Cuba warns new sanctions could be prelude to invasion

Campaign News | Wednesday, 19 May 2004

Foreign Minister says the US may wish to provoke a migration crisis

Havana, May 18: Cuba has warned that the final objective of the recent US government decision to tighten the blockade against the island may be to provoke a wave of migration in order to justify a military intervention.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday 18 May in Havana, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said the latest measures announced by President Bush seek to strangle the Cuban economy and bring the population to its knees out of hunger and need.

To emphasize the seriousness of the matter, Perez Roque recalled that US officials have said in the past that a spontaneous wave of immigrants from Cuba to the US would be considered a threat to US national security, and that they would act accordingly.

The foreign minister noted that the White House has historically manipulated the issue of bilateral migratory relations, trying to "put more steam in the pressure cooker" to make it explode.

"It does so," said Perez Roque, "by systematically refusing to grant permanent residency visas for Cubans seeking to live in the US, this despite Washington's promise to issue 20,000 such documents per year."

The top Cuban diplomat said the US promotes the very illegal emigration it supposedly wants to avoid.

Under the US Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans risking their lives to reach US territory by sea or air in makeshift or stolen vessels are routinely granted residency.

He further noted that the Bush administration has broken off the twice-a-year talks on migratory issues.

The embargo, the new US sanctions that intensify it and migratory regulations are some of the key agenda items at the Third "Nation and Emigration Conference" to take place May 21-23 at the Havana Convention Center.

Some 200 Cubans residing abroad plan to attend the important event and 140 of those are already in Havana.

Perez Roque said the Conference would be respectful, serious and open between people who love their country.

He said the only people excluded from participation are members of extremist and terrorist groups that back the US blockade against Cuba and other aggressions against our country.

Other agenda topics include Cuban cultural policy and the promotion of Cuban culture abroad by the emigrants, as well as the possibility for them to invest and do business on the island, in abeyance with the foreign investment law.

Perez Roque recalled the many actions of local authorities in the US to normalize relations with Cubans abroad and promote family reunification.

He contrasted those actions with US federal government obstacles, making such relationships increasingly difficult; for example by prohibiting Cubans living in the US from visiting the island more than once every three years and greatly restricting their right to send family remittances.

The foreign minister said that approximately 1.5 million Cuban emigrants or their children live abroad and that of those, 1.3 million live in the US.

This news as reported in Cuba:{780D22C8-625B-45BB-B3FC-A63A0C1E11D3}&language=EN

And in Miami:

Cuban trade unionists reject US plan

Havana, May 17: Some 2.6 million Cuban workers in workplace assemblies throughout the country have rejected recent US measures against the Cuban government, the trade union weekly Trabajadores reported.

Until Friday, when 1.2 million Havana citizens protested in front of the US Interests Section, some 108,000 workplace meetings had manifest support for the government and Cuba?s political and social system -including willingness to defend them with arms-, and rejection of the new Bush strategy against the Revolution.

The central Cuban workers? union (CTC), representing 3.2 million workers, informed that these meetings are continuing this week in Cuban workplaces.

Among the proposed Bush "totally fascist" measures to take effect in June "in an attempt to suffocate and bring our people to their knees," Trabajadores reported the 60 million dollar budget to reinforce radio and television transmissions to Cuba to intensify subversion and disinformation and aid internal and international campaigns against the island.

Other measures are to affect the Cuban economy and cutting visits, spending, and remittances to the Island by Cubans living in the United States to their families.

Washington also intends to apply the 1997 Helms-Burton Act sections applicable to try in US courts citizens of third countries who do business with Cuba, while forbidding foreign investors in Cuba to have visas to enter the United States.

Massive march against the US even impressed the Cubans

Havana, May 15 (Prensa Latina) In an act that even impressed Cubans used to great popular demonstrations in support of their Revolution, the Cuban people expressed their resounding rejection of the new plans of aggression of the United States.

For six hours on May 14, one million 200 thousand people in the march packed the wide avenue of Malecon seafront to a short distance past the Washington Interest Section in Havana.

The massive demonstration was even bigger than most of those when, all across Europe , people raised their voices to protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq by the United States and Britain during in early 2003.

The number, however, may have been insignificant if instead of being only held in the capital and neighboring province of La Habana had the march been extended to the entire Island.

President Fidel Castro, in his speech made reference to this explaining that "the entire brave and heroic people of the Island would want to add their voices here".

The demonstration was even bigger than that of May 1st in Havana.

Then, in the whole country, even before learning of the package of measures by the United States government intended to bring about 'regime change', six million people, out of a pouplation of 11 million expressed their support for the Revolution.

After Fidel's resounding 15 minute speech, the citizens of Havana and many visitors and students from Latin America and Africa, cheered and waved flags in a cry of protest.

The demonstration was so immense that the end was not visible along the main streets leading to the march.

Ninety miles to the North, "across the street" as Cubans say, people must have been amazed to see the greatest example of support of the Revolution in 45 years.

People like President George W. Bush who approved the measures of the Report of the Commission of Assistance for a Free Cuba, who thought that the measures were for an "oppressed people, desirous of freedom" could not have imagined the response of the Cuban people, Fidel Castro said.

"It is a mistake to completely ignore the dignity of a people who have resisted hostility, blockade and aggression of the most powerful nation in the World for 44 years", he added.

