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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Tom Grey

Perhaps the main reason Bush refuses to "make nice with Castro" is because he knows ... then the Leftists will finally stop supporting Castro!

If Leftists don't have the intellectual honesty to be for, or against, a dictatorship, based on the dictatorship alone -- they remain little cowards of the mind.

Oops, I forgot -- Leftists only hate the dictators that actually help Bush and America in some way.

[Pro-Bush folk should also be laughed at -- end the sanctions. Let Capitalists again exploit the Cuban people so maybe more of them will get different ideas.]

too many steves

What a dilemma: support the embargo and harm Cuban citizens (along w/Fidel), lift the embargo and help Fidel (along w/citizens) - although that calculation isn't really that simple or certain.

I'm not sure Bush, or any other President, can win on this one. Should he follow the advise of Marc (and Machiavelli) to embrace Castro as a means of keeping an eye on him and, possibly, influencing his dictatorial behavior, he would then be open to criticism from both the Left and Right. Look at how the relationship with Saudi Arabia is criticised, or the recent warming of relations with Sudan. Isn't the tactic of embracing despots as a means to controlling them discredited these days?

Time will fix the Castro problem. How old is he now? Otherwise, I just don't see the political will or political courage, in anyone, to do anything other than maintain the status quo so long as Castro lives.

jim hitchcock

"If Leftists don't have the intellectual honesty to be for, or against, a dictatorship, based on the dictatorship alone -- they remain little cowards of the mind."

Tom, what specious nonsense. Tell me, please, about all the pro Chinese government demonstrations by `leftists' following Tiananman Square. Or about the trade sanctions put on by Republican administrations following same.

Do trade sanctions really hinder Castro in his stranglehold on power? I doubt it. If anything, they just give the old goat something to rant about, a convenient target for Castro to focus the attention of the Cuban people on us, rather than him.

In the end, I think too many is right...lacking the political will, we will just wait for time to take care of the problem for us.

As a side note, has anyone ever seen the documentary `Yank Tanks'? It does a good job pf showing how irrepressible (and capitalistic!) the ordinary Cuban is.


The US and western Europe have failed so miserably in getting rid of Castro that I can only conclude they aren't really trying or truly are just waiting for the bastard to die.
The only argument for maintaining the American embargo can be that republicans need the Miami Cuban vote to win elections and bigger profits for Canadian cigar stores. Americans don't really think its working, do they?
Western Europe's periodic engagement/condemnation policies has simply meant(shameful) cheap holidays for western leftists(and leches seeking prostitutes) and and nothing for Cuban dissidents rotting in jail or democracy.

One more thing: How many American leftists can there be that actually continue to support the Castro regime. Correct if I'm wrong, but i have to believe their numbers are so small as to be statistically insignifigant.

Mavis Beacon

Weird, Marc. Supporting the dissidents at the expense of the Cuban people? How about supporting the people (i.e. advocating the end of the embargo) AND supporting the dissidents. Right now the embargo is an anti-communist relic. Erase that and use the full array of economic carrots and sticks to promote human rights and grow local democratic structures (if possible). Castro is not a danger to the US, only a thug who sometimes mistreats his own people. Let’s get some sense of proportionality and remember who we’re trying to help.

Salim Lamrani

Cuban Dissidence and Terrorism
by Salim Lamrani
Znet, June 14, 2005

Cuban “dissidence” is presented in the international press as consisting of a brave group of “human rights activists” whose sole concern is to work for a “democratisation” of Cuban society. Entirely invented by the Section of North American Interests in Havana, Cuban “dissidence” enjoys an international media halo only because through financial motives it declares itself opposed to the revolutionary process backed by the vast majority of the island’s population. With no political project other than that of joining in the destabilisation of the nation, of which Washington is a vigorous proponent, Cuban “civil society” has not taken long to show its true face. (1)

