CubaNews notes July 15, 2003
walterlx at enet.cu
Tue Jul 15 23:50:54 MDT 2003
CubaNews Notes Tuesday July 15, 2003
by Walter Lippmann, CubaNews moderator
NOTE: Today started out with just a few "ordinary"
stories such as the NAACP convention in Miami,
the right-to-travel conference in Washington, and
the mischief made by the French embassy here in
Havana yesterday (Bastille Day), but then we also
had two new hijackings, so it's taken a great deal
of time to pull the information together on all of the
events of the past day. Please bear with me again.
As the island prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary
of the assault on the Moncada Barracks, looking back
and looking forward at the same time are high on the
Cuban agenda. It's been officially announced that the
celebration will indeed by held in Santiago de Cuba,
site of the Moncada attack. Each day's news, both in
their electronic and print versions, features looks back
at those historical events and reflections on the ongoing
significance of the occasion. They constitute a positive
and indelible reminder, to the people of this country and
to anyone else who needs to hear it, that the Revolution
in Cuba is an institution which has survived and grown
from the greatest challenges of the past, until today's.
Regarding the latest hijackings: one of these ended
with three people killed. The other resulted in a large
(exact number uncertain) number of Cubans getting
away from the island, en route to the Bahamas.
In some ways, this second is even more ominous
since, as in the case of the ferry boat hijacking, for
the second time this year, the United States openly
refused to assist Cuba in solving this problem. It is
unsolved as these notes are written, 10 PM in Cuba.
The hijackers, exact number still undetermined, are
out of Cuban waters and were last seen on their
way to the Bahamas, according to this evening's
Cuban TV news at 8 PM. Fortunately, Cuba and
the Bahamas have friendly relations and treaties
which should result in the return of the perpetrators
of this act, if and when they are found. As I'm told,
the Bahamas is an archipelago and it make take a
bit of time before they are finally captures. Here's
a map: http://makeashorterlink.com/?U64142845
There are some wire service reports on the hijackings
which will give more of a sense of what has happened.
In the United States, the continuing impact of the claims
about Iraq trying to purchase uranium from the African
nation of Niger (not Nigeria as some have it) regularly
fills the media reports as the White House practices
damage control at an intense level. How successful it
will be remains to be seen. With George Tenet, the CIA
director taking formal political responsibility, the White
House hopes to sweep all of this under the rug quickly.
Two recent reports I've seen make this grotesquely and
transparently accurate. They really hope that they can
get away with their lies about Iraq, or, worse, that they
can convince people the lies were OK. Bush said just
yesterday, "Our country made the right decision."
Ari Fleisher just yesterday said, "No one can accurately
tell you it was wrong. That is not known." So mere facts
aren't supposed to get in the way. This is very important
because of the US propaganda offensive against Cuba
as exemplified by putting the island on the terrorist list,
by claiming it has a bioweapons capability and, now as
blocking US broadcasts to Iran. None of this is given a
bit of serious factual substantiation. The administration
hopes to bluff its way out of its Iraq credibility crisis
Even the Miami Herald's cartoonist Jim Morin has made
a most eloquent commentary on this in Friday's cartoon
where he compares Bush's lies on Iraq with Clinton's lies
about Monica Lewinsky. Check it out at the Miami Herald:
NAACP CONVENTION MEETS IN MIAMI
All of this is important to consider and keep in mind while
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP), the nation's largest and oldest civil rights
organization meets in national convention in Miami, Florida.
This week, and particularly today, the Miami Herald is going
all out in a propaganda offensive aimed at the NAACP as
you can see by reviewing its coverage of Cuba, even more
extensive (though every bit as negative) as usual. This looks
completely orchestrated by the administration and by the
rightist exiles. They aim to get the NAACP to take a stand
against Cuba, dredging up a man who was arrested in Cuba
THIRTY FIVE YEARS AGO to give anti-Cuba testimony.
Though the NAACP is a very conservative organization, it's
unlikely that it will jump aboard the anti-Cuba train since
the crew includes George W. Bush in the driver's seat.
Every knows that Pres. Bush opposes affirmative action,
supports the Cuban Adjustment Act, and his administration
continues shipping Haitians back to their homeland. At the
same time virtually all Cubans who arrive in the US get the
red carpet treatment. This same Bush, who got into the
White House through electoral fraud, is hardly likely to win
support for his anti-Cuban policies among the NAACP.
The utterly phony and disingenuous "apology" given by
Miami Mayor Alex Panelas, for the city's hostility toward
Nelson Mandela in 1990, will make precious little impact.
But it's unlikely Blacks will forget Panelas' role backing
the kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez just three years ago.
That act, was very strongly reminiscent of the efforts by
white segregationists to resist equal rights for Blacks in
the the US in the 1950s and 1960s. People in the US
have notoriously short memories, but the leaders of the
NAACP, who are old enough to remember these things
personally, cannot forget such racist acts. It's weird but
odd and infuriating to read his "apology". Please also
note that his claim to have gone to Mandela's home to
make the apology, but that Mandela had gotten sick so
they in fact did not meet. (Mandela's illness might have
been diplomatic rather than medical in origin...<g>.)
Last night's Mesa Redonda here on Cuban television gave
a detailed report on Otto Reich and the role of what it calls
the anti-Cuban terrorist mafia. Among other things it had
a called-in discussion with Max Lesnik in Miami about the
role of the exiles.
RIGHT TO TRAVEL CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON
A major "right-to-travel" conference is being held today
in Washington, DC. Neither the Washington Post, which
used to be known as a "liberal" paper, nor the Moonie
Washington Times has any mention of this event which
features a major list of US senators endorsing it. With
these papers it's similar to the US refusal to recognize
what used to be called "Red China". The rationale was:
if "we" (meaning the US government in Washington) do
not give diplomatic recognition, the fact that control over
China had returned to Chinese hands could be hidden
in hopes it would fade away.
The two papers did this regarding the National Summit
on Cuba which I attended last September. Actually, the
Washington Times ran an attack article after the event,
while the Post carried nothing at all. The day before the
National Summit, the Post carried a prominent article on
Oswaldo Paya, as if to thumb its nose at the gathering.
The US media dutifully played its role as well, plumping
the claims also out of Washington that Cuba has been
jamming US broadcasts aimed at Iran. Though I'm no
expert on such broadcasting matters, it's the same kind
of coverage we say prior to President Carter's visit to
the island last year, and is similarly unsubstantiated.
It does, however, serve the same diversionary goal:
to take public attention away from the growing moves
against the travel ban in Washington, and also to try
to generate anti-Cuba sentiment at the NAACP's
FOLLIES FRENCHOISE AT A HAVANA EMBASSY
The French embassy here in Havana demonstratively
invited a group of Cuba's so-called "dissidents" to join
in the celebration of that country's national day. This
provocative act caused a sharp drop in attendance at
the event. AP said that it was 400 less than expected.
I'll make a few comments to introduce the coverage
from the snide coverage by the British Broadcasting
company, which mocks the event, snidely whining
about the quality of the island's wine. It's a good
sample of the level to which the unctious voice of
the British empire seems to have sunk recently.
Again, sorry for the length of this and also for the
numerous reports to follow.
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