Washington dubbed Nicaragua a threat to U.S. national security, and announced that it will be expanding its suffocating sanctions on the tiny Central American nation.
President Donald Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country’s left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.
As Washington’s rightist allies in Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador are desperately beating back massive grassroots uprisings against neoliberal austerity policies and yawning inequality gaps, the United States is ramping up its aggression against the region’s few remaining progressive governments.
These moves have led left-wing forces in Latin America to warn of a 21st-century revival of Operation Condor, the Cold War era campaign of violent subterfuge and U.S. support for right-wing dictatorships across the region.
Venezuela is a founding member of ALBA. There have been several failed coup attempts in this country since the days of President Hugo Chavez whose pro-people policies irked the US government. There has also been a relentless economic war with savage US sanctions, and an ongoing international media campaign of deception against the democratically elected leadership of the country.
Cuba is a founding member of ALBA. Having faced decades of terrorism, including the famed Bay of Pigs invasion, the bombing of hotels and biological warfare, all while facing hostile US economic sanctions which have cost the country billions of dollars, the Trump administration now openly engage in regime change tactics in their vain effort to do what their predecessors have failed to achieve.
Nicaragua is a member of ALBA – in the 1980s they were forced in a bloody war against counter-revolutionaries, the Contras, trained and financed by the US. As noted by Noam Chomsky, “Ronald Reagan used them (the Contras) to launch a large-scale terrorist war against Nicaragua, combined with economic warfare that was even more lethal. We (the US) also intimidated other countries so they wouldn’t send aid either.”
The Contras were defeated. Only recently, modern day Contras took to the streets destabilizing the country for a few months until the situation was again brought under control by President Daniel Ortega. Nicaragua remains a member of ALBA, but only after years of bloodshed and destabilization efforts similar to those we are now seeing in Venezuela.
Ecuador was a member of ALBA until President Raphael Correa (photo) left office. His successor, Moreno, vice president under Correa, turned back the gained made by Correa and openly embraced anti-people neoliberal policies. So, there was no need for sanctions, destabilization or a coup. Moreno took on a self -imposed coup status.
The English-speaking members of ALBA are, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister Dominica
Recent events in Dominica on the eve of national elections; the blocking of roads, the burning of tyres, the use of social media promoting anti-government sentiments, the popularising of the call for free and fair elections prior to the elections, – all alien to Dominica’s culture – are standard tactics for US-backed coups in the region, and suggest that the footprints of Washington, fixated on having their lackeys in power, will be seen if we look closely.
Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the VIII Meeting of the Association of Caribbean States, in Managua, Nicaragua, March 29, 2019, Year 61 of the Revolution
(Council of State transcript / GI translation)
Compañero Comandante Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of the sister Republic of Nicaragua and of the VIII Meeting of the Association of Caribbean States;
Compañera Rosario Murillo, Vice President of the Republic of Nicaragua;
Distinguished heads of state and government and heads of delegations;
Her Excellency Ambassador June Soomer, general secretary of the Association;
Dear delegates and guests:
Our national poet, Nicolás Guillén, a singular voice among the great voices of this region, dedicated a short poem to the sea that joins us, with which I would like to greet you. It is entitled “The Caribbean” and goes:
In the aquarium of the Great Zoo,
swims the Caribbean.
This enigmatic marine animal
has a crystal crest,
a blue back, a green tail,
a belly of compact coral,
gray hurricane fins.
In the aquarium, this inscription:
“Be careful: it bites.”
This verse of Guillen’s speaks of the crystal crest that makes our Caribbean fragile. And also of the fierce beast that lives here. Fragility and ferocity distinguish us. Fragility and ferocity unite us. And unity, we know well, makes us strong.
Born of this strength, sustained only by unity, is the very timely Managua Declaration adopted by this meeting, with the title: “Joining forces in the Caribbean to confront climate change,” an issue that has generated growing concern over the last few decades.
As the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, warned almost 30 years ago, during the Earth Summit held in Río de Janeiro, in 1992, “An important biological species is in danger of extinction as a result of the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural living conditions: man.”
