Here's Granma International's take on Washington's latest. Sorry for the "cut & paste" job...but Granma's links don't always stay up for long.
The lies, fears and stupidity of the empire
THE conduct of certain U.S. government officials induces pity. A plague of liars who rarely say anything serious or close to the truth can be appreciated in the highest echelons of power.
According to reports released less than 48 hours ago on cables emanating from diverse press agencies in Washington, ”Mr. Roger Noriega, U.S. assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, has criticized Cuba for supporting destabilizing elements within several democratic countries in America.” “He made it clear that his and other neighboring countries would be closely following the behavior of Cuban leader Fidel Castro in his ‘latest adventures.’” “He indicated that the United States has its own information: ‘for example, concerning Cuban involvement in support of individuals in various countries aimed at destabilizing democratic governments.’"
“’It is clear that Fidel Castro’s actions have caught the attention of Latin America leaders,’ Noriega affirmed, describing them as “increasingly provocative” to the inter-American community to which the United States has responded with express support for those countries allegedly affected by these actions, such as Bolivia.”
One of the cables went on to say that according to Noriega, Castro is ‘stirring up the waters’... ‘fomenting discord and discontent in a conscious and destructive manner’ and making democratically elected governments vulnerable.”
This Mr. Noriega, a cynical and mediocre character, was one of the principal drafters and the central promoter of the Helms-Burton Act against Cuba. He is a close friend of the Cuban-American terrorist mafia in Miami. He assumed the post of assistant secretary when the Senate opposed the appointment of bandit Otto Reich, whose history of terrorism in the dirty war in Nicaragua is well known.
Noriega’s statement, formulated almost immediately after an announcement by a State Department spokesperson that migratory talks were to be suspended, alleging as an excuse Cuba’s non-acceptance of absurd and unacceptable demands, demonstrates that this is a pre-arranged and provocative action, the veiled purposes of which are related to the November elections, in which the supporters of the current administration are seeking to guarantee its success even at the expense of provoking any kind of conflict.
It can be demonstrated that Noriega’s statements are, as usual, shameless lies.
From where has he got the idea that Cuba has adopted a provocative position aimed at destabilizing Latin America? With the exception of the contemptible whiner who governs Uruguay, a an abject lackey of the United States, and the “breath of fresh air,” as Mr. Bush so poetically describes the man who governs El Salvador - where Posada Carriles – fulfilling orders from Miami – organized acts of terrorism against hotels in Cuba and hatched the plot to assassinate the Cuban president, the government of our country maintains normal and respectful diplomatic relations with the rest of the states in our region. None of them have made complaints or uttered a single word concerning destabilizing plans on the part of Cuba in relation to their governments.
Our relations with diverse Latin American and Caribbean political currents are absolutely legal, normal and public. Countless events, sponsored by centers and institutions of a political, social, educational, cultural, scientific, or economic nature amongst others, take place every year on this island in the presence of both the national and international press.
What does destabilizing mean? Sending thousands of doctors to cooperate with governments in the care of the poorest and most needy people? Have we destabilized Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Belize, Paraguay and various other countries in the Caribbean and Central or South America? Does it mean sending 15,000 Cuban doctors to 64 countries throughout the world where millions of people are being cared for and tens of thousands of lives saved? Since when did the promotion of literacy campaigns using new, modern and increasingly efficient methods signify destabilizing democratic regimes in any part of the world? How can granting scholarships to more than 12,000 young people from the Third World to study in our universities be described as a subversive action? Is it not rather stupid to describe the actions of thousands of sports instructors who are promoting the most wholesome activities, contributing to reducing crime and drug taking, and bringing health to millions of young people as “subversive”? Since when did promoting education and culture destabilize governments? When Hurricane Mitch hit Central America, didn’t we offer 3,000 doctors to save as many lives each year as the numbers lost as a result of the hurricane and, at the same time, all the scholarships necessary to train young people so that they can undertake the duties of those doctors in the future? Could anyone in their right mind swear that that constituted an effort to destabilize Central American democracy, when we did not even have diplomatic relations with certain countries at that time? Why ignore the fact that Cuba gave emergency aid, without exception, every time a disaster occurred, both in Latin America and in the rest of the world? Why not recall the huge Peruvian earthquake of 1970 that cost more than 50,000 lives, when the Cuban people sent 100,000 donations of blood, built hospitals and provided doctors? Why not also recall when the Uruguayan people were victim to a severe epidemic of meningococcus meningitis, Cuba – the only country with the adequate vaccine available – sent millions of doses to protect the lives of Uruguayan children, even when their government – fully aware of their existence – did not want to acquire it precisely because it was Cuban?
