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Organized and financed from Washington

Cuba foils plot against revolution

By Gloria La Riva

The Cuban government has arrested and tried 75 people on charges involving treason and collaboration with a foreign power. Prosecutors produced evidence that the 75 were paid agents of the United States, working under direction of the CIA and its representatives in the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana.

After four days of proceedings, the trials ended on April 7 in convictions.

The defendants have been characterized in the U.S. capitalist media as independent journalists and dissidents oppressed by the Cuban government simply for speaking the truth and wanting a peaceful oppositional role in Cuban society.

But the evidence presented showed that their objectives and deeds were far more ominous, aiming for a counter-revolution that would undo the social achievements of the Cuban Revolution. Even more damning is their direct link to the U.S. government, particularly the chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, James Cason.

Since his appointment as top U.S. diplomat in Havana last year, Cason has brazenly called for the disparate reactionary forces on the island to unite with their right-wing counterparts in Miami to "bring democracy and freedom to Cuba."

In Iraq, thousands have just died in a war waged by the U.S. supposedly for democracy and freedom. The survivors now face the looting and occupation of their country. Around the world, the promise by any U.S. representative to bring "democracy and freedom" is seen as a serious threat.

With imperialism's knives now being sharpened against Syria, Iran, North Korea and others, Cuba, too, is alert to plots against it being shaped in Washington.

Added to U.S. attempts at internal subversion is a recent spate of violent hijackings in Cuba--seven in seven months. Many Cubans feel there is a coordinated effort by Washington to set off a crisis and create a pretext to cancel the 1995 immigration agreement between the U.S. and Cuba.

Cuban foreign minister responds

James Cason became chief of the U.S. Interests Section last fall. He has spent much of his time rallying tiny groups of right-wingers on the island.

What he didn't expect was that some of the Cuban counter-revolutionaries whose cause he championed were actually Cuban double agents, men and women who infiltrated the right-wing groups in defense of their country. Their intelligence work struck a blow at U.S. designs and provided much of the evidence at the trial.

On April 9, two days after the trials ended, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque held a press conference with dozens of Cuban and foreign journalists. Citing the evidence presented in the trials, he gave a blow-by-blow account of criminal acts carried out by the defendants and described their ties with the U.S.

Cason organized and attended a series of meetings in Havana with some of the counter-revolutionaries, beginning on Feb. 24 of this year.

Cuban President Fidel Castro spoke out on March 6 about Cason's actions, saying Cuba would "calmly take all the time needed to decide on its course of action regarding this bizarre official. Perhaps the numerous U.S. intelligence agents working at the Interests Section could explain to him that Cuba can easily do without this office, a breeding ground for counter-revolutionaries and a command post for the most offensive subversive actions against our country."

On March 18 and 19, the 75 Cubans were arrested and charged with violations of Cuban law, among them Article 91 of the Cuban Penal Code, Law 62 of 1987, which prohibits anyone from carrying out "an action in the interest of a foreign state with the purpose of harming the independence of the Cuban state or the integrity of its territory."

Law 88, described by Pérez as an antidote to the U.S. Helms-Burton law of 1996, prohibits someone who "gathers, reproduces, disseminates subversive material from the government of the United States of America, its agencies, representative bodies ... to support the objectives of the Helms-Burton Act, the blockade and the war."

Conceived and financed by Washington

The trial revealed that virtually all of the actions undertaken by the right-wingers were thought up, financed and organized by Washington. One such anti-Cuba campaign is the so-called Varela Project, lauded by U.S. officials as providing alternative "freedoms" to Cuba, like a market economy. It reportedly collected 11,000 signatures of supporters, and its supposed founder, Osvaldo Payá, has toured Europe and the U.S., receiving numerous awards for his "courage." Groups like the International Republican Institute have funneled large amounts of money to the counter-revolutionaries as "awards."

But the real architect resides elsewhere. Pérez read a series of letters from a Carlos Alberto Montaner, who wrote from Spain to Osvaldo Alfonso Valdés of Todos Unidos, one of the counter-revolutionary groups. Valdés was one of those tried and convicted. Montaner has long been identified as working for the CIA.

A March 22, 2001, letter says, "Dear Osvaldo, a friend you know has been kind enough to get these 30,000 pesetas to you. Very soon you will receive a call from some high-level Spanish friends to talk about the Varela Project. I recommended five names to found this new idea: Payá, Alfonso, Arcos, Raúl Rivero and Tania Quintero."

The money was provided, the project and name created, and the people to head it were hand picked by the CIA. Cuba's overwhelming response to the Varela Project was a referendum organized last July in which 99.7 percent of the population signed on to declare Cuba's socialist system "irrevocable."

Twelve Cuban double agents--including Odilia Collazo, Néstor Baguer and Manual David Orrio--revealed their true identities at the trial. Accounts of each agent were reported in Granma, the daily newspaper.

For 11 years, Orrio pretended to be one of the "independent" journalists, writing on themes selected by the U.S. Interests Section. Orrio said, "I could have said no (to the mission), but I thought of the outrageous manner in which the Yankees have tried to asphyxiate us, and then I thought of my son Miguel, from whom I took the pseudonym. I said to myself, 'Let's get on with it,' but I never imagined we would come so far."

The big-money media reports a wave of condemnation, ranging from the ultra-right in Washington and Miami to the liberal U.S. establishment, for the recent actions Cuba has taken in its defense.

But Cuba's overriding priority is its sovereignty and self-defense. The real freedoms that the revolution has guaranteed to the 11 million Cubans--free education and health care, the right to a job, and control over their own land and resources--would be crushed if the counter-revolution were to triumph.

In Pérez Roque's words, "After more than 40 years of an ironclad economic, financial and commercial blockade, of aggressions, terrorist acts, more than 600 assassination attempts on the life of the Cuban President--on top of all that, our people have had to contend with the obsession of U.S. governments to fabricate an opposition in Cuba.

"One plan after another has foundered against the unity of our people, against the moral authority of the Cuban Revolution, against the unquestionable fact that the overwhelming majority of the Cuban people support and defend the revolution."

To read Perez Roque's complete transcript, see: www.granma.cu.

Reprinted from the April 24, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper

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