Campaign News | Thursday, 8 January 2004

Editorial from Granma


The behavior of some U. S. government officials makes one feel sorry for them. There is a swarm of liars running around in the top echelons of power who rarely say anything serious or come close to the truth.

Barely 48 hour ago, according to various reports from Washington-based press agencies, “The U.S. Under Secretary of State for Hemispheric affairs, Mr. Roger Noriega, criticized Cuba for supporting destabilizing elements in several democratic countries in the Americas”. “He said that his country and some of its neighbors are keeping a close eye on what the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro is doing in ‘his latest ventures’”. ”He indicated that the United States has its own information about, ‘for example, Cuba’s involvement in supporting elements in several countries that want to destabilize democratic governments’”.

“It is clear that Fidel Castro’s actions have attracted the attention of Latin American leaders’ Noriega said, referring to these actions as “increasingly provocative” for the inter-American community and to which the United States has responded with explicit support to countries allegedly affected by these acts, such as Bolivia’”.

One of the cables went on to say that according to Noriega, Castro ‘is trying to take advantage of the situation’ adding that ‘he is consciously and destructively fomenting discord and discontent’ and is making democratically elected governments vulnerable”.

This Mr. Noriega, a hypocritical and mediocre type was one of those chiefly responsible for drafting and promoting the anti Cuban Helms-Burton Acts. He is a bosom friend of the Miami Cuban American terrorist mob. He was given his current position as undersecretary when the Senate refused to allow the job to be given to the bandit Otto Reich, whose terrorist past history in the dirty war in Nicaragua is common knowledge.

Noriega’s declaration, made almost immediately after a State Department spokesperson announced that migration talks were being suspended, using as an excuse the fact that Cuba would not acquiesce to some absurd unacceptable demands, shows that this is a well thought out act of provocation with dubious motives connected with November’s elections; the supporters of this administration hope to ensure that they win these, even at the cost of provoking a conflict —any will do.

It can be shown that Noriega’s statements are barefaced lies, as usual.

Where did he get the idea that Cuba has adopted a provocative stance aimed at destabilizing Latin America? With the exception of the contemptible cry baby who governs Uruguay, an abject United States lackey and “the breath of fresh air”—as Mr. Bush so poetically referred to the person who governs El Salvador where Posada Carriles, following orders from Miami, organized the terrorist actions against Cuban hotels and cooked up the attempt on the life of the president of the Cuban State Council— the government of our country maintains normal, respectful diplomatic relations with every other country in our region. None of them has complained or uttered a single word about plans supposedly hatched by Cuba to destabilize their governments.

Our relations with diverse Latin American and Caribbean political trends are absolutely legal, normal and public. Many events, sponsored by institutions and centers of a political, social, educational, cultural, scientific and economic nature, are held every year in full view of the domestic and international press.

What does destabilize mean? Sending thousands of doctors to collaborate with governments in giving care to the poorest and most needy? Have we by any chance destabilized Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Belize, Paraguay and various other countries in the Caribbean, Central or South America? Could it be that destabilize means sending 15,000 Cuban doctors to 64 countries where millions of people are given medical care and tens of thousands of lives are saved? Since when has promoting literacy campaigns that use new modern and highly effective methods meant destabilizing democratic regimes anywhere in the world? How can anyone call giving scholarships to study in our universities to 12,000 Third World youths a subversive action? Isn’t it somewhat stupid to label as subversive the efforts of thousands of sports instructors who are promoting the most wholesome of activities which helps to reduce crime, drug use and make millions of young people healthier. Since when is to promote education and culture to destabilize nations?

After Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America, didn’t we offer to send doctors who saved the same number of lives each year as were lost during the hurricane, and also all the scholarships they needed to train young men and women from those countries so that in the future they could do the job that our doctors were doing? Could anyone in his right mind say that this was an attempt to destabilize democracy in Central America, at a time when we didn’t even have diplomatic relations with some of the countries there? Why deny that Cuba has given emergency aid, with no exceptions, whenever there is a natural disaster, sometimes these were in Latin American countries, but also in other parts of the world? Why not remember that, in 1970, when there was a terrible earthquake in Peru that left more than 50,000 dead, the people of Cuba sent 100,000 blood donations, built hospitals and supplied medicines? Why not also acknowledge that when the Uruguayan people fell victim to a serious cerebrospinal meningitis epidemic, Cuba, the only country making a suitable vaccine, sent millions of doses to protect the lives of Uruguayan children, even when their government, apprised of the existence of this vaccine, did not want to purchase it precisely because it was Cuban?

