the dictates of the ruling class. Under communism there are no independent labor unions and Cubans workers in foreign joint adventures are contracted by the State which pays them in devalued Pesos corresponding to only a small fraction of the original dollar salary.
Today the sugar cane industry is in shambles with a dismal production 50% of the pre revolutionary epoch and there are strong rumors the government is planning to dismantle 40% of the existing sugar mills. The production of nickel is in the hands of the Canadians and its price is quite low, the production of copper has been closed for a while and the unpaid principal external debt with several countries and the Paris Club is believed to exceed $39 billions dollars and climbing. (553).
The Cuban government had its credit frozen by Spain, France, Italy and Japan for now due to lack of payments to their banks and the shipping of oil from Venezuela has been suspended since April as a consequence of outstanding receipts for $127.7 million. These shipments represent 33% of Cubas daily energy requirements and consequently the Marxist government is utilizing its cash reserves to buy oil from international traders on the spot market at a much higher price.
If the Cuban government is pressed to pay cash for merchandise from the U.S. agricultural markets it will buy only food products if given the necessary financial means by the U.S. as expressed by Cuban officials to (D-Cal) Representative Farr during his recent visit to Havana (2/02 AP). This can be easily interpreted to result in further agricultural subsides paid by the American taxpayer.
The official annualized income per capita in Cuba is barely $1500 (less than every Western Hemisphere nation except Haiti). If the embargo were lifted the U.S. could only export around $1 billion in foodstuff to the Island representing barely 1 to 2% of the U.S. overall food exports (IBD 5/22/02).
There is no need of American business or tourists to bring notions of liberty ask the Cubans about their reasons to escape from the Island on dangerous flimsy rafts: to gain freedom. There is no need of U.S. citizens appearing in Cuba carrying notions of enterprises ask the Cubans who trade goods illegally daily in the black market to ensure their subsistence.
Why is it that the advocates to terminate the embargo expend more efforts denouncing it than calling for the end of the existing totalitarian regime in Havana? Liberalizing trade with Cuba will produce a windfall for the Communist Party to support repressive forces at home and international guerrilla activities overseas.
What really motivates the anti embargo lobby? Liberty or the perpetuation of socialism while obtaining profits?
The existence of the Soviet block in Europe benefited greatly from the material support it received from the West mainly from the US until an american President decided to strangle it economically and then the evil empire came to a quick and decisive end. Let us replicate the successful experiment.
If the embargo is lifted we all shall be responsible for the continuation of communism in the Caribbean Island: some for hailing it and others for remaining silent.
posted on 08/02/2002 2:49:09 PM PDT
I find it outrageous that many of those leaders who are asking for reparations for the descendants of black slavery are fervently supporting the greatest slave owner in history, Fidel Castro, who keeps 11 million people, black, whites, and every other race and religious creed, under bondage in Cuba.
"On Trade, Cuba is Not China"
Senator Jesse Helms
The New York Times
June 24, 2000
Some lawmakers, including a number of Republicans, have argued in recent weeks that if Congress believes trade will promote democratic change in China, then why not adopt the same policy for Cuba? Here is why: Cuba is not China.
The argument that American investment will democratize China has itself been wildly oversold. Beijing is doing everything in its power to dampen the impact of private investment: placing stringent control on the Internet (all users must register with the Public Security Bureau), and most recently declaring that it will insert "party cells" into every private business that operates in China.
But regardless of how one feels about permanent normalized trade with China, there is simply no case to be made that investment would democratize Cuba.
Cuba has undertaken none of the market reforms that China has in recent years; there is no private property, and there are no entrepreneurs with whom to do business. The Fidel Castro regime maintains power by controlling every single aspect of Cuban life: access to food, access to education, access to health care, access to work.
This permits Castro to stifle any and all dissent. Any Cuban daring to say the wrong thing, by Castro's standards, loses his or her job. Anyone refusing to spy on a neighbor is denied a university education. Anyone daring to organize an opposition group goes to jail.
American investment cannot and will not change any of this. It cannot empower individual Cubans, or give them independence from the regime, because foreign investors in Cuba cannot do business with private citizens. They can do business only with Fidel Castro.
It is illegal in Cuba for anyone except the regime to employ workers. That means that foreign investors cannot hire or pay workers directly. They must go to the Cuban government employment agency, which picks the workers. The investors then pay Castro in hard currency for the workers, and Castro pays the workers in worthless pesos.
Here is a real-life example: Sherritt International of Canada, the largest foreign investor in Cuba, operates a nickel mine in Moa Bay (a mine, incidentally, which Cuba stole from an American company). Roughly 1,500 Cubans work there as virtual slave laborers. Sherritt pays Castro approximately $10,000 a year for each of these Cuban workers. Castro gives the workers about $18 a month in pesos, then pockets the difference.
The net result is a subsidy of nearly $15 million in hard currency each year that Castro then uses to pay for the security apparatus that keeps the Cubans enslaved.
Those who advocate lifting the embargo speak in broad terms about using investment to promote democracy in Cuba. But I challenge them to explain exactly how, under this system, investment can do anything to help the Cuban people.
The anti-embargo crowd should drop its rhetoric about promoting democracy and be honest: the one reason for their push to lift sanctions on Cuba is to pander to well-intentioned American farmers, who have been misled by the agribusiness giants into believing that going into business with a bankrupt Communist island is a solution to the farm crisis in America.
Whoever has convinced farmers that their salvation lies in trade with Cuba has sold them a bill of goods. Cuba is desperately poor, barely able to feed its own people, much less save the American farmer.
Castro wants the American embargo lifted because he is desperate for hard currency. After the Soviet Union collapsed and Moscow's subsidies ended, Castro turned to European and Canadian investors to keep his Communist system afloat. Now he wants American investors to do the same. We must not allow that to happen.
Unfortunately, some in Washington are all too willing to give Castro what he wants. At the least they should stop pretending that they are doing this to promote Cuban democracy and American
posted on 08/05/2002 9:45:48 AM PDT
ISRAELS FORGOTTEN ENEMY
ITS FIDEL CASTRO
By Myles Kantor
La Nueva Cuba
Agosto 4, 2002
Attacks of Palestinian resistance activists in Israeli territory" is how a state-controlled newspaper recently euphemized suicide massacres. Its headlines on Israel in 2002 have included:
"Israeli soldiers sack, torture and execute police and civilians in West Bank" (April 8) "Sharon announces continuation of Palestinian holocaust" (April 9) "Israeli repression continues" (April 20) "Israeli troops invade Hebron and kill 8 Palestinians" (April 30)
This reeks of Saudi Arabia's Ar-Riyadh or Egypt's Al-Ahram, but the source is much closer to America: Cuba's Granma International.
In April, Granma also referred to "the genocidal actions of the Israeli army" and included a photograph of an anti-Israel rally with the poster, "SHARON=HITLER." Granma's caption below the photograph read, "The poster says it all. It is a certainty that crosses the world."
