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Wed Oct 18 14:28:58 MDT 2000
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Editorial published in Granma Newspaper.
October 16, 2000
Chaos reigns in U.S. politics
. The U.S. government and Congress are instruments of the
CHAOS reigns in U.S. politics. Our people have just witnessed how the
Miami Cuban-American terrorist mafia and the extreme right wing
politicians occupying key congressional posts are capable of using the
U.S. government and its Congress as instruments of their policies.
That was already evident in the absurd sequence of events that
surrounded the kidnapping of Cuban child Elian Gonzalez.
The intense battle waged by our people over seven months and the
support given by U.S. public opinion, which was given detailed
information about the case by the mass media, inflicted on them a
humiliating defeat. Now they want to recover their lost ground at any
price. Their every pore exudes their hatred and their craving for
revenge against our people. A long history of complicity and
aggression on the part of successive administrations and a profusion
of laws and legislation enacted over the past 40 years have made
things easy for them and given them encouragement in their actions
As they reach the end of an exhaustive electoral campaign, where
demagoguery and politicking have reached new heights, the ideal moment
arrived for the crime that they have just committed against our
It was very evident that President Clinton, the majority of Congress
and the people of the United States are tired of a stupid and cruel
policy that has clashed for more than four decades with the iron will
and unshakable determination of a small country which has been able to
demonstrate that even a superpower's strength has its limits.
Cuba is winning respect and growing prestige around the world. Nobody
is able to ignore the Revolution's huge social achievements. There are
very few countries, including developed industrialized nations, that
are able to boast the education and health services that Cuba
possesses and provides absolutely free of charge to all its
citizens. Among those that are unable to match this achievement I, in
fact, the richest and most powerful country of all: the United States.
Our current capability to provide medical personnel and assistance free
of charge to tens of thousands of people in the remotest and most
inaccessible parts of needy Third World countries cannot be matched by
European countries and the United States put together, because they
simply don't have the necessary human capital.
At the most recent Olympic Games, countries with enormous resources
and populations several times larger than that of Cuba were left far
behind by our athlete's performance. Despite the flood of money that
goes hand in hand with the increasing professionalism of Olympic
sports, not a single one of our athletes could be bought.
Our population's political conscience and spirit of solidarity is
beyond comparison. Our culture and learning have reached levels which
leave every other societies in the world well behind. The Cuban people
are more united than ever before. Our political system functions with
responsibility, stability, social participation and public integrity
which has nothing in common with what occurs every day in almost every
part of our suffering world.
Violence has never been used against the population. Over the last
four decades, there has not been one single incident of repression
against our people. The chemical gases and sophisticated and
threatening methods that are used, with very few exceptions, on a
daily basis in the world's richest and most developed countries, have
never been employed here. Consensus is the key to our Revolution's
enormous political power.
The stale and hypocritical bourgeois concepts of democracy and human
rights sound totally empty. A system that promotes extreme inequality,
violence against popular protest, selfish individualism, the wasteful
consumption of resources and the destruction of the environment reigns
in the most developed countries, and its economic and political models
are imposed on other nations by the current world economic order.
However, in poor Third World countries, the consumer society is the
exclusive preserve of a small privileged minority. Today, more than
ever before, there are many millions of people around the world who
are starving, illiterate and poverty stricken.
What Cuba has achieved, despite its location only 90 miles from the U.S.
coast and in spite of almost half a century of a blockade imposed by the
world's most powerful nation-which became a double blockade after the
disintegration of the other superpower-is something which the most
reactionary sectors of that country find it very hard to come to terms
with. They are accustomed to scorning, humiliating and destroying those
who dare to resist their plans. The Soviet Union, fell despite its
thousands of strategic nuclear weapons, its 22 million square kilometers
of territory and its infinite natural resources. All its European allies
fell as well. But Cuba-in the heart of the West, and blockaded,
surrounded, harassed and pressured from all sides-never fell, even
though its imminent fall was expected every day, every week or every
month. With its socialist banners on high and its dreams of justice,
Cuba never renounced a single one of its principles nor made a single
ideological concession. Such a heroic deed won a place in history for
our people that nothing and nobody will ever be able to erase.
Now that the world has become ungovernable and the economic order that
has been imposed on its people has become unsustainable, the fighting
spirit is coming to the fore once again all around the planet. The
main protagonists of that order, the International Monetary Fund and
World Bank, are unable to find a location where they can meet in
peace, not in Washington or in Prague, without protests by thousands
upon thousands of people who are then brutally repressed. Their
prestige is at rock bottom. Their ideology and methods of making the
rich increasingly richer and the poor ever poorer are in full
decline. Bewilderment and demoralization are spreading among those who
just a short time ago predicted the end of history. Both for Cuba and
the rest of the world, history is only just beginning.
