Republican Senator John Ashcroft of Missouri is one of the sponsors of a bill to lift the trade sanctions against Castro. Ashcroft says, "We need to give our farmers the freedom to sell their products."

"How regrettable it is to see a good man like Senator Ashcroft crawling into bed with the pro-Castro Lobby," says José Cárdenas of the Cuban American National Foundation in Washington, DC.

Fernando Remirez de Estenoz, Cuba's ambassador to the U.S., claims that his country is determined to open its state-controlled economy and renew trade relations with the U.S.

To wet the appetite of the uninformed U.S. politicians, farmers and businessmen, Estenoz claims that Cuba’s economy is recovering at a rate of 6% this year and its "$1 billion" in food and agricultural imports are expected to double in five years. He predicted that could mean lots of business for farmers and manufacturers, but U.S. farmers and businessmen will be locked out unless trade barriers are lifted.

Estenoz says "We are buying from all over the world, from Western Europe, to Asia, to South America."

Only fools swallow such snake-oil-filled pills. How is Cuba going to pay for all of these products? How can we accept Castro’s official, glowing statistics that no one is permitted to verify?

Cuba froze all foreign debt payments in 1983 while it was receiving billions of dollars from the former Soviet Union.

Cuba’s long-term foreign debt to its largest creditors, Spain, France, Germany, England and Japan total $11.2 billion. In addition, Cuba has a $20 billion debt to the former Soviet Union.

The U.S. farmers and businessmen that Senator Ashcroft is trying to help are going to have a very difficult time to collect from Castro.

Castro is currently paving the way to avoid paying for the properties he confiscated in the early 1960s in case normal relations are established with the U.S.

Quoting the September 30 issue of the U.S. Cuba Policy Report, Cuban official "international attorney," Olga Miranda Bravo said on September 21, "that U.S. property owners totaling 5,911 individuals and businesses whose certified claims were adjudicated by the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission would not have their claims resolved without factoring into the negotiations the alleged damages brought about by 40 years of the U.S. embargo."

Last June, Castro filed a $181.1 billion claim for the "3,478 deaths and 2,099 injures" caused by the 40-year "dirty war" of the U.S. against his regime.

Castro’s death toll in Cuba is 87,000.

Miranda Bravo says, "This is more complicated than settling accounts. It seems to me that the theme of nationalizations cannot be considered without the blockade [what Castro and his collaborators call the U.S. embargo]."

The Castro-controlled National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba issued a proclamation on September 13 denouncing the U.S. embargo as "genocidal." While at a meeting in New York sponsored by the National Health and Human Services Employees Union and the fanatically pro-Castro Pastors for Peace, the newly appointed Cuban foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, a close buddy of Castro, justified the position that U.S. officials responsible for the embargo should be prosecuted by Cuban courts.

Meanwhile, the parade of fools continue their pilgrimage to Havana in spite of clear signs that Castro is unbendingly intolerant of any economic and political opening inside Cuba due to his concern that anything but complete control could threaten his hold on power. His involvement with Latin American guerrillas, drug trafficking, and violations of human rights continues.

For example, the recent house arrest of 30 pro-democracy activists and the harassment of independent librarians, including threats, intimidation, eviction, short-term arrests and the confiscation of their incoming book donations and existing book collections of 18 small, private libraries in Cuba.

Frank Calzon, executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba said, "I wonder whether any of the groups lobbying to lift the U.S. embargo that claim to care for the Cuban people, or any of the universities sponsoring academic exchanges with the island, will ask Castro to stop this outrage and extend a helping hand to Cuba's beleaguered librarians."

Governor George Ryan’s (Rep., Illinois) visit to Cuba will be the first by an U.S. governor since 1959. Governor Ryan’s officials suggested that his five-day visit could help Illinois businesses if the U.S. embargo against Castro is relaxed.

Governor Ryan’s visit (at taxpayer expense) is with a delegation of about 30 to 40 politicians, business leaders, agriculture experts and educators. (Most of them without first-hand experience living as an ordinary Cuban citizen under Castro, and uninformed as to what Cuba was before Castro.)

As I understand it, the theoretical benefit of such visits is that the repeated effort of U.S. politicians and businessmen would appease Castro, show him goodwill and that capitalists are not as bad as he thinks. However, his hatred of capitalists began before Castro himself since his father originated the idea in the Castro family. But for an U.S. citizen to apply a logical approach that could render the intended benefit in another world leader, on Castro, with his devious reasoning, could turn out to be a fatal mistake.

Since the 1980s Castro has been is involved with bacteriological warfare research. According to Carlos Wotzkow’s book "Natumaleza Cubana," one of the theories developed is the use of migratory birds to the U.S. as the carriers of viruses. In a recent article, Wotzkow says "there are reasons to suspect that the West Nile Virus in New York City could be Castro’s dress rehearsal."

Ernesto Betancourt, former Castro representative and political advisor in 1959 and former director of Radio Martí wrote in a recent article, "the research undertaken in Cuba is precisely centered on developing virus strains suitable to be inoculated to the many migratory birds that fly North-South in the Fall and South-North in the Spring."

Sadly, according to Wotzkow who is familiar with the migratory bird research, U.S. scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and other "naïve U.S. citizens provided technology and monies" for Castro’s project. This is another example of the foolishness of scientific and cultural exchanges with Cuba. We are giving them the rope to hang us in the end.

All the evidence coming from many different sources with direct knowledge of Castro’s visceral hatred toward the U.S. seems to indicate that he has a final plan that will be a devastating blow for the U.S. and thousands of Americans. And after that happens, will his collaborators share the blame?

The U.S. and its government and many of its agencies and institutions as well as the media are going to be blamed, held accountable and mistrusted by the people for playing such a foolish role and failing to protect public security.

However, the parade of fools continues in their efforts to lift – unconditionally - the U.S. embargo against Castro. Their point of view is the most publicized, as José Cárdenas said, "Only anti-embargo types can continue to have the same press conferences, saying the exact same thing over and over again, and still have it be treated as fresh ‘news.’"


Dedicated to Sara Kourí

Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton.

Mr. Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries
ABIP 1999

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