Several dissident “stars” such as Vladimiro Roca, Raúl Rivero, Oswaldo Payá and Martha Beatriz Roque have taken part in a ceremony organised by the Cuban-American National Foundation, a terrorist group which has organised several attacks against Cuba and which is in favour with the US authorities. These people have expressed their support and gratitude to the fascist radical right-wing Cuban exiles. (2)

Oswaldo Payá, one of the most prestigious figures in the world of Cuban “dissidence” and director of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación), has shown on several occasions the importance he gives to democratic values. For example, in April 2002 he did not hesitate, in an open letter, to give his support to members of the fascist junta behind the coup against President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. In the afore-mentioned letter, Paya was profuse in his congratulations to the authors of the armed coup. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for democracy, a massive popular movement made it possible for Chavez to return to his presidential post 48 hours after the coup, which had been organised by the USA and the extremist Venezuelan opposition. (3) A few months later, the European Parliament granted the Sakharov Prize to Payá in gratitude for his stand ”for democracy and human rights”.

Payá also had an opportunity to let the international community judge his commitment to democracy when he launched a newly created “National Dialogue Committee”, whose goal is to organise a transitional programme perfectly in line with the plan President Bush has put in place for snuffing out the Cuban nation. The said committee is made up of around 110 members of the Cuban extreme right, several of whom have a broad experience in international terrorism against the Cuban people. (4)

Among these is Carlos Alberto Montaner, a former CIA agent who received a military training at Fort Benning, and currently president of the Cuban Liberal Union whose headquarters is in Madrid. The organisation he directs is financed by the CIA and has the aim of promoting US foreign policy against Cuba within European and Latin-American administrations. (5)

Payá has also sought the collaboration of José Basulto León, one of the directors of the terrorist organisation Hermanos al Rescate, which has, on many occasions, violated Cuban airspace and, on 24th February 1996, almost triggered an armed conflict between Havana and Washington after the Cuban authorities shot down two of the self-same organisation’s planes which were breaching the country’s security. Basulto also displays a long criminal record: he was trained by the CIA, took part in the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs in April 1961 and, amongst other things, made a bazooka attack on the Blanquita Theatre in Havana on 24th August 1962 when it was full of people. (6)

Far from being satisfied with the presence of these two individuals, the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement has called on such members of the Cuban-American National Foundation as Joe García and Ramón Humberto Colas. (7) Payá has openly expressed his delight at gathering together such “illustrious” personalities: “It is the first time that Cubans from inside and outside are working together as a single people with a single aim”. The declared “aim” is set out clearly in detail in the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, prepared by the former Secretary of State Colin Powell: the elimination of the Cuban revolution. (8)

Oswaldo Payá is too perceptive an individual to overlook the smallest detail of the past history of the members of his committee with their links to terrorist activities, but he has deliberately chosen to align himself with the most backward-looking section of the Cuban exiles. He has formally declared his goal of establishing “a market economy” in Cuba, as outlined in his Varela Project, falsely claimed in the media as being a Cuban initiative when in fact it was created in Washington. (10)

Payá, who is very voluble before the microphones of the international press, has “launched a challenge to the regime” by demanding fifteen minutes on Cuban national television in order to explain his political project. “I am challenging them yet again – to give me just fifteen minutes on the television which we, the Cuban people, pay for through our work”, he said. (11) At the same time, this opposition figure from the Christian Liberation Movement announced that he would refuse to stand at the municipal elections. The reason for this avoidance, by someone who claims to represent a broad segment of the Cuban population, is simple: he has absolutely no local support. In fact Payá, like every “dissident”, can stand and be elected, as Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban National Assembly, has emphasised. (12) However, this type of election, where there is no need for an election campaign or for astronomical finances, but where the candidates are directly elected by those who live in the same district, interests the “human right activists” only minimally. They know full well that they are totally unknown by the Cubans and that the only support they enjoy on the island is within the US Interests Section.

