Skip to comments.Cuba's Castro Calls Mexico's Fox a Liar
Posted on 04/23/2002 12:44:25 AM PDT by Vigilant1
April 23, 2002 12:22 AM ET
By Marc Frank
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba's relations with long- time ally Mexico reached a new low on Monday after President Fidel Castro repeatedly called President Vicente Fox a liar, and made public a private conversation between them to prove it.
Mexico reacted swiftly, with Fox's spokesman, Rodolfo Elizondo, decrying the playing of a recording of the two presidents talking confidentially as "unacceptable" but saying Mexico would maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Castro, speaking before a national TV audience, insisted Fox lied about the Cuban leader's hasty departure last month from a U.N. aid summit in Monterrey, Mexico.
Cuba said at the time that Mexico, working on behalf of the United States, pressured Castro to either stay away from the summit or make himself scarce before President Bush arrived. Mexican President Vicente Fox and Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda both denied pressuring Castro to leave.
"They were all lying left and right," Castro said. The Cuban president played a tape of a private telephone conversation he had with Fox on the eve of the summit, in which Fox clearly urged Castro to leave the meeting early and urged him "not to attack the United States or President Bush."
On the tape Fox asks Castro to make his presentation at the summit and to return to Cuba on Thursday "so that you don't make Friday complicated for me." Bush was scheduled to arrive on Friday.
Making public the tape was a clear break with presidential protocol. Castro said the aftermath "of telling these truths could be that diplomatic relations are severed."
But Mexico did not react that strongly.
"Independent of anecdotes and episodes like this one, the Mexican government will continue its diplomatic relations with the republic of Cuba," said Elizondo, reading a statement to reporters on Monday evening.
The statement criticized the lack of democracy in communist Cuba and applauded Mexico's own democracy in words clearly directed at Mexico's pro-Cuba opposition, which has already criticized Fox for his handling of Castro's appearance at the Monterrey summit.
CASTRO OFFERS RESIGNATION
Castro said he would resign from office if the conversation proved false and challenged Fox to resign if it was not.
"If anyone could prove that the conversation never took place ... I would firmly offer my resignation," Castro said.
Mexico has been Cuba's firmest Latin American ally since Castro seized power in a 1959 revolution.
But relations have cooled in recent years with Mexico's closer relationship with the United States and its criticism of the human rights situation in Cuba.
Castro apparently held off releasing the tape until Mexico's vote last week at the U.N. Human Rights Commission hearings in Geneva to censure the island.
Castro termed the move a "despicable betrayal" as Fox had promised him "that Mexico would never do anything against Cuba" at the U.N. forum. Cuba has said that Mexico and other Latin American countries voted at the behest of the U.S. government.
"On the contrary, Havana was the only government that put pressure on Mexico regarding its vote in Geneva regarding the human rights situation in Cuba," Elizondo said.
The motion, the first in which Latin America has taken the lead in criticizing Cuba at the commission hearings, was approved by 23 votes to 21, with nine abstentions.
Cuba has been condemned by the 53-state Commission in past years but most Latin American countries, including Mexico, have abstained in the votes.
(additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Mexico City)
Politic Blather, left and right. What are the Ignorant Masses being prepared for? How is Castro going to attack the US? What is Reuters worth anyway? This one will likely slip under the grocery store conveyor belt like a leaky piece of beef by tomorrow.
It seems to me that the bearded one made a simular move with an other Latin leader not to long ago. Can anyone remember?
December 11, 2001 -European Union Tells Cuba To Improve Human Rights*** The recent fence-mending between Cuba and the European Union evaporated Monday, with the EU telling the Castro government it had better improve its human rights record or else Cuba can forget about improved economic and diplomatic relations with the 15-nation EU. In a statement, the EU foreign ministers said the human rights situation in Cuba "is still seriously wanting as regards the recognition and application of civil and political freedoms." The ministers also criticized Cuba for refusing "to contemplate reforms leading to a political system based on those values." ***
March 7, 2002 -Havana embassy incident should not cow Mexico*** If President Fidel Castro of Cuba instigated the Feb. 27 occupation of the Mexican Embassy in Havana in an effort to press the Mexican government to drop its defense of human rights and democracy on the island, as many of us suspect, he may not have succeeded. ..My conclusion: Castro is aiming at Castañeda, because he does not want to burn his bridges with Fox. If Mexico does what it says, and joins all other modern democracies in demanding basic freedoms in Cuba, it will be a marked improvement over its longtime support for Cuba's dictatorship.***
March 20, 2002- Bush to Be Tough on U.S. Aid During LatAm Trip--*** WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will go to a U.N. development conference in Mexico this week with a tough-love message that the United States will withhold aid to countries that do nothing to fight corruption. "It makes no sense to give aid to countries that are corrupt because you know what happens? The money doesn't help the people, it helps an elite group of leaders," Bush said. The president will take the message to the U.N. Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico, where he will arrive Thursday night. He also will meet Andean leaders in Peru and Central American leaders in El Salvador before returning to Washington Sunday. During his talks with world leaders at the conference, Bush will promote his initiative to help poor nations that respect human rights, root out corruption, open their markets, and have education and health care systems. ***
April 9, 2002 - Mexico Leaves Castro's Cuba Behind*** Once upon a time, Mexico and Cuba were best buddies in the Western Hemisphere. Brandishing the banners of nonintervention and self-determination, both countries provided each other with unconditional support and kept quiet about their mutual lack of democratic development. Those days are over, and today relations between Cuba and Mexico are at an all-time low, for all the right reasons. Mexico's foreign policy toward Cuba is changing, and Fidel Castro is furious about it. The comandante is lashing out against Jorge Castaneda, Mexico's minister of foreign affairs--calling him a lackey of the United States--out of sheer desperation and growing isolation.... This tempest in the Cuba-Mexico teapot will pass. Meanwhile, Mexico's foreign policy will have changed and for the better. The principle of the protection of human rights will prevail in Mexico and elsewhere. As Castaneda's father, Mexico's minister of foreign affairs 20 years ago, said: "Friend, when you defend principles instead of interests, you never lose." ***
April 16, 2002 - Mexico Will Support Censure of Cuba
Do it anyway you scumbag commie.