PRESENTATION BY FIDEL CASTRO
Campaign News | Friday, 25 April 2003
ROUNDTABLE ON RECENT EVENTS IN THE COUNTRY
SPECIAL PRESENTATION BY DR. FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
OF CUBA, AT THE TELEVISED ROUNDTABLE ON RECENT EVENTS IN THE COUNTRY AND
THE INCREASE OF AGGRESSIVE ACTIONS BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
AGAINST THE CUBAN PEOPLE.
APRIL 25, 2003.
Everything began with the arrival in Cuba of Mr. Cason.
The arrest of several dozens of mercenaries who betrayed their homeland
in exchange for the privileges and money they receive from the
government of the United States, and the death penalty for common
criminals who hijacked a passengers ferry in Havana Bay with a gun and
five knives, were the result of a conspiracy concocted by the government
of that country and the Miami terrorist mob. This should be obvious to
The Cuban authorities cannot be held accountable in any way for
these events. This is something I intend to explain, as well as the
reasons and objectives behind every measure, why and what for they were
The current president of the United States, with a minority of
the total number of votes, acceded to power through a scandalous fraud
for which the Miami mob applied in the United States the methods they
had learned from their Batista-henchmen fathers and other corrupt
politicians from the U.S. neocolony of Cuba, ousted from power by the
On November 4, 2000, tens of thousands of African Americans were
prevented from voting, many thousands of voters made mistakes on their
ballots because of a change in the order of the candidates’ names, and
there was further fraud perpetrated during vote counting. This was how, by a margin of a few hundred votes, Bush obtained a majority in the
state of Florida that determined his election.
He is a considerate man who does not hide his obligation to the
Miami mob and the compromises he reached with these people during a
meeting in Texas.
Even before the election, at a rally held on August 5
commemorating the 26th of July in Pinar del Río, I literally said to Mr.
Bush, and I quote:
“I am very much aware of what you have recklessly told your
close and indiscreet friends in the Cuban American mob: that you can
solve the problem of Cuba very easily, in clear reference to the methods
used in the sinister period when the Central Intelligence Agency was
directly involved in assassination plots against our country’s leaders.”
Bush’s pledge was that he would solve the problem by literally
removing me, something that, quite honestly, after 40 years of
aggression and crimes against Cuba, could neither surprise me nor worry
His administration has been just as hostile and reactionary as
everyone expected. The mob has achieved more power and influence than
ever before within the administration. Genuine criminals of Cuban
origins, responsible for the deaths of thousands of Central Americans, like the notorious Otto Reich, have been called on to hold senior posts
in key positions for the application of Bush’s preconceived policies, ideas and pledges against Cuba. The fate and the destiny of over 11
million Cubans mean nothing to him.
I will not elaborate further on what Mr. Bush thinks, or about
his obsessions and fixed ideas. Our people and the world know more than
enough about these things.
Otto Reich would be the Assistant Secretary of State for Western
Hemisphere Affairs. The Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, fervently opposed the choice. A recess of the Senate was used as the
opportunity to have him appointed temporarily. Then, from this post, he
was able to set the guidelines for State Department policy towards Cuba.
Outrageous claims rained down. One day they would say that Cuba was
planning electronic warfare against communications in the United States;
and the next, that a Chinese ship loaded with weapons was headed for
Cuba. Neither the ship nor the weapons ever existed. Amidst ludicrous
claims like these, the most heinous accusation of all: that Cuba was
developing a research program to produce biological weapons. All of the
accusations were refuted and ridiculed.
During this same period, in September 2002, Otto Reich named
James Cason, a stalwart ally, as the chief of the USIS (United States
Interests Section in Cuba).
Once Otto Reich’s temporary mandate had expired, his ability to
remain in the post would be subject to the risky challenge of Senate
approval, and his chances there were very slim. Thus, he quietly
disappeared from view. His place would then be taken by Roger Noriega, former legislative assistant to evil Helms.
A short time later, in December 2002, Otto Reich was appointed
Special Presidential Envoy for Latin America in the National Security
Council, where the fundamental decisions of the President are drawn up
and adopted. A terrorist bandit with his finger on the trigger of the
superpower’s weapon aimed at Cuba!