And these are not the only examples. The Cuban authorities did not hesitate in sending human and material resources which were a decisive factor in eradicating the disease when El Salvador was in the grips of a serious dengue epidemic, even though its government was a bitter enemy of Cuba, a haven for terrorists and a center of operations from which gross crimes against our people were launched. A similar spirit of cooperation was to be seen there a short time afterwards when a devastating earthquake racked this sister nation.

So what’s all this meanness about now? It has a history and it can be explained.

In his cynical January 6 denunciation, Mr. Noriega made special mention of Venezuela, pointing to it as one of Cuba’s partners in the destabilizing efforts because of our support for the health, education, cultural, athletic, social work and other programs that the Bolivarian process is undertaking for the benefit of the Venezuelan people; our country has accumulated some experience in these areas which it has placed at the service of the Third World nations. We have given thousands of scholarships to young Venezuelans to study medicine, sports, social work, technical training and have offered whatever forms of technical or social cooperation as we are asked for.

In the eyes of the Cuban people, president Chávez embodies the ideas and the Bolivarian spirit of independence, unity and patriotism of the Latin American peoples who share ethnic origins, culture, religion and language much more than any other group of countries in the world. They have the right and duty to unite, not only for economic reasons, but also for their very survival. Cuba supports this right with all its might.

Mr. Noriega’s insolent, threatening rant on January 6 has its roots in the statements which Mr. Otto Reich, ambassador extraordinary to Latin America had made two weeks earlier, on December 19 and which were published in a cable that read: “Otto Reich acknowledged today that the continent ‘is not in good shape’ and pointed to Venezuela as the country facing the ‘gravest crisis’”, before going on to say: “’Unless the two parts calm down, there could be a problem’. He also said that the United States is “really worried by constant reports that there are Cuban agents in Venezuela’”.

“He said —according to the wire service report— that ’according to many people in Venezuela’, they had received reports that ‘there are hundreds, if not thousands of Cubans of military age and aspect in Venezuela’”.

“’Chávez has the force of arms and he is also the constitutional president’ but ‘ all the polls we have seen indicate that two thirds of the population is against Chávez and they also have the force of the constitution and of the referendum’.

“He added that, according to his sources, ‘there are more than three and possibly up to four million valid signatures in favor of going ahead with the referendum against Hugo Chávez.

“’All the Inter-American community has the responsibility to accompany the Venezuelan people in this challenge for democracy and against a possible trick by whosoever tries to prevent Venezuelan law from being upheld’”, he added.

“Reich said that the United States ‘along with all its friends in the hemisphere, is keeping a close eye on what is happening in Venezuela’”. The people of military age and aspect were the Cuban doctors, 52.4 percent of whom are women.

It is very obvious that the most extremist group in the U. S. government realizes that the regime of exploitation and savage looting Latin American peoples have been subjected to can no longer be sustained nor put up with.

If the United States has it own information about Cuba’s involvement in supporting elements who are trying to destabilize democratic governments in several countries, why doesn’t he give specific details? Why doesn’t he say where, when and how these actions came about, in which countries? What did Cuba do in Bolivia that caused the social turmoil that took place there? Who is trying to take advantage of the situation? Who is to blame for the swollen rivers that most of the countries in this region have become as the result of a huge and insuperable foreign debt, constant pillaging, poverty, unemployment, hunger, the sorry state of health and education and the demands of the International Monetary Fund?

Why doesn’t that fool Noriega say a word about the FTAA, in other words, the annexation they are trying to force on Latin American and Caribbean nations? Who installed neoliberal globalization? Who shoved forced privatization of resources and assets down the throats of the helpless peoples of this continent? Who sells weapons instead of educational materials? Who sends young Latin Americans as cannon fodder to die on the sands of Iraq? What need does Cuba have to fish in troubled waters if the very troubled rivers have swollen and are threatening to sweep away all the rottenness and the injustices they have suffered for centuries?

