Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Fidel Castro - Cuba
various LINKS to articles | April 14, 2002

Posted on 04/14/2002 4:36:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

click here to read article

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 481-500501-520521-540 ... 761-766 next last
To: All
Let's Be Honest About Cuba*** Along with the same old pack of lies and willful misunderstandings that have always accompanied debate on Cuba, there has emerged a new set that, while shifting blame for Castro's misdeeds directly to the U.S., reveals a more disturbing trend in discussions about Cuba.

Before examining that, however, let's retire one particularly tired and self-contradictory "argument" against U.S. policy toward Cuba: The embargo is a convenient "excuse" for the Castro regime's failures.

At the minimal risk that a generalization like this creates, nobody who believes in (or at the very least understands) capitalism still holds that Cuba is an economic sinkhole because of U.S. foreign policy. As such, it is foolish to claim that the embargo is an "excuse" for the Castro regime's economic failure. This argument shifts blame to the Cuban people, for their implied stupidity. No émigré I've ever met believes their hardship resulted from U.S. policy. The embargo is an "excuse" only to the Left, for whose intellectual shortcomings I make no defense.

Everyone in Havana knows they receive one bar of soap per month because of decisions made by Castro, not Washington. To argue otherwise is to deny the Cuban people an "insight" most Americans take as common sense.

The most recent way to blame the United States for Castro's brutality is by criticizing the actions of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana. The argument goes that were it not for U.S. diplomats-invariably portrayed by the media and the Left (quibble, quibble) in C.I.A.-like terms-supporting pro-democracy forces in Cuba, Castro wouldn't have to hand out life sentences like candy.

This is an insidious form of blaming the victim, along the lines of a domestic abuse counselor inquiring, "Why didn't you stop complaining after your husband hit you the first time?"

If only those pesky Cubans didn't want freedom so badly and the U.S. government wasn't so willing to help them, Castro wouldn't have to play the stern father.

What appears to be an attack on American actions turns out to be a much harsher attack on those who support American values from abroad. Imagine blaming the Berlin Wall jumpers for forcing the guards to pick them off like tin ducks in a carnival.

Moral relativism is a valued tradition for the Left, but some on the Right also equate a principled policy decision with the type of restrictions on freedom implemented by Castro.***

501 posted on 05/07/2003 12:38:47 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 500 | View Replies]

To: All
Group Says Jailed Cuban Dissidents Being Punished HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba has placed in solitary confinement most of the 75 people imprisoned in a recent crackdown on dissent that drew international condemnation, a human rights organization said on Tuesday.

……………..The United States, Canada and the European Union are those threatening to take unspecific action against Havana if the dissidents are not released. Their sentences are under appeal. Sanchez said the dissidents were being held in "inhuman conditions" in small cells where they received water and food "that does not meet minimum sanitary requirements." Sanchez, whose group has monitored Cuban prison conditions for years, said writer and poet Raul Rivero and leading dissidents Hector Palacios and Oscar Elias Biscet were among those in solitary confinement.

The wives of some of the dissidents confirmed Sanchez's statement, a few saying their husbands were being punished for not cooperating with prison authorities. "He told me it was a very narrow cell. He has lost 30 pounds," Raul Rivero's wife, Blanca Reyes, said, after visiting her husband in central Ciego de Avila province. Sanchez said many of the dissidents were sent to prisons far from their homes, making family visits difficult. ***

502 posted on 05/07/2003 12:52:20 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 501 | View Replies]

To: All
Castro's bizarre enablers *** Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque defended the sentences. "We have been patient, we have been tolerant. But we have been obligated to apply our laws." Speaking of tolerance, one of the offenses for which the journalists were punished was having such books as Who Moved My Cheese?

To their credit, some European leftists finally criticized Castro's oppression. But others abroad and in the United States merely reaffirmed their long-standing, fawning allegiance to El Commandante. Likewise, the United Nations Human Rights Commission voted against condemning Castro's oppression and even rewarded him by re-electing Cuba to another three-year term on the Commission. Cuba triumphantly proclaimed its re-election as "undoubtedly a recognition of the Cuban Revolution's work in human rights in favor of all our people."

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer expressed the administration's contempt for the decision, saying, "Cuba does not deserve a seat on the Human Rights Commission. Cuba deserves to be investigated by the Human Rights Commission."