What better proof could there be of the Machiavellian plans of
Otto Reich, his mob and his boss, than the actions of the chief of the
Interests Section in Havana?
What did Cason do before taking over the position formerly held
by Mrs. Vicky Huddleston, who was not assigned to some European or Latin
American country, as she had wished, but rather to Mali, in Africa?
Cason’s appointment was no coincidence. Reich knew all about his
work during Reich’s own tenure as Director of Public Diplomacy with the
Reagan administration. Specifically, they had worked very closely when
Cason worked in Central American Affairs in the State Department, which
was the supporting base for the so-called ‘Contras’ in the dirty war
against the Sandinista Revolution, in which Mr. Reich played a
significant role, as demonstrated during the congressional hearings on
the Iran-Contra scandal. Cason also had work experience in other Latin
American countries like Honduras, where he was the second chief of the
U.S. Mission, in El Salvador, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala, Venezuela and
Cason had declared in November 2001, at a conference on national
security after the fateful terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, that our
country was “the only one that had not joined in the regional chorus of
sincere condolences, military support and diplomatic cooperation with
the United States.”
The truth is that Cuba had strongly condemned those terrorist
attacks before the national and international media, and expressed our
people’s condolences to the people of the United States and our
willingness to immediately offer medical and humanitarian assistance.
Our country was perhaps one of the first to do so, if not the first.
Cuba immediately offered to open its airspace and airports, to receive
the passengers planes in the air at the time since landing in any
airport in the United States had been temporarily banned. Cuba did not
have to provide any military support to the U.S. war adventures.
Upon learning of James Cason’s designation as the chief of the
USIS in Cuba, the executive director of the Cuban American National
Foundation declared: “We hope this gentleman is qualified to carry out a
strong policy, as President Bush has ordered.”
James Cason appeared as the best choice to implement the
predetermined policy of an increase and escalation in hostility towards
Cuba from his State Department post.
Before he had even arrived in Cuba, on August 6, 2002, five
individuals hijacked a boat called the Plástico 16, based in La Coloma, Pinar del Río. The Cuban authorities, through Note 1428 of August 27, 2002, officially submitted a request for the hijackers to be returned to
Cuba. Months later, the five hijackers were released in the United
What follows is a chronological account of Mr. Cason’s
activities in Cuba.
September 10, 2002
Cason arrived in our country accompanied by his wife, and was
received at the José Martí International Airport by Louis Nigro, deputy
chief of the USIS.
From the very outset, at a welcoming reception held at the USIS, he demonstrated the interventionist nature of his plans, when he stated, during a brief speech to the Cuban and American staff there, that “his
goal in our country was to speed up the process towards a democratic
Cuba, urging support for all those who were contributing to this
September 11, 2002
At a memorial ceremony for the victims of the terrorist attacks
in the United States held at the USIS, Cason referred to President
George W. Bush’s plans for the war against terrorism, and expressed “his
hopes that the Cuban people would play a crucial role in the changes
that should take place in Cuba, mentioning the freedom of expression as
an element to take into account for future changes in our country.”
September 16, 2002
Four days after his arrival, a reception was held at Cason’s
residence, with 17 counterrevolutionary group ringleaders in attendance.
The reason for the reception was to introduce the new chief of the USIS
to them and to determine their needs and interests.
Cason said that he would work to implement the policy announced
by President George W. Bush. He asked how he could help the “opposition”
and to what extent the cooperation provided by the USIS had been
effective so far.
He declared that he was willing to offer both his residence and
the Interests Section headquarters for the counterrevolutionaries to
meet with diplomatic personnel from different countries.
He said that he would travel around the country to learn about
the situation of the various groups. He added that his plans included
participating in political events, such as rallies, and posting the
pictures and names of “political prisoners” in the consulate offices so
that visitors would learn about them.
September 17, 2002
A reception was held at the Cason residence for the same
purposes as the previous day, but with different counterrevolutionary
ringleaders. The topics addressed were subversive radio stations, “the
press and independent libraries.”
September 26 to 30, 2002
The new USIS chief took advantage of the U.S. Food and
Agribusiness Exhibition being held in Havana in those days to show
another line of his hostile intentions.
