2003-09-22 18:58:48 UTC
PLANS FOR MILITARY INTERVENTION ON THE ISLAND
Cuba in the sights of the United States
BY PASCUAL SERRANO, Taken from Le Monde Diplomatique
AT this moment, nobody doubts that the Bush administration's new
foreign policy is basically one of military intervention, without
respecting international institutions or world public opinion. The
excuse of fighting terrorism has been demonstrated as the perfect
alibi to substitute the previous one: the threat of Communism during
the Cold war. Other less effective reasons lie behind it, not so
effective as the anti-drug fight. The silence of the United Nations
after the Iraq invasion, the European Union (EU)'s copycat behavior
and the ferocious control it maintains on the great majority of Arab
countries via puppet dictators thus guaranteeing impunity to the U.S.
The United States has not forgotten to send out sound bites on its
next military objectives Syria, Korea, Iran and Cuba. Just as in
Iraq, the strategy begins by sowing seeds in international
institutions, friendly governments and world public opinion suggesting
complicity with international terrorism in those countries that are
the object of intervention. They are called dictatorships and accused
of human rights violations. This campaign is undoubtedly being
speedily developed against Cuba. Let us see how.
On April 30, 2003 the U.S. government once again included Cuba on its
list of countries sponsoring international terrorism, in an annual
report entitled Patterns of World Terrorism (2) which also mentions
Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and North Korea. The report specifies
that although Cuba has signed all the 12 international conventions and
protocols against terrorism, and Sudan 11 of them, both countries
continue supporting international organizations that are designated
terrorist. This is a great paradox if we recall that on four
occasions, Cuba has officially proposed a bilateral program to fight
terrorism to the United States and which the northern neighbor has
Nor should we forget Vice President Dick Cheney's statement on the day
that Baghdad was occupied. He affirmed that had happened was a clear
message to all the countries involved in terrorism (3).
In May, 2002, Under Secretary of State John Bolton accused Cuba of
developing a biological warfare program. Many notable statements have
been issued by Bush administration members; for instance the
president's own brother Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, who affirmed
that after the success in Iraq, Washington should put an end to the
regime in Cuba. Or Hans Hertell, U.S. ambassador to the Dominican
Republic, who assured that the war in Iraq would send out a very
positive sign and be a very good example to Cuba. He added that the
invasion of the Arab country was only the beginning of a crusade for
freedom to reach all the countries in the world, including Cuba (4).
The U.S. military intention in Cuba can be seen in publication such as
Military Review, a magazine from the Command School and the U.S. Chief
of Staff. In the September-October 2002 (5) edition, Lieutenant
Colonel Geoff Demarest openly refers to the subject of the U.S. army's
during a supposed transition period in Cuba. He affirms in the second
paragraph that the U.S. army's role could focus on stability
operations and, in the name of applying the and/or rule, supporting
aid agencies. He later includes an epigraph eloquently entitled: "A
role for the U.S. Army?"
This is where he begins detailing all the previous excuses serving to
justify military intervention: Migration to and from the island;
weapons arsenals (including thousands of small arms and ammunition);
the enormous Lourdes intelligence collecting center; allegations of
drug trafficking on the part of members of Castro's regime; and the
alleged biological weapons research and development program are just
some of the aspects to take into consideration that could possible
complicate transition. The lieutenant colonel's text concludes by
stating that the U.S. army has a clear message...the U.S. army could
be very useful for its potential to interact with Cuban soldiers, as
well as for its ability to threaten them.
If we look at the footnotes referring to the paragraph listing the
reasons for a U.S. army intervention it can be seen that all these
statements are based on journalist articles from agencies and people
financed by the U.S. government. (El Nuevo Herald, The Miami Herald,
Brothers to the Rescue, Cubanet/Cubanews, The Washington Times Insight
As we shall soon see, when the United States talks about freedom of
expression and dissident journalists it is referring to press agencies
and writers directed and financed by the Bush government with the sole
aim of planting arguments that, as this soldier's text later proves,
will be used to justify a military intervention.