Fidel Castro's totalitarian regime has Nazified Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War; Cuba's ambassador to the United Nations described Israel's preemptive strike against imminent Arab belligerence as a "surprise attack in the Nazi manner." In 1988, Cuba published The Other Face: The Truth about the Secret Relationships between Nazism and Zionism by Mahmud Abbas (a.k.a., Abu Mazzen, secretary general of the PLO's executive committee). Abbas disputes the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis and claims that Zionists murdered more than the Nazis. The cover of The Other Face connects a swastika with the Star of David.
When he's not accusing Israel of Nazism, Castro has been a reliable ally of anti-Zionist violence and propaganda. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Castro deployed thousands of troops including tank commanders and pilots to aid Syrian aggression against Israel. Yasser Arafat visited Cuba in 1974 and received its highest honor, the National Order of the Bay of Pigs.
In 1975, the United Nations passed an infamous resolution that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." Cuba was on the side of the anti-Zionists, and Granma praised the resolution for demonstrating "the identical imperialist origins and racist structure of the Israeli Zionist regime that is occupying Palestine and the one that is exploiting the black masses in South Africa." The U.N. repealed the resolution in 1991, which Cuba opposed.
The Cuban embassy in Beirut was Arafat's headquarters during Israel's campaign to rout the brutal PLO mini-state in southern Lebanon. Neil C. Livingstone and David Halevy write in Inside the PLO, "Many of the PLO fighters captured by the Israelis during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon had been provided with advanced training in Cuba, including various special operations and demolitions courses."
Castro's aid to Israel's enemies continues to this day. Irving Louis Horowitz notes in the spring issue of The National Interest that "Training and arming Palestinians from the PLO forces [by Cuba] is ongoing." Granma admitted as much on March 30: "Cuba reiterates its full support for the heroic struggle of the Arab peoples, in particular that of the Palestinians, against Israeli occupation and aggression, and declares its solidarity with their resistance and defiance [emphasis added]."
And have Jewish organizations denounced Castro's demonization of the Jewish homeland and sponsorship of its enemies?
A visit to the Anti-Defamation League's website finds reports and press releases on anti-Zionism in Arab media but nothing on Cuban anti-Zionism. Cuban Jews' silence is understandable; to criticize Granma or Castro risks being charged with "crimes" like "enemy propaganda" and "disrespect."
In addition to being the most anti-Zionist regime in the Western hemisphere, Cuba is one of only seven regimes classified by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. While chronically histrionic, Fidel Castro is no mere buffoon. This autocrat perpetrates savagery internally and promotes it abroad. Friends of America and Israel should be mindful of this menace.
Myles Kantor is director of the Center for Free Emigration.
posted on 08/06/2002 6:51:20 AM PDT
THE DEADBEAT DICTATOR
Why business deals with Castro are a losing proposition
Avoiding financial relationships with Cuba has saved U.S. taxpayer money
"Cuba stopped payment on all its foreign commercial and bilateral official debt with non-socialist countries in 1986. Because U.S. financial institutions were prohibited from financial dealings with Cuba, there was no U.S. exposure to Cuba's foreign debt moratorium."
U.S. International Trade Commission Report, 2001
Cubas debt continues to swell
"Officially, (Cubas debt) stands at close to $12 billion -roughly where it was in 1986, when the government defaulted on debt payments and suspended negotiations with creditors. But this figure is misleading. It excludes not just Cuba´s debt with Russia (estimated at $20 billion), but also that with China, Vietnam and the Czech Republic, as well as more recent loans, such as $13 million from South Africa for diesel engines bought in 1997 and $20 million to Chile for mackerel imports." Financial Times
Cuba has not made significant economic reforms and remains rigidly centralized
Cuba is listed under the category of "Repressed." Its Economic Freedom ranking is 152ndonly Iraq, Libya, and North Korea are ranked lower.
Index of Economic Freedom
"Recent government actions indicate that official attitudes towards economic reform may have soured
.Increased obstacles to private sector activities and restrictions to foreign direct investments reveal heightened concerns about the loss of political control inherent in the economic reform process." Moodys Investors Service.
Cuba refuses to pay its creditors
"Cuba's efforts to attract direct investment from South Africa and to boost bilateral trade with its close ally are being frustrated by the island nation's failure to settle a 13 million dollar debt
Other companies which have approached the government for credit guarantees for trade with Cuba have been stymied because the Trade and Industry Ministry is wary of exposing itself to the Cuban risk until the debt is settled. "
Cuba also wants to pick and chose which countries it pays back. Japan and Germany are receiving payments, but not France, Italy or South Africa. (These countries) have recently cut off further credit to Cuba, in a bid to claw back some of what they are owed." Financial Times
"Debt talks between Cuba and the Paris Club of creditor nations are indefinitely on hold
..on the table was $3.8 billion of official debt to Paris Club members, part of a much larger debt the Caribbean island piled up through the 1980s, until it began to default on payments and then stopped talking with creditors
"If foreign investors voice their dissatisfaction or have a conflict with the Cuban Government, they face severe reprisals. Loss of contracts, disagreements and even isolation can be a deathblow to a small or medium-sized company trying to make ends meet. Investors who are driven out of the island are generally not compensated. It is virtually impossible to file a claim against the Cuban Government in local courts. Furthermore, the Cuban Government doesn't have any assets abroad that may be seized.
.In the last year investors in Cuba have had a hard time particularly with the Cuban Government. One significant problem is the unreliability of the Cuban Government to pay its bills." Pax Christi Report.
"Today, Cuba continues to struggle to pay its creditors. Substantial sums remain unpaid to bunker suppliers, ship owners and ship repairers
debts remain unpaid, a trickle of payments subsists and the heated negotiations continue
" Canadian Maritime Advocate.
"U.S. exports to Cuba
based on average 1996-1998 trade data, would have been less than 0.5 percent of total U.S. exports
.U.S. imports from Cuba, excluding sugar, would have been approximately $69 million to $146 million annually, or less than 0.5 percent of total U.S. imports."
U.S. International Trade Commission Report.
Still think Cuba is a good place to do business?
posted on 08/07/2002 10:06:32 AM PDT
A WEAKER POLICY ON CUBA, A STRONGER CASTRO
By Frank Calzón
The Miami Herald
Agosto 18, 2002
The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to end restrictions on travel, and to lift restrictions on financing exports, to Cuba. The Senate will consider the legislation soon.
While the White House has threatened to veto any legislation that would ''bolster the Cuban dictatorship,'' the anti-embargo lobby is arguing that U.S. tourism will benefit Cubans without strengthening Fidel Castro and that trade with Havana will mean substantial U.S. profits.