At the end of a function hosted by the American organizers for
the exhibitors, at the Melia Cohiba Hotel, Cason read a statement to the
foreign press indicating that while he appreciated the fair as a space
for making sales, “There's going to be a lot of beef being shown, but I
expect to hear and see a lot more bull than I do beef from the Cuban
He added that Cuba is not a significant market for the United
States, and that it has debts with the whole world. Businesspeople from
other countries are waiting for Cuba to pay them, he said, and “we don’t
want to be part of that queue.”
Then he claimed: “The Cubans want credits, and nobody wants to
give them any, because they don’t pay. It’s a small market where the
average citizen earns only 20 dollars a month. Cuba has a foreign debt
of 11 billion dollars, he said, and if it has money some day, it won’t
His intentions were quite obvious. He did not, on the other
hand, say a single word about the blockade, the economic war, the
hostility and aggression aimed at Cuba by the United States government
for 44 years.
October 3 and 4, 2002
Cason and the head of the refugee program made a monitoring trip
to the province of Villa Clara, where they visited individuals who had
tried to emigrate illegally but were sent back to Cuba in compliance
with the Migratory Agreements.
On October 3 they visited a home in Caibarién, where they met
with a group of these illegal emigrants, along with another ten people
invited by counterrevolutionary Margarito Broche, head of a grouplet
known as the “Independent Rafters Association, North Central Cuba, Peace, Democracy and Freedom”.
This is a group of illegal emigrants sent back to Cuba that has
been transformed into a group of “dissidents”, pampered and guided by
On October 4, a similar meeting was held in the city of Santa
Clara, with another group of illegal emigrants who had also been sent
back in keeping with the Migratory Agreements.
As a result, a number of these people repeat their attempts to
illegally travel to the United States, knowing that as soon as they set
foot on U.S. soil, they will be welcomed with special privileges. In the
meantime, Mr. Cason recruits “dissidents” among them.
Both the chief of the USIS and the government official
accompanying him used aggressive language during these meetings, with
frequent criticisms and a derogatory tone against the person of the
President of the Council of State of Cuba.
This is how the chief of the Interests Section monitors and
indoctrinates individuals who cannot obtain visas to the United States
because of their criminal and social records, and therefore must attempt
to travel there illegally and are sent back to Cuba.
October 7, 2002
The chief of the USIS hosted a breakfast at his residence, attended by counterrevolutionary ringleaders Martha Beatriz Roque
Cabello, René Gómez Manzano and Félix Bonne Carcassés, as well as
officials from the diplomatic mission.
Cason reported that he had traveled to Villa Clara and seen “the
poverty” that prevails in that province, in addition to making other
comments about his stay there.
October 10, 2002
Cason hosted a breakfast at this residence, attended by
counterrevolutionary ringleaders Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Osvaldo Alfonso
and Vladimiro Roca Antúnez, along with, on the U.S. side, the political
and economic affairs secretaries at the USIS, Francisco Sainz and
The subjects of conversation were the “Varela Project”, the
elections in Brazil, the situation in Venezuela, and
counterrevolutionary grouplets in general.
October 30, 2002
In the afternoon, and with the participation of six officials
from the USIS, a working meeting was held at James Cason’s residence in
connection with the “Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society in
Cuba” project, organized and promoted by ringleader Martha Beatriz Roque
Cabello. Twenty-four counterrevolutionaries attended.
Mr. Cason observed that he knew about the difficulties involved
in meeting, which was why he was offering them his residence. He
ratified his material and moral support, demonstrating his government’s
position on “democratizing” the island. He then asked to be excused for
not participating in the meeting, as he had other things to do at the
Interests Section offices.
He left them in his residence, protected by diplomatic immunity, and the corresponding food and beverage services.
November 5, 2002
At 3:15 p.m., Cason and his second secretary, Zúñiga, arrived at
the home of a counterrevolutionary ex-convict who exchanges letters with
and receives prizes directly from President Bush, Oscar Elías Biscet
González. Sentenced for actions he had carried out following
instructions from the Cuban American terrorist foundation, he had been
released five days earlier.
The two men asked him countless questions on areas of interest
to them for their counterrevolutionary political objectives. Mr. Cason
told the counterrevolutionary about his plans to urge representatives of
other diplomatic missions to make contact with them.
