Cuba and Iran: 'Outposts of tyranny' band together

Campaign News | Sunday, 23 January 2005

Bilateral agreement includes 20 million Euro loan

HAVANA Jan. 22 - Branded as "outposts of tyranny" by the Bush regime, Cuba and Iran have decided to step up bilateral cooperation in banking, farming and biotechnology.

"We have confirmed the potential that exists and, beyond that, the will and the determination of both governments to move forward in their relations," Interior Minister Ricardo Cabrisas told the Communist Party of Cuba's newspaper Granma.

Under the deal, Cuba will get a 20-million-euro (US$26-million) credit from Tehran; food production cooperation will be increased; and equipment to help fight the effects of the drought plaguing Cuba will be brought in.

Effects of the drought have been serious for a decade in Cuba's east, but in recent months the crisis has spread nationwide.

The report in Cuba?s Sunday newspaper Trabajadores quoted Iranian Agriculture and Reconstruction Minister Mahmud Hojjati as saying the credit line could be increased.

In turn, Iran will get a factory to produce Cuban-engineered vaccines and greater cooperation on biotechnology. The US administration has accused Cuba of having a worrisome potential biological weapons capacity, which Havana denies. Washington has offered no proof to back up the claim.

In her Senate confirmation hearings this week, US Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice named Cuba as one of the "outposts of tyranny" in the world with which the US administration is concerned.

Rice calls Cuba 'outpost of tyranny'

Washington Jan 19 - In an echo of President Bush's "axis of evil," Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday named Cuba, Myanmar, Belarus and Zimbabwe as "outposts of tyranny" requiring close US attention.

Early in Bush's first term, he listed Iraq, Iran and North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" in the post-Sept. 11 era; the United States later invaded Iraq, ousting longtime dictator Saddam Hussein.

"To be sure, in our world there remain outposts of tyranny and America stands with oppressed people on every continent ... in Cuba, and Burma (Myanmar), and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe," Rice told a Senate committee considering her nomination to succeed Colin Powell as secretary of state.

Cuban authorities have long said the US government is planning a military attack on the island - something US officials on the record deny although it has been implicit in what some members of the Bush regime have said. US-Cuba relations, never good during Fidel Castro's four decades of rule, have deteriorated further under the Bush administration.

Rice also accused Venezuela of meddling in the affairs of neighboring countries and also expressed concern about its growing friendship with Cuba.

Rice noted that the United States has had a long history of friendship with Venezuela and said "it is extremely unfortunate" that the govenrment of President Hugo Chavez "has not been constructive."

She said the United States cannot remain indifferent to what Venezuela is doing beyond its borders.

"We know the difficulty that that government is causing for its neighbours," she said, also taking note of "its close association with Fidel Castro of Cuba".

Rice voiced objections to the actions Venezuela has taken against the independent media and opposition groups.

"We are very concerned about a democratically elected leader who governs in an illiberal way," she said.

Rice added that hemispheric nations that signed a democratic charter in 2001 must make sure that all signatories live up to the charter's terms. Venezuela is a signatory to the charter.

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