Cuban Americans boast about their political power, but they have been out maneuvered and outspent. South Florida Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Díaz Balart, New Jersey Democrat Rep. Robert Menén- dez, and Florida's Democratic Sens. Bob Graham and Bill Nelson tried valiantly to thwart the legislation, but the coalition to lift the embargo is now calling the shots. If the Senate votes as the House did, President Bush will have to accept a weaker policy on Cuba or veto important anti-terrorist legislation.
The coalition to lift sanctions includes some well-meaning people who believe that the embargo is obsolete and that the United States ought to try something new. The trouble is that ''something new'' is the failed policy of engagement tried for years by Canada, Spain and other countries.
Cuba's communist dictator not only spurns foreign leaders' pleas to reform; he also has backtracked on some of the measures he was forced to implement when he lost Soviet assistance. Castro shows ''economic flexibility'' only under severe pressure.
WITH AN IRON HAND
When Castro received millions of Soviet subsidies, he ran Cuba with an iron hand. An influx of American tourist dollars will only strengthen his repressive regime.
Who is working to save Castro's regime? Admirers of the former Soviet Union and communist Nicaragua are. So are several large, grain corporations who also want U.S. government credits ''to sell'' to Castro. Credits mean that U.S. taxpayers pick up the tab if Castro doesn't pay. This is to which Bush alluded when he said that U.S. financing for Cuba's purchases of U.S. agricultural goods ``would just be a foreign-aid program in disguise.''
In a July 11 letter to Congress, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned that several countries have ``suspended official credits, because Cuba has failed to make payments on its debt -- including debt incurred while making agricultural purchases from these countries. Two governments have approached the United States to complain that Cuba's payment of cash for U.S. agricultural products have meant that they are not getting paid at all.''
The inability of the Castro government to pay its debts has sent foreign investment in Cuba plummeting to $39.9 million in 2001 from $448 million in 2000. Associated Press reports that ``the European Union excluded Cuba from a multibillion dollar pool of aid because of its poor human-rights record.''
Remittances from exiles are down, and when Russia closed its spy facility, the Castro government lost $200 million in revenues annually.
But assuming that the Castro government could pay for what it bought, who is going to make millions in profit? Not U.S. factory workers, who would have to compete with the Cubans whom the Castro government pays $15 a month. Also, how many U.S. companies will relocate to exploit a cheap, educated, submissive labor force in a country that bans independent labor unions and has no environmental constraints?
What about some of those ''moderate'' Cuban-American groups subsidized by ''progressive'' foundations and U.S. business interests pushing to lift the embargo? Some mistakenly believe that ending the embargo will bring democracy to Cuba. Some have business aspirations (they don't want to miss Castro's fire sales). Some are made up of aspiring politicians who think that dallying with Castro will turn them into electable celebrities.
Others, no doubt, work for Havana's security services. While Miami sleeps, many are working to ensure that the misery and repression in Cuba not only continues but is supported by American dollars.
*Frank Calzón is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba in Washington, D.C.
posted on 08/22/2002 5:38:43 PM PDT
To: Cincinatus' Wife
Cuban Psychiatry --- The Perversion of Medicine
Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
The Politics of Psychiatry in Revolutionary Cuba by Charles J. Brown and Armando M. Lago,(1) the subject of this issue's Editor's Corner, only came to my attention because its documentation value was mentioned in two special issues of The New American magazine chronicling the Elián González saga,(2,3) the story of the six-year-old Cuban boy who had been a point of contention between the Cuban-American community in Miami who wanted him to stay in American freedom, on the one hand, and the U.S. and the communist Cuban governments, on the other, which wanted him returned and succeeded in sending him to infernal tyranny.
The book was mentioned, of course, because government doctors were used by the State in the political tug of war. AAPS wrote to Attorney General Janet Reno about possible ethical violations in regards to American physicians making long distance armchair diagnoses and making recommendations to the U.S. government and the media rather than for the benefit of the patient --- without ever having seen the child. Moreover, AAPS filed a complaint regarding the legality of Cuban doctors who had come to the U.S. to "de-program" Elián and thus, were practicing medicine without a license in the U.S. One of them, Dr. Caridad Ponce de Leon, on April 27, 2000 was caught by U.S. Customs officials at Washington's Dulles International Airport with psychoactive drugs Miltown (meprobamate) and phenobarbital, which she was attempting to smuggle into the U.S. en route to minister to Elián at his temporary residence in Maryland at the Wye River Plantation. All of these physicians seem to be using their positions in a learned profession and placing them at the disposal of the State. As we shall see in this essay, subordination of medicine to the State is dangerous.
The Politics of Psychiatry graphically documents that the totalitarian government of Cuba has used (and continues to use) psychiatry for political purposes --- in this case, political repression, the crushing of dissent, and establishing conformity within the political structure and populace of the island prison which communist Cuba has sadly become.
The authors have carefully investigated the cases and personal stories of 27 Cuban dissidents who were charged with political crimes (non-violent opposition to the regime in one form or another), arrested and interrogated by the State Security apparatus, and then treated horribly as psychiatric cases confined among the criminally insane. In Cuba, psychiatrists must cooperate with the State Security apparatus or face reprisals, arrest, and punishment by the communist government; thus, there is no opposition to speak of within the medical profession to the regime.
Psychiatry in Cuba is misused for political purposes and used as a political tool against the political enemies of the communist regime. To bring down the number of those incarcerated classified as political prisoners in Cuba, dissidents are classified as either common criminals or psychiatric patients. Cuban criminal theory holds that capitalism is the cause of aberrant and most criminal behavior. The only reason that a socialist country like Cuba would have crime, therefore, is because of residual capitalism and recalcitrant non-socialist elements. Criminals must therefore be re-educated, conditioned, and re-programmed. Incarceration is not intended for punishment but for rehabilitation. Anyone with "recidivist political behavior" has to be pathological, afflicted with a form of mental illness that must be cured by the State.
As per Soviet psychiatry and as enunciated by Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1959: "Can there be diseases, nervous diseases among certain people in the communist society? Evidently there can be. If that is so, then there also will be offenses which are characteristic of people with abnormal mindsTo those who might start calling for opposition to communism on this 'basis,' we say that now, too, there are people who fight against communismbut clearly the mental state of such people is not normal."(4)
In other words, it is impossible for people in a socialist society to have an anticommunist morality. Criminality is impossible in a socialist society and those opposed to the socialist order are not really criminals requiring punishment but madmen who require treatment and rehabilitation in psychiatric facilities. And so, José Abrantes, then Minister of the Interior, speaking to Cuban psychologists in March 1987 admitted that his Ministry "has the most diverse, universal, and decisive application of psychology to law enforcement."(5)
Among the 27 cases cited in this book, a clear pattern emerged. After arrest, they were usually taken to Villa Marista State Central Security Headquarters for harsh interrogation, then to the Havana Psychiatric Hospital (also known by its old name, Mazorra) where they underwent unspeakable terror. They were not taken to the meticulously polished floors and corridors of the Paredes ward, where foreign dignitaries are taken to be shown the marvelous advances in psychiatry in the Cuban health care system, but to the horrible Salas Carbó-Serviá and Castellanos wards which are under the control of State Security.