November 11, 2002
A meeting was held in Cason’s residence with ringleaders Oswaldo
Payá Sardiñas, Osvaldo Alfonso Valdés, Vladimiro Roca Antúnez, Oscar
Elías Biscet González and a U.S. delegation visiting Cuba.
This had become a customary demand made by Interests Section
chiefs from every U.S. delegation visiting Cuba. Their goal was to
boycott Cuba’s political and economic relations with other nations, through the use of any slander and lies that might occur to these
mercenaries on the payroll of a warmonger and aggressive government
threatening our heroic people.
That same day, November 11, 2002, an AN-2 fumigation plane was
hijacked and taken to the United States. The Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, through Notes 1778 of 2002 and 180 of 2003, called on the U.S.
government to return the hijackers and the plane. The U.S. authorities
did not even press charges against the hijackers, who were released four
days later. The plane was seized, auctioned off, and in fact stolen, in
an open and obvious anti-Cuban maneuver.
November 21, 2002
Cason attended a meeting at the home of counterrevolutionary
ringleader Martha Beatriz Roque, with 13 more of his hired agents. Cason
spoke to them about filmed material with personal attacks on the Cuban
head of state. He also inquired about the sale of short-wave and
medium-wave radios in hard currency stores in Cuba, and mentioned the
possibility of bringing them into the country through the Interests
Section’s diplomatic mail pouches, etc., etc. He then supplied those
present with nothing less than four boxes full of copies of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This, as a gift from the government of a country that has
subjected ours to a blockade for more than 40 years and threatened to
destroy our country, as it has done in other parts of the world.
He also announced his intention to arrange a meeting in January
of 2003 between a delegation of U.S. doctors and the
counterrevolutionaries present there.
Those doctors could very well travel to Central America, or to
countries in Latin America or Africa where thousands of heroic Cuban
doctors provide care and save hundrreds of thousands of lives every year
in remote areas where Mr. Cason’s American doctors are seldom seen.
November 22, 2002
The counterrevolutionary ringleaders Orlando Fundora Álvarez, Yolanda Triana Estupiñan and José Barrero Vargas met at Cason’s
residence. The meeting was arranged by the first of these. Their main
objective: to gather information on people adversely affected by the
Revolution –meaning hustlers, or individuals involved with drugs or
other crimes and illegal activities– in order to claim compensation from
the Cuban government.
This was the first time that the grouplets used USIS premises
for meetings not attended by U.S. diplomats.
November 27, 2002
James Cason and a number of other officials visited the province
of Ciego de Ávila on a “fact-finding” mission.
Upon their arrival in the capital, they headed for the home of a
counterrevolutionary, where they met with another four members of
Cason inquired about the situation of the counterrevolutionaries
and the investigation carried out on them. In response, they regaled him
with lies, as was to be expected, about purported beatings, physical
abuse and harassment of their families.
The “dissident” being visited, along with other individuals of
his kind, had staged a public disturbance at the Ciego de Avila
Provincial Hospital, interfering with the emergency room services for
approximately two hours. The provocation orchestrated by these
individuals adversely affected several patients.
What was Mr. Cason doing there?
December 19, 2002
A “social function” was held in the evening headed by James
Cason with another 12 officials from the USIS, ten members of the
diplomatic corps, including representatives from the United Kingdom, the
Czech Republic, Poland, Greece and Chile, and 52 counterrevolutionaries
from different groups.
Unlike other activities organized by the USIS with these
elements, this time there were no welcoming or farewell speeches. They
dispensed with formalities and the guests arriving at the mission simply
sat where they wished, ate and drank freely, and happily conversed about
their common interests. There was, however, a 30-minute meeting between
the 52 “dissidents” invited and some of the main ringleaders: Elizardo
Sánchez Santacruz Pacheco, Vladimiro Roca Antúnez, René Gómez Manzano
and Félix Bonne Carcassés. Photographs were taken to record the event
They all felt completely at home. It was such a pleasant experience to
be at the diplomatic mission of the superpower conspiring against the
Cuban people that are defending their small and blockaded island from
December 21, 2002
Cason granted an interview to Channel 51 in Miami.
Here is an excerpt from that interview. Although it has already
been published, I think it would be worthwhile to include it here.