Many "intellectuals" and a number of Hollywood actors saw it differently. A group of more than 160, including singer Harry Belafonte and actor Danny Glover issued a declaration critical of the United States and supportive of the Castro regime entitled, "to the Conscience of the World."

"A single power is inflicting grave damage to the norms of understanding, debate and mediation among countries," said the declaration. "At this very moment, a strong campaign of destabilization against a Latin American nation has been unleashed. The harassment against Cuba could serve as a pretext for an invasion."

So it's America's fault for opposing this murderous regime's continued farcical participation on the Human Rights Commission because it is an egregious violator of the very rights the Commission is charged with overseeing? Just like we provoked bin Laden's 9-11 attacks? Well, at least these morality-deficient kooks are consistent. They harbor the same mentality that gave rise to:

Director Oliver Stone's obsequious documentary on Castro, "Comandante." Yes, HBO pulled it, but why did they undertake the project in the first place? Castro's brutality is nothing new. Stone said of Castro, "We should look to him as one of the Earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult." I agree, should we ever decide to implement torture techniques against convicted terrorists.

Director Steven Spielberg gushing over his November powwow with Castro as "the eight most important hours of my life."

Actor Kevin Costner describing his meeting with Castro as "the experience of a lifetime" and Jack Nicholson calling him "a genius."

The hard Left's glamorization of the Soviet Union.

The hard Left's support of the Nicaraguan Communist Sandinistas over the Contra freedom fighters.

The hard Left's adulation of former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to the point of crediting him -- though he desperately tried to hold on to Communism until the final hour -- instead of Ronald Reagan with the disintegration of the Soviet regime. What do you suppose could motivate these curious people to glorify such a man as Castro and such a universally failed, inhumane and corrupt system as Communism? Why do they repudiate the United States for denouncing such evil? It has to be either an irrepressible love for Communism that rejects all rationality, that defies all evidence, that still fantasizes longingly for the dictatorship of the proletariat, or, an unquenchable revulsion for the United States -- or both. It's your call.***

503 posted on 05/07/2003 12:55:14 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 502 | View Replies]

To: All
Cubans taste freedom upon reaching shore - After dramatic journey, 3 migrants arrive in Key Largo***The Coast Guard threw the men life jackets. The men tossed back the jackets, but later accepted them. Hintzen said the fourth man gave himself up after growing too tired to keep swimming. While his companions bobbed in the water for more than hour -- two of them sharing one pair of swim fins and all three refusing assistance from Coast Guard officers -- the fourth migrant sat with his hands bound behind him. He was identified by Miami relatives as Jorge Parrado Martinez, who recently finished serving a 12-year prison sentence in Cuba after a failed attempt to flee. Parrado, who is in his 40s, was still aboard a Coast Guard vessel late Tuesday, said Ana Santiago, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ***
504 posted on 05/07/2003 1:51:31 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 503 | View Replies]

To: All
Only 2 solutions to the Cuban problem ***There are only two solutions to the Cuban problem. One is the application of a real embargo, prohibiting any money to be sent there from this or any country. Same with travel. An embargo by the whole world. The kind of embargo placed on South Africa during apartheid. Yes, it is hard, but it would work. I have relatives in Cuba, and I have never sent a penny there.

The other solution is an American intervention and temporary occupation, for perhaps six years. In the '90s, there was an embargo against Haiti. When that failed, the Clinton administration sent an aircraft carrier. We restored a "leader" (or another dictator, depending on whom you ask). There was a catch, though -- the Congressional Black Caucus was in favor of that great military action.

People who know me well know that, for 40 years, I've been present for the Cuban cause and will always be. To reach these conclusions has not been easy, but I challenge anybody to give me another solution, logical and feasible. I'm all ears. Just make sure you speak loud enough for the Cuban opposition to hear you -- behind all that concrete.***

505 posted on 05/07/2003 2:06:58 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 504 | View Replies]

To: All
Pro-Marxist Slant Pushed at ABC*** According to (Peter) Collins, Jennings "took a piece that I had written about the 10th anniversary of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua [in 1989] and first asked his producer to correct it for me and then he himself called me up in Managua and essentially dictated to me what I should say." "Basically what Mr. Jennings wanted was for me to make a favorable pronouncement about the 10 years of the Sandinista revolution and he called me up, massaged my script in a way that I no longer recognized it," Collins said.

