Cuba rejects US bioweapons charge
Campaign News | Thursday, 1 April 2004
They are looking for a pretext to invade, says Foreign Minister
HAVANA April 1st: Cuba has rejected a renewed accusation by a senior US official that it is developing biological weapons and said the charges were an attempt to seek a pretext to invade the island.
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque called a news conference to deny the latest charge by John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security in the Bush administration, who made a similar accusation in 2002 and 2003.
Bolton told Congress in written testimony on March 31 that Cuba remains a "terrorist and (biological weapons) threat to the United States."
"I believe the case for the existence of a developmental Cuba (biological weapons) effort is strong," Bolton said in a 25-page statement to the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee.
Cuba has one of the most advanced biotech industries in Latin America, but insists research is solely dedicated to medical uses. It has research accords with a number of countries, including Iran.
At a special conference in London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs on March 18th, Dr Augustin Lage, head of Cuba’s molecular research centre went to great lengths to explain the true nature of Cuba’s biotech. He called the accusations ridiculous and politically motivated.
Dr Lage’s views were reiterated by Foreign Minister Roque:
"Mr. Bolton either suffers from schizophrenia, a permanent obsession with Cuba or doesn't have an ounce of shame," the Cuban foreign minister said.
"U.S. public opinion knows that our country has rejected the accusations that we produce violent weapons or conduct research on biological arms, that all this is false."
Bolton first accused Cuba of biological weapons research in 2002, on the eve of a visit to the island by former US President Jimmy Carter.
Carter disputed the accusations in a statement he read out during a visit to Havana's Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, where he said there had been no mention of the matter during briefings in Washington prior to his trip.
"Bolton is only trying to present pretexts and justifications for a military attack on our country," Perez Roque said.