Journalist.- …as chief of the United States Interests Section in
Havana, you are now traveling around, you have met with average Cubans, with dissidents in Cuba. Have you also met with leaders of anti-Castro
organizations in exile?
James Cason.- Yes, two or three times. Whenever I go to Miami, I
want to meet and I do meet with all of the groups, the Cuban-American
National Foundation, the Cuban Freedom Council, independent groups, all
of the groups here, because I want to explain what I have seen in Cuba, what is happening, and to hear their points of view on what we are
doing, to see if there is something that we want to do that we are not
doing now. Our conversations are very pleasant, and one of my messages
is that the important thing in Cuba is that there is in fact an
opposition. They are isolated, harassed, but they persist and have a lot
of courage, and the important thing is that they meet, unite and
concentrate on the essential things, on the rights they don’t have and
the freedoms they should have.
So they shouldn’t be focusing on personal concerns, on
differences in ideology. The important thing is that the opposition has
to gain a space, because the day will come when there will be a
transition. There is a transition now, but there is going to be a new
Cuba some day, and they have to play their part in shaping and deciding
the future of Cuba. So they have to gain a space for themselves, and
begin to discuss what needs to be done differently to change Cuba. It is
important that they focus on what is important, not on what is
Journalist.- In the meetings you have had with dissidents –I
don’t know if you want to go into these kinds of details– but where do
you see that perhaps the dissidents are not on the right track? What
message do you have for the dissidents? Before I ask you, if you will
allow me, for a message to the anti-Castro groups in Miami. What message
do you have for the dissidents in Cuba? What would you like to say to
them, based on what you have seen?
James Cason.- Well, first of all, that the future of Cuba… we
Americans are not going to determine the future of Cuba, it is going to
be the Cubans, outside Cuba and inside Cuba. They should, from my point
of view, my advice is to focus on the essential. What are the important
factors? To not be divided, to meet together and try to reach a
consensus or an agreement on 10 points, for example, where they all
agree, and not to talk about where they don’t agree. Because in a
democracy, everyone has their differences, there are actions, but the
important thing is that they are in a military dictatorship, and if the
people don’t meet together, they won’t have much chance of prospering.
So they should concentrate on the essential and look for points of
agreement, not disagreement.
Journalist.- One of your priorities is also to help dissidents
in Cuba. How do you intend to help the anti-Castro opposition?
James Cason.- Well, as I said before, by offering information, moral and spiritual support, letting them know that they are not alone, that the world knows what is happening in Cuba. One demonstration of
this is the fact that many of the leaders have received human rights
awards from Europe and other parts of the world. So the world knows what
is happening in Cuba, and we are there to tell them about this fact and
to help them in any way possible.
We do not give them, it isn’t true that we are financing the
opposition, as Castro says. The opposition is insisting on the fact that
the system has failed, and we are there to offer them the support of the
American people and the rest of the democratic world in what they are
doing, which is demanding the basic human rights that Cuba signed in the
Declaration of Human Rights, in the universal declarations, and has not
fulfilled in all these years.
After reading these public statements by Mr. Cason, how unfair
it would be to say that the government of the United States and the
chief of its Interests Section are interfering in any way whatsoever in
the internal affairs of Cuba, or that the “noble patriots” gathered
there were counterrevolutionaries on the payroll of the United States!
January 9, 2003
James Cason had informed the Foreign Ministry that he would be
traveling to Pinar del Río with four other USIS officials. He was
informed in turn that this trip would not be authorized.
It was known that Cason was planning to meet with several
individuals. That same day, a USIS employee transported nine boxes
containing radios and literature sent to counterrevolutionaries in that
January 16, 2003
Cason participated in a function held in the home of ringleader
Héctor Palacios Ruiz for the launching of a markedly
counterrevolutionary book, associated to the so-called “independent
libraries” project. The book had been presented at book fairs in
Guadalajara and Miami.
January 19 to 25, 2003
Over the course of six days, James Cason and Ricardo Zúñiga went
on a tour through the provinces of Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago
de Cuba and Guantánamo. They had filed their request to make private
visits, however, what they actually did was to take material supplies to
the counterrevolutionary grouplets, in order to strengthen and unify the
so-called “opposition” and establish contacts with the religious sector.