New, vulgar lies:

“…’some sources’ are aware of ‘a group of disturbances with Cuban involvement’…’it is very clear that (Castro) is increasingly active in the region.’”

Of course, Mr. Noriega, things are changing. Fewer and fewer people believe in your traditional fictions, the peoples are less willing to put up with it all. The Cuban president is invited when new governments take office and to other functions. He was able to go when new governments were inaugurated in Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay. With a heavy heart he had to decline invitations to other government inaugurations and important events because we in Cuba need to work hard and travel is expensive and complicated because of the plans that you, your government and its terrorist mob cook up to kill him. We understand that so many failed attempts must be very frustrating for all of you.

“It is very clear that (Castro) is increasingly active in the region”, you said, and that ”this caused great concern among Latin American leaders”.

Why don’t you say who these leaders are, why do you take it upon yourself to speak for them, why do you try to make them seem envious and cowardly? There have never been hostile looks nor disgruntled faces from most of those whom our president meets when he attends the ceremonies mentioned above, apart from the exceptions we talked of, to whom he is indifferent. He is always treated with respect, in spite of the fact that, in some cases, which grow increasingly less common, there are profound ideological differences. It is common knowledge that the people in the countries he visits enthusiastically show their affection and admiration for the President of the Cuban State Council. It is not in vain that the Cuban people and their leaders have gone through very difficult trials and have never yielded to the unjust actions, aggressions and threats of the most powerful nation that has ever existed.

The anger and hatred that drips from Mr. Noriega’s deliberately untrue words is understandable, because he knows that, dead or alive, Castro’s memory will follow him like a ghost, following his insulting and amazingly mediocre lies and the usual bully threats that he spewed forth at him:

“’It must be quite obvious to Fidel Castro that his acts have attracted the attention of Latin American leaders and that his efforts to destabilize Latin America are increasingly provoking to the Inter-American community, including the United States’”. “’Those who continue to destabilize democratically elected governments by intervening in the internal affairs of other governments are playing with fire’”. What does playing with fire mean?

You don’t have the what it takes to intimidate any Cuban patriot. You speak the way you do without committing a drop of your own blood but only that of young officers and soldiers of the U.S. armed forces.

You said that both ”your country and other neighbors are closely following what the Cuban leader does in his latest ventures” that he is “ on his last legs and feels a little nostalgic for the days when he had an important role to play in the Americas”. You lie. If you really believed that you would not be so alarmed by the alleged destabilization plan.

We should also ask you: Has Mr. Bush already given the order to eliminate the Cuban president extrajudicially?

When Mr. Noriega made these pronouncements he not only attacked and threatened Cuba but he also tried to tell off Argentinean president, Néstor Kirchner —a man who indisputably drips dignity from every pore— and wanted to order him to immediately pay $21 billion of his foreign debt: furious with foreign minister Bielsa he declared himself to be dismayed that the minister had not met with the United States’ paid agents when he visited Havana. What an imperial arrogance!

He didn’t refrain from intervening in Venezuela’s internal affairs, either. He accused President Chávez of being Cuba’s accomplice in its destabilizing efforts in Latin America. He urged him to respect the rules in place for a possible referendum revoking his mandate. He not only took over the role of the Venezuelan National Electoral Council, but he also certified the number of signatures collected against Chávez and gave strong support to those behind the April 11, 2002 military coup and the oil coup of the following December and January.

We are quite familiar with Mr. Noriega’s ideas, and those of others of his ilk, which are all for murdering Cuban doctors in Venezuela, with the help of Colombian paramilitary soldiers, to teach them a lesson and make them withdraw their cooperation from the wonderful health plans which the Bolivarian government is implementing in its Into the neighborhoods! (Barrio adentro) program, under which more than 12.5 million poor Venezuelans are receiving medical care.

We have made it known that for every doctor, teaching or athletic cooperant who falls, there are many ready and willing to take their place. All responsibility will lie with the government of the United States.

Those who think the Cuban people could ever be intimidated are defeated before they even begin!

January 8 2004

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