The Caribbean knows this well since it often suffers the impact. Surely for this reason, since its Second Summit in Santo Domingo, in 1999, the Association of Caribbean States has included among its lines of work agreement and cooperation on climate change and disaster risk reduction.
The causes of climate change have been identified by the scientific community and recognized by practically all governments.
But neither efforts made or international commitments in environmental matters are sufficient to stop the alarming increase in global temperature and stabilize it in the area of 1.5ºC, as developing countries demand.
More developed nations, who are mainly responsible for today’s unsustainable situation, must honor the commitment to provide at least 100 billion USD a year to support the work of developing countries.
The global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must prevail based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, within a framework of international cooperation that ensures the resources and necessary transfer of technologies to developing countries.
Required is the modification of patterns of production and consumption that have been imposed on us, and the promotion of a fair, democratic, and equitable international economic order, to confront climate change and achieve sustainable development.
Each of us understands what is being talked about. The intensity and persistence of natural phenomena of various kinds in the Greater Caribbean constantly punish us with the adverse effects of climate change, particularly developing small island states.
Living with hurricanes has conditioned our lives; modifying our geographies and affecting migration. And it has also educated us in the need to devote more study to these phenomena that plague us and work to reverse the damage they cause. The Cuban Revolution was obliged to learn this lesson very early on, the hard way, during Hurricane Flora in 1963, which left the former province of Oriente under water and took the lives of more than a thousand people.
More recent history has shown that, in the worst moments, working together has saved us. We firmly believe that only our unity and mutual cooperation will allow us to face the dangers and effects of meteorological events and assume the subsequent recovery.
Solidarity must be a fundamental principle for the members of the Association of Caribbean States
Along this very line of thought, today, I would like to reiterate the unwavering support of Cuba, under all circumstances, to the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment.
We also support the just and necessary demand to receive cooperation according to a nation’s real situation and needs, and not on the basis of per capita income statistics that classify them as middle income countries and exclude them from access to financial resources, indispensable for development.
We welcome the election of Barbados as President of the Board of Directors of the Association’s Council of Ministers. We express our fraternal congratulations for this and for the country’s willingness to contribute during this period.
The President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the National Security Advisor declare that the Monroe Doctrine is as relevant today as the day it was written, and that it is the country’s formal policy, as in the time of expansion and intervention of the United States in our region, of military aggressions and impositions.
These statements and consequent actions challenge our Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by heads of state and government, in January 2014, in Havana, on the occasion of the Second CELAC Summit.
We declared then our permanent commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in order to banish forever the use of force, and threats to use force, in the region; to strictly comply with the obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other state; to foster relations of friendship and cooperation among ourselves and with other nations, regardless of differences in political, economic, and social systems or levels of development; to practice tolerance and coexist in peace as good neighbors; to the intention of Latin American and the Caribbean states to fully respect the inalienable right of all to choose their own political, economic, social, and cultural system, as an essential condition for ensuring peaceful coexistence among nations; to the promotion in the region of a culture of peace based, among others, on the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Culture of Peace.
The Proclamation also urges all member states of the international community to fully respect these purposes and principles in their relations with CELAC member states.
In this context, our nations must continue working together. It is our duty to protect peace, amongst us all, and preserve what has been achieved, confident that the current situation of confrontation and threats will be overcome.
Cuba, in particular, has been subject to an irrational and perverse tightening of the blockade by the United States, whose administration has unleashed, at the same time, a campaign of distortions, lies, and pretexts to sustain a policy of persecution and harassment that the international community openly rejects and condemns.
I would like to express our profound gratitude to all the countries of the region for their opposition to this irrational, illegal, and cruel policy against our people.
Beyond political or ideological differences, I call on all Caribbean governments to defend peace and oppose military aggression and the escalation of coercive economic measures against Venezuela that seriously damage its citizens and put the stability of the entire region at risk.
We also reiterate our solidarity and support for the government of Reconciliation and National Unity of the Republic of Nicaragua in the face of destabilization attempts, and we celebrate the negotiation process to ensure peace and preserve the social and economic gains achieved in this sister nation.