In those horrible wards, it became obvious that the "patients" were not confined for the treatment of mental illness, but rather to terrorize them. Some were placed there for days, weeks, or months among the criminally insane to coerce them to submit and conform to the dictates of the State Security apparatus. Others were forced to ingest large amounts of psychotropic drugs (e.g., Thorazine and other phenothiazines), or undergo even more barbaric "treatment" with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), usually without anesthesia or muscle relaxants, under the supervision of a sadistic orderly named Heriberto Mederos who was likely a State Security agent nicknamed El Enfermero!(6)
Every morning at 5 a.m., Heriberto Mederos, and his sadistic assistants, one of whom was nicknamed El Capitan, would select the unfortunate ones who would undergo ECT after being doused with cold water (for better electrical conduction!) and thrown on the hard cement floor where they would undergo the procedure. El Capitan would later sodomize young prisoners. Others would be brutally beaten. One of them was found hung and incinerated with gasoline. Everyday 80 to 90 of the inmates would have to stand like animals en La Perrera, "the dog kennel," the small enclosure measuring approximately 10 by 30 meters on a slab of cement which was in the courtyard behind the Sala Carbó-Serviá. They would stand on the crowded floor, under the sun, pitted against each other surrounded by other strangers and madmen, excrement and urine stench everywhere.
Psychiatrists were sometimes present in these wards that seemed to come straight out of Dante's Inferno. They would interview the prisoners, classify them, and sometimes approve of the "treatment," as in the case of the psychiatrist Dr. Orfilio Peláez. Other times they would admit to the prisoners in private that they had not specifically ordered their medication, torture, or rehabilitation. Charges brought against the dissidents included anti-regime activity or trying to leave the country illegally (salida ilegal). The case of Nicolás Guillén, the nephew of the former poet laureate of Cuba by the same name, is noteworthy. He was accused of "ideological deviationism" for making a short agricultural film, Arabian Coffee, which contained a scene of Fidel climbing a mountain while the Beatles' song, Fool on the Hill, played in the background. He was picked up by State Security and taken to Villa Marista, held without trial and interrogated for six months. He received at least eight sessions of ECT without anesthesia. Although he had fought in the Revolution, he was in and out of prisons and psychiatric hospitals for almost twenty years, from 1970 to 1989, until he was finally allowed to emigrate to Miami where he lives today as an artist.
After their detention and confinement, patients would be suddenly "dismissed" and transferred to prisons with or without a diagnosis. They would be told that they were "tried in absentia," and sentenced to long incarceration terms in such notorious prisons as Combinado del Este, Fortaleza de la Cabaña, El Castillo del Príncipe, El Morro Castle in Havana province, or other prisons or mental hospitals such as the Gustavo Machín Psychiatric Hospital (the old Jagua) in Santiago de Cuba, or other facilities throughout the island. Other times, they were taken back for further interrogation at Villa Marista. (This center, nationalized by Castro, was in pre-Revolutionary Cuba one of the religious school started by the Marist brothers.) At other times, attempts were made to force them to work for State Security. Almost always they lost their jobs and they continued to be harassed by agents of the State Security because of their political beliefs. The lucky ones made it to Miami where they were able to help with further documentation of this book.
What is most amazing of all is, that although these cases were verified by at least two sources, in some cases by civil rights organizations in the U.S. such as Freedom House, Of Human Rights, Americas Watch, as well as international groups such as Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Commission, these cases have not received the attention they deserve. Yet, one of the cases, is that of a 16-year-old charged with trying to escape Cuba. Incidentally, documentation of abuse of children in Cuba's jails is also provided in Armando Valladares' book, Against All Hope.(7) As for women, a 1984 study at the Córdova forensic ward at Mazorra, found 4.6 percent of women were interned there either for "crimes against State Security" or "crimes against the public order." That for example was the case of poetess Maria Elena Cruz Varela who was incarcerated with mentally ill women and given psychotropic drugs. They represent only a small number among the thousands of known Cuban political prisoners languishing in Cuban jails.
The noted psychiatrist Vladimir Bukovsky, who was a leading dissident in the Soviet Union during the 1960s and 1970s and who spent twelve years in Soviet prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals, wrote the Introduction to this book.(1) He wrote: "After reading the documents and testimonies collected in this book, one can feel disgusted and outraged, but not surprised. We have learned long ago that Communist regimes, be they in Vietnam or Cuba, Ethiopia or China, are very much alike; just the sparks, the embers of the huge fire set in the world seventy-four years before."
In comparing Cuban psychiatry to that of the Soviet Union, he thought that the former was only a grotesque imitation of the latter. "Cuba," he wrote, "is unique only by the hasty pace of the disease: it covered in thirty-two years what the Soviet Union achieved in seventy-three. Within a single generation, Cuba advanced from "revolutionary justice" to "socialist legality," from liquidation of "class enemies" to "political re-education" and psychiatric treatment of those "apathetic to socialism."
Bukovsky believes that while both Cuban and Soviet psychiatry are derived from the Pavlovian school of psychology (i.e., conditioning, reprogramming, and rehabilitation rather than psychotherapy and analysis), both were used nefariously by the totalitarian states. While both used it for political repression and squelching dissents, the Cuban version became "just another form of torture," and, of course, the Cuban version continues to this day. Bukovsky who wrote the authoritative book, To Build a Castle: My Life as a Dissenter about the abuses of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, surmised that the originators of Soviet psychiatry, Dr. Daniil Lunts and Professor Georgy Morozov, "would have been outraged by seeing in Cuban psychiatry such a barbaric application of their elaborate theories."(8)
Indeed, this book documents the use of torture, as defined by the Amnesty International criteria as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. Psychiatric "rehabilitation" as practiced in Cuba against political dissidents is torture --- this, despite the fact that in 1986, Cuba signed the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The communist government of Cuba uses psychiatry and torture to coerce dissidents into cooperating with the regime and discontinue their political activities, as well as to intimidate and demoralize them as to eradicate their political beliefs.
It is obvious and the evidence is overwhelming that Cuban psychiatry has been perverted by the communist government of Fidel Castro, and it has become totally subordinate to the State's nefarious purposes. In the past, the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) has refused to investigate these charges because "complaints are examined in association with the WPA Member Society in the country in question. As the WPA has no Member Society in Cuba, we cannot examine the complaint appropriately." Perhaps it is time that the information in this book becomes widely available to the American public and a cry for justice may be made by an outraged public. Perhaps then the American public will recognize that by deporting Elián to Cuba for, as Fidel Castro stated, "re-programming" and reintegration in socialist society, that we have condemned him to a Hell on Earth.