And these are not the only cases. When El Salvador – a refuge for terrorists and center of operations from which gross crimes are committed against our country – was struck down with a severe epidemic of dengue fever, the Cuban authorities did not hesitate to send human resources and materials that proved to be a decisive factor in eradicating the epidemic, even though that government was a bitter enemy of Cuba. A similar spirit of cooperation was demonstrated there when a devastating earthquake hit that sister nation shortly afterward.
And why is this unspeakably vile slander appearing now? It has both an explanation and precedents.
In his cynical January 6 statement, Mr. Noriega made particular reference to Venezuela, pointing to that country as being associated with Cuba in terms of the destabilizing project on account of our support in public health, education, culture, sports and social work programs and other activities being undertaken by the Bolivarian process to benefit the Venezuelan population in areas where the country has a certain degree of experience that it has placed at the service of Third World countries. We have granted thousands of scholarships to young Venezuelans to study medicine, sports, social work, technical training and as many forms of technical cooperation that are requested from Cuba.
For the Cuban people, President Chávez embodies the Bolivarian ideas and spirit of the independence, unity and patriotism of the peoples of Latin America, whose ethnic origin, culture, religion and language have much more in common than any other group of countries in the world. They have the right and the duty to unite not only for economic reasons but also for their own survival. Cuba supports that right with all its might.
Mr. Noriega’s insolent and threatening lecture on January 6 has its precedent in a statement made two weeks previously (December 19) by Mr. Otto Reich, extraordinary ambassador for Latin America. It was reported in a cable that stated: “Otto Reich acknowledged today that the continent ‘is not in a good situation’ and highlighted Venezuela as the nation confronting the ‘gravest’ crisis,” going on to confirm that: ‘unless the two sides calm down, there could be a problem.’ He added that the United States ‘is exceedingly concerned at the constant reports of the presence of Cuban agents in Venezuela.’”
The cable continues: “He affirmed that ‘according to many people in Venezuela,’ they have received information that there are hundreds, if not thousands of persons of Cuban military age and appearance in Venezuela.
“’Chávez has the force of arms and is also the constitutional president,’ but ‘all the surveys that we have seen indicate that two-thirds of the population are opposed to Chávez and also have the force of the Constitution and the referendum.’
“He added that, according to his sources, ‘there are more than three million, possible up to four million, valid signatures’ to effect the referendum against Hugo Chávez.
“’The entire inter-American community has the responsibility of accompanying the Venezuelan people in this challenge in favor of democracy and against possible tricks on the part of anyone trying to avert Venezuelan laws being fulfilled,’ he added.
“Reich stated that the United States ‘is closely following what is happening in Venezuela along with all its friends in the hemisphere.’” The persons of military age and appearance were the Cuban doctors, 52.4% of them women.
It is totally obvious that the most extremist group within the U.S. government has realized that the regime of exploitation and merciless plunder imposed on the peoples of Latin America has become unsustainable and intolerable.
If the United States has its own information on Cuba’s involvement in supporting individuals in various countries proposing to destabilize democratic governments, why doesn’t it say so concretely? Why does it not point to where, when and how those actions have taken place, the countries concerned, and what Cuba did in Bolivia that led to the social explosion that occurred there? Who is stirring the waters? Who is responsible for one by one the peoples of this region turning into rivers as a consequence of the immense and insuperable external debt, incessant plunder, poverty, unemployment, hunger, the public health and educational disaster and International Monetary Fund impositions? Why doesn’t that fool Noriega even mention the FTAA; in other words the annexation that they are trying to impose on the Latin American and Caribbean peoples? Who imposed neoliberal globalization? Who obliged the enforced privatization of the resources and assets of the defenseless peoples of this continent? Who sells arms instead of study materials? Who sent young Latin Americans to die like cannon fodder in the Iraqi deserts? What need does Cuba have to stir up the waters, if those rivers are already swollen and are threatening to sweep away all the corruption and injustice committed throughout the centuries?