What mechanisms are used in financing these supposedly independent
journalists and agencies?
The U.S. Interests Section systematically hands over material and
financial support. This translates as radios and all types of
technical means plus a payroll of $100 per month for all those
visiting James Cason, head of the U.S. mission (see note 4).
In 2000, USAID donated $670,000 to three Cuban organizations to help
publish the island's independent journalists' work abroad...and
distribute their writing in Cuba (6).
USAID provides an exceptional amount of funding for financing the
Cuban dissidence. In order to help create independent NGO's in Cuba:
$1.602 million. Planning the transition in Cuba: $2.132 million.
Evaluating the program: $335,000.
Groups in the United States gather together all this money. Let us see
who some of them are. In 2002, the Center for a Free Cuba, whose
function it is to collect information from human rights groups in
order to spread and distribute it, received $2.3 million. Internal
Dissidence Working Group: $250,000. Freedom House, responsible for the
Cuban transition program's strategic questions: $1.325 million.
Dissidence Support Group: $1,200.
There are others such as the Democracy in Cuba Institute and the
International Republican Institute. In 2001, the Cubanet agency
received $343,000 plus another $800,000 in 2002. The American Center
for International Solidarity Work, whose declared social objective is
persuading foreign investors not to invest in Cuba: $168,575. Cuban
Democratic Action received $400,000 in 2002 (7).
Between 1997 and 2002, USAID destined $22 million to these ends. On
March 2, Curtis Struble, the assistant secretary of state for western
hemispheric affairs, indicated that this year USAID would be investing
another seven million dollars in "economic aid" to Cuba. On March 26,
Colin Powell announced to the Senate a $26.9 million budget for Radio
and TV Martí transmissions (8).
Radio Martí transmits 1,200 hours a week from the United States,
contravening International Telecommunication Union rules and violating
Cuba's radio air waves space. The programs encourage internal
subversion, sabotage attempts, desertion and illegal immigration.
It is obvious that nothing but U.S. government money lies behind the
so-called dissidents and independent journalists and agencies, with a
clear and concrete proposition.
It is also important to discover the profiles of the freedom fighters
of the so-called dissident leaders and intellectuals. The most
significant of those recently jailed is the poet Raúl Rivera.
This former member of Cuba's Association of Journalists and Writers
had a heady conversion: he was employed by the powerful Miami Herald,
Southern Florida's most conservative daily. He was next catapulted to
vice president of the Inter-American Press Society (SIP) Caribbean
department, grouping U.S. and Latin America mainstream press barons.
This organization is an old stronghold of Cold War conspirators in the
service of Washington.
One of the best known figures is Carlos Alberto Montaner, imprisoned
in Cuba in 1961 for taking part in a terrorist organization that hid
explosives in packets of cigarettes. He fled the country during the
October Missile Crisis and enlisted in the U.S. army's special Cuban
forces. The CIA recruited him in the 1970's and he reappeared in Spain
(1970) to found the Firmas Press news agency. Montaner was in charge
of facilitating terrorist Juan Felipe de la Cruz' entry into France;
de la Cruz was killed when the bomb he was carrying exploded. Montaner
is one of those who openly support the United States' annexing Cuba.
In 1990, he founded the Cuban Democratic Platform and the following
year the Cuban Democratic Coordination (CDC), a dissident organization
inside the island. CDC members include Cruz Varela, Huberto Matos,
José Ignacio Rasco and Juan Suárez Rivas. Carlos Montaner was also a
founding member of the Cuban Spanish Foundation (FHC) (9).
Oswaldo Payá is another internationally known dissident, especially
after the European Parliament gave him the Sajarov award. They say
that he has received massive popular support in Cuba for his Varela
Project, signed by 11,000 Cubans in a country with 11 million
inhabitants and five thousand Europeans from 15 countries. According
to documents signed by Carlos Alberto Montaner, foreign governments
initiated the Varela Project. James Cason, head of the U.S. Interests
Section in Havana, admitted that Miami's Cuban-American National
Foundation (CANF) and the Freedom for Cuba Council, responsible for
various attacks in Cuba in which civilians died and assassination
attempts on the Cuban president (see note 8), are being consulted over
the plan for a democratic transition.
