MPs hit back at Bush's call for military coup

Campaign News | Friday, 26 October 2007

By Tom Mellen, Morning Star


LABOUR MPs and solidarity activists urged ministers to promote constructive co-operation with Cuba on Thursday after US President George W Bush called for a military coup against the socialist government.

Mr Bush made a direct appeal to Cuba's armed forces to act against Havana on Wednesday night.

He declared that "the operative word in our future dealings with Cuba is not 'stability' - the operative word is 'freedom'."

Ian Gibson MP, the chairman of the all-party group on Cuba, insisted that the aggressive interventionist foreign policies of the US were "not appropriate in Iraq and they are not appropriate for Cuba.

"The US must stop attempting to undermine the sovereignty of nation states and recognise the important strategic role Cuba now holds in Latin America," he declared.

"We must promote stability through engagement and leave behind these US bullying tactics."

Colin Burgon MP pointed out that Mr Bush's latest meddling "is tantamount to calling for a coup against a sovereign state.

"It is time for our government to state publicly that it cannot be acceptable for the US to dictate affairs in other countries and to remind our special friend of the UN charter," he said, branding US "arrogance" as "both worrying and lamentable."

The lame-duck President Bush trumpeted a number of bellicose measures against Havana, pre-empting a UN vote next week which is expected to denounce the illegal 47-year-old US blockade of the island.

He urged Congress to express "support and solidarity" for "freedom" by maintaining the blockade.

Last year, 183 countries voted against the policy at the UN and just four voted to support it.

Cuba Solidarity Campaign director Rob Miller urged ministers to "make it clear that engagement is a far better policy than aggression, intervention, destabilisation and conflict."

And Communist Party of Britain general secretary Rob Griffiths pointed out that "the history of Latin America is awash with bloody military coups sponsored by the US.

"The world would be a safer place if the number one state terrorist, Bush, kept his mouth closed. The British government must disassociate itself from this warmongering outburst," Mr Griffiths insisted.

Mr Bush also called for the establishment of a "freedom fund for Cuba, to give Cuban entrepreneurs access to grants, and loans and debt relief to help rebuild their country."

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque retorted that thousands of Cubans would take up arms against any US attempt to overthrow their socialist system.

"We react with indignation but with serenity - we don't threaten, we prepare," Mr Perez affirmed.

Analysts say that the Bush administration has been left clutching at straws since the successful leadership transition in Cuba.

Lexington Institute vice-president Phil Peters, a former aide in the Reagan and Bush senior administrations, observed that the US government "is trying to claw its way back into the Cuba debate.

"I think the rest of the world is engaged with Cuba, probing to see how Raul Castro is going to govern the island," he said, arguing that the Bush administration "has been sidelined."

Vicki Huddleston, who was top US diplomat in Havana under Mr Bush and Bill Clinton, said that continuing to isolate Cuba would not work.

"Fidel will probably be around to celebrate, having outmanoeuvred two Bush administrations and 10 US presidents," she moaned.

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