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by Walter Lippmann
Friday, Apr. 29, 2005 at 5:12 PM
The struggle over John Bolton's confirmation, the presence of Cuban Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in the United States, and a successful effort to lobby the US congress to end travel and trade restrictions against US citizens and businesses who wish to engage in normal commerce with Cuba
JOHN BOLTON, POSADA CARRILES, CUBA ACTION DAY and MORE!
by Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
There's so much going on now related to Cuba that it's
difficult to keep all of the pieces in focus. Bear with
me, here are some of the main ones and I'm sure there
are others which could just as well be included. We can
perhaps say "a specter is haunting Washington", that of
the Cuban Revolution, which is involved in or related to
a massive array of events, issues and struggle which are
all going on at this moment.
Yesterday, Wednesday May 27, 2005, was Cuba Action Day in
Washington, D.C. An estimated seven hundred people joined
to lobby US congress members of both the Senate and the
House of Representatives. Those who weren't able to go to
Washington were able to phone in, as I did, and speak to
staffers at the offices of my Representative and both of my
Senators. The activity, coordinated by the Latin American
Working Group and others, and led by the tireless Mavis
Anderson and Phillip Schmidt got decent press in at least a
few places, like the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel.
Mavis Anderson sent out a great report about the day's
achievements. Read that here:
A new coalition in favor of ending the travel and trade
restrictions and moving toward normalized relations was
announced, headed by Kirby Jones. We've sent out their news
release. It's an important initiative which is being led by
corporations who want to do more business with Cuba. From
the Cuban side, Pedro Alvarez, the head of Alimport, the
Cuban entity which is responsible for all foreign
agricultural trade contracts was present via a telephone
hookup. Read their news release here:
On the opposite side, the rightist Cuban exiles have been
working hard to shore up support for keeping the blockade.
A group in Congress announced formation of a caucus devoted
to this purpose. A motion was passed in the House, by a
vote of 398-27 demanding that the European Union attack
Cuba. While the EU's hostility toward Cuba has been clear
in recent weeks, they may not appreciate being told what to
do by the United States Congress so we'll have to wait and
see what, if anything, comes of that.
The Wall Street Journal is on the rampage in favor of John
Bolton as well. There are three separate articles about
him today, including an editorial. The Los Angeles Times,
hedging its bets I suppose, has an editorial attacking him
and a column endorsing him, and the links to his positions
and allegations about Cuba are a connecting thread.
The Bush administration, in its relentless campaign against
Cuba, chose to intervene in Cuba Action Day in its own way,
by issuing yet another attack in Cuba. This took the form
of repeating the same allegations on Cuba and terrorism
which we've been hearing from them for quite awhile,
particularly from John Bolton. The main report issue is
137 pages long and includes the following few paragraphs:
UNITED STATES STATE DEPARTMENT
OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM
COUNTRY REPORTS ON TERRORISM 2004
EXCERPTS ON Cuba from this massive report:
Cuba Throughout 2004, Cuba continued to actively oppose the
US-led coalition prosecuting the global war on terrorism.
Cuba continues to maintain at the UN and other fora that
acts by legitimate national liberation movements cannot be
defined as terrorism, and has sought to characterize as
“legitimate national liberation movements” a number of
groups that intentionally target innocent civilians to
advance their political, religious, or social agendas. The
Notably, 2004 was marked by progress in decreasing the
threat from states that sponsor terrorism. Iraq’s
designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was formally
rescinded in October 2004. Libya and Sudan took significant
steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism.
Unfortunately, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and, in
particular, Iran continue to embrace terrorism as an
instrument of policy. Most worrisome is that these
countries also have the capabilities to manufacture weapons
of mass destruction and other destabilizing technologies
that could fall into the hands of terrorists. Iran and
Syria are of special concern for their direct, open, and
prominent role in supporting Hizballah and Palestinian
terrorist groups, for their unhelpful actions in Iraq, and
Iran’s unwillingness to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida
members it detained in 2003.