One of Payá's charming exploits was to accuse Fidel Castro of
complicity in violating human rights in Guantánamo (10); in an
interview with Madrid's El Pais weekly on March 9, 2003 he stated that
that under the Batista dictatorship the Cuban press was incredibly
free. This brilliant intellectual, with unknown sources of income, has
been on a two-month world tour. Carlos Fazio puts it very clearly: The
strategy for building leaders is simple and the example of Oswaldo
Payá eloquent: create a letterhead, fabricate an organization or an ad
hoc NGO (in his case the Varela project); organize well publicized and
planned tours and meet well-known figures (Pope John Paul II, Spanish
head of government José María Aznar, Mexican president Vicente Fox,
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell) and accept prizes that increase
the individual's visibility (Payá received the Sajarov human rights
award and has been proposed as a Nobel prize candidate). This is the
way to go about building a certain kind of credibility profile around
a person to give them power, a task that is later amplified by
propaganda makers and the "great democratic pens" of the U.S. and
European mainstream press (see note 8).
Hubert Matos is another relevant person. He spent twenty years in jail
for rebelling, along with his men (he was head of a rebel Army
regiment in Camagüey), ten months after the triumph of the Cuban
revolution. On leaving prison (and Cuba) in 1979, he formed the
Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID) group. Former Batista journalist
Luis Manuel Martínez said that Matos has been in "CIA hands" ever
since he left the island. He was director of the Voice of CID, a short
wave radio station broadcasting to Cuba partially financed by the CIA,
as radio Miami International owner Jeff White has confirmed (see note
Proof of his spirit of freedom can be seen in the reply he gave to
journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina when he asked him about dissidents
links with company directors wishing to invest in Cuba: we can't
guarantee the safety of these investors after the regime falls; they
won't be respected because they have been accomplices of the regime;
they will be a cause of friction. Of course if they offer us good
economic support then we can do business (11).
The Estefan clan (Gloria and Emilio) have big plans. They are Bacardi
shareholders and thus financiers of terrorist acts in Nicaragua,
Angola and Cuba and accomplices to stealing Cuban patents. Gloria and
Emilio Estefan sponsor other para-terrorist organizations such as
Brothers to the Rescue whose aircraft have been violating Cuban
airspace for years.
The CIA recruited Martha Frayde, former Cuban ambassador to UNESCO in
Paris, when she was working at that post. Together with Elizardo
Sánchez, Gustavo Arcos and Ricardo Bofill, she organized a miniscule
counterrevolutionary group that has informed the U.S. delegation at
the UN about alleged human rights violations in Cuba. She represented
Gustavo Arcos at the inauguration of the Cuban Spanish Foundation in
Madrid (see note 9).
The writer Zoe Valdés is now very much in fashion, although she was an
absolute unknown until she was given the Planeta prize. Shortly before
the war in Iraq began she wrote an article for El Mundo (Madrid) daily
affirming that she wanted the war to start once and for all so that
she could have some peace from all those anti-war signatures.
During a conversation in 1985, when she was an unheard of writer and
wife of a high ranking official at the Cuban embassy in Paris, Spanish
journalist Javier Ortiz called Zoe Valdés' opinions "truly cloying
Let us conclude with two important figures who may not be of Cuban
origin but must not be forgotten: Robert Menard from France and
Mexican Jorge Castañeda. Menard is the secretary general of NGO
Reporters Without Frontiers, an organization that, two days after two
journalists were killed by a tank fire in Baghdad, dedicated
practically the entire home page of its on-line web page to the lack
of free expression in Cuba (13). When asked by journalist Hernando
Calvo Ospina about the priority his organization gave to Cuba, he
replied: It's dangerous being a journalist in Colombia or Peru but
there is press freedom. Journalists are murdered and imprisoned in
those countries but their relatives and colleagues are content with
making denunciations (see note 11).