Faithful to our vision of defending unity within diversity, as on innumerable occasions the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, has asserted in forums like this one, we call on you to continue working together, concentrating on all that unites us, incomparably superior to the little that separates us, and to prioritize the fulfillment of agreements reached by the XXIII Council of Ministers regarding the strengthening and revitalization of the Association.
The Association of Caribbean States must continue to be the mainstay of Greater Caribbean unity, which is the only alternative given the enormous challenges we face.
Member states of this organization share the responsibility to avoid damaging the consensus that we have built together over the years, and to continue fostering solidarity, as an indispensable premise to develop actions on all the issues that are part of the organization’s mandate.
Cuba will continue working in favor of this unity and for the consolidation of our Association, and hope that this important meeting will contribute decisively to the effort.
It is time to build a universal anti-imperialist movement. The time has come for a universal unity of genuine defenders of the physical and spiritual integrity of peoples who love freedom and justice. – Venezuela is America. Venezuela is the World.
Governments Reiterate Support to Venezuela’s Constitutional President
Caracas, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) Governments of several countries presented today their position of recognition to president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, regarding actions of the right of that country and the United States to overthrow him and impose an illegitimate one.
In Mexico, president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, reiterated his administration is committed to the Constitution and its four basic principles: non-intervention, self-determination of peoples, pacific solution of controversies and respect for human rights.
The Secretary of Foreign Relations said ‘Mexico will not be part of ignoring the government of a country with which it has diplomatic relations’.
Also, the head of State of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressed over phone his support to Maduro, after the self-proclamation of Venezuelan opposer, Juan Guaido as ‘president in charge’.
‘Brother Maduro! Stand tall, we are here!’. Turkey will maintain its principle stand against all attempts of low blows, assured Ibrahim Kalin, presidential spokesperson.
El Salvador‘s president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, also through his Twitter account joined the international support to Nicolas Maduro and advocated for a peaceful solution to the situation the country is living.
Through a communiqué, his government expressed total support to Maduro, before the tense political situation facing this Latin American nation and said that the Republic of El Salvador absolutely disowned Juan Guaido and rejects his self-proclamation as president in charge of Venezuela.
Also, the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Syria, condemned this Thursday the ‘flagrant interference of the United States’ in the internal situation of Venezuela while he assured the actions of the United States constitute a violation of all norms and international laws’.
For his part, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, reiterated his unlimited support to president Maduro.
‘Our position has been and is of unequivocal support to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its legitimate government’, he said.
Disrespectful of international law and of its principles, what reigns is the law of the jungle, said Gonsalves in an act of solidarity before the embassy of Venezuela in the Caribbean country. The eve, the head of State of Bolivia, Evo Morales, through his Twitter account, assured that the United States is only interested in Venezuela’s oil.
‘#U.S, does not fool anybody. It is not worried about defending democracy in #Venezuela, only in sacking its oil. To achieve this, as it did in #Irak and #Libya, it provokes conflict, destabilizes and intervenes militarily. Attempt against Venezuela is to attempt against #LatinAmerica’, he emphasized.
Morales alerted that the United States withdraws from the Middle East, after planting war and destruction, to transfer its policy of intervention and violence to Latin America.
‘Speaking of democracy and freedom, but promotes a bloody coup on the Venezuelan people. Interventionism will fail’, remarked the indigenous leader, who makes the United States responsible for promoting a coup d’état and brotherly war among Venezuelans.
Also the administration of Nicaragua spoke through a communique, in favor of Venezuelan democracy and respect to sovereignty before the new attempt of coup d’Etat.
‘The Great Homeland does not yield, it stands proud with the Love of its Peoples. No one surrenders here! Viva Venezuela! Viva Chávez! Viva Nicolás! Forward with Faith and Hope!’, said the text.
The Cuban President, Miguel Diaz-Canel ratified the invariable solidarity with the Maduro government and condemned ‘the attempt of imposing through a coup d’Etat, a servile government to the USA in the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela’.