Particularly significant were Cason’s statements about the
existence of something called the “6000 miles” plan, consisting of
systematic tours throughout all of the country’s provinces, aimed at
encouraging and supporting the counterrevolutionary grouplets with
resources to ensure their development.
As if we were back in the days of the U.S. intervention after
our last war of independence against Spain, there was the proconsul of
the empire organizing a political party.
January 29, 2003
The Ferro cement boat Cabo Corrientes, from the Isle of Youth, was hijacked and taken to the United States. The Cuban authorities
presented a diplomatic note requesting the return of the four hijackers.
The United States has still not responded to the Cuban note requesting
the return of the hijackers, who were immediately released.
February 6, 2003
A Cuban border patrol boat was hijacked and taken to the United
States. At this time, it is still not known whether the U.S. authorities
have pressed charges against any of the four hijackers. The Ministry of
Foreign Affairs presented a note to the USIS demanding the return of the
hijackers and protesting over this new anti-Cuban action. The State
Department has yet to respond to that note.
February 7, 2003
In the evening, there was a function at Cason’s residence in
honor of a visiting U.S. cultural delegation. Among those in attendance
were 21 members of grouplets and five diplomats from the USIS. There, Cason consolidated a practice he had begun in late 2002: including
counterrevolutionaries in official USIS social functions, to which he
also invited Cuban professionals.
February 22, 2003
Cason gave a press conference to a group of foreign journalists
accredited in Cuba where he criticized our country and claimed that the
Cuban authorities were afraid of letting books and other materials into
the country. He noted that works by Martin Luther King Jr., John
Steinbeck and Groucho Marx were among a shipment of books seized by
Cuban authorities after being shipped in by the U.S. government. Of
course, he failed to mention the openly counterrevolutionary and
subversive works that came in the same shipment.
An AP wire story under the headline: “James Cason denounces the
seizure of books sent by the United States” reported in some paragraphs, and I quote:
“American diplomats were told it was a ‘firm decision by the government’
not to allow the books into the communist-run country for distribution
to dissident groups, including independent libraries, U.S. Interests
Section Chief James Cason said.
“’They said it wasn’t the books, but who we were going to give them to,’
he told a small group of international reporters. He said the American
mission has imported similar books in the past.
“’It’s fear of losing political control,’ said Cason, who arrived in
Havana five months ago.’”
February 24, 2003
James Cason and two other officials from the Interests Section
participated in a press conference held in the home of ringleader Martha
Beatriz Roque, organized to commemorate no less than the anniversaries
of the beginning of the war of independence and the shooting down of the
airplanes from the Miami terrorist mob organization known as Brothers to
Foreign press correspondents interviewed Cason. In addition to
answering questions, he read a document and made public declarations
that were openly interventionist, offensive and defiant towards the
Cuban authorities. He called on the other diplomatic missions based in
Havana to follow the example of the USIS.
That same day, the above-mentioned terrorist organization, Brothers to the Rescue, beamed an illegal television broadcast at our
country from international airspace. Despite the fact that the Cuban
authorities had warned the government of the United States before
February 24 of the plans for this broadcast, and had clearly established
that this would constitute a violation of the regulations of the
International Telecommunications Union, the U.S. authorities did nothing
whatsoever to prevent the broadcast.
February 28, 2003
It was known that U.S. prison authorities, following
instructions from the United States Department of Justice, had imposed a
regime that violated the human rights of our five heroes, confining them
to what inmates call ‘the hole’.
They had gone too far.
March 6, 2003
In my speech at the closing session of the National Assembly of
People’s Power latest meeting, I made statements responding to the
offensive interview given by the Interests Section chief during his
get-together with counterrevolutionaries on February 24.
I should note that I did not make these statements earlier, because in the midst of the colossal effort we are carrying out to
overcome obstacles and advance our revolutionary programs, I did not
know in detail the extent of the insolence, temerity and audacity of
Otto Reich’s envoy.
I said, among other things:
“This past February 24, on none other than the day we commemorate the
beginning of the last war of independence called upon by Martí, a
gentleman named James Cason, head of the United States Interests Section
in Cuba, met in an apartment in Havana with a group of
counterrevolutionaries paid by the U.S. government. They were gathered,
no less than to commemorate the Cry of Baire, a date of