On May 20, the UN Committee responsible for NGO's sanctioned Reporters
Without Frontiers, recommending that its consultative status be
suspended for one year due to behavior incompatible with the
principals and objectives of the UN Charter. (14)
Former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda has had the merit of
ending the historically good relation between Mexico and Cuba.
At the end of last year, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer confirmed
that Casteñeda's ministerial term was over even before President Fox
EMIGRATION AND DESTABILIZATION
One of the mechanisms used by the United States to provoke the Cuban
government and destabilize the island's society is emigration. U.S.
policy is based on providing incentives and encouraging violent and
spectacular emigration attempts projecting an image of desperation to
the rest of the world. The objective is not to normalize migration
policy or offer possibilities in the United States to Cuban
dissidents; it is aimed only at destabilizing. The 1966 Cuban
Adjustment Act, strongly criticized by the Cuban government, is one of
the laws serving this purpose and once again demonstrates that the
U.S. government is two-faced.
Different to any other Latin American immigrant, a Cuban who arrives
at the U.S. coasts is guaranteed a visa thanks to the Adjustment
Act. A Haitian rafter would immediately be sent back to his or her
country; but not Cubans.
After the 1994 rafters crisis when waves of Cubans left Havana for the
United States, completely unrestricted by the Cuban government, both
countries signed an agreement regulating emigration and establishing
that the United States would concede 20,000 visas a year to Cubans
requesting them. However, in 2002, the United States only authorized
200 out of the 20,000. And in the first five months of the present
year, it only issued 505, a number that has declined in relation to
previous years. This rate does not fulfill migratory agreements, thus
creating an atmosphere of tension among those wanting to emigrate,
encouraging illegal emigration. Some Cubans not granted legal entry
visas by the U.S. authorities are then given them in virtue of the
Cuban Adjustment Act when they leave on a raft or hijack whatever
means of transport. This is the opposite of European policy aimed at
dissuading illegal African and Latin American migration. Europe
rewards those who use the legal embassy channels and punishes those
who arrive by illegal channels with repatriation and prohibiting them
from entering the country for various years.
By not fulfilling migratory agreements the U.S. objective is to
increase internal pressure and encourage boat and aircraft hijacking.
It is safe to say that if the Cuban government once again applied its
1994 policy of allowing uncontrolled emigration then the United States
would have a new excuse to intervene, alleging a threat to its
national security that the mass arrival of illegal Cubans could bring.
Cuba is now experiencing the greatest ever stimulus for illegal
emigration. In the seven months before the trials, seven Cuban
aircraft and boats were hijacked.
International law regards such hijackings, some involving weapons and
hostages, as acts of terrorism punishable under international
conventions. Nevertheless, in four of the cases the United Sates has
not brought the hijackers to trial and they remain at liberty in that
Fidel Castro has indicates that this plan was put into action the same
day that war began approximately two hours before war was initiated
in Iraq, at about 7:00 p.m. when a passenger aircraft on the Nueva
Gerona (Isle of Youth)/Havana route was hijacked. This was carried out
by six common criminals; they brandished knives in a similar way to
the hijackers of U.S. passenger planes that were then flown into the
Twin Towers. The Cuban passenger aircraft carrying 36 passengers was
deflected from its route and forced to land in Key West. A few days
later the Miami DA Office set the hijackers free on bail. It had been
nine years since a similar occurrence, the number of years after the
U.S.-Cuba migratory agreements were signed, and it suddenly took place
two hours before the war (16). This impunity led the way for more
kidnappings involving dozens of hostages.
U.S. complicity in hijack terrorism is such that on June 1, a U.S.
judge confiscated from the Cuban governmetn and auctioned the hijacked
DC-3 that put down in Key West and the Russian AN-24 hijacked in April
by a man carrying grenades (17).