Governments of several countries as Uruguay, Antigua and Barbuda, advocate for a peaceful solution of the crisis in Venezuela and the non-interference in domestic affairs.
China opposes interference in Venezuelan affairs
China on Thursday said it opposes outside interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs, calling upon all parties in the country to seek a political solution through peaceful dialogue within the nation’s constitutional framework.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks after Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, announced his decision to break diplomatic ties with the United States following the Trump administration’s recognition of opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the South American country’s interim president.
China supports the efforts of the Venezuelan government to safeguard national sovereignty, independence and stability, the spokesperson said, calling for all parties in Venezuela to maintain calm.
The US and Venezuela are both important countries in the western hemisphere and enjoy close traditional relations, she said.
“We hope that Venezuela and the United States can respect and treat each other on an equal footing, and deal with their relations based on non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,” she said, adding that it is in line with the interests of both countries and their people, and will help safeguard peace and stability in the American region.
Hua said China opposes “external intervention in Venezuela”. China hopes the international community will jointly create favorable conditions to prevent this, she added.
Outside sanctions and intervention will complicate the situation and would not be helpful resolving the actual problems, she said.
It is time for the peoples of the region to wake up and expose the onslaught against Venezuela and Nicaragua
I wonder: What is the point of the OAS? Is it worth being a member? Why not build a common Latin American and Caribbean front and unmask it for what it is, along with its current Secretary General, Luis Almagro?
What is happening today against Venezuela and Nicaragua reminds me of the same OAS, conniving and servile to the dictates of the United States, and its attacks on Cuba in the year 1960, 12 months after the Revolution triumphed.
It was back then, at the VII Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in San Jose, Costa Rica, that the Organization urged member states to condemn the island, as part of U.S. government attempts to create a political and diplomatic context that isolated Cuba, and thus mask the planned military attacks prepared by the CIA, contained in the secret directive “A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime,” approved March 17, 1960.
How can we forget – given that Washington has recently set up the same scenario, this time accompanied by a fierce media campaign, against Latin American nations such as Venezuela and Nicaragua – the Cuban position at the Costa Rican OAS meeting of 1960, voiced by the “Chancellor of Dignity” Raúl Roa García. How can we forget the exclamations of an entire people: “With or without the OAS, we will win the fight!”
Referring to the OAS decision to isolate Cuba, Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro said that the meeting in Costa Rica was a lesson for the peoples of America, who will never forgive the betrayal of those who offered the rights of the Cuban nation to the empire on a silver platter.
Those who signed the document “will go down in history as the Judas Iscariot of the Americas!” Fidel said then.
There are plenty of examples to show that the OAS is nothing more than an imperialist instrument, acting in an interventionist way against the peoples of the region; just as there are to unmask a traitor like Luis Almagro, who has become Latin America’s most fanatical enemy, and the most submissive of the U.S. government’s lackeys.
The latest campaign by this discredited institution has been its interventionist efforts against two democratically elected governments of the region: those of Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The OAS has surpassed all expectations with regard to the Bolivarian nation, dictating disrespectful and crude resolutions, leading a media war to destabilize the country and create real chaos in the region.
Revealed for what he is, Luis Almagro recently tweeted: “We welcome the assumption of Guaidó as Acting President of Venezuela under Article 233 of the Constitution. He has our support, that of the international community and that of the Venezuelan people.”
This was the first reaction of the OAS and its secretary general to the statements of the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela (in a state of contempt), Juan Guaidó, that he would assume the presidency of the Bolivarian nation, after describing its legitimate President, Nicolás Maduro, as an “usurper.”
This is undoubtedly part of an escalating war against Venezuela, and a shameless means of interfering in its internal affairs. AGAINSTNICARAGUA
Regarding another sovereign state of the region, Nicaragua, the OAS invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which may lead to the suspension of Central American country from the organization, as reported by EFE.
Luis Almagro’s speech at the last meeting of the OAS, in addition to being long and meddlesome, exposed him as the liar he is. Just as it did 60 years ago against Cuba, the OAS is now fabricating an interventionist farce with statements like: “In a democracy, there can be no repression, nor violation of the human rights of opponents, students, politicians, campesinos, civilians and minors.”
