IFCO Condemns US Provocations Against Cuba

Campaign News | Tuesday, 29 April 2003

Campaign of provocation against Cuba

IFCO Condemns US Provocations Against Cuba.

US-Cuba relations have plummeted to a new low. The Bush administration has self-righteously led a chorus of criticism against Cuba, while keeping the US public in the dark concerning a campaign of provocation against Cuba. Subsequently, the sovereign Cuba government has seen fit to arrest approximately 80 people for a variety of offenses and to execute three people. It is essential that we understand the US government's disingenuous role in this operation.

While the world's attention has been riveted to events surrounding the build up and subsequent invasion of Iraq, the US has launched a series of

hostile actions to undermine Cuba, promote terrorism, destabilize its economy and instigate treason.

For nearly two years, US hostility towards Cuba has steadily increased. With the US economy in shambles, the Bush administration will be heavily

dependent on Florida, the US base of terrorist anti-Cuban activity, to win a second term. This campaign, waged on diplomatic, economic and political fronts is part of that intentional strategy.

While the world waits to see which Middle Eastern country is the next invasion target, the Cuban people are justifiably concerned that Cuba could

be next.

* Last week, Hans Hertell, the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, said the removal of Saddam Hussein could serve as a "good example" for regime change in Cuba.

* More than 20 right wing Cuban-Americans have been given high level positions in the Bush Administration where they are pushing their right

wing agenda against Cuba. Most prominent is Otto Reich, whose extreme views prevented his confirmation by the Senate as Undersecretary of State for Latin America. His current post within the White House requires no congressional approval.

* More than $27 million has been spent by the US government for Radio Marti and Tele Marti, satellite broadcasts - to Cuba from the US - designed to support the conservative Cuban community in Miami. This is only a fraction of what was set aside to destabilize the government of Cuba. The actual dollar amount for an array of anti-Cuba programs is classified.

* Another seven million dollars has been channeled through the USAID to many small groups to engage in acts of sabotage and propaganda against Cuba.

* In 2002, the US accused Cuba of manufacturing biological weapons. This charge has never been verified by any source. During a visit to Cuba in

2002, former US president Jimmy Carter revealed that the US State Department and US intelligence briefed him that this was simply not true.

Since that time, press reports reveal that intelligence officers who were openly skeptical about Cuba's capability to develop and deploy military or biological weapons were reassigned.

* In August of 2002, James Cason became head of the US Interests Section in Havana. Within days, he began organizing meetings with Cuban citizens

where opposition to the Cuban government was a prime topic. Cason also began traveling throughout Cuba, distributing money and equipment explicitly designed to build internal dissent. This behavior on the part of a foreign diplomat is a clear violation of laws governing diplomatic

conduct. Such behavior would never be tolerated by the US government within its own borders.

* When the Cuban government sent diplomatic notes expressing concern about his behavior and asking him to cease and desist, Cason redoubled his provocative actions and called a press conference to announce his intention to help organize and finance an independent party opposed to the Cuban government. Clearly, Cason would not be so openly provocative unless so instructed by the US government.

* At no time has the Bush administration fully honored the immigration agreements reached with Cuba in 1995. For example, in the current year only 500 visas have been granted during a time period when 5,000 visas should have been granted. Over the past several years, this has created a huge backlog, and encouraged illegal immigration. This policy has devolved into allowing entry to any Cuban citizen who sets foot on US soil. This

stonewalling by the US not only encourages illegal immigration, it puts families' lives at risk.

* In the past seven months, seven separate hijackings have been attributed to US instigation. Within the past three weeks alone, two Cuban airliners were hijacked to Florida. Contrary to agreements reached by the US and Cuba, hijackers were arrested and then released on their own recognizance and not turned over to Cuban jurisdiction. Those Cuban passengers and crew who wished to return to Cuba, have not been permitted to do so.

Recently, a group of armed men were convicted of hijacking a passenger ferry. Their actions put the lives of dozens of men, women and children in

danger. They were convicted of terrorism under Cuban law, implemented in the wake of more than 40 years of sabotage and assault by terrorist groups supported and funded by the US government. Regrettably, three of the ferry hijackers were executed.

As a faith-based organization, IFCO/Pastors for Peace has opposed the death penalty for more than 35 years. This opposition includes the 71 executions

carried out in the US in 2002, the 152 executions carried out while George W. Bush was governor of Texas, the eight executions of youth offenders in

Texas, and the three executions in Cuba.

Cuba's decision to execute three of the hijackers in no way discredits its genuine concerns to prevent the escalation of terrorist actions instigated against it by the US. What Cuba faces at this moment is nothing short of its survival as a nation. It is unconscionable that the US government continues its hypocritical stance against terrorwhile continuing its aggression and sabotage against Cuba.

When considering Cuba's response to these events we need to know the context in which Cuba acted.

"Let us not love in word: but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18

IFCO/Pastors for Peace

402 W 145th Street, New York, NY 10031

212-926-5757; fax: 212-926-5842; web: http://www.ifconews.org

"Let us not love in word: but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18

IFCO/Pastors for Peace

402 W 145th Street, New York, NY 10031

212-926-5757; fax: 212-926-5842; web: http://www.ifconews.org

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