All of the foregoing explains why Cuba, which doesn't use such
political and economic models in order to achieve the social
development it enjoys today, is the only country in the world
submitted to a brutal unilateral economic blockade by the United
States. But it is not proof of the strength of those imposing the
blockade, but rather it is proof of their weakness and
The most intelligent people of that country, the healthiest sectors,
the most honest politicians, and those who are most determined, out of
conviction or vested interests, to remove the obstacles blocking
economic and cultural exchanges between the two countries, want to put
an end to this policy with regard to Cuba.
They understand that the United States cannot continue the humiliation
of seeing itself become ever more isolated in the UN General Assembly.
With the exception of one or two of their most unconditional allies,
there is no country in the world that supports their criminal
blockade. The number of nations openly voting against it has
increased year after year. The Cuban resolution is now approved almost
A superpower has never played such a ridiculous world role, nor
displayed such scorn towards the generalized opinion of the rest of
the world's governments and peoples. It is the most palpable proof
that there is absolutely nothing in the current statutes of the United
Nations that allows for the equality of prerogatives or democratic
rights for the huge majority of the states that make up its
Public opinion along with the majority of members of the U.S. Senate
and House of Representatives now feel that the U.S. government's
policy towards Cuba has been a failure and must be changed. Over the
past 15 months there have unambiguous votes in both houses that show
that the majority of members favor the sale of food and medicines to
Cuba, in one form or another.
Since such a measure is impossible to implement without revising and
repealing numerous stipulations contained in other laws and regulations,
such an effort implies express or tacit approval for ceasing the
economic blockade. But even this combination of academic, economic and
political factors and forces has been able to advance one millimeter. On
the contrary, their initiatives were arbitrarily blocked and converted
into a step backwards.
In the middle of a political campaign in which uncertainty and
uneasiness prevail, the mafia and right-wing extremists imposed their
will, through shady, undemocratic and cynical means. They violated
laws and regulations. Taking advantage of the posts they hold in both
chambers and on important legislative committees, they hijacked
initiatives and prevented them from being discussed by the full
houses, where they knew they were in an absolute minority.
The procedure used was the introduction of arbitrary amendments and
reforms to bills that are vital to important sectors of the country
and which very few legislators were able to oppose. The first of these
was the Agricultural Allocations Bill that authorizes funding of up to
$78 billion USD, on which farming subsidies and food stamp recipients
depend. It had to be approved urgently, just a few weeks before the
elections. It was into this law that they introduced the crude
modifications that deprive our country of any moral or material
possibility of acquiring food and medicines.
In addition to this, they smuggled another modification into the law
like some illegal contraband. It removes one of the few the
president's few remaining prerogatives in relation to the economic
measures against Cuba and prohibits by law any U.S. citizen from
exercising their constitutional right to travel to Cuba. The island
will therefore be the only country in the world, with few exceptions,
to which U.S. citizens cannot travel. This blow is aimed at depriving
us of the income that tourism contributes to our economy.
There was only one recourse open to members of Congress who
indignantly opposed these shady maneuvers: to request a free
discussion of the bill. The extreme right and the mafia therefore
resorted to the principal of party discipline, something of tantamount
importance only 27 days before the elections. It was in this way, with
the support of the large majority of Republicans-a significant number
of whom sincerely supported the sale of food and medicines to Cuba,
but who felt obliged to follow the party line and vote against a free
discussion of the modifications-that they were able to prevent the
debate by 214 Republican votes to 201 Democratic votes, save one or
two isolated cases in both parties. That was how two important foreign
policy decisions came to be adopted in the same House of
Such malign modifications to the agricultural bill were described as
an alleviation of the blockade against Cuba or making it more
Both houses had already approved another sinister bill that hands
frozen funds belonging to Cuba over to Miami's terrorist mafia. They
used exactly the same procedure to get this legislation approved,
incorporating it in a law that concerns questions of vital interest
for important and wide-ranging sectors of U.S. society and which no
legislator could oppose.
In this way, formulas for robbery and looting are approved and
precedents violating international principles and norms are set, whose
consequences could be extremely grave. However, such actions do not
strengthen the United States against Cuba. On the contrary, they
strengthen Cuba's position in every sense while weakening and
discrediting the U.S. stance.
The fundamental issue for us is that the policy followed by the United
States against our country for more than 40 years is now strategically
defeated. There is now no short- or medium-term alternative remaining
to them, other than to abandon their economic war against Cuba.
If the U.S. government should one day adopt the absurd decision to
resolve our differences through the use of arms, the cost to them
would be restrictive, from both the human and political points of
view. The weapons have not yet been invented that are able to defeat a
people who are truly determined to struggle. The circumstances that
currently surround Cuba, an impregnable entrenchment made from stone
and ideas, have no resemblance to the other locations where they have
enacted their military adventures during this century.
In the same way as happened in Viet Nam, and independently of the new
types of arms later developed, the struggle would never cease in Cuba
until the complete liberation of the country had been achieved, no
matter what the form of war they imposed on us. Victory for the
aggressors would be impossible.
If the decision were to maintain the already unsustainable blockade,
they would uselessly expose themselves to ever increasing isolation
and ever increasingly profound contradictions with their own
allies. Our people, with their patriotism, their example, their talent
and their politically superior culture, would reduce U.S. world
prestige and influence to dust.
In the field of ideas, our country's enemies, those who would like to
defeat Cuba, are in no condition to take part in a serious and
convincing debate when faced by the poverty stricken millions who are
becoming increasingly poorer and increasingly conscious of the root
causes of their tragedy, nor when faced with the tens of millions of
people in developed countries who see with increasing clarity how the
world is heading along a path that can only eventually lead to
We are therefore facing new and decisive battles. Today the necessity
for the oath of BaraguE1 is better understood than ever before.
Our country will not purchase one penny of food or medicine from the
United States. Firstly, for reasons of ethics and dignity, we could
not accept the humiliating and unfair conditions that maintain,
completely intact, all the laws and measures adopted against our
people as part of an economic war. Secondly, because in practice it is
totally impossible to purchase food and medicine in the United States
while rigorous and implacable laws such as the Torricelli Act and
other pieces of legislation against Cuba remain in force. These have
been detailed in the most recent televised roundtable discussions and
by Ricardo AlarcF3n de Quesada, president of our National Assembly.
In the same way, it is absolutely unacceptable for the United States
to hand over control of frozen funds belonging to Cuba to terrorist
groups that have committed every type of aggression against our
country. As has recently been announced, half of these funds will
remain in the hands of lawyers who act for the mafia.
This amendment is a very serious matter and gives strong encouragement
to acts violating our sovereignty, criminal actions and piratical
attacks on our country, originating from U.S. territory.
In accordance with data that has so far been gathered, the Cuban funds
that are frozen in the United States are:
. A total of $111,400,000 USD owed to Cuba for telecommunications
services from 1966 until July 1990, which were not remitted to Cuba.
. A total of $8,700,000 USD owed to Cuba for communications services
from the 1990-1992 period.
. A total of $1,300,000 USD owed to Cuba for telecommunications services
from 1992 to 1994, when normal communications and payments were
. A total of $40,201,000 USD belonging, in the main, to the National
Bank of Cuba.
In summary, $121,400,000 USD for telecommunications services and
$40,201,000 USD in frozen funds, the majority belonging to the
National Bank of Cuba, which brings the total amount of Cuban funds
frozen in the United States to no less than $161,601,000 USD.
As can be appreciated, the greater part of these funds comes from the
provision of telecommunications services by Cuba over 28 years. These
permitted communications between U.S. residents of Cuban origin and
their families living on the island, were not paid to our telephone
company and remain frozen by that country's government.
This arbitrary and brutal law will inescapably generate the proper
The governments of the United States have been responsible for a range
of terrorist acts against our people: bombings and fires in social and
economic installations, a dirty war, mercenary invasions, pirate
attacks by air and by sea, plans to assassinate Cuban leaders, the
introduction of deadly viruses and bacteria, and many other aggressive
and violent acts.
A total of 5,577 people have lost their lives or have been permanently
These repugnant facts were denounced and investigated by the pertinent
courts. Much of this information has been recognized and released in
official U.S. government documents. As a result of the court hearings,
the United States was ordered to pay $181,100,000 USD in human
The blockade and economic war against Cuba, including food and
medicines, constitute genocidal acts in accordance with the
international treaties signed by both countries on December 9, 1948,
and August 12, 1949, and a pertinent civil court has ordered the
payment of $121,000,000 USD in damages for the economic harm caused
and in compensation.
Although it is within our rights, we have still not demanded indemnity
for moral damages, nor the prison sentences that conform with the
treaties previously mentioned.
U.S.-Cuban relations cannot be normalized if there is no discussion of
these pending obligations, also associated with the United States'
economic claims related to the nationalization of properties belonging
to U.S. citizens at the time the Revolution triumphed.
The only thing lacking is the formal vote in the U.S. Senate to
approve the modifications included in the agriculture bill, which will
surely take place in the next few days, since they cannot even be
submitted to free discussion.
As an immediate response to the extreme right and the Cuban-American
terrorist mafia, given the sinister modifications that the amendment
clumsily introduced and imposed in the U.S. Congress, which the
president is in no position to veto despite his harsh criticism of
these measures, 800,000 Havanans are expected to march in front of the
U.S. Interest Section in Cuba on Wednesday, October 18, at 9 a.m.
This patriotic march will also be a message to the people of the
United States-the immense majority of whom supported the liberation of
the kidnapped Cuban boy, and who increasingly oppose the criminal
blockade-in which we will express our condemnation and protest the
gross violation of U.S. citizens' constitutional right to travel to
Cuba, where they have always been welcomed here with hospitality and
The streets of Havana will resound once again!
We will be there!
October 16, 2000
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