"All bright"? I don't think so...

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at SPAMbellsouth.net
Tue Aug 29 21:19:40 MDT 2000


    Yesterday Czech gusana and American imperialist Madeline Albright let
loose with a hypocritical blast at Cuba for supposedly having denied exit
visas to 117 Cubans who wanted to leave the island and had U.S. visas.

    Albright's press statement described the alleged Cuban actions as
"arbitrary." On its web site, the state department posted in support of her
statement details of what it claims are the categories of people denied exit
visas, including among others, young men who have not completed their
military service and people who did not have sufficient money to pay about
$500 filing and other fees charged by the Cuban government. Apparently, no
one in the State Department noticed that there was a glaring contradiction
between Mrs. Albright's statement about "arbitrary" Cuban denials and the
quite specific list of reasons that accompanied it.

    What truth there may be to these allegations it is impossible to say.
The State Department, without explanation, refused to provide journalists
with the particulars of ANY of the would-be émigrés, thus making it
impossible for news organizations to independently verify the charges.

    If almost any other source and target were involved, the "serious"
American news outlets would not have touched such unsubstantiated charges
with a ten-foot pole. But when it comes to official Cuba bashing, the usual
rules do not apply. The major American media was only too happy to spread
the charges without even letting their readers or viewers know that the
State Department withheld all information which would have made it possible
to judge their veracity.

    And, clearly, this was NOT to protect these people from some sort of
"reprisal" by Cuba: Albright said she gave the list of names to the Cuban
government as part of the official protest.

    Mrs. Albright's statement is proof positive, if any more were needed,
that the United States policy towards Cuba is annexationist. Washington
considers itself entitled to meddle in the most outrageous way in the
strictly internal affairs of the Cuban nation.

    Cuba has obligatory military service, and the regulations it adopts to
make sure those subject to the draft comply with the requirements of Cuban
law are, quite simply, none of Washington's business. Albright even has the
temerity to make herself the judge of whether Cuban government fees are too
high!

    One reason for the State Department communiqué is mentioned in
Albright's official announcement: "Over the past year, the Cuban Government
has engaged in ceaseless rhetoric about migration issues, including the
importance of family re-unification." Albright suggests the REAL reason why
people make the risky, illegal boat crossing is that the Cuban government
won't let them leave by normal means.

    This simply won't stand the giggle test. More than 100,000 people have
legally emigrated to the United States from Cuba since the migration accords
went into effect, EVERY SINGLE ONE with the requisite Cuban government
documents. To come up with this 100-person-plus list as the "explanation"
for continuing, and in fact GROWING illegal crossings is ridiculous. The
number who attempt the illegal crossing is at least double that just about
every month.

    What's really behind the illegal immigration is that the U.S. is STILL,
despite the accord with Cuba, where it promised to stop this practice,
receiving with open arms those who make it to Florida. Even if you have a
criminal record in Cuba, and are thus ineligible for an American visa, the
United States will let you stay -- provided you made the crossing illegally.

    THAT is what Cuba has been denouncing, not just in the past year, but
for decades. Moreover, there is a law --the Cuban American Adjustment Act--
which further encourages the illegal crossing by granting Cubans pretty much
automatic permanent residency in the United States and a fast track to U.S.
citizenship.

    The attempt by the State Department would be merely ridiculous if it
were not for the fact that the U.S. news media are quite happy to act as a
megaphone for Mrs. Albright, suppressing Cuba's side of the story and hiding
from the public highly relevant FACTS about her charges, such as that Mrs.
Albright FAILED to provide the name of even a SINGLE ONE of the 117 alleged
would-be émigrés so that her story could be checked out.

    But there was an additional reason the State Department set off this
stink bomb right now. Which is that at the same time that they handed Cuba
their official protest, they also notified them that they would not grant
Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba's National Assembly, a visa to attend a
UN-sponsored conference of the Interparliamentary Union in New York.

    THIS decision was not announced publicly by the State Department, and
after the press got wind of it because Cuba DID announce it publicly, the
State Department REFUSED TO CONFIRM OR DENY IT, with absurd mumblings about
the "confidentiality" of visa applications, as if Alarcón's planned trip had
been some sort of secret.

    This is an outrageous violation of the most basic norms of civilized
conduct of the international community, and a specific trampling of solemn
and binding US commitments as a United Nations host country to not impede
the participation of member nations in UN activities.

    And it ALSO gives the lie to another part of Mrs. Albright's statement,
which is that the U.S. is seriously interested in negotiating with Cuba
about immigration issues, but is being prevented from doing so by the Cuban
side's refusal to meet.

    If the American authorities indeed had such a burning desire for a
bilateral meeting, they would have WELCOMED Alarcón's trip as an ideal
opportunity to have informal contacts about scheduling a session, since
Alarcón is Cuba's lead negotiator in the immigration talks with the United
States. And if he rebuffed the approaches, Mrs. Albright would have had a
wonderful story to leak to the press about how reasonable the U.S. had been
in various offers it made, only to be frustrated by Cuban intransigence.

    But the U.S. claim about wanting to talk is simply a fig leaf to try to
hide its continuing refusal to abide by the immigration accords, which
require BOTH sides to act to prevent illegal immigration. And the LAST thing
Washington wants is someone as prominent and effective as Alarcón who would
explain the REAL situation to the people of the United States. Hence the
visa denial, and this pitiful attempt at a smokescreen by Mrs. Albright. The
United States Government is deathly afraid of the truth, of what Ricardo
Alarcón would tell the American people, that is the long and the short of
it.

    The U.S. policy now is a completely irrational one of returning those
caught at sea, but permitting those who reach shore to stay. Predictably,
this has led to professional smugglers with high-speed boats taking over the
route, and to a number of increasingly violent incidents between their
racing crafts, overfilled with people, and Coast Guard cutters.

    The American failure to stop this trafficking in human beings and punish
the smugglers shows just how hypocritical the State Department is in
objecting to Cuban government fees of a few hundred dollars for an exit
visa. For the going rate charged by the smugglers for the crossing is
between $10,000 and $15,000 per person. According to Mrs. Albright's twisted
logic, Cuban government fees of a few hundred dollars are "forcing" people
who can't afford them to instead pay ten thousand dollars to smugglers.

    "All bright" the Secretary of State certainly is not. She is not only a
liar, she's not even intelligent enough to catch the obvious, glaring
contradictions in the tales she spins.

José






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