Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cuddling With Cuba

by Ryan Mauro

Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal [1] an unsettling betrayal of those fighting for democracy in Cuba. Apparently, fancy dinners and high-level access are more important than challenging a Castro regime that supports narco-terrorism and is spreading neo-Marxist tyranny in Latin America.

A cable from November 2009 shows how some Western countries have given up on pressing Cuba on human rights issues, with diplomats agreeing not to meet with opposition figures fighting for freedom while visiting the island. The European Union, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Spain, among others, are described as countries whose officials have decided that Cuba’s political oppression is not worth fighting. Unbelievably, this catering to the Castros has no benefit beyond “pomp-full dinners and meetings, and for the most pliant, a photo-op with one of the Castro brothers.” There was no economic agreement behind this, only greed.

The United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic are depicted as being more honorable, deciding it is better to not hold high-level meetings in Cuba than to submit to the regime’s rules about who they can meet with. A representative of the Vatican, Archbishop Claudio Celli, is especially principled and angers the officials he met with by complimenting Cuban bloggers and asking for freer Internet access for the population.

Another 2009 cable shows that the U.S. has little hope invested in Cuban dissidents. “We see very little evidence that the mainline dissident organizations have much resonance among Cubans,” it reads. The document claims that the opposition leaders are old, divided amongst themselves and their ranks have been infiltrated by Cuban intelligence. The cable is pessimistic about change in the near term, stating that “We do not believe the announcement of Fidel’s death would spark either violent demonstrations or a quick surge in migration.”

However, the cables do show an opportunity available for Cuban dissidents. One predicts [2] the declining economy of Cuba could become “fatal” in two to three years, with Italian officials reporting that sources in the Cuban government as saying the country “would become insolvent as early as 2011.” It appears that President Raul Castro does not have his head in the sand regarding this impending disaster, as he has announced [3] plans to reduce the government workforce by 500,000, decrease subsidies and allow some limited free market reforms to stimulate the economy.

Cuban-American author Humberto Fontova [4] told FrontPage that part of the reason for complacency towards the Castro regime is a belief among some in the West that “if Castro brought ‘fabulous health and education to some pesthole banana republic, then a few human rights abuses are a small price to pay.’” The reality, Fontova says, is that Castro turned a country with a higher per capita income than half of Europe “into a pesthole that repels Haitians.”

The rise of radical Islam is also distracting the West’s attention away from Cuba and its allies in Venezuela. He says this is a mistake because the Castro regime’s activity threatens the West.

“Cuba is still sponsoring terrorism big time—something apartheid South Africa and Pinochet’s Chile never did. Yet the entire world agonized and wailed over South Africa and Chile’s human rights abuses, which were a tiny fraction of Castro’s,” Fontova said to FrontPage.

Despite the State Department’s assurance [5] in 2009 that “Cuba no longer actively supports armed struggle in Latin America and other parts of the world,” the government of Colombia says [6] that the FARC narco-terrorists consult with Cuban intelligence and receive Cuban funding through Venezuela. The Castro regime’s intelligence service has thoroughly infiltrated and compromised [7] U.S. intelligence efforts against Cuba, which may help explain the lax attitude towards Cuba.

Other cables released by WikiLeaks expose Cuba’s subversive role in Latin America in places other than Venezuela and Colombia. In June 2009, the Obama Administration and other Western countries condemned the removal of Honduran President Zelaya from power by the military, despite the fact that Zelaya had repeatedly violated the country’s constitution and refused to abide by Supreme Court rulings. In accordance with the constitution, the Congress began impeaching him and the Supreme Court authorized the military’s intervention to prevent Zelaya from establishing a dictatorship. [8]

Released cables report that some of Zelaya’s closest advisors were connected to Cuba, Venezuela and organized crime. It also confirmed [9] his dictatorial ambitions, saying he “resents the very existence of the Congress, the Attorney General and Supreme Court.” Although the cables maintain that the coup was illegal, it shows that the military’s action stopped the expansion of the Cuban-Venezuelan alliance to include Honduras.

Another cable shows how Chavez, whose regime is propped up by Cuba, has come to the aid [10] of President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, who is described as a “Chavez ‘Mini-Me’” by one American diplomat. The cables show that Ortega’s top officials are given “suitcases full of cash” when they visit Venezuela and release drug traffickers from prison in return for funding. This drug money along with oil cash from Venezuela was put into secret accounts, amounting up to $500 million in 2008 when municipal elections marred with fraud [11] resulted in a major Sandinista victory.

The West may be engaged in a battle with radical Islam, but it cannot forget about the spread of neo-Marxism in Latin America of the Castro-Chavez ilk. The Castro regime is one that deserves to be challenged, not wined and dined.

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[1] reveal:

[2] predicts:

[3] announced:,0,1512384.story

[4] Humberto Fontova:

[5] assurance:

[6] says:

[7] infiltrated and compromised:

[8] prevent Zelaya from establishing a dictatorship.:

[9] confirmed:

[10] come to the aid:

[11] marred with fraud:

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Ryan Mauro

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