And for us who will be left in America, perhaps a future Amerika, here is further food for thought. Consider the erosion of our individual rights in our own country including but not all inclusive:
* Erosion of our First Amendment right to free speech (for those who are not as equal as others) and the implementation
of stringent speech codes in colleges and universities enforcing political correctness;
* Infringement of our Second Amendment rights with the government using lawyers and lawsuits to bankrupt a legal firearm industry with a long honorable tradition in our history, and passing ever more laws leading step-by-step to citizen disarmament;
* Erosion of Fourth Amendment rights with increasing use of illegal searches and seizures (i.e., with warrants of dubious legalities or no warrants whatsoever) in the wars against drugs or fraud and abuse in health care, or raiding American homes looking for illegal aliens or drugs, etc. and carrying out "dynamic entries" (e.g., Waco) to impress the media and get increased funding for their own government agencies, etc.
The laws have become so cryptic and voluminous that any of us can be called guilty whenever Big Brother likes.
Consider the Hate Crime legislation that has passed in Canada and is being promoted in this country, criminalizing speech and motives. In George Orwell's 1984, he writes, "The first and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught even to young children, is called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction."
And consider the raid and seizure of Elián González of April 22, 2000, instigated by the opinion of a physician who had never seen the patient and who, in the service of the State, opined, in Orwellian doublespeak, that the child was in imminent danger in the loving home of his Miami relatives.
Many of us in the Brave New World of an imponderable future in Amerika may be apprehended by the thought police, or institutionalized to be led to an American Mazorra to be treated, re-programmed, and rehabilitated for our own good or the good of the collective. Yes, it can happen here!
1. Brown CJ, Lago AM. The Politics of Psychiatry in Revolutionary Cuba. New York, NY, Freedom House, 1991.
2. Grigg WN. Children of the gulag. The New American 2000;16(6):20-23.
3. Grigg WN. The "cure" for freedom. The New American 2000;16(11):25-26.
4. From a May 24, 1959 article in Pravda and quoted by Sidney Bloch and Peter Reddaway in Russia's Political Hospitals: The Abuse of Psychiatry in the Soviet Union, London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd, 1977, p. 62. Also cited by Brown and Lago, op. cit., p. 32.
5. Brown and Lago, op.cit., p. 156.
6. Years later, this same Heriberto Mederos surfaced, of all places, near Miami working as a nurse at Hialeah Convalescent Home. Then 69-years-old and a widower, Mederos was living with his daughter. He claimed he had left Cuba in 1984 and defended himself stating he was following doctors' orders at Mazorra. Nevertheless, he was identified by former political prisoners as the same man they had known as El Enfermero. See "Havana hospital nurse evokes brutal memories" by Pablo Alfonso, Miami Herald, April 26, 1992; "A gulag recalled in Cuba - Inmates tell of torture" by Mirta Ojito and Alfonso Chardy, Miami Herald, April 26, 1992; and "Havana Hospital's Own Regulations Violated by Method of Applying Electroshocks," Miami Herald, April 26, 1992.
7. Valladares A. Against All Hope: The Prison Memoirs of Armando Valladares. New York, NY, Ballantine Books, 1986.
8. Bukovsky V. To Build a Castle: My Life as a Dissenter. Cited in Brown and Lago, op. cit., p. 32, and Grigg, The "cure" for freedom, op. cit., p. 25.
Dr. Faria is Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel, the official journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), and author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995) and Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (Macon, Georgia, Hacienda Publishing, Inc., 1997).
Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 2000;5(5):160-162. Copyright ©2000 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
posted on 08/30/2002 11:31:37 AM PDT
A Black Journalist Goes to Havana
Myles B. Kantor
NewsMax.com, July 11, 2002
I respect Justice Clarence Thomas a great deal, so George Curry isn't someone I'm inclined to praise.
While editor in chief of Emerge magazine, Curry mocked Justice Thomas as a marionette of white conservatives. A 1993 cover depicted Thomas with a handkerchief around his head à la Aunt Jemima and as a lawn jockey on the November 1996 cover.
Curry got Justice Thomas obscenely wrong, but at least he gets Cuba right.
Curry and other black journalists recently went to Havana capital of America's closest sponsor of terrorism for a colloquy with Cuban "journalists." Curry knew that journalism means something different in Cuba than in America, but he hoped he and his peers would have some commonality with their hosts.
His hope wasn't fulfilled. "If any of us were momentarily lulled into believing that these were our counterparts," Curry writes in "Reporting on Cuba's 'Reporters' " (http://www.blackpressusa.com/op-ed/Speaker.asp?NewsID=2371),
"that impression was quickly shattered when several declared that they had supported the Castro revolution in 1959 and view their job today as helping those in power.
I cringed. These are not journalists, I thought, these are government public relations agents. Actually, I was more derisive I called them flacks."
To be a journalist in Cuba, one must belong to the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC, or Unión de Periodistas de Cuba). This corresponds to Article 53 of Cuba's "constitution": "
press, radio, television, movies, and other mass media are state-owned or socially owned, and can in no event be privately owned." Flacks indeed.
Witnessing Cuba's totalitarianism made Curry think of his rights as an American: "At home, we can openly question George W. Bush's intelligence [or deride Justice Thomas], but here it is unlawful to be disrespectful of Castro."
Curry isn't being figurative; "disrespect," or desacato, is a crime in Cuba, applicable to Castro and all of his functionaries. (Disrespecting Castro and senior functionaries carriers a harsher penalty, though) "Disrespect" is the instrument of repression often used against Cuba's bona fide journalists, those who don't work for the regime and report its reality.
One of these crushed voices belongs to Bernardo Arévalo Padrón, sentenced to six years in November 1997 for disrespecting Castro and "Vice President" Carlos Lage during an interview. Forced labor and beatings have been perpetrated against Padrón in prison.
This man should be a professor, not a prisoner.
Neither did the regime's denial of race consciousness in Cuba where people of color are a majority persuade Curry. He reports, "[S]peak to any dark-skinned person on the streets of Havana and once they're convinced that you are not a government official, they will admit that both color and class remain staples of Cuban society."
As a black prisoner of conscience, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet wrote to Coretta Scott King in January 1999, "They [black Cubans] have a very low political, economic, and judicial representation in contrast to the numerous prevailing black penal population. This situation is never publicly manifested by the government but is a component of communism's subtle politics of segregation." Heroic black Cubans like Dr. Biscet and Jorge Luis Garcia Perez have been ripped from their families for criticizing Cuba's white autocrat.
Unlike black Fidelistas such as Al Sharpton, Randall Robinson and Alice Walker, Curry doesn't glorify this autocrat.
He doesn't boast about having lunch with Castro, as Sharpton did on "The Chris Rock Show" in 2000.
He doesn't write about how Castro's "eyes shone with intelligent intensity," as Robinson does in "The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks."
He doesn't compare Castro to the Dalai Lama and rhapsodize over embracing him, as Walker does in "Anything We Love Can Be Saved." (See "Hugging Fidel.")