Payá prefers to launch diatribes against the government, pamphlets which are cheerfully taken up by the international press, even the most absurd such as the one which consists of accusing the Cuban authorities of causing people to disappear: “In Cuba, people have disappeared…. More than twenty children have been assassinated”, it stated with a completely straight face. Here the pupil has surpassed the teacher, as not even the government of the USA has ever accused Cuba of being responsible for disappearances or assassinations. (13)

It would be very difficult for Payá to be elected by the Cuban people as, even within the world of the “dissidents”, he lacks universal backing. The opposition market is a very competitive world where blows below the belt abound because of the financial interests at stake. Facing competition from the group of Martha Beatriz Roque, president of the Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society (Asamblea para Promover la Sociedad Civil), Payá has decided to go on the offensive by violently attacking his work-mate and accusing her of stirring up “calumny and confusion”. “ Groups and individuals who do not represent the majority are developing a systematic campaign of public attacks and provocation in order to discredit the National Dialogue,” he claimed, referring to Beatriz Roque’s Assembly. (14) Unhappy at being put in the shade by this competition, Payá has called publicly for a boycott of Beatriz Roque’s organisation while, for her part, she openly claims to be benefiting from the support of the US government and has no hesitation in expressing her admiration for President Bush. (15)

For her part, Beatriz Roque set the date of 20th May 2005 for a “dissidence” congress in Havana in order to discuss the resources required for “speeding up Cuba’s transition”. Many well-known personalities who have shown their hostility to the Cuban revolution, such has Messrs Havel and Walesa, agreed to attend. In calling this meeting, the organiser of the Assembly was only following the orders she receives daily from the US authorities present in Cuba. (16)

Beatriz Roque even went so far as to report on her activities to the US Congress by telephone from the US Interests Section in the company of René Gómez Manzano and Félix Bonne, two other “dissidence specialists”. When they spoke, they confirmed their unconditional support for the policies of George W. Bush, including the restrictions which strongly affect families who will now only be able to visit their relatives in Cuba once every three years. Beatriz Roque praised James Cason, head of the Section for North American Interests : “He is a great man, with a great heart.” She also claimed to be “the scapegoat for the hatred which the leadership of this country feels towards the USA”. Gómez Manzana emphasised that the Cuban people need “the firm hand of the US government”. As for Bonne, he explained that his only goal was “to defend the interests of the Cuban people” and that he was “a simple soldier for freedom and democracy”. “Defend the interest of the Cuban people” from the US Interest Section by supporting President Bush’s extremist policies? Obscenity and intellectual prostitution know no bounds. (18)

The alliance between Cuban “dissidence” and the fascistic component of the Cuban exile is not surprising once one takes a closer look at their real objectives. Their avowed aim is the destruction of the Cuban revolution, and all alliances, whatever they may be, are welcome. Nor is it remarkable that a Miami television channel, Canal 22, has publicly and openly called for the assassination of Hugo Chávez. In fact, during the programme “Maria Elvira Confronta”, Félix Rodríguez, the Cuban-origin guest, the former CIA agent notorious for carrying out assassination of Ernesto Che Guevara in Bolivia in October 1967, declared that Washington had a plan to get rid of Chávez. “At a particular moment, [President Bush] can order a military air strike” against the president of Venezuela.” (19) The Cuban “dissidence” cannot but rejoice at this.


1 Martha Beatriz Roque, « Mensaje de Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello », Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana, 5 March 2005. www.canf.org/2005/principal.htm (site consulted 21 March 2005).

2 Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana, « Mensaje de Vladimiro Roca », « Mensaje de Raúl Rivero », « Mensaje de Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas”, « Mensaje de Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello », www.canfnet.org (site consulted 10 March 2005).

3 Pascual Serrano, « El líder anticastrista Osvaldo Payá apoyó el golpe de Estado de Venezuela en abril del 2002”, Rebelión, 16 February 2005. www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=11455 (site consulted le 21 mars 2005).

4 El Nuevo Herald, « La isla y el exilio unidas en un plan para la transición », 18 February 2005.

5 El Nuevo Herald, “Conciliados exiliados se unen al paln de Payá”, 18 February 2005, p. 21A.

6 Rosa Miriam Elizalde, Los “disidentes” (Havana: Editora Política, 2003), p. 79.

7 Salim Lamrani, Cuba face à l’Empire: Propagande, guerre économique et terrorisme d’Etat (Outremont: Lanctôt, 2005), chapter III.

