Cuba supporters respond to Times slurs

Campaign News | Sunday, 13 January 2008

ACTIVISTS have taken The Times to task over a viciously anti-Cuban article carried in the Murdoch-owned newspaper.

Members of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s Press Action Network responded within 24 hours of the article appearing in print.

Several responses to the piece written by Oliver Kamm, a Times opinion writer, have already appeared on the publication’s website. The article, “Good Riddance to Castro. But What Comes Next?", was published on Wednesday, January 9.

Kamm, founded hedge fund and financial services group WMG. His latest book is “Anti-Totalitarianism: the Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy”.

Kamm’s call for pressure to be exerted by Britain on the European Union in order to effect change in Cuba is worrying. That is because the article seems to be timed to influence the upcoming debate about the Annual EU Review of the Common Position towards Cuba.

“Our Government ought to be urging a common approach among the EU, the US and the Organisation of American States."

He goes on to call the US blockade policies "discredited" but attacks the Spanish Government who have begun a process of 'normalising' their relations with Cuba.

Kamm also manages to blame Fidel Castro for Cuba's economic problems, chosing to ignore the disastrous effects of the US blockade. “Castro's legacy is a stagnating, dysfunctional one-party state,”

Kamm continues in a similar vein, stating that “there is less than meets the eye” in Cuba’s welfare services - without saying why - before labelling the economy “scelortic” and attacking Castro for being “more than anyone” the man who nearly brought the world to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.

In response to the article CSC called on members of the Press Action Network to contact the newspaper with letters and emails of protest. Just a few of the comments posted by members include:

Mike from Watford, wrote: “Unlike Oliver Kamm, I admire Castro. He has demonstrated that an alternative model of development emphasising health and education on an equal basis for all citizens, so different to the model forced upon most poor countries by the USA, the World Bank and the IMF..."

Kevin, from Glasgow, added: “The US blockade, which is not "misconceived" but in fact illegal, should have crippled Cuba by now given the amount it directly costs their economy, but it has not. In fact, the BBC recently aired a documentary commending the Cuban healthcare system."

Roger, from Wales, wrote: “I hope no one gets taken in by the US demonisation of Castro's Cuba. As someone who has regularly visited Cuba and lived their for a year it is not perfect, but not represive. We should be looking to follow Spain's lead and have constructive relations, not the failed isolation and aggressive ones adopted by the US.”

Robert, from London, wrote: “Cuba’s economy's growing fast and isn't just based on tourism and Venezuelan subsidies! What about healthcare, biotechnology, Chinese investment in nickel etc? Now oil has been discovered too!”

Rob Miller, CSC’s Director, said: “Britain has constructive relations with Cuba and politicians should strive to improve them - following the lead of countries like Spain - rather than pursue the outdated policies of aggression suggested by Kamm. I want to thank all those who have written to The Times in order to set the record straight"

People are urged to join the Press Action Network which is a vitally important tool in the campaign against the blockade and in defence of Cuba's right to determine its own future free from outside aggression.

ÿ To read the article in full:

ÿ To join CSC’s Press Action Network simply send your name and email address to and state that you wish to be added to the list.

ÿ To see the recent Guardian article on Leonard Weinglass and the Miami Five:

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