………. "If it were not for for Rush Limbaugh, the Washington Times,and Fox News -- those organizations, entities, have finally managed to break the dam," Collins said. "Ph.D. pieces could be written about this subject, dozens of them."***

506 posted on 05/07/2003 3:33:33 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 505 | View Replies]

To: All
Castro's cheerleaders*** ''CUBA IS AN anachronism in our hemisphere, an anachronism on the face of the earth,'' Secretary of State Colin Powell remarked the other day. ''And the whole international community should be condemning Cuba.''

………………… For 44 years Castro has strangled Cuban liberty, and for 44 years his ''progressive'' acolytes have been giving him ovations. In ''Useful Idiots,'' her devastating new book on the left's ignoble Cold War history, Mona Charen rounds up some telling examples. There was Norman Mailer's early rhapsody to Castro, for example (''You were the first and greatest hero to appear in the world since the Second War''). And Jesse Jackson's 1984 cheerleading at the University of Havana (''Long live Cuba! Long live the United States! Long live Fidel Castro! Long live Martin Luther King! Long live Che Guevara! Long live Patrice Lumumba! Long live our cry of freedom!'').

Castro and communism turned Cuba into a place so bleak and suffocating that ordinary people throw themselves into the ocean to escape it. Yet a chorus of enthusiasts is ever ready to paint a glowing picture of Cuban life. During the Elian Gonzalez affair in 2000, Charen notes, some US journalists simply couldn't fathom why Elizabet Broton, Elian's mother, would want to leave such a paradise.

''What was she escaping?'' wondered ABC's Jim Avila. ''By all accounts this quiet, serious young woman who loved to dance the salsa was living the good life, as good as it gets for a citizen of Cuba.'' Her hunger for freedom baffled him; all he could see in it was a tragic and wrongheaded choice: ''An extended family destroyed by a mother's decision to start a new life in a new country, a decision that now leaves a little boy ... forever separated from her.''***

507 posted on 05/08/2003 2:23:38 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 506 | View Replies]

To: All
Kirkpatrick Was Right *** At the 1984 Republican National Convention, Jeane Kirkpatrick, then the Reagan administration's U.N. delegate, gave a speech on foreign policy that has stuck with me. She blasted the Democratic Party's approach to foreign affairs, repeating the phrase "the blame America first crowd." I hated the speech at the time, but have recently reread it. It has aged better than I have. ...........That same tendency to blame America for the moral shortcomings of others unfortunately permeates the left and the Democratic Party. I wish it were otherwise, but I got the first whiff of it after Sept. 11 when some people reacted to the terrorist attacks here by blaming U.S. policy -- in the Middle East specifically but around the world in general.

..........Had we not supported Israel, had we not backed the corrupt Saudi monarchy, had we not been buddies with Egypt, had we not been somehow complicit in Third World poverty, had we not developed blue jeans and T-shirts and rock music and premarital sex, the World Trade Center might still be standing and the Pentagon untouched. .......Below the surface of this reasoning seethes a perplexing animosity toward the United States -- not the people but the government and the economic system. Possibly it has its roots in the Great Depression, when capitalism seemed kaput and socialism so promising, and the government an adjunct of moneyed interests. At the same time, of course, governments on all levels -- federal, state and local -- were unabashedly racist.

Almost none of that still applies -- although money still talks. Yet the impulse to blame America first lingers, an atavistic reflex that jerks the knees of too many on the left and has cost the Democratic Party plenty over the years. Jeane Kirkpatrick, a former Democrat, put her finger on it 19 years ago. It's about time the Democrats listened to what she had to say.***

508 posted on 05/09/2003 1:31:21 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 507 | View Replies]

To: All
Thanks, Hugo! President of Venezuela deserves free-market award***It's time to nominate Venezuela's populist President Hugo Chávez to the ''Milton Friedman Award'' for his indefatigable work to advance the cause of free-market policies and political harmony in the developing world.

I'm not kidding. No other head of state has done so much in such a short time to wreck his country's economy, and to discourage his neighbors from engaging in the kind of finger-waving populism that has brought about massive capital flight and record poverty levels in Venezuela.

If it weren't for the disastrous performance of Chávez's ''peaceful revolution,'' Brazil's new leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would have probably launched the anti-free market policies he had championed for the past three decades, several foreign diplomats and politicians told me during a recent trip to Brazil. And Ecuador and Argentina probably would have followed suit.***

509 posted on 05/11/2003 1:32:57 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 508 | View Replies]

To: All
Engagement has failed in Cuba***With the blood of three executed Cuban boat-jackers barely dry and the voices of 75 imprisoned freedom activists freshly silenced, some Cuba-engagement advocates are restarting their misguided campaign to loosen U.S. economic sanctions against Fidel Castro.