8 El Nuevo Herald, « La isla y el exilio unidas en un plan para la transición », op.cit.

9 Colin L. Powell, Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, (Washington: United States Department of State, mai 2004). www.state.gov/documents/organization/32334.pdf (site consulted 7 May 2004).

10 Vanessa Arrington, “Payá: ‘Cultura al miedo’ obstáculo más importante para cubanos”, Associated Press, 8 March 2005.

11 El Nuevo Herald, « Payá lanza un nuevo reto al régimen », 11 March 2005, p. 17A.

12 El Nuevo Herald, “Alarcón afirma que ‘los disidentes pueden votar’”, 7 March 2005, p. 25A.

13 El Nuevo Herald, “Mensaje de Payá destaca que en la isla hay desaparecidos”, 18 March 2005, p. 23A.

14 El Nuevo Herald, “Fustiga Payá a líderes disidentes”, 3 March 2005, p. 21A.

15 Vanessa Arrigton, “Cuba: disidentes sufren rivalidades internas al recuperar impulso”, El Nuevo Herald, 17 March 2005.

16 Ernesto F. Betancourt, “Hay que apoyar la convocatoria del 20 de mayo”, El Nuevo Herald, 5 March 2005, p. 15A.

16 El Nuevo Herald, “Los opositores firmes en sus reclamos”, 13 March 2005, p. 21A.

17 Pablo Bachelet, “Castro Foes Testify, Support the US”, The Miami Herald, 4 March 2005, p.1A.

18 Canal 22, “Maria Elvira Confronta”, 10 mars 2005. www.vive.ve/paginas/documentos/tvmiami.htm (site consulted 17 March 2005).

Miguel Lopez

Cooper asks, "But how can I feel solidarity with a regime that locks people up for their mere opinions?" But the USA has done exactly the same thing throughout its history. Haven't you heard of the Smith Act? What is more, the USA never had to face a hostile power 10 times its size that had invaded it, organized economic embargoes and engaged in chemical and biological war. Let's say that Canada was 10 times the size of the USA and was engaging in such activity. If a scribbler like Cooper was organizing conferences in collaboration with Canada, he wouldn't be thrown in jail. He would be executed. Cooper's standards for Cuba are based on morality, not politics or history. If the USA would maintain the same kind of relationship it has with China that it has with Cuba, then dissidents would be much freer. If anything, Cuba has always been much more lenient than China. Just look at Cuban films that attack CP rigidity like "Strawberries and Chocolate". Cooper must be aware of this, but refuses to acknowledge this reality since he is blinded by Cold War hysteria. What a liberal wanker.

John Stafford

Marc Cooper = unpaid CIA hack.


It's been a while since I was here last, but is Tom Grey really John Moore posting under another IP? They sure sound the same.


Cooperiño, once a pen-wielding Marxist novice with Guevarista tinglings, knows only too well that Castro believes in "proletarian dictatorship" as a temporary stage. Whether his is a pipe (or rather, cigar) dream is another matter. Under his rule the Cuban people have reached goals unheard of in Latin America, such as 97% literacy. Their health system has earned the praise of medical experts in advanced, free and democratic countries. But only in these latter the now mouse-wielders can earn enough to pile a few Ks on a blackjack table in The Meadows...

Jim Rockford

Well, if you wanted to know Marc why PEN and other groups SUPPORT Castro, look no further.

This isn't anything new, Leftists in particular are vulnerable to the utopian disease, wanting a Platonic Philosopher King to run the perfect society. See, Castro, Stalin, etc. Conservatives of course excuse "stable" tyrants, see Pinochet or the Colonels of Greece, Junta of Argentina.

Oliver Stone? Made a film that's a big wet kiss to El Maximo Leader. Loves Castro and says so. Meanwhile Fidel throws POETS in jail, and makes it illegal to operate libraries.