Shortly before leaving office in September 2004, President
Moscoso pardoned four foreigners arrested in 2000 and
jailed for illegal possession of explosives. The Government
of Cuba alleged that the suspects were plotting to kill
Fidel Castro, who was attending the Ibero-American summit
in Panama, and sought their extradition. Panama refused, on
grounds that they would not be accorded a fair trial in
Cuba. Upon their release, the Cuban Government suspended
diplomatic relations with Panama. Relations were later
State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview Iraq, as it
transitioned to democracy, ceased to support terrorism and
its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was
rescinded in October 2004. Libya and Sudan took significant
steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism in 2004.
Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria, however, continued to
maintain their ties to terrorism. Although some countries
in this latter group have taken steps to improve
cooperation with global counterterrorism efforts in some
areas, all have also continued the actions that led them to
be designated as state sponsors.
Cuban Government claims, despite the absence of evidence,
that it is a principal victim of terrorism sponsored by
Cuban-Americans in the United States. The Cuban
Government’s actions and public statements run contrary to
the spirit of the UN conventions on terrorism that it has
In 2004, Cuba continued to provide limited support to
designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as
safehaven for terrorists. The Cuban Government refuses to
turn over suspected terrorists to countries that have
charged them with terrorist acts, alleging that the
receiving government would not provide a fair trial on
charges that are “political.” Havana permitted various ETA
members to reside in Cuba, despite a November 2003 public
request from the Spanish Government to deny them sanctuary,
and provided safehaven and some degree of support to
members of the Colombian FARC and ELN guerilla groups.
Many of the over seventy fugitives from US justice that
have taken refuge on the island are accused of committing
violent acts in the Unites States that targeted innocents
in order to advance political causes. They include Joanne
Chesimard, who is wanted for the murder of a New Jersey
State Trooper in 1973. On a few rare occasions the Cuban
government has transferred fugitives to the United States,
although it maintains that fugitives would not receive a
fair trial in the United States. FULL DOCUMENT HERE:
The State Department held a special press conference to
announce this new terrorism report which included this:
In the report you say that Cuba, North Korea, and Syria
have the capacity to manufacture weapons of mass
destruction. And I wonder if you could elaborate on Cuba.
How can Cuba -- I mean, in what way or --?
MR. ZELIKOW: If you expect me to walk into the minefield of
discussing the Cuban biological weapons program, I'm going
to disappoint you. (Laughter.) However --
MR. ZELIKOW: No. The Cuban Government has the capability to
manufacture some weapons of mass destruction. The U.S.
Government has discussed what those capabilities are in
other settings and I don't want to get into that here. The
same is true for Syria and the other countries we named.
What we're focusing on here principally is less what is the
WMD capability of the states, is simply what is the role of
those states in state sponsorship of terrorism. And then
please look at that against the background of what we have
already said publicly about the capabilities of those
states in the WMD world. And then you can draw some
inferences about whether that's disturbing or not.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has been traveling around
in Latin America. She's been attacking Cuba in front of many
different audiences, but we don't have any indication that
there has been any positive response to what she's been
saying by people like Lula. Indeed, Brazil's relationship
with Cuba is getting closer with the news that the Brazilian
state oil company Petrobras (they aren't privatizing such
things in Brazil, Condi!) will be joining the Venezuelan
PDVSA to engage in more oil explorations off Cuba's shores.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is visit Cuba again and
today he met with Fidel to open the new offices of PDVSA,
the Venezuelan oil company which will also be exploring for
oil and working on refining capacity as well with Cuba. And
these are in addition to a Venezuelan-Cuban trade fare which
is in progress. If you haven't had the time to look at the
important agreements which Fidel and Chavez signed when the
Venezuelan president visited Cuba in December, you should.
Cuba and Venezuela are moving closer and closer economically.
The island has opened up opportunities for investment from
Venezuela's private sector at strikingly favorable terms:
Thanks to our indefatigable translator Ana Portela we now have
the text of the speeches given by Elian Gonzalez and his father
Juan Miguel Gonzalez, at that at Cuban rally celebrating the
5th anniversary of Elian's rescue. Soon we'll have the rest of
the speeches at that event. Fidel Castro attended but he was
not one of the speakers.
We also have several other new translations to share with
CubaNews readers, including articles on Liberation Theology
and on the new and old popes by Frei Betto and Leonardo Boff.
Thanks to author Michael Munk, we have his review of Piero
Gliejes's CONFLICTING MISSIONS which was published in the
April 2005 issue of SCIENCE & SOCIETY magazine. Read that:
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