These engagers continue using the cliché that the ''40-year embargo'' has failed and argue that engagement can still help reform Castro's brutal dictatorship. But recent history clearly has demonstrated that engagement has been a policy failure.***

510 posted on 05/12/2003 1:44:17 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 509 | View Replies]

To: All
U.S. Restricts Rights of Cuban Envoys - Don't Shed Any Tears *** The Bush administration official said there is suspicion that the personnel sent in response to service calls have other skills, such as planting bugs. Efforts to obtain comment from Cuban officials were unsuccessful. The U.S. action recalls a similar measure applied by the Reagan administration during the Cold War when the Soviet Union and its allies were forced to deal with the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions whenever they needed help for a leaky faucet, faulty electrical wiring or other problems. The rationale then, as it is now, was the same: reciprocity. After the collapse of European communism, the successor governments were allowed to deal directly with service companies.

U.S. officials were unable to say whether Cuba is the only country now barred from such contacts with these companies. According to the officials, harassment of American diplomats in Havana is commonplace and extends well beyond the need for official intervention for routine service calls. As examples, officials said tires on diplomats' cars have been punctured on occasion. They also suspect that traffic "accidents" involving official U.S. vehicles were actually planned and staged by Cuban agents. ***

511 posted on 05/13/2003 12:28:43 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 510 | View Replies]

To: All
Steve Forbes: Backyard Trouble [Full Text] There's another foreign policy problem brewing, this time in our own hemisphere--an attempt to make Venezuela a second Cuba. Strongman Hugo Chávez, who led an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1992, was elected president in 1998 in a popular vote of revulsion against the embedded corruption of the existing political elites. Since then, Chávez has been doing everything he can to turn his "presidency" into a dictatorship like Fidel Castro's. He used his initial popularity to gut constitutional checks on his power. Regime opponents now face arrest and even outright murder. Chávez is setting up vigilante committees in neighborhoods to inform on people. These committees also serve as an armed militia to back Chávez.

Venezuela has been a democracy since 1958, when a courageous leader, Rómulo Betancourt established representative government following a dictatorship. In the early 1960s Betancourt beat back Castro's efforts to overthrow Venezuela's democracy. Now Chávez wants to turn back the clock. He's cozied up to terrorist groups around the world, including those waging a murderous guerrilla war in neighboring Colombia.

Venezuelans of all classes and occupations have taken to the streets to protest Chávez's actions. He was thrown out briefly in a coup last year, but the coup collapsed when it became clear that the old corrupt elites were going to return to their money-grabbing ways and would take their time restoring democracy. Chávez's smile, however, was soon wiped off his face as spontaneous protests continued. There was a general strike a few months ago, the effects of which sharply reduced Venezuela's oil production. But Chávez has clung to power.

Whether Chávez's rule should continue is supposed to be the subject of a referendum in August, but this Castro wannabe has made it clear he won't leave office voluntarily. He will either try to postpone the election or use his armed thugs to rig the results.

The U.S. has reacted gingerly lest Chávez play the anti-U.S. card--always an option in Latin America--to shore up his sagging popularity. The U.S. should make clear that a clean August vote must take place--that Chávez must not be allowed to set up a virtual dictatorship, even if that means oil prices go up because we embargo Venezuela's oil exports. When Venezuelans see that we're serious about Chávez, perhaps their army will do what it should have done a long time ago--send Chávez to Havana on a permanent vacation--and then promptly return to the barracks. [End]

512 posted on 05/13/2003 1:10:46 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 511 | View Replies]

To: All
Get outta town, U.S. tells Cuban 'diplomats' in New York!!!***UNITED NATIONS - The United States has ordered seven Cuban diplomats at the country's U.N. Mission in Manhattan to leave the country for engaging in "activities deemed harmful to the United States" - the usual diplomatic language for spying, an American official said Tuesday. A number of Cuban diplomats at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington also were being expelled, U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

A letter ordering the seven U.N.-based diplomats to leave was delivered to the Cuban Mission in Midtown on Monday evening, the official said. It did not give them any time frame to depart. The U.S. official said the Cubans were being expelled "for engaging in activities deemed harmful to the United States outside their official capacity as members of the permanent mission of Cuba to the United Nations." "These activities constitute an abuse of their privileges of residence," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The latest U.N. directory lists 37 accredited Cuban diplomats, led by Ambassador Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla. The names of those ordered expelled were not released. The Bush administration and Cuban authorities have engaged in an escalating diplomatic tit-for-tat reminiscent of the Cold War days in U.S.-Cuban relations. Until Tuesday, this involved more mundane issues like fixing embassy plumbing.**