You don't have to like the Exiles to support people in the Island who fight for:

*Free political expression.
*Anti-Gay repression and jailings of gays by Fidel.
*Racism inherent in Fidel's nasty Party bureaucracy and political patronage organization.

The Left in the US and Western Europe does nothing but make excuses for Fidel, instead of backing people inside Cuba itself fighting for the above. It's shameful.

Politically, Farm States would LOVE an end to the Embargo, as they'd sell Cuba cheap food pronto. However, it's something that costs votes in the key swing state of Florida. So it's going to be tough to get that done, particularly since Castro is very repressive and an enemy of the US.

Castro IS an enemy of the US, he's actively supporting Chavez's "Junior Mugabe" movement in Venezuela, and FARC and other nasties in Columbia, elsewhere. This doesn't put Fidel in the weight class of say, bin Laden, but yeah he's an enemy. Unlikely to change from that even if we suddenly impeached Bush/Cheney and replaced them with Kucinich and Sharpton.

Solution? Work WITH the Exiles (who yes I know have ties to terrorism though not all exile groups do) to repeal the embargo and deliberately target Cuba for regime change (non-violent) by making trade contingent on free flow of media, communications, and travel. The goal being establishment of a free and democratic Cuba.

Michael J. Totten

If Cuba is in such great shape, why won't Comrade Fidel let people leave? The only reason he didn't build a Berlin-style wall around his prison state is because it isn't connected to Florida by land.

Michael Crosby

Well, "Rockford", thank you for clarifying your stand on terrorists: we should support, and no doubt continue to arm, the "good terrorists" [with apologies to Doris Lessing}.

As for Pastors for Peace, I think they provide a service within this country, keeping people aware of the oppressive effects on the Cuban people of the sanctions. Btw, as I recall the idea at least is that the Pastors' efforts signify solidarity with the Cuban people, not Fidel. This is a fair distinction--one that was made (by the left) during the Vietnam war era, one that was made (by the right) with respect to eastern Europeans during the Cold War, and one that was made with respect to Iraq in the decade of cease far in the US-Iraq war.

Having said that, you are never wrong when standing with the oppressed and silenced, particularly if you are in a position, as I believe Marc is, to have some impact on the offending regime or its support mechanism.

as you like it

"why won't Comrade Fidel let people leave? "

He doesn't want them to end up in Totten-ham Court Road Station.


Marc - Then maybe a strong liberal-left chorus of voices could find the courage to say once and for all: “Cuba Si! Fidel No!”

Jeeeezus...in so far as there's a "liberal-left" chorus it's been opposing Fidel's repression/dictatorial megalomania AND the counter-productive, oppressive embargo/travel restrictions for many a year. (Oh...I forgot...there's Oliver Stone, Alice Walker, Rev. Lucius Walker and Alex Cockburn. Very important players on the liberal left. But wait...Alex hates the liberal wing of "the left", Rev. Walker's a moron who got fired several decades ago from his administrative post at the National Council of Churches, the other Walker talks to trees and Stone is...stoned. Which leaves...who ? Leslie Cagan? The refugee from the CPUSA? Yeah, the liberal left really has a problem with their rampant pro-Fidelismo!) What moves you to make such a sweeping, essentially erroneous statement ? Has Harold Myerson been sending you cc's of his emails to Fidel ? Has Katrina been suggesting that the Nation Loveboat stop in Havana next time around ? I don't get it.

And of course, in response to your musings we get treated to this:

"PEN and other groups SUPPORT Castro"

I won't call the person who wrote that a liar because we're not supposed to do that anymore. I'll just point out that any implication that PEN, headed in the U.S. by Salman Rushdie, "SUPPORT(s) Castro" is a lie:


On a more general note, thanks for the heads up on the dissidents...it's important to keep shining the light on this crap...but to suggest that liberals have a problem with their support for Castro, no less, or imply that perhaps this is grounds to lighten up in pointing out how the embargo and travel restrictions actually play into Castro's hands for rationalizing his repression - which aside from all other objections means they're ineffectual in their goals . But perhaps most crucial from our own perspective, the travel restrictions are an over-reaching, unconstitutional abridgement of the freedom of Americans dressed up as a "national security" measure. It's worth noting that whenever Berkeley lefty Congresswoman Barbara Lee pushes legislation to end the embargo and travel restrictions, the proposals get the vote of Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican from Texas.


ooops...I won't even bother to correct some of that grammar.