The interesting thing about all this is that within the same OAS that lacks all credibility, are representatives of countries like Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and others, the daily settings of repression against students, workers, teachers, indigenous people, and where hundreds of social leaders are assassinated. All this is done in the name of democracy, just like that defended by the Judas, Luis Almagro.
Our peoples, in some cases confused by the current reactionary attack mounted from Washington and seconded by the OAS, will unmask the traitors who vote against Venezuela and Nicaragua today, as they did against Cuba. And I am sure they will do so in the future, as long as we act promptly and unite to discredit the OAS, Luis Almagro and the self-proclaimed Lima Group.
The intense focus on the “ills” of Nicaragua completely misses the deep issues of continued US intervention – imperial neocolonialism – into the sovereign lives of other countries, as here with Nicaragua. Whether you love or hate Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, their personalities and personal lives are not the issue, whatsoever.
For US Americans to be so closely scrutinizing clearly the most progressive government in Central America, ignoring the new US friendly but unpopular president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; the systematic violence in the streets of El Salvador which is directly related to the US funded death squad governments of the 1980s; the repressive and illegal President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez; and the repressive and corrupt government of Guatemala under President Jimmy Morales, is very interesting, and disturbing.
US-orchestrated coup attempt
The elaborate, well-planned conspiracy behind the April-July 2018 US-orchestrated coup attempt against Nicaragua, included most of the church hierarchy, many wealthy ex-Somocistas, many NGOs including the European-funded CENIDH, the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID, and a couple thousand young Nicaraguans trained over 4 years in the use of social media to blitzkrieg an agenda-loaded propaganda campaign when the right opportunity arose. It had been in the works since at least 2011 when Nicaraguan Felix Maradiaga teamed up with Colombian narco-trafficker Julio Cesar Paz Varela to develop a drug distribution network in Nicaragua, many of the proceeds of which were to be devoted to overthrow the Sandinista government.
The facts are that the few NGOs (of over 4,000 NGOs in the country) who have recently been curtailed by the Nicaraguan government, are in this position because of their support of various criminal activities designed to overthrow the government. Their accountability to the law was long overdue. The same goes for several TV stations (funded largely by NED), the internet news outlet Confidencial (funded by the NED), and La Prensa (funded by NED) which have openly supported opposition “terrorist” activities (yes, that is correct), something that would never be tolerated in the US or in virtually any country. Many of the hundreds participating in dozens of murders, arsons, destruction of buildings, tortures, and destruction of equipment (including over 50 ambulances), etc., committed by Opposition members, are fortunately now on trial or in jail. Over 200 fugitives remain in Costa Rica.
US has no moral authority with 80000 prisoners in solitary confinement
It is also ironical, that those people in the US who are so condemnatory of the Nicaraguan government, remain comfortably removed from the terror campaign, April-July, which was awful as I can attest as a resident, while I was forced to read and view, with rage and anger, the spew of scripted lies days after day on social media, and major media outlets, not based on any actual investigative reporting. Ironic, because the US is one of the most oligarchic, non-democratic countries on the planet, and its citizens possess no legal or moral authority to judge others. The US possesses the largest prison per capita population in the world, with 80,000 of prisoners in solitary confinement; it produces the most waste and pollution; it has military troops in 150 countries, and war planes and ships everywhere; it is the wholesale terrorist force on the Planet; it has on average 3 citizens a day murdered by US police; it has a president who has been accused by over 15 women of sexual misconduct/assault, a president who lies multiple times each day; it is a country where student debt keeps graduates in a kind of servitude for life to the banks; it has thousands of homeless living in tents and abandoned cars in virtually every city; it is a country without accessible health care for millions of its citizens; etc. It has a political election process unreliable due to systematic voter suppression, gerrymandered Congressional districts every ten years, privatization of the voter counting process, while the process itself is literally owned by the millions and billions of dollars of the rich and mighty, headed by the military industrial complex that makes obscene profits on intervening everywhere.