513 posted on 05/13/2003 8:27:08 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 512 | View Replies]

To: All
14 Cuban diplomats expelled from U.S.*** The United States has expelled 14 Cuban diplomats based in Washington and New York for "unacceptable activities" and "activities inconsistent with diplomatic status," the State Department said yesterday. Spokesman Philip T. Reeker also said the United States was reviewing its policies toward Cuba in light of a deteriorating human rights situation in the communist nation, where more than 70 journalists and dissidents were jailed last month by Fidel Castro's regime.

Seven diplomats based in the Cuban Interests Section, housed in the Swiss Embassy in Washington, were given 10 days to leave the country as of yesterday morning, Mr. Reeker said. "We've declared them persona non grata, requiring their departure from the United States," he said. Another seven diplomats were ordered to leave from the Cuban mission to the United Nations in New York for "activities deemed to be harmful to the United States outside of their official capacities as members of the permanent mission of Cuba to the United Nations," Mr. Reeker said.

The Cuban mission, headed by Ambassador Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, refused to comment. Mr. Reeker declined to elaborate on the reasons for the expulsions or to provide the names of those expelled. He said a "range of officers" - but not the heads of the missions - were being forced out. He said the State Department called the Cubans from the Interests Section at 9 a.m. yesterday and delivered the notice verbally and with a diplomatic note. According to Mr. Reeker, the Cuban Interests Section in Washington is authorized to have 26 permanently accredited staff. The Cuban mission in New York had 37 diplomats. The U.S. Interests Section in Havana is permitted 51 positions.***

514 posted on 05/13/2003 11:41:01 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 513 | View Replies]

To: All
Cuba, where seats cost 12 cents and free agency is unheard of***Most of our group traveled from Vancouver, B.C. - you still can't travel from the U.S. directly to Cuba because of the embargo - to see six games in six stadiums in one week. As a special-interest group, we were ushered without ceremony to our section behind home plate.

………..Unlike American ballparks, the low, blue walls of Cuban ballparks were completely devoid of commercialization. However, along the foul poles, which were lit, there were painted signs exhorting fans to contribute to social revolution, accompanied by the signature of Fidel Castro…

…………..Although Cuban beer is decent, it costs about $1. The average Cuban wage-earner makes $20 per month, so imagine spending 5 percent of your paycheck on a single beer.***

515 posted on 05/13/2003 11:51:28 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 514 | View Replies]

To: All
Chávez feeds the poor as economy starves - Cuba II is born***At the Mercal food store in Caricuao, a poor district on the dust-blown outskirts of Caracas, the range of goods is limited. Shelves are half-empty. An army sergeant loiters at the end of the checkout, ready to bag your ration of beans, flour and sugar.

Unpromising as it may seem, the government store in the capital is the model to be replicated across Venezuela under a plan fathered by populist President Hugo Chávez and overseen by the military. The plan's goal: to feed Venezuela's growing number of poor and to counter shortages from the private sector. "Prices are cheaper than elsewhere, and for those of us with low incomes, any difference is important," says Viviana Trillo, a Caricuao housewife. "I thank President Chávez for this."

Paradoxically, the food security programme is being prioritised just as the Chávez government is blocking dollar sales to businesses, including soft commodity importers and food processors, curtailing supplies.

Currency trading was suspended in January during the strike at Petróleos de Venezuela, the state oil company that is the government's main source of export revenue. Four months later, international reserves have recovered and oil exports have resumed.

But Cadivi, the foreign exchange control agency, has yet to disburse any dollars and business leaders are convinced that Mr Chávez intends to bring the business sector - which fiercely opposes his government - to its knees.

"This a specific retaliation against all those seen as not being in favour of the regime," says Rafael Alfonzo, president of Cavidea, the food industry chamber.

The non-functional currency controls are not only affecting domestic companies, many of which are closing and laying off employees. Multinationals with subsidiaries in Venezuela, such as Cargill, the US agricultural conglomerate, say they will be forced to shut down operations within the next few weeks unless hard currency is made available.