New and gross lies:
“... ‘some sources’ report ‘a picture of disturbances with Cuban participation’... ‘it is very clear that (Castro) is more and more active in the region.’”
Of course, Mr. Noriega, things are changing. Fewer and fewer people believe in your habitual tall stories, more and more the peoples are losing their capacity for tolerance. They are inviting the Cuban president to the investiture of new governments and other activities. He was able to attend those of Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay. With regret he was unable to be present for other changes of government and important events because in Cuba we are obliged to work very hard, and moreover journeys abroad are costly and complex, due to the plots that you, your government and your terrorist mafia draw up to assassinate him. We understand that you must all feel frustrated at so many fruitless attempts.
It is very clear that (Castro) is more and more active in the region, you affirm, and that this has provoked great concern among Latin American leaders.
Why do you not say who these leaders are, why are you taking it upon yourself to speak for them, why do you try to present them as jealous and cowardly? With almost everyone whom our president meets, apart from the exceptions already mentioned – with whom it is a case of indifference – there have never been hostile looks or shocked faces. The treatment is respectful in spite of, in fewer and fewer cases, the existence of profound ideological differences. As is well known, the peoples of the countries that he visits enthusiastically display their affection and admiration for the president of the Council of State of Cuba. It is not in vain that the Cuban people and their leaders have stood up to very difficult tests and have never yielded to arbitrariness, aggression and threats from the greatest power ever to have existed.
The anger and hatred emanating from Mr. Noriega’s deliberately lying words is comprehensible, because he knows that, alive or dead, his memory will follow him like a phantom, after his gross lies born of a shocking mediocrity, and the habitual threats of killers that you, Mr. Noriega, spewed out against him: “It should be made very clear to Fidel Castro that his actions have caught the attention of Latin America leaders and that his actions to destabilize Latin America are increasingly provoking the inter-American community, including the United States. Those who persist in destabilizing democratically elected governments by intervening in the internal affairs of other governments are playing with fire.” What does playing with fire mean?
You do not have the mettle to intimidate any Cuban patriot. You speak thus without committing a drop of your own blood, but that of the young soldiers and officers of the U.S. Armed Forces.
You have assured us that both your country and neighboring nations are closely following the behavior of the Cuban leader in his recent adventures in his final days, and that he feels somewhat nostalgic for the time when he had an important role in the Americas. You are lying. If you believed that, you would not be so alarmed at his alleged destabilizing plan.
It is also appropriate to ask: Has Mr. Bush already given the order to extra-judicially eliminate the Cuban president?
In assembling such pronouncements, Mr. Noriega not only attacked and threatened Cuba, but also attempted to scold the Argentine president, Néstor Kirchner, a man who without any doubt exudes dignity, and attempted to order him to immediately take on the payment of $21 billion of his external debt; furious with Foreign Minister Biers, he states his dismay at Bielsa failing to meet with U.S. paid agents when he traveled to Havana. How far imperial arrogance reaches!
Neither did he refrain from intervening in Venezuela’s internal affairs. He accused President Chávez of being Cuba’s accomplice in attempts to destabilize Latin America. He exhorted him to respect the rules in effect for a possible recall referendum of his mandate. He not only took on the role of the National Electoral Council, but also certified the quantity of signatures collected against the president, giving strong backing to the authors of the military coup on April 11, 2002 and the following oil coup of December and January.
We are perfectly well aware of the ideas of Mr. Noriega and others of his sort consistent with murdering Cuban doctors in Venezuela with the complicity of Colombian paramilitaries in order to teach them a lesson and force them to withdraw their cooperation in the marvelous health plans being instigated by the Bolivarian government within the Barrio Adentro program, through which more than 12.5 million poor Venezuelans are receiving medical attention.
We have affirmed that for every doctor, teaching or sports collaborator who falls, many more are prepared to take their place. Full responsibility will fall on the United States.
Those who believe that the Cuban people can be intimated any time are defeated before they start!