By Manuel Cereijo
The killing of the members of the Brothers to the Rescue organization, on international waters, the sinking of the ship 13 de Marzo, where innocent women, children, and men died, the recent imprisonment of more than 75 persons in Cuba for just trying to express freely, the execution of three persons in a one day mockery trial,-- provides a glimpse of the crimes Fidel Castro is willing to commit, and the kind of threat he now presents to the entire world. He is among history's cruelest dictators, and he is arming himself with the world's most terrible weapons.
We know from recent history that Fidel Castro s a reckless dictator who has invaded his neighbors without provocation -- wars that led to death and suffering on a massive scale. We know that dissidents and opponents in Cuba are tortured, imprisoned, executed, and sometimes just disappear. As the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, said recently, "We have a moral obligation to intervene where evil is in control. Today, that place is Iraq." I will add "and Cuba".
We know the Cuban regime finances and sponsors terror-IRA, ETA, FARC- as just some among many. We know that he has the capacity and facilities to produce WMD. There is little reason to hope that Fidel Castro will disarm, or resign, or allow the Cuban people to be free.
If force is required to disarm him, as the United States did in Iraq, the American people should know that our armed forces have been given every tool and every resource to achieve victory in Cuba, and in any other country, which poses a threat to the United States. The people of Cuba can know that every effort will be made to spare innocent life, and to help Cuba recover from 44 years of totalitarian rule. And plans, for sure, are in place to provide Cubans with massive amounts of food, as well as medicine and other essential supplies, in the event of hostilities.
Crucial days lie ahead for the free nations of the world. Governments are now showing whether their stated commitments to liberty and security are words alone -- or convictions they're prepared to act upon. And for the government of the United States and the coalition it leads, there is no doubt: they will confront a growing danger, to protect ourselves, to remove a patron and protector of terror, and to keep the peace of the world.
The world, and the United States is confronting the grave and growing danger of Fidel Castro and his weapons of mass destruction. This dictator should not be allowed to intimidate and blackmail the civilized world, or to supply his terrible weapons to terrorist groups, who would not hesitate to use them against us. The safety of the American people depends on ending this threat. But America's cause is always larger than America's security. The United States also stand for the advance of freedom and opportunity and hope. The lives and freedom of the Cuban people matter little to Fidel Castro, but they matter greatly to us.
Fidel Castro has a long history of brutal crimes, especially in time of wars and intervention in other countries, and even against his own citizens. If conflict comes, he could target civilians or place them inside military facilities. He has built hundreds of tunnels to incarcerate and kill innocent civilians in case of war. He could encourage race violence. He could destroy natural resources. Or, worst of all, he could use his weapons of mass destruction.
We will lead in carrying out the urgent and dangerous work of destroying chemical and biological weapons in the world. We will provide security against those who try to spread chaos.. And we will seek to protect Cuba's natural resources from sabotage by a dying regime, and ensure they are used for the benefit of Cuba's own people.
The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Cuba's new government. That choice belongs to the Cuban people. Yet we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Cubans must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected. Rebuilding Cuba will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before -- in the peace that followed World War II. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies; we left constitutions and parliaments. We did not leave behind permanent foes; we found new friends and allies.
There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. They were wrong. Some say the same of Cuba today. They, too, are mistaken. The nation of Cuba -- with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people -- is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.
It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known four decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions. Yet the security of the United States and the hopes of millions depend on this nation, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We, the United States, and the Cuban people, have met great tests in other times, and we will meet the tests of our time.
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