Terrorists armed with grenades who hijack civil aircraft and take
hostages are not just left unpunished, but Cuban government property
is confiscatedand put up for auction. This entire strategy follows a
plan developed beforehand consisting in using the wave of hijackings
to provoke a migratory crisis that could be used as a pretext for a
naval blockade, that would then inevitably lead to war. Thus Kevin
Whitaker, head of the State Department's Cuba Bureau, cynically warned
Havana that hijackers of Cuban aircraft and boats are a threat to U.S.
security. The behavior of the U.S. and Cuban governments is
diametrically opposed when it comes to hijacking airplanes. The United
States has confiscated many of the 51 Cuban planes hijacked between
1959-2001 and not one single hijacker has been punished. Cuba has
sentenced 69 of those responsible for 71 cases of planes hijacked in
the United States and flown to the island; the other two hijackers
were handed over to the U.S. legal authorities. (18)
A HISTORY OF TERRORISM
The possibility of a U.S. intervention in Cuba is an evident one, as
demonstrated by the long history of hostile and terrorist actions,
attempts on the life of the president and constant violation of
international law on the part of the United States in order to do away
with the Cuban socialist system.
Dating back to the attempted Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, armed
attacks can be counted in the hundreds. One of the most savage was the
sabotage of a Cubana passenger plane in full flight in 1976 off the
Barbados coast, which killed all 73 persons on board, and the wave of
terrorist attacks on tourist facilities in the 1990s, organized and
funded by the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), which led to
the death of an Italian tourist.
According to the Cuban government, the U.S. policy of terrorism has
caused the death of 3,478 Cuban citizens and left a further 2,099
incapacitated or seriously affected. The U.S. government has tolerated
assassination attempts on President Fidel Castro and other
revolutionary leaders on hundreds of occasions, and has even been
physically involved itself. It is responsible for the sabotage of the
French vessel La Coubre, the arson attack that destroyed El Encanto
department store, for organizing and giving armed forces' backup at
the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, for numerous air and sea pirate
attacks on defenseless citizens and civilian installations. The United
States has supported the burning of cane fields, the machine-gunning
of Cuban territory, attacks on Cuban fishermen and the murder of
National Revolutionary Police and Border Guard agents.
The U.S. government bears responsibility for acts of terrorism
involving bombs and explosives against the Cuban diplomatic mission in
Portugal, to the United Nations and in other countries, causing deaths
and serious injury to diplomatic personnel. It is responsible for the
disappearance of Cuban diplomats in Argentina and the assassination of
another diplomat in New York.
Those actions are continuing today. On April 26, 2002 a plan to attack
the legendary Tropicana nightclub with explosives that could have
killed up to 1,000 people was thwarted, according to the Cuban agent
infiltrated into the commando group, Percy Francisco Alavarado. (19)
On April 6 this year the Sun Sentinel of Florida recounted how the
paramilitary Commando F-4 was training with heavy weapons to execute
armed actions against Cuba and for a possible armed invasion of the
The U.S. attitude to terrorism is totally contrary to that of Cuba's.
On December 20, 2001, Cuba passed a law against acts of terrorism
stipulating heavy sentences for those using Cuban territory to
organize acts of terrorism against any country, including the United
States. On the other hand, the latter's territory continues to be a
training ground for paramilitary groups operating against Cuba.
Further evidence of U.S. cynicism is the detention of the five Cubans
who are serving lengthy prison sentences, including double life, for
trying to stop ultra-right wing terrorist groups exiled in Miami from
perpetrating acts of violence against Cuba. Have discovered their
intentions, the five Cubans informed the U.S. authorities and in
response, were jailed on espionage charges.