Curry appreciates what the black abolitionist and journalist Frederick Douglass said in 1860:
Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one's thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come in their presence. Slavery cannot tolerate free speech.
THE DAY THEY SHOT ELEGUA
BY MANUEL MENENDEZ
The queers were the ones who started the riot that gray Sunday dawn of December 24, 1965. Let it be said that they showed more guts than many of us "men," and in the moment of truth, not a single one of them chickened out. This time, our concentration camp commander, Captain Colas---"Patifino" to us---went too far. You see, you have a submissive dog, and you beat him every day, and he'll just wag his tail shamefully. But don't force him into a corner, because he'll jump for your throat.
Patifino had been minion and procurer for Juan Almeida, the token Negro in the Party's Politburo. For some misdeed or other, he had been banished from the Santiago de Cuba flesh pots and sent to the UMAP [Military Units for the Aid of Production] to clean his record. It was our tough luck we got him. If life until now had been sheer Purgatory, under Patifino it became Inferno.
First, he further curtailed the rations. From malnutrition we went into outright starvation: our meals became three spoonsful of rice, one of Russian tinned meat, and a piece of stale bread tasting of weevils. He had managed to bring two of his mistresses from Santiago, installed them in a house in Cunagua, the town that surrounded the sugar factory, and kept them in style by selling the camp's food in the black market.
Then came the requisas. If there's something sacred to a prisoner, it is sleep. After cutting cane from dawn to dusk, every cell of your body ached for those six or seven hours of rest, and your mind craved that brief escape from the daily nightmare. Two or three hours before reveille, Patifino would surround any one of the six barracks with armed guards, send another unarmed platoon inside and make the inmates stand naked and shivering in the cold while he searched the sparse belongings and confiscated whatever took his fancy. Especially the bikinis the queers made from the olive green Russian underpants and the "paravans," the bed sheets painstakingly embroidered and hung to the sides of the shoddy bunks to afford some privacy when having intercourse.
Arbitrarily, he raised the daily cutting quotas to 350 arrobas [4 metric tons] of green cane and 500 [5.6 metric tons] of burned cane. Those who didn't fulfill the quotas had to go on toiling into the night to the headlights of a jeep and sometimes they also had to sleep in the cane field. But the last straw was Patifino's decree that we had to work also on Sunday mornings, our "free" day, when we washed the sweaty, grimy clothes worn the whole week, wrote letters home, or simply slept nonstop, assuaging the constant fatigue.
The riot started in my barrack and was sparked by three queers: Loime, "Lovely Hick" and "Miss Matanzas." They stayed in bed that first Sunday morning, and not even the beating by the guards would move them. I aam with my peerioood... they screamed once and again. When the guards tried to drag them to the esplanade outside, all the other queers also rebelled.
The "peerioood" epidemic spread through the camp like a prairie fire.
At a loss before such unprecedented defiance, the guard detail requested orders from the officer of the day, Master Sergeant Capote, bka "El Capirro," who, for his part, sent Corporal Kindel n in a jeep to Cunagua to apprise the Captain of the goings-on. Patifino came back into camp fuming, with a splitting headache and a monumental hangover from Saturday night's party and subsequent menage-a-trois.
"Carajo, you have five minutes to form or else..." he threatened through the camp's loudspeakers. He then walked back and forth on his skinny legs through the esplanade, and shot a whole magazine of his Browning pistol into the battened earth, all the time raging and cussing.
In our barrack, a brief war council took place among the three factions into which, from the start, we had spontaneously divided ourselves: the queers, the "men," and the common criminals, who served as enforcers and snitches. The boss of the latter, Lusaga the Abakua, was noncommittally brushing his dentures on the palm of his hand.
"Are you in?" he was asked pointblank by our undisputed leader, "El Quimico," the camp "doctor," who got the appointment because he worked as a cleaner at the morgue of the "Calixto Garcia" hospital in Havana, and practiced autopsies for kicks.
"Nope," replied Lusaga. All the hoodlums, about 30 of them, started scurrying outside.
"Wait! .. Tell your boys to leave all the hardware behind! We need it!"
"Yep," Lusaga answered without looking up, and, as if by conjure, a small arsenal of clubs, shanks, lead pipes, fighting irons and even four machetes materialized.
Then El Quimico turned to the queers:
"You did your stuff already, you can go out, too, no problem."
"No way, este nino, we stay too," declared a formerly fat Negro dubbed "Bemba Liquida," who, turning to the others, asked: "Ain't it true, girls?"
"Yeaaah..." was the unanimous response. They produced the entizados they used in their duels, when fighting over the favors of a lover. These were makeshift sabers, a broom handle sawed in the middle and filled with Russian razor blades. Many of the fifty queers or so in our barrack sported faces crisscrossed by scars. The Jehovah's Witnesses also refused to leave, but explained that they would not fight, just pray on our behalf.
Ragged ranks started forming outside: the criminals; those sick with dysentery, or with deep stitched wounds,
The whole company of guards, most of them raw recruits, stood ill at ease, fiddling with their M-52 rifles
either accidental or self-inflicted; and about 60 able-bodied "men" who welshed, running out on the rest of us. But the exodus soon became a trickle and then ceased. We were about 720 inmates in the camp, and around 450 had remained behind. At the other side of the esplanade the whole company of guards, most of them raw recruits, stood ill at ease, fiddling with their M-52 rifles. The voice of El Capirro, with his uncouth Oriente accent, boomed through the loudspeakers: "Them five minutes the Cap'n gave you are oveh..."
"Capiirrooo... you gonna shoot me after we made love last night in the watchtower?" jeered "Adorable Triguena," posing suggestively in a bikini at the barrack's open door. To compound the embarrassment of the soldiers, who were just kids forcibly conscripted from all over the island, voices from our barracks called them out one by one by their complete names and hometowns, describing their sexual attributes and prowess in minute detail. If the tauntings were to be believed---and there was no reason not to believe them, because the conscriptees were all at a prurient age and in the middle of nowhere, with no women in sight---most of the garrison, including some NCOs, were guilty of sodomy, a felony punishable with a spell of stockade and a dishonorable discharge, the only exception being the Minister of the Armed Forces himself.
"Ah, cabrones, after we finish this I'll settle accounts with you, too," spewed Patifino, almost apoplectic with rage.
In the meantime, frantic but coordinated activity was taking place inside the six barracks. It turned out that ever since Patifino committed his first outrages, an underground contingency plan had been worked out and agreed to well in advance. Sooner or later a showdown was inevitable and the moment had come: to cringe and give up now would be the equivalent of renouncing our very human condition. Enough was enough. Condemned as we had been without trial to penal servitude for an undetermined period of time for the alleged "crime" of being "antisocial" or "homosexual" or "vagrant" or for wearing long hair and tight jeans or for having been denounced anonymously by a personal enemy, our youth destroyed and our lives wrecked for good, we had nothing to lose.