This string is amazing, even though I should have anticipated that the ideological thugs would appear on all sides. I couldn't have invented it better myself if I wanted to demonstrate how unprincipled goons ignore human beings to coddle their precious belief systems. That goes for Mr Rockford too.


So what's YOUR view, sphyncteroid?


"Isn't the tactic of embracing despots as a means to controlling them discredited these days?"

too many - I don't think it's too far fetched to suggest that there's a middle ground between, say, having two First Families of a petrol-dependent United States knee-deep in the Saudi oil money that also funds pro-terrorist Islamist cults or importers flooding the shelves of WalMart with cheap Chinese goods to the extent that we're actually in hock to Peking and, in contrast, our continuing to enforce a total embargo of any and all trade and travel to the relatively insignificant island of Cuba. Also, if the Sudanese would dial their human rights violations down to the level of Castro's we could declare it a great victory for Bush's policies. That's not a joke. Also not likely.


correction: sphincteroid, but you got the...drift.

Marc Cooper

Thank you Tim for your brief moment of sanity. Im rather flabbergasted by some of the other comments. I find it sadly revealing that the "leftist" comments are almost uniformly blind, drive-bys filled with vitriol and ad hominem. I guess it is hard to calmly and civilly make a case for half-century old dictatorship that is scared to death of its own people. The 97% literacy figure in Cuba is impressive and it is a real achievement. Too bad there is nothing to read in the country. Not a single real newspaper and a paucity of current books.

Some of the comments from the right are equally disconcerting. One more manifestation of tha way people are willing to delude themselves.

P.S. to Crosby.. I think ur characterization of the Pastors for Peace is somewhat naive. If they are indeed about offering solidarity to the people and not the regime of cuba then why such silence on the jailed dissidents who need more support than anybody? Answer: because the dissidents as we learn above are actually "terrorists" in the view of those who oppose US policy in Cuba.

Tripe A

After the counter revolution how will the blacks fair on the island?

richard lo cicero

Considering the unpalatable nature of the "Dissident" Cubans of South Florida and the ridiculous embargo could Castro have asked for more?


So the person who calls the rest of us ideological thugs and unprincipled goons is "the brief moment of sanity".

I guess that explains why the rest of your comment sidestepped any serious response and, perpetuating your original bogus propositon, glibly asserted that the bulk of the "leftist" comments were somehow in support of Castro's dictatorship. Where do you get this crap? Sounds more like you're cleaning out your own attic than reacting to the real world of left-liberal opinion, including the majority of comments from the left on this thread. Pointing to one long, pasted comment as evidence that "the dissidents as we learn above are actually 'terrorists' in the view of those who oppose US policy in Cuba" is simply nutty. Also ideologically thuggish and unprincipled, to quote the one commentor who you apparently approve of. Frankly, I thought his potshot was cheap, lacked any content or discernible counter-argument to actual statements made by others and had the mark of a trollish "goon". "Left"-baiting with the wildest of Rockford-like allegations against liberals, or left-liberals, or whatever is beneath you. Is there something substantive I'm missing ???


Michael J. Totten,
It isn't that Cubans can't leave, they just don't want to. The Berlin wall was built to protect people from capitolist saboteurs. All of us that participated in the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe thought we wanted freedom and democracy, imagine our chagrin when we found out we were being tricked by traitors and the CIA.
Priceless comments by Salin, Miguel, John, and Salin. Be sure to write in your next posts why you don't actually live in Cuba(Bielo Rus or Noerth Korea).

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