While all this has been going on, the media is continuing its
anti-Cuba harassment campaign. While widely reporting manifestos
condemning the island, it silences those showing support, such as one
signed by more than 3,000 intellectuals, artists and professionals
from 69 countries, including four Nobel prize winners, entitled "To
the conscience of the world." (20)
While criticisms by José Saramago are aired, the backing of Adolfo
Pérez Esquivel, Noam Chomsky, Ernesto Cardenal, Mario Benedetti,
Augusto Roa Bastos, Gabriel García Márquez or Rigoberta Menchú are
omitted. The press presents persons who planted bombs in Havana hotels
in 1997 as dissidents, along with the hijackers of aircraft and
Cuban sentences passed on hijackers are condemned and massacres
committed by other governments in attempts to resolve similar hostage
situations are ignored, like that in the Moscow theater where 100
hostages and Chechen terrorists died, or the cold-blooded killing on
Fujimori's orders of those who seized the Japanese embassy in Lima.
THE EUROPEAN UNION
For its part, the European Union (EU), led in its anti-Cuba policy by
José María Aznar, has more than ever before revealed its hypocrisy and
double standards. The nations that said nothing when international law
was violated in the case of the invasion of Iraq; who have never
condemned the death penalty against minors, the mentally ill and
foreigners refused their right to consular attention, to the point of
a total of 71 executions in the United States last year, are now
clamoring against Cuba.
The EU has called on the Cuban authorities to avoid the useless
suffering of prisoners and to not subject them to inhumane treatment,
while looking the other way in terms of the 600-plus prisoners, some
of European origin, in the Guantánamo concentration camp who have been
tortured, and have no right to legal aid or family visits. A EU that
is silent over the thousands of prisoners in U.S. jails in the wake of
the September 11 attack for the crime of beings Muslims, without legal
guarantees, trials and without their names even being known.
Measures using diplomatic punishment, suspending trade and cooperation
agreements, canceling bilateral government visits, reducing European
states' participation in cultural events, inviting Cuban dissidents to
embassies in Havana, suspending cooperation and solidarity programs
with Cuba. These are the European Union's replies to a country that
only requests respect for the UN Charter acknowledging Cuba's right to
choose its own political system, acknowledging respect for the
principal of equality between states and the right to peoples' free
The divorce between public opinion and governments following the
United States has never been as evident as in the case of Cuba. Whilst
the majority of presidents apply policies against the island that are
in line with Bush dictates, demonstrations of support and solidarity
are happening spontaneously in whatever country Cuban leaders visit.
All these governments, and especially the U.S. one, must know that
their peoples do not share their acts of aggression and harassment
against Cuba. Peoples who should denounce and confront the basis
justifying military intervention that, in the name of democracy and
human rights, can only bring death and pillage in its wake.
Maurice Lemoine, America Latina, Cuba y la democracia Le Monde
Diplomatique, Southern Cone edition, June 2003.
See U.S. State Department website
Jorge Isunza. No nos dejemos manipular.
Miguel Bonasso. Topos y condenas.
USAID report, Evaluation of the USAID Cuba Program, 2001
Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque press conference, April 9, 2003
Carlos Fazia, Cuba: Los beneficios de una eventual era postrevolución.
La Jornada, Mexico.
José Daniel Fierro. Quieren Guerra.
Pascual Serrano. Fidel Castro, violador de derechos humanos en
Hernando Calvo Ospina, Katlijn Declerq. ¿Disidentes o mercernarios?
Vosa publishers, Madrid, 1998.
13.Adolfo Mena. Cuba y Iraq
14.Pascual Serrano. The UN begins expulsion process against Reporters
Without Frontiers as a consultative body for acts incompatible with
the UN Charter's principles and objectives.
15. Pascual Serrano. Before the Mexican president accepted the
resignation of Minister Castañeda, Bush had already bid him farewell.
16. Fidel Castro interviewed by Miguel Bonasso, Página 12. Argentina.
17. Frank Martin. World Data Service.
18. Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs Statement, May 2, 2003.
19.Percy Francisco Alvarado. Objectivo: Cabaret Tropicana.
20. See http://www.rebelion.org/internacional/030503pl.htm