I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the July 6 Washington Post editorial titled "Castro Shows His Stripes." But after reading it, I was disappointed. It was The Post’s 40-year delayed reaction.

This editorial was based on Canada’s announcement in June that it is reviewing its policy of "constructive engagement" with Castro’s Cuba. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien was upset at Castro’s increased repression and continued violation of human rights.

Maybe the delayed reaction of the Canadians, who for decades have been profiting from Castro and appeared unconcerned about the exploitation of Cuban workers and their human rights, is due to Castro’s reneging on some business deals with them. Is it always a matter of money for the unscrupulous Canadians? And, of course, a grand opportunity to go against the US.

Last April 14, Canada’s National Post published an article citing the case of the Ontario-based engineering company FirstKey Project Technologies, Inc. who took a $9 million loss on their investment in Cuba.

Also Sherritt International, who operates the nickel mines stolen from a US company, is not doing well in Castro’s Cuba, prompting its Chairman, Ian Delaney, to finally say, "there’s a limit to the rate at which you can invest in Cuba that’s limited by their infrastructure."

The April 14 article said that Cuba has a long track record of trampling on foreign investors and reneging on contracts. And that Castro’s "fundamental rationale is the demonization of capitalist investors. The larger issue is why Canada continues to support this regime."

But The Washington Post’s recent editorial, in spite of the Canadian experience is still encouraging some business with Castro and is actively campaigning for the relaxation of the US embargo.

If Cuba’s trading with the rest of the world for decades has not made a dent in the Stalinist tyrant’s ways, how preposterous and arrogant to think that dealing with the US – Castro’s most hated enemy – is going to do the trick!

The Financial Times of London said on June 10 that according to one recent foreign diplomatic report from Havana, "the regime has indicated that further reform will not be forthcoming." Castro himself has been screaming loud and clear for years that his regime is not going to change and that his "socialism" is not negotiable. There is no hope for a change in Cuba until Castro, his brother and his henchmen disappear from the scene.

Meantime the Cuban people continue suffering aimlessly surrounded by a parade of theories, opinions, wishful thinkers and fools who still have not gotten the picture that Castro has to go. These foreign "Cuba experts" with their business deals, blinded by their ignorance about Cuba, are affording Castro a longevity in power that otherwise – if moral principles had been applied – he would not have had.

The Washington Post, as well as other US newspapers and television, in general, has refused to listen to the reason of the people who have first hand experience living inside the monster. Of course, they are one of the most hated and maligned groups in the US: the Cuban-Americans.

Since Cubans began their exodus to the US after Castro in 1959, they kept saying that he was taking the steps toward a communist dictatorship. The Cubans were right since 1959. But Castro’s friends and apologists in the US kept saying otherwise and censoring them. They were wrong then and they are still wrong now. They have not learned.

After 40 years, how many more thousands of Cubans have to die and how many millions of families have to be torn apart by a hideous tyranny because of the imposition of Castro’s friends and apologists’ fallacious ideas?

If they are not going to recant and admit how wrong they still are and to report the truth about what has been going on in Cuba, or are not going to help to get rid of Castro’s tyranny, they should not interfere in our affairs. Give us a break. Leave us alone. Let the Cubans solve their own problems.

This ill-advised campaign by The Washington Post and others about relaxing the embargo for "humanitarian reasons" and more bogus people-to-people cultural exchanges does not work with Castro. The food and medicines donated usually do not reach the intended people and end up for sale in US dollar and tourist shops and in special hospitals for foreigners where they accept US dollars only. We have seen how Castro has converted the cultural exchanges into private parties for his cronies.

Before Castro, Cuba produced enough food for national consumption and for export. Cuba is a tropical archipelago composed 4,195 islands and keys, with extremely fertile soil capable of four crops a year. Why are Cubans unable to feed themselves since Castro took control of everything? What does the US embargo have to do with it?

Castro is not interested in solving that and other problems because he wants to keep people occupied with the daily struggle for survival so that they do not have time or energy to concentrate on overthrowing him. It is just a typical communist technique for staying in power.

Anyway, Castro rejected the Clinton Administration’s January overtures of increasing people-to-people contact while seeking to encourage political and economic activity independent of the state. The Financial Times of London says, "Cuba has rejected these overtures as ‘subversive.’" Castro is becoming increasingly intransigent and intolerant of any change that can put his power in danger.

Castro’s Cuba was one of the few countries on the planet that condemned NATO’s operation in Yugoslavia as "genocide" and urged that NATO’s secretary general, Javier Solana, be tried as a "war criminal."

The Washington Post’s editorial suggestion is a pathetic waist of time seemingly to extend Castro’s time in power.

The moral thing is what the world did to put an end to the situation in South Africa and Haiti. Otherwise, Cubans will continue to be manipulated by the parade of "Cuba experts" with their swollen heads who obviously do not give a damn about the aimless suffering of the Cuban people.


Agustín Blázquez,
with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
Mr Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentary COVERING CUBA

ABIP 1999

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