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Washington's strategy to undermine Cuba

Protect terrorists, preach human rights

By Gloria La Riva

While the Bush administration is attempting to obtain the release of four anti-Cuba terrorists from a Panamanian jail, it is at the same time trying to force through a resolution against Cuba in the upcoming UN Human Rights Commission.

Since the 1959 revolution, over 3,400 Cubans have been killed by U.S.-supported terrorism, by invasion, blockade, bombings and assassination. Cuba is the victim of human rights violations, not the perpetrator. It is the U.S. government that belongs in the dock for its countless anti-human crimes around the world.

But shame never stopped Washington from hypocritically accusing its victims of its own genocidal crimes.

With intense threats and bribes to Latin American and other countries in recent days, the Bush administration is once again trying to bully the world to falsely accuse Cuba of human rights violations.

On March 18, the annual meeting of the Human Rights Commission begins in Geneva, Switzerland. It will take up a number of resolutions. But as with many U.S.-controlled international forums, the human rights commission is largely a political weapon in the hands of U.S. imperialism and its allies.

This is especially true since the collapse of the socialist camp in Europe and the replacement of many socialist governments with regimes subservient to U.S. policy.

Perpetrator accuses victim

Last year, after open pressure on many delegations in the human rights commission, the United States forced a narrow 22-20 vote against Cuba. With the balloting of the member states in the open, many were strong-armed to come out against Cuba or face retaliation.

Weeks after that sordid anti-Cuba vote, however, in a secret ballot of the same commission, the U.S. government was kicked off the 2002 commission.

What clearly angered some countries is that the U.S. is the creator and backer of regimes that violate human rights all over the world. Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador and Chile, all with genocidal histories against their own people, had chimed in with the U.S. anti-Cuba resolutions in 2000 and 2001.

The U.S. was shocked at being ejected. In typical sour-grapes fashion, Bush said being on the commission wasn't important.

Yet this year, behind the scenes, the U.S. government is working overtime to line up votes against Cuba, turning the economic screws on Latin America.

Taking advantage of the deep economic crisis gripping the continent, the U.S. is sending envoys with a clear message: help us gang up on Cuba and political or economic favors may be forthcoming. George W. Bush himself is traveling to Mexico in mid-March, then El Salvador and Peru on March 23-24.

According to a statement by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a message was secretly distributed in early March by the U.S. government to Latin American governments urging them to sponsor an anti-Cuba resolution at the next HRC meeting.

The only country to sponsor the anti-Cuba resolution three years in a row is the Czech Republic. Formed after the breakup of socialist Czechoslovakia, this country has been an unabashed stooge of the U.S. against Cuba, sending agents into the island at various times to deliver money and support to tiny counter-revolutionary organizations. The U.S. desperately wants to keep up its credibility.

The Cuban Foreign Affairs statement said in part, "There are new maneuvers underway against Cuba within the Human Rights Commission that will begin its sessions next March 18.

"On this occasion, the enormous exhaustion and international discredit that the Czech government has gone through, as designated author of the resolution against Cuba over the last three years, has led the United States to try and find new "sponsors" for its anti-Cuban plan, focusing its pressures this time on several Latin American governments."

Interestingly, several Czech government officials are currently visiting Mexico, Peru and Chile for the U.S. So far, however, governments like Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile are refusing to go along.

Maneuvers to free terrorists

In the meantime, the U.S. government is carrying out dirty maneuvers inside Panama to orchestrate the release of four avowed terrorists who plotted to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in November 2000 as he and a Cuban delegation were set to attend the Ibero-American Summit on Children.

Luís Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo Sampoli, Pedro Crispin Remón, and Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo were arrested in Panama City on Nov. 18, 2000--the day of Castro's arrival in Panama--with several boxes of C-4 explosives and other weapons. Their presence and plot were uncovered by Cuba's intelligence service, which has been a bulwark in defense of the revolution over the last 40 years.

Despite being caught with weapons, the four terrorists, all trained and financed by the CIA for years, may be released by Panama for "lack of sufficient evidence."

Posada Carriles is one of two terrorists responsible for murdering 73 Cubans, Guyanese and North Korean civilians in the bombing of a Cubana airplane in October 1976. He broke out of jail in Venezuela for that crime by giving a $26,000 bribe to the guards. The funds had been brought to Venezuela by Gaspar Jiménez, who is now in jail with Posada for trying to assassinate President Castro.

After 15 months of investigation of this latest crime, it seems that Panamanian prosecutor Dimas Guevara doesn't think several boxes of the powerful C-4 explosive are enough to warrant murderous intent. According to Granma International newspaper, Guevara concluded, "Among the charges established was the possession of a dangerous high explosive that would be used for a specific purpose, but the detonating fuse wasn't found. That's why we couldn't charge them with attempted homicide."

Imagine the uproar in the media if people the U.S. has branded terrorists were to be let go on such a flimsy excuse.

Despite Cuba's and Venezuela's requests for extradition of the four to face charges in those countries, Panama has refused. Now, the Salvadoran government, acting on behalf of the U.S., has requested extradition of the four to El Salvador. There they would only face "document falsification" charges and conceivably be freed for "time served."

Part of the U.S.'s greatest hypocrisy is that five Cubans who sacrificed their well-being to protect their people by monitoring terrorists inside the U.S. now find themselves with long-term prison sentences in U.S. dungeons.

Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González, five Cubans who are heroes in their country, were all cruelly separated from each other this month upon their transfer to permanent prisons across the U.S. Yet avowed mass killers like Posada Carriles could go free once more with the help of the Bush administration.

In the midst of the brutal Afghanistan bombing and the widening imperialist war, it is clear that Cuba is not free from U.S. assault or harassment, either. Cuba's struggle for justice is one more reason to march on April 20, along with all the just causes for liberation.

Reprinted from the March 21, 2002, issue of Workers World newspaper

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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