"Castro Acquires New Weapons of Mass Disruption"

The advent of the information super highway has armed our Enemy ninety (90) miles offshore with new weapons with which to wreak havoc upon the Cuban community in exile. This is a new type of threat that must not be taken lightly and which we must find new ways of neutralizing. We may hate him to the last fiber of our bones, condemn him for all his sins, but we must also realize that to defeat him we must be very aware of some basic truths. Despite his demonic ways, Fidel Castro has proven time and again that he is a master politician and a master debater capable of distorting the truth and of moving the pieces in the chess game to accommodate his interest and those of his failed revolution. If we fail to recognize these strengths of our enemy, we are doomed to fail in the struggle to defeat him.

New technological developments have given Castro a very powerful and effective weapons with which to reach the very heart of his opponents and wreak havoc. With new computer technologies: the internet, e-mail, and the technological super highway, he can anonymously reach everyone anywhere and plant the seeds of dissent and misinformation that will allow him to continue his attacks upon the Cuban community in exile, his one and true remaining enemy in this world. At the same time, because most of the people in Cuba do not have access to these technologies, they are isolated from the views and debates that take place outside their limited sphere of information. Their knowledge is skewed by the Cuban media apparatus that is closely controlled and monitored by the Government, and the rumor mill that will always distort all information.

By taking advantage of the fast and relatively cheap technology super highway that is freely available to him, Castro can bounce messages to and from different locations in the world and by hiding behind pen names he can and is in fact reaching each and every one of us. Slowly, yet craftily, weaving his web of deception and disinformation he is able to shape foreign opinions about Cuba and himself. He is clever enough to know that he can easily hook us by at first stating that the author is just another anti-Castro writer voicing his opposition to the tyrannic regime in the Island Nation, and then slowly inject half truths and disinformation that may cause us to pause, ponder, and maybe change some of the perceptions we have of him and of his failed revolution. He can also frame the issues and the debate in such a way that it may cause us to believe it is time to re-think some of the old policies and attitudes. One of the most important policy issues that he is certain to want us to re-think is the U.S. Embargo on Cuba.

Unfortunately, we are prey of our own traits and ways of thinking. Our idiologies, commitment and passion are easily set off by some issues which we have shown time and again we are incapable of rationally dealing with. To many of us, it is our way or no way at all. You either agree with me or you are against me. Oh! Come now, let us be intellectually honest about our stubbornness. One of our favorite pastimes is politics and the only right political view is "OUR VIEW." There is no clearer example of this way of thinking than the U.S. Embargo on Cuba. No, I will not get into the merits of the issue, they are too complex with too many ramifications and most people are not fully informed about them. Besides, there is not enough space in this article to cover this topic. However, it is clear that this is one of the most divisive issues in the Cuban community and as far as many of us are concerned, you either agree with my view or you are just plan wrong. There is no middle ground, there is no rational debate, there is no acceptance of any other concept than that to which we each ascribe. We are so blindly passionate that we fail to see that Castro has cleverly manipulated and used this issue to not only deflect criticism from his failed economic and political experiments, but in the process he has further divided and polarized the Cuban community in exile. We are so passionate about the issue that we fail to recognize the end goal to which we all strive. There is little question that we all want Castro out and the re-establishment of a free, democratic Cuba, but in our case, this end will not justify the means. Our debate and energies are totally consumed on how the end will be achieved, not if it will ever be achieved . In other words, the end has to be achieved my way because it IS the only right way.

It is this rigidity in our attitudes and thinking that can make us easy prey to blindly follow anyone who picks up the banner purportedly representing our ideals and tells us to march along with him, no matter where that road may lead. Sometimes, we find out a bit too late that road will deviate from the straight and narrow and can lead us astray.

The new access to technology and the internet is the new battlefield where the idiological war against Castro will be waged. It will be a difficult war to fight because of the speed, anonymity, and massive circulation that can be easily and economically achieved through these mechanisms. In order to effectively wage this battle, we all need to be more openminded; we need to be more willing to listen, even if we do not agree with what is being said; we need to be more democratic in our thinking and debate; we need to be less belligerent with each other and less accusatory of others who do not fully share and embrace our point of views. However, more importantly, we need to be ever more vigilant of the attacks by our common Enemy who now has other weapons of "mass disruption" at his disposal. We need to look for these new attack strategies, identify them, unmask them, and neutralize them. But please, let us not overract and fall prey to a new wave of "McCarthyism" type persecution where everyone is under suspicion and communist hunts will run rampant. Cautious vigilance should be the norm, and rational debate supported by facts and concrete proposals should be the means. Let us fight this new war with greater unity of purpose, and with the firm conviction and understanding that we all seek the same goal.



Luis A. Pérez

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