"A lot of US companies thought that this would be a temporary situation and they got money from their home offices to maintain market share," says Antonio Herrera, vice-president of the Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce.

"But now they are being told: 'no longer', so they are exhausting inventories," Mr Herrera says. "This is an economic atrocity against the Venezuelan people."***

516 posted on 05/14/2003 12:49:44 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 515 | View Replies]

To: All
Cuba Calls U.S. Expulsions 'Aggressive' - Spy Recruitment, Association With Criminals, Monitoring..***In Washington, a senior Bush administration official said those ordered home from the Cuban mission in Washington engaged in three kinds of improper activities: monitoring and surveillance, association with known criminals and the attempted recruitment of spies. ***
517 posted on 05/14/2003 1:36:01 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 516 | View Replies]

To: All
FBI memo behind Cubans' expulsion, U.S. officials say***WASHINGTON - The Bush administration's decision this week to expel 14 Cuban diplomats had its genesis in an FBI memorandum sent to the State Department last October citing concern about Cuban intelligence activities, officials asserted Thursday.

U.S. officials vigorously defended the mass expulsion, even as questions arose about its timing, the lack of public disclosure of evidence to support charges of espionage and whether genuine national security concerns led to the action -- and not political motivations.

Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, laid out the chronology of what they said was ongoing concern about Cuban intelligence activities.***

518 posted on 05/16/2003 1:53:55 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 517 | View Replies]

To: All
A hard line in Havana (excellent article on life in Castro's Cuba today)***Oswaldo Paya is sitting in a wooden rocking chair under a giant portrait of Jesus. As one of Cuba's leading dissidents, and one of few not in jail, he has agreed to speak to the Herald about Castro's recent crackdown on those opposed to Cuba's Marxist regime, but the interview is not going well. "I'm sorry for not bringing an interpreter," I say. "I couldn't find anybody that would talk to you."

And that is true. The (Sydney Morning) Herald tried for days to find a Cuban willing to interpret but, as soon as they discovered that the subject would be politics, none would agree. The first person asked physically backed away, saying: "I could get in trouble." The second initially agreed to take $US20 ($31) - a month's wages - for doing the work, but an hour before we were to meet, she rang and said: "I think it's not a good idea," before quickly hanging up.

So, for more than two hours, while Paya rocks gently in his chair, we try to talk using his basic English, my appalling Spanish, and a dictionary that his 14-year-old daughter has fetched from her room. I start with the most obvious question: "Why aren't you in jail?" This is something that Paya, too, has been wondering about. In recent weeks, just about every other Cuban dissident has been rounded up and sent to jail for 18 to 25 years.

Those jailed include librarians who want to give Cubans access to a range of different books, journalists who want to give Cubans access to newspapers not produced by Castro's Government and economists who want to crack open Cuba's socialist system by allowing Cubans to own and operate businesses. Paya expected to join them. During the interview, his eyes keep moving towards the door, as if he expects it to open and police to come flooding in.

"This is the question everybody - all my friends, my family - is asking," he says. "I don't know the answer, but I know another question. Why are other people in jail? What have they done? They have not used violence. They have not made the threat of violence. They have simply asked for change." ***

519 posted on 05/16/2003 10:17:03 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 518 | View Replies]

To: All
Cuba, where seats cost 12 cents and free agency is unheard of - Post #33: CUBA: THE UNNECESSARY REVOLUTION - ADOLFO RIVERO CARO -What was Cuba like before the Revolution?

By the end of the War of Independence in 1898, Cuba had been in ruins. As a consquence of the war some 400,000 persons had died, about one-fifth of the population. The country had lost two-thirds of its wealth. Railroads, bridges and telegraph lines had been destroyed. Sanitary conditions were deplorable and the country was gripped by mortal endemic sicknesses like yellow fever.

"Once upon a time there was a Republic. It had its constitution, its laws, its civil rights, its President, a Congress, and law courts. Everyone could assemble, associate, speak and write with complete freedom. There existed a public opinion both respected and heeded."

Fidel Castro, "History Will Absolve Me" (1953)

* In 1953, almost 57 per cent of the population was urban. More than 1/2 of the population lived in cities of more than 25,000 inhabitants, 1/3 lived in 4 cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants. One-sixth of the population lived in Havana, third-largest capital of the world in relation to the total number of the nation's inhabitants after London and Vienna.

(Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom, Hugh Thomas………..***

520 posted on 05/16/2003 11:53:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 519 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 481-500501-520521-540 ... 761-766 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson