Bush plans to use governments and NGOs to isolate Cuba

Campaign News | Sunday, 1 August 2004

State Department to allocate $5 million to anti-Cuba campaigns

BY IVAN TERRERO of Granma International

Havana August 10: US President George W. Bush has admitted that he is to use non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and third country governments to isolate and condemn Cuba.

The first chapter of the report published by the current White House resident’s so-called Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba projects actions aimed directly at eroding the image of the Cuban Revolution and its leaders, and deploying the public diplomacy departments of U.S. embassies throughout the world to this end.

The above-mentioned document recommends that the U.S. government allocate $5 million to instigate initiatives such as organizing conferences and media campaigns on a global basis, collecting “small funds,” and various other efforts oriented towards isolating Cuba, stimulating internal subversion and accelerating the so-called “process of transition to democracy.”

Likewise, the creators of this monster project suggest that a species of international solidarity campaign be promoted, in which third-country governments and NGOs would be encouraged and stimulated to establish direct relations with the “internal and external opposition” groups, coordinate legislative and political action with the aim of condemning the “Castro regime,” and at the same time, pressure to promote changes and initiate actions in their legislatures such as hearings and declarations.

However, the first chapter of this anti-Cuban monstrosity is not confined to the above. It also includes a plan for fabricating information materials on the “violations of labor rights in Cuba” for presenting at regional meetings on this issue and at the International Labor Organization conference that they consider appropriate.

To this is added the intention of distributing at such events a pamphlet by the U.S. State Department titled “The dream postponed: fear and freedom in Fidel’s Cuba.”

On the same subject, the report adds the idea of contacting and urging trade unions in third countries to address the issue of “the continuous violations of workers’ rights in Cuba” in the aforementioned regional gatherings.

It would also be unforgivable for the masterminds of this “clone” (which is destined, after all, to not survive, given such an aberrant genetic manipulation) to forget to use the tool most resorted to during the history of U.S. aggression against Cuba: the highly praised and extremely well-known Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR).

A section specially dedicated to this so-called commission urges the funding of NGO projects aimed at “helping” Cuban citizens to gain access to the ICHR. It also offers “training” for “human rights activists” to collect and prepare information for presenting examples of human rights violations before the commission, with the aim of composing a condemnatory record on Cuba to present to international organizations.

All of this is simply the latest escalation of political hostility by the White House, led by George W. Bush, advocating once again the destruction of the Cuban nation and the reestablishment of U.S. neo-colonial domination in Cuba, after the president approved a set of measures on May 14 directed at tightening the blockade imposed on the island for more than four decades.

If we stop to meticulously read the close to 500 pages of this report (which went into effect last June 30), we will find nothing more than a compliment of the interventionist and brutal Helms-Burton Act approved by the U.S. Congress in 1996, in spite of the fact that the senators and representatives who voted for it did not study its contents or even read it.

In addition, it is perfectly clear that the spirit and letter of this hideous new anti-Cuban project are products of the same authors who eight years ago formulated what Cubans would hasten to call the Slave Law, given that the similarities in content and intention of both documents bear their authors’ marks.

The new initiative by the Bush administration and its acolytes in the Cuban mafia established in Miami shows the president’s total disdain for international law, as well as his desire to unilaterally impose his imperial edicts on the rest of the world.

In fact, no few analysts - including in the United States itself - believe that this aggressive policy towards on the Cuban nation is completely erroneous, and unite with those all over the world who believe it could cost the president dearly in his aspirations for reelection this November.


Spain favours shift in EU policy towards Cuba

But intention is still linked to human rights

MADRID Aug 10: The Spanish government is proposing that the European Union (EU) reconsider the diplomatic sanctions imposed on Cuba last year following the arrest of 75 anti-government activists and the execution of three hijackers.

"Spain is in touch with the Cuban authorities and with its EU partners to examine the current state of relations and their possible evolution", said Spain's Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos.

However, such a review is likely to fail unless the EU can find a way out of linking its policy to 'improvements' in alleged human rights abuses in the island.

During Mr Moratino's comments - made during a recent visit to Colombia - he welcomed the release from custody of economist Marta Beatriz Roque, who was jailed for 20 years last year for conspiring with the US against the Cuban government.

Madrid is reportedly still in agreement with the "Common Position on Cuba" adopted in 1996, which links relations with Cuba to democratic reforms. But the government does favour maintaining dialogue with Havana and regards the freezing the contacts between European Embassies in Havana and government officials as unhelpful.

It also favours a rethink of the policy of inviting anti-government activists to Embassy receptions in Havana. Not only does this result in Cuban officials refusing to attend but Madrid also believes that it does not help those in prison.

However, Spain apparently accepts that - to garner support within the EU for this policy shift - a major concession from President Castro will be required. The recent release of a number of anti-government activists is regarded as a step in the right direction by Madrid.

Foreign Minister Moratinos has described these as a "significant step in the path towards a better relationship with Cuba" and expressed hope that this will be followed by other actions "which will allow progress to continue".

That view was echoed on 3 August by Bernardino Leon, Spain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who stated that as long as Cuba continues to demonstrate a "a willingness to resolve" the issue of jailed anti-government activists, Spain and the European Union can move towards resuming a dialogue with Havana.

Nevertheless, he cautioned that while "steps are being taken" by Cuba, they are not "sufficiently significant" to be interpreted as a clear move towards cooperation, which is why the "Cuban government is being told which direction it should take".

In June 2003, in response to the huge media frenzy surrounding the imprisonment of 75 anti-government activists for being in the pay oif the US interests section in Havana and the execution of three men who threatened the lives of 24 passengers when they hijacked a ferry, the EU agreed to review its "Common Position on Cuba", limit high-level government visits, reduce member states' participation in cultural events in Cuba, and step up official contacts with anti-government activists.

The Cuban government reviews the activists as mercenaries paid by the United States and will be unlikely to respond to such a policy in a positive way. Cuba is also angered by the EU's support for the US resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Both policies are seen as injurious to Cuba's sovereignty and the government has repeatedly said that it will not respond to such a conditional approach.

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