A CUBA EXPERT DOES IT AGAIN
"But even if the expectations of these critics are fulfilled, [about an official investigation of Fidel Castro’s past involvement in drug smuggling into the U.S.] the United States should move ahead with its plans to cooperate. Whatever Castro’s action may have been in the past, his interest in survival now coincides with President Clinton’s interest in stemming the flow of drugs across the Florida Straits." says Gillian Gunn Clissold, the director of the Georgetown University Caribbean Project in her Washington Post article of August 25, 1999.
Castro’s actions "in the past" are a bit recent. On January 6, 1999, a lawsuit was filed in Paris, France accusing Fidel Castro directly of international drug trafficking. And on December 3, 1998, the Colombian police seized about seven tons of cocaine in Cartagena, Colombia destined for the U.S. via Cuba.
That huge shipment was consigned to a Cuban state-owned venture. Nothing that happens in Cuba, specially a multi-million dollar deal like this happens without the direct authorization of Castro himself.
The intelligence section of the Colombian police can trace the Cuban drug connection in Colombia to the highest levels of the Castro regime, which is precisely controlled personally by Castro himself.
On January 9, 1996, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami arrested Jorge Luis Cabrera – who, in November 1995, donated $20,000 to the Democratic Party and was an invited to a Christmas party that year by Hillary Rodham Clinton. The DEA agents confiscated from Cabrera and four of his partners 6,000 pounds of cocaine and recent photos with Castro from his November 1995 trip to Cuba.
According to Florida Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, despite "massive" evidence pointing to Cuba’s involvement with the drug traffickers, the Clinton Administration shelved an indictment in 1993 that was prepared by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in South Florida against Castro’s regime. This one was for tons of cocaine that entered the U.S.
During 1988, U.S. prosecutors uncovered a cocaine-smuggling ring that directly implicated Castro. But in order to put the blame on someone else, Castro staged in Havana the kangaroo trial against army General Arnaldo Ochoa. Although Castro visited Ochoa and the other accused in jail and struck a deal of leniency in exchange for their silence, the result was execution by firing squad of General Ochoa, Colonel Antonio de la Guardia and two aids in July 1989. Castro’s word proved to be unworthy once again.
In the 1980s, U.S. prosecutors videotaped drug traffickers bragging about how Cuban radar boats steered them around U.S. patrols for easy entry into the U.S. The prosecutors have the testimony of a drug trafficking pilot who stated that Castro’s air force even helped refuel his plane at a Cuban military air base.
Since the 1960s, Castro has been actively involved in the shipment of drugs into the U.S. to destabilize this society with crime and to make much needed US dollars for his subversive activities throughout the Americas and the world. The global effort to destabilize the U.S. with drugs was agreed to at Castro’s Tri-Continental Conference of worldwide communists, revolutionaries and terrorists held in Havana in January 1966.
To help hide the millions in drug money that Castro is getting, his regime claims it receives $800 million a year from family remittances in the U.S. But according to well-informed economists, that amount is overstated based on the number of exiled Cuban families living in the U.S. (according to the 1990 census they total 346,510). The correct amount would be in the vicinity of $350 to $450 million a year.
But Gunn Clissold insists, "whatever his [Castro’s] position in the past he now stands to benefit from energetically joining the U.S. war on drugs. This is consistent with the administration’s finding last January that no conclusive evidence indicates that the Cuban leadership is currently involved in this criminal activity."
She apparently refers to the statements coming from the White House drug policy director, retired general and former chief of the U.S. Southern Command Barry McCaffrey, who had the audacity to say, "Poor Cuba. Location puts it in the path of international drug crime. But I do not see any serious evidence, current or in the last decade, of Cuban government overt complicity with drug crime." And he even implied that the U.S. should give Cuba the resources to counter the drug traffickers in their own waters.
The statements coming from the White House are conveniently in line with Clinton’s apparent desire to establish normal relations with Castro before he leaves the presidency.
Meanwhile, McCaffrey’s baseless statements were discredited by House Government Reform and Oversight Committee Chairman Dan Burton, Rep. From Indiana and other members of Congress acquainted with Castro’s ongoing and passed involvement with drug shipments into the US. They demanded another official investigation.
Ernesto Betancourt, a former representative of Castro in Washington before 1959, a political advisor of Castro during his April 1959 visit to the U.S., a former director of Radio Martí and now the Organizing Executive Director of SOCICUBA says McCaffreys is "ignoring the overwhelming evidence" and "has launched a trial balloon for providing the Cubans with equipment and intelligence to cooperate in the war on drugs. Castro is likely to use these resources against cartels not paying him his share and to help his partners. It is to be hoped this effort has been aborted."
But Gunn Clissold is recommending that "Even if past misconduct is proven" the U.S. must cooperate with Cuba.
Expert Gunn Clissold warns that a U.S. "Refusal to cooperate with Cuba on drug interdiction, would forfeit an opportunity to block an insidious force that is menacing U.S. security interests and could sabotage the stated goal of the U.S. policy toward Cuba, a peaceful transition to democracy, even more effectively than Castro does."
So, if I understand this statement correctly, we should cooperate with Castro (on drugs) in order to go against him (to obtain democracy).
That’s how to get rid of bad world leaders? Cooperate with them? Helping Saddam Hussein will cause his demise?
Who told Gunn Clissold that with Castro in power, Cuba is going to experience a transition to what he hates the most: democracy? Cooperation with him on drugs will make him soft on democracy? Does she think that after Castro is gone and his loyal elite is left behind in charge of the country, there will be a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba?
Thank you Washington Post for bringing us this most enlightening article.
The reports emanating from the real experts about Cuba - the ones who have been living inside the island for 40 years as ordinary Cuban citizens - do not agree with Gunn Clissold’s assessment.
But views like Gunn Clissold’s are the ones being pushed by the liberal establishment and the U.S. media who have been wrongfully assessing Castro and his revolution since the Herbert Matthews’ interview with Castro was published in The New York Times on February 24, 1957.
And what evidence does Guillian Gunn Clissold have that Fidel Castro, for the first time in his life, is going to be trustworthy in a cooperation with the U.S., his favorite enemy, in drug interdiction? Why will Castro give up the lucrative business of drug trafficking when he is increasingly desperate for US dollars to keep his control?
Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
Mr Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries
COVERING CUBA and CUBA: THE PEARL OF THE ANTILLES