"It is unthinkable that any repression could call more than a million people and force them to march and protest against what they do not want representing a hope of freedom. But that is not the case.

"Just and truly human ideas throughout history have demonstrated to be more powerful than force; more powerful than the intentions that are in despicable ruins and are expression of the brilliant ideals that no one can put out", the head of state stressed in conclusion of his brief and forceful speech.

Latin Anmerican Press recognises importance

Rio de Janeiro, May 15 (Prensa Latina) The front page of Jornal do Brazil ran a large photograph of the Havana Malecon, packed with a multitude of people that is a demonstration of the unprecedented repercussion here of the Cuban anti-Bush march.

The paper, with a banner reading "Fidelidade" (a play on words that also means fidelity) and many other Brazilian newspapers dedicated great front page space to the demonstration yesterday against the anti-Cuban measures adopted by the US president.

Folha de Sao Paulo highlights Fidel leads mega-protest against the US and includes a similar photograph while O Globo headlines: "A million Cubans in the streets against the US" and "For Fidel, Bush cannot speak of freedom", with a large view of the popular march.

The front page of the Agencia Estado leads with Fidel, with a million persons in the streets against Bush that was also reported in prime time in different channels with images of the gigantic march in the Cuban capital.

For their part, Colombian press continued to report the march on Saturday.

The daily, El Pais reported that the march led by President Fidel Castro in front of the US Interest Section in Havana, lasted six hours, and stated that it was one of the largest demonstrations in Cuba in the past years.

El Tiempo newspaper of national circulation reported that a million and a half Cubans marched for six hours in a virtual human sea that swamped the Havana Malecon.

Radio and Television stations included reports of the demonstrations in Havana and the words of Fidel Castro.

In Montevideo, Uruguay, all the radio and televisions news reports included stories of millionaire march of the Cuban people led by President Fidel Castro against the measures announced by the United States.

"Fidel accuses Bush and insists in will die fighting for Cuba" is the lead today of a report in the La Republica daily that includes a photograph of the Cuban leader.

or its part, the conservative daily, El Observador, published an image of the march and part of the speech of Fidel Castro.

Cuba showed the world today that the people are with the Revolution, said the leader of the Uruguayan workers union (PIT-CNT), Juan Castillo told the local press.

For their part, morning news reports of the most important television stations such as 1410 AM, Radio Carve, El Espectador,CX 30 nacional and CX 36 Centenario widely covered the protest march in Havana as well as prime time news reports in Channels 10 and four and Channel Vasco.

In the US, the Daily news La Opinion of Los Angeles, on Saturday highlighted the march on its front page.

Under the title More than One Million Cuban People against Bush the tabloid noted that "a human tide marched for almost six hours in front of the headquarter of US Interest Office" condemning a plan of measures broadcast last week in Washington that arouse the indignation of Cuban people and government.

La Opinion reproduced the denunciations against the US chief of State by Cuban president Fidel Castro: "You have neither moral nor any right to talk about liberty, democracy and human rights when you have enough power to destroy humanity and also tries to impose a world tyranny."

With a photo of the large-scale march in Havana's Malecon (seawall,) US television NBC website reported on the Cuban rejection to the US aggressive policies against the Island.

The report mentioned how before starting the mass protest, President Fidel Castro denounced the "cruel and brutal" character of the measures adopted by Washington to try to asphyxiate Cuban economy, in the attempt to change its economic and social system.

It stated the President spoke to thousands of Cubans and made emphasis in reaffirming the nation's disposition to defend the national sovereignty with "every last drop of blood."

It quoted Fidel Castro's Proclamation, addressed to President George W. Bush, in which he said Cuba will resist the US pressure and even a military aggression.

"My only regret is that I won't be able to see your face because you will be thousands of miles away while I will be in the front lines fighting alongside my people," the NBC article quoted.

The long report, signed by Havana-based news producer Mary Murray, reproduced the comments by a young Cuban professional who asked: Who is Bush to decide who belongs to my family?

The outrage is a result from the measures adopted by the White House to restrict visit permissions to US-based Cubans to only one every three years, as well as to ban remittances and visits for non-immediate relatives.

In Spain, the massive combative march of the Cuban people against the new aggressive measures of the United Status and the speech delivered by Fidel Castro, occupied the main news spaces in Spain.

Channel Telecinco, of the widest television audience in the country, dedicated 3 minutes of its prime time news report to broadcast an objective and ample report on the event. The television station transmitted images of the resounding demonstration and acknowledge the magnitude of the act in which the entire population of Havana took to the streets to protest the escalade of aggression by the White House.

Europa Press, for its part, that delivers press service to news media in and outside Spain, issued numerous reports of the march. It informed that the gigantic demonstrations of more than a million Cubans swamped the center of the Capital to protest in front of the US Interest Section in Havana.

Also, the digital pages of the main national newspapers such as El Pais, El Mundo, ABC, 5 Dias, La Razon and almost all of the regional media gave widespread information on the event on the Havana seaside promenade and the main contents of the speech delivered by Fidel Castro.

The daily Rebellion published the complete text of the words by the Cuban leader with photographs of the massive march that lasted six hours.

Cuban coverage:

Image gallery:{DC003C21-C7C5-4C1A-9255-43160EF7FA4E}&language=EN

Reuters coverage:

For a full explanation of the Bush plan and other information on the US blockade visit:

| top | back | home |
Share on FacebookTweet this