So, Nicaragua is an easy center of focus. If any one of us, or any other Central American government, was subjected to the intense efforts to destroy us, or any country, then one can predict the likely consequences. Neighboring Honduras has not yet recovered from the 2009 US sanctioned coup of President Zelaya. The fear and the repression there is horrendous, but it seems that with those in the US, including in the government, nobody gives a shit? The NICA Act should be the HICA Act for Honduras instead of Nicaragua. But Honduras is a safe Cry Uncle government, despite the fact that the people live in constant fear.
And the idea of name calling people as usual is not helpful in the discussion. Catherine Cusic, who has called Camilo Mejia a liar, has called me several times as an idiot – then, in the past, and now. Not too constructive for healthy debate.
Lies, lies, more lies
When will the issue of US imperialism be taken seriously, and a recognition that the US political economy is so destructive it is on a path to destroy the planet? And, yet, the most progressive country in Central America (where there really is NOT repression) – Nicaragua – with no friends in the Senate or House of Representatives, very little support in the solidarity community, and only supported by the ALBA countries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, is targeted for destruction. Lies, lies, more lies. Disgusting beyond disgusting. The truth as I have documented is virtually the exact opposite of what most social media and major media organs spew as if reading from a script.
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, is famous for saying that a lie told enough times becomes the truth. Goebbels principle has come once again to haunt Nicaragua. And the US govt. has spent millions of dollars through NED, US AID, NGOs, etc., at least since 2014, getting ready for the overthrow of a progressive government, primarily because it IS progressive compared to the other Central American governments. It is not a Cry Uncle government. And despite the lies, the Sandinista government remains popular with a majority of the people, similar to Assad in Syria despite intense western media propaganda against him.
Preposterous yet it is official US policy
So, Libya, The Ivory Coast, the Ukraine, Venezuela, Russia, and on and on, are touted as enemies, subject to the “exceptional” US to seek their overthrow to “correct” matters, if they haven’t already succeeded. It is interesting that Trump’s fanatical security adviser, John Bolton, has identified the Troika of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua (and soon Bolivia) to be targets as threats to the national security of the US. So preposterous yet it is official US policy.
Astonishing, absurd, and criminal. So continue, folks, focusing on the issues you have with Ortega-Murillo, while the US continues on an uncontrolled imperial savagery. Meanwhile, feel smug with your support of “humanitarian intervention” by the most dangerous country on Earth.
Luis Posada Carriles, left, lived in one of the dark corners of President George H.W. Bush’s political life. | Photos: AP / Graphic: PW
Former President George H.W. Bush recently died. Stories abound as to his civility and easy interaction with political associates and casual contacts alike. In Maine, where his family owns a summer home, the press highlighted such qualities and also his generosity. The assumption prevails that affability softened the hard edges of wielding power. Dark corners in Bush’s political life received less attention.
The criminal Luis Posada Carriles lived in one of them. President Bush’s dealings with Posada reflected amorality, want of ethical principles, and dedication to preserving a world of privilege. The contrast between a decent-guy image and easy tolerance of blatant criminality is striking.
It’s a blight recalling the high-minded framers of the U.S. Constitution who owned enslaved people. Bush resembled the “gentleman” Southern planter of pre-Civil War years whose hands were not often dirtied. An underling enforced the “pushing system” of industrial-scale cotton production, the extraction of work through the use of oppressively direct supervision of enslaved people (see this analysis of “Baptism by Blood Cotton.”) Similarly, Bush himself didn’t perform the dirty deeds against Cuba.
On-call thugs were central to both projects: the overseer with a whip and Luis Posada. On September 7, 1988, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin exposed the connection between Posada’s crimes and Bush’s permissiveness.
Bush was running for president that year. Harkin, speaking in the Senate, announced that “the American voter deserves answers from George Bush to some tough questions about his and his Vice Presidential office’s relationship with a known international terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles” (Congressional Record – Senate, 100th Congress, 2nd Session, Vol. 134 No. 131, S 13037).
He points out that Luis Posada Carriles and Félix Rodríguez were colleagues in a “White House operation” that in 1