July 11, 2004

Cuba-u.s. Relations During The War On Terror 

By Jane Franklin 

On 9/11 when terrorists used passenger jets to attack the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, Cuba became the first country to express sympathy and offer aid to the United States. That morning President Fidel Castro was giving a speech at the inauguration of a new school in Havana. His speech became a plea for international cooperation against terrorism, which he said could only be eliminated by ending state terrorism and genocide and by developing a worldwide policy of peace, for finding solutions to global problems like AIDS, hunger, and lack of medical care. 

President Castro hoped that, in combatting terrorism, Washington would finally terminate terrorist acts against Cuba waged for decades by groups based in the United States. He recalled various terrorist attacks, especially the 1976 midair bombing of a Cuban passenger jet that killed all 73 people aboard. 

President Castro said that if he could say something on behalf of the people of the United States, he would urge U.S. leaders to stay calm and not allow themselves to be carried away by acts of rage or hatred. 

On that day of 9/11, Cubans began donating blood for the victims. The front page of Granma, the official newspaper of Cuba's Communist Party, was headlined, "PAIN AND SADNESS ALONGSIDE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE." 

At that time the entire world seemed in sympathy with the United States. But on September 20, addressing a joint session of Congress, President Bush declared a "War On Terror." Anticipating a "lengthy campaign," he stated, "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." 

Two days later, President Castro warned that Bush's "War on Terror" could lead to catastrophic consequences. He said the plan, at that time called "Infinite Justice," would in reality be a war that "could turn into an infinite killing of innocent people." He condemned terrorism and repeated that Cuba has never in the past and would never in the future use terrorism against the United States. 

A few days later at a United Nations General Assembly session on international terrorism, Cuban Ambassador Bruno Rodriguez agreed that an international struggle against terrorism should be launched but emphasized that the United Nations must provide the forum for such a coalition. He reminded his audience that back in 1976 Cuba had asked the Security Council to take action when that Cuban passenger jet was blown up, but Cuba's resolution was not even considered. 

Now the whole world is witnessing how the "War on Terror" has become a War of Terror, creating more and more terrorism around the globe. And Bush Administration policies have given the green light to terrorists in Florida. 

In February of this year, Orlando Bosch, appeared for a long television interview on Channel 22 in Miami. Back in 1989, the U.S. Justice Department ruled that Bosch should be deported--a decision based on U.S. intelligence reports that Bosch "has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death." 

Bosch is widely considered the mastermind behind that 1976 bombing of the Cuban passenger jet, a bombing that took place when George Bush the First was director of the CIA. By 1989 that same George Bush had become president, and his administration ordered the release of this notorious terrorist who continues to walk free in Miami. On that recent television broadcast, Bosch justified the bombing of the civilian airliner and boasted about his role in 11 attempts to carry out military actions against Cuba in the past 10 years and his three attempts to assassinate President Castro, in Chile, Nicaragua, and Spain. 

That broadcast caused no stir at all in this country which is supposedly engaged in a "War on Terror." But it got attention in Cuba. 

And then, on June 9, Cuba broadcast segments of yet another televised appearance by Cuban American terrorists . On Channel 41 in Miami, Oscar Asa, nephew of former Cuban Dictator Fulgencio Batista, hosted Comandos F4 terrorists who boasted of their military activities against Cuba. F4 leader Rodolfo Frometa bragged that F4 has people inside and outside Cuba ready for armed attacks. This televised terrorism emanating from Miami is aimed at keeping Cuba on edge, never allowing Cuba to be Cuba without the constant threat of violence, without a constant Stage of Siege. 

A leading advocate of violence against Cuba is Florida Republican Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, whose grandfather was president of the Cuban Senate under Dictator Batista and whose father was also a senator in Cuba before the Revolution. In March, Diaz-Balart publicly stated that the United States should consider assassinating President Castro. Imagine what would happen if a prominent member of Cuba's Parliament advocated that Cuba consider assassinating President Bush.


Historian Jane Franklin is the author of Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History.

E-mail Jane Franklin: janefranklin@hotmail.com