And all because the all-powerful State nobody had elected wanted to "develop" Camaguey province, the Cuban Siberia, where nobody would go voluntarily. A wasteland only fit for grazing the Cebu cattle introduced from India two centuries ago. They were not pedigreed enough, true, but before the Revolution, these cattle supplied the whole island with meat and milk, commodities strictly rationed for six years now. The whole province was now sown of sugar cane. Slaves were needed, and we were them. Thus, we shared the desperate, killing rage Spartacus and his followers must have felt.
While the queers distracted the troops, El Quimico and his two sidekicks, "El Toto" and "The Wizard," returned from the infirmary carrying a small but heavy wooden casket of nails. They overturned it on the floor, and started dividing the nails into six mounds. The nails, along with several rusty hammers, also obviously stolen from the sugar factory, were distributed to the "men" and queers assigned to serve as couriers.
The racket of the queer performers and their choir covered the noise of all the windows being nailed shut. Three Black cons who decided to stay behind shared a carefully hoarded joint and started jamming a guaganco. Isaias playing quinto; "El Tebere" and Leopoldo the Jamaican, tumbadoras.
"They invited me to smoke... Anabanabanaa....a good joint of marihuaaana... Anabanabanaa..." "Don't get sassy with my mother... or I send you into the streets... You ain't but a piece of aaaass..." "Yuri Yuri Gagariiin... shooting craps is not a siiiin..." "Vaaampiresa... how wicked you are Teresa..."
We moved the iron bunks sideways to make more free space. The thin mattresses were piled up as barricades. Meanwhile, El Quimico gave to the sanitarios from the other barracks stashes of merchromine, surgical needles and thread, rubber tourniquets, plus fresh bandages made from pieces of boiled bed sheets in addition to his final advices. We ate our last provisions from home and filled our water canteens and any other receptacle available. There wouldn't be time later. El Quimico and his closest buddies drank from a bottle of guachipupa: 90 degrees alcohol mixed with water, brown sugar and sour-orange juice.
"I'm gonna count until ten, and if you don't come out I'll smoke you-all out like a wasp nest," was the Captain's ultimatum.
"Patifinooo... kill if you gonna kill, kill and f... up no more," shouted back Carballeda the hunchback. Thus the preliminaries ended and the hostilities started in earnest.
Our barrack was singled out for the first attack and two platoons came a la bayamesa, with machetes, through both doors at the same time. But to their surprise no one was in sight. It was 10 in the morning of an overcast, gloomy cold day, and dark inside the barrack. A single light bulb shone eerily. They advanced slowly and bewildered through the long central aisle toward the barricades in the middle, and suddenly all hell broke loose. The inmates hidden on the upper bunks beat them in the head and shoulders with clubs and irons, while others jumped from the barricades and engaged them in hand-to-hand combat. The troops were supposed to hit us with the flank of the machetes, but seeing themselves surrounded they used the edge, and cut several of us badly. Finally they retreated leaving behind several machetes and three captured soldiers, whom we kept as hostages, trussing their hands and feet.
Couriers from all the camp kept us informed of the developments elsewhere: the guards had attacked two more barracks and their rout had been complete. But the price had been high for us: many seriously wounded and the first dead, Cesar "El Morrongo," whose skull was bashed in by the soldier's machetes.
There were some more attacks, but halfhearted. We were better armed now, and several wounded guards had been evacuated to the nearest hospital, in the town of Violeta. The floors of the barracks were slippery with blood, and El Quimico, smeared with it from head to foot, dealt with our casualties as best he could. In the meantime there were three more dead: two more immates---"Polingo" and "Papayeta"---as well as Corporal Tony, one of the soldiers. We were aware that, because a soldier had been killed, there was no possibility of a settlement; the worst punishment awaited us.
Patifino himself was also in a quandary. He was stupid and stubborn, but also cunning. He realized that he had put himself in a no-win situation. He could not afford a war of attrition, to bring us to heel by thirst and hunger. It was dusk already and tomorrow, Monday, we were supposed to be on the cane fields again. He toyed with the idea of opening fire into us with the BZ machine-guns from the watchtowers. But we happened to be valuable property of the State, and these weren't the times of the Sierra Maestra, when he hanged or shot "army informers" at will because he coveted their wives. So he had to swallow his pride and call for help from above.
Help materialized next morning, with the arrival of a dozen ZIL trucks loaded with troops in full combat gear. The comandante in charge, Victor Bordon, gave Patifino the bungler a good dressing down and told him to get lost. The comandante meant business and wasted no time with threats or warnings. He deployed his troops in a cordon all around us with orders to shoot to kill whomever came out of the barracks wielding weapons. Then he assembled two parallel lines of soldiers with machetes outside the first barrack to the left facing the esplanade. A detachment wearing gas masks went inside through the back door and threw stun grenades and tear gas canisters. As the mutineers escaped through the front door they had to run a gantlet of soldiers hitting them with the flanks of the machetes. Then, dizzy, blinded, and their whole bodies smarting from the blows, they were penned up in a corner of the camp, against the barbed wire fence. There the cons and snitches identified them, and officers sorted and blacklisted them one by one, according to their degree of guilt in the uprising and accoreding to their sexual preferences and other sins.
The procedure was repeated barrack by barrack, and all resistance quenched. As soon as the fumes cleared, the troops searched and thoroughly ransacked our flimsy abodes, confiscating all our weapons. Only then were we allowed to return inside. That day we weren't issued food, but the worst was the thirst. No one was allowed to leave the barracks, and we had to relieve ourselves inside, the stench adding to our misery.
The next morning we were ordered out and formed as usual on the esplanade. Under an intermittent drizzle, we stood there for four hours, prey to the biting wintry wind. Many of the sick and wounded fainted but were refused help. Patifino was nowhere to be seen. Our own officers and NCOs went around trying to look inconspicuous, hiding from the surly proconsul's gaze. At midday some soldiers dug a hole and sunk into the earth a long four-by-four post. A while later, two jeeps arrived and stopped in front of the guardhouse. From one of them descended a handcuffed tall black man, dressed in a brand new UMAP uniform and tennis shoes.
We old-timers couldn't recognize him until he looked straight into our ranks and smiled. His nickname ran from mouth to mouth: "Elegua..." "It's Elegua..." He was but a shadow of the young man we had known. The white even teeth of his former perennial and contagious smile were gone, smashed by a rifle's butt. His cheeks were sunken, and his face looked haggard and much older, with lines of suffering deeply etched on it. He was skeletal, and his strong muscles had withered. His skin, before so black and shiny, seemed ashen, as if kept for months without seeing the sun. Even so, it was Elegua, all right. And, by the swaggering, self-assured way he walked to the waiting "stick," his tormentors had been unable to break his spirit.
"Que vola , Quimico, El Toto, El Brujo, Pipo, Abelardo, Bautista, Eno Jue..." he went on greeting his old pals while the escorts tied him to the pole, hands behind his back. Despite the fact that we were witnessing his imminent death, he somehow lifted our despondent mood.
Nobody remembered his true name, not even myself, who had known him from sight from the Instituto del Vedado, where we both were going through senior high school. Women had been, directly and indirectly, Elegua's undoing. He became the boyfriend of a Russian girl, Nadia, who had a mane of honey-colored hair, hazel eyes, and the long graceful neck and the supple beautiful body of a ballet dancer. They formed a dashing couple that elicited either admiration or disapproval from all those who watched them walking hand in hand through Havana streets, evidently so in love. Despite all the regime's double-talk about racial equality, in the Sixties mixed couples were still frowned upon.
The one they irked the most was Nadia's father, a so-called "foreign technician," a Spanish communist who had fled to the Soviet Union in 1939, when the Republic fell. He survived Stalin's purges, almost forgot his own language, and eventually married a Moscow girl much younger than himself. Their only offspring was Nadia, and her father could not bear her liaison to an obydziana---a "monkey," as Blacks were called in Russia. The last straw was Nadia's pregnancy. The old man manifested his displeasure to the Soviet Consulate. The Consulate, in turn, relayed the displeasure to the Cuban "competent organs," and both lovers suddenly disappeared from school.
I never knew what happened to Nadia, but Elegua landed in the UMAP, where he soon ran into further
'He hated everyone, but in particular tall Blacks. The grapevine had it that his wife first cuckolded him with, and later abandoned him for, a handsome six-foot Negro'
trouble. Once more the fates twisted his destiny, this time by putting him in the way of Lieutenant Ballester, bka "Pedro Canon," thus called for his big Colt .45 pistol, which looked even bulkier on his diminutive person, five feet flat standing in his Russian boots. He hated everyone, but in particular tall Blacks. The grapevine had it that his wife first cuckolded him with, and later abandoned him for, a handsome six-foot Negro.
If our life was tough enough, Elegua's was a living hell. First, Pedro Canon managed to transfer him to his own punitive outfit, the so called "Ferrets' Brigade," where those physically unfit or deemed lazy were dumped. They were the first to leave camp to go to work and the last to come back, sometimes to find that there was no food left for them, or no water to wash themselves. Afterward, Pedro Canon coupled Elegua with "Little Bones" Escalante, who was half-dead from an untreated tapeworm, a fact which forced Elegua to cut twice the norm.
Lieutenant Pedro would stand all day long looking venomously at Elegua's sweating back, shouting to him peremptorily at the smallest pretext, real or imagined.
"Elegua, come back here and cut these stumps you left behind!..." "Elegua, this heap doesn't have 25 arrobas, bring over more cane!" "Elegua take all the canteens of the brigade and fill them yonder!" maybe pointing to a peasant house three kilometers away. With those dilatory tactics he ensured that his whipping boy had to go on cutting cane every night. Smoking a large cigar and drinking hot coffee from a thermos, Pedro Canon himself in the meantime sat behind the wheel of a jeep, its lights trained on his drudging, exhausted victim.
Sometimes he would send Escalante out of earshot, but near enough to watch, so he could have a witness if he had to shoot Elegua in "self-defense." With no one else to hear his taunts, Pedro Canon would step up his provocations against Elegua. I guess Pedro Canon was nuts and he drove Elegua crazy, too. When anyone complained to Patifino, he'd answer:
"That'll teach that uppity nigger not to mess with Russian girls!"
The fatal day came when Elegua hit Pedro so fast that Pedro had no time to draw his pistol. The machete embedded itself on the lieutenant's temple. Somehow, Pedro didn't die. Instead, he became a drooling imbecile for the rest of his days. Elegua was tried by a kangaroo court and sentenced to death. And now we were seeing the last chapter of the tragedy.
An unknown Sub-Lieutenant assembled the six men of the firing squad. It was the first time I saw an AKM, the standard issue in the camps being the Czech made M-52, favored for its bayonet that opened like a jackknife, which the guards used to stab the inmates in the buttocks.
"If any of you guys make it to Havana, tell my folks that I go content... Better to go this way than to rot for thirty years in prison... As for Pedro Canon, I don't regret what I did, the bastard was asking for it!" Elegua refused the blindfold and his eyes darted here and there searching ours.
"Looaad..." "Aiiim..." "Fiiire..." The salvo resounded surprisingly loud and we watched in fascination as red spots appeared in the front of the blue denim shirt, and Elegua's body slid slowly down the wooden beam. The aim hadn't been true and had missed the heart. Apparently none of the six soldiers wanted the condemned man's death on his conscience. But all they accomplished was to gutshoot him and prolong his suffering. Pink froth spurted from Elegua's contorted mouth while he tried to articulate something, perhaps a name. The young officer fumbled with his Makarov pistol until he managed to deliver the coup-de-grace.
Incongrously, it was Berrier, our incorrigible clown and jester, who spoke aloud what each and every one of us was thinking. He didn't shout, but his voice carried away in the silence: "You can kill all of us, but we won't work on Sundays!" We were dismissed and returned to our barracks.
"He died like a man," said Lazaro.
"No, he died like a human," corrected El Quimico.
If Elegua's public execution had been intended as a warning and a deterrent against future riots, it backfired miserably. Elegua gave us back the initial courage, momentum and blind rage that the crushing of the mutiny had temporarily taken away from us. The die was cast: we will stick to our demand whatever the consequences. The military seemed to sense our resolution, too, and decided to cut the resistance in the bud by scattering us immediately among the other camps.
That Monday evening we received no supper either, and weren't allowed to use the showers, only the latrines. Those who managed to sleep were awakened at four in the morning by the arrival of a column of Leyland buses. Instead of serving breakfast in the dining hall, it was brought into the barracks: lukewarm Russian powdered milk and a few stale crackers. They started calling names, grouping the inmates and sending them to different destinations under heavy escort.
Later we learned through the all-knowing, ubiquitous grapevine that the ringleaders were taken to "El Pitirre" military prison, in Havana province, to await a court-martial for the manslaughter of Corporal Tony and a likely death sentence. The queers known as compromiso, or "married couples," were separated on purpose, which brought an epidemic of suicides. Most of our officers and NCOs were also dispersed.
Patifino himself landed as an inmate in Guanahacabibes, at the very western tip of the island, in the special concentration camp where high ranking military officers and Party bigshots were sent in utter disgrace. Had he got his way, he would have been hailed as an outstanding officer and stern disciplinarian, and the practice of working Sunday mornings would have spread to all the camps. And maybe soon he would have returned to Juan Almeida's princely court. As it was, he sowed winds and harvested a tempest.
And finally, never again did our captors dare to make us work on Sundays---except when the peasants burned cane fields as sabotage, and then they were careful to give us the next day off. They had lost face enough, and didn't want another showdown. And this was Elegua's legacy to us.##
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