US envoy's anti-Cuba tour raises regime change fear

Campaign News | Friday, 13 January 2006

Cuba Solidarity Campaign Director explains some recent developments in the US campaign against Cuba

From the UK daily newspaper The Morning Star, Friday 13th January,2006

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said last month that the US government's Commission for Transition to a Free Cuba had been reconvened and would report by May on more measures to promote change.

"The time has come to end 46 years of cruel dictatorship," she declared.

The commission has a budget of $60 million. It was set up by US President George W Bush with the explicit purpose of fomenting regime change in Cuba - and sooner rather than later.

Rice's statement came hot on the heels of a tour of European capitals by Washington's Cuba "transition co-ordinator" Caleb McCarry. His mandate, according to the US Secretary of State, is to "design and implement a comprehensive strategy for advancing freedom in Cuba."

McCarry has something of a pedigree with regards regime change. The right-wing Republican was heavily involved in the coup that toppled Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government. The United Nations has now described the aftermath of the intervention as "catastrophic."

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 World Tonight programme, McCarry told listeners that his task was to convince US allies to help support the so-called "opposition to the Castro dictatorship" on the island.

McCarry's tour provides clear evidence that the US is trying to lay the groundwork for illegal intervention in Cuba.

Leonel Gonzalez, international relations secretary of the Cuban TUC the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, says: "It is clear the US is going to increase the pressure. I can tell you that this Commission for a Free Cuba plan is the first time that any such plan has been fulfilled to the letter by any US administration.

"They have had many plans against Cuba over the last 45 years. Some have been mostly fulfilled, others partly fulfilled and many have remained just plans, but this plan is being fulfilled to the letter.

"They are doing exactly what they said they would do. They have stopped US citizens travelling to Cuba. They have stopped educational, scientific and sporting exchanges. They have reduced family remittances. They have cut back visits by Cuban to their families. They have increased the pressure on foreign companies that do business here. They have increased the financing of so-called 'dissidents.' In short, they have been more determined than ever to carry out their objectives."

In fact, on the same day that Britain voted publicly against US interference in Cuba at the United Nations, McCarry was invited to meetings and a reception at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

This meeting and its agenda are now the subject of some scrutiny, with a number of parliamentary questions asking why the government is seemingly entertaining elements in the US who have made it clear that they are planning intervention in Cuba. Such an approach clearly runs counter to the government's stated aim of constructive engagement.

In place of meetings with "transition co-ordinators," the British government ought to be deepening its relationship with its legitimate counterpart in Havana and telling the US to keep out of Cuba's internal affairs.

Such a constructive approach would foster better relations, exchange, trade and understanding, rather than encourage the violent ambitions of a greedy few who harbour thoughts of a return to the corrupt free-for-all that was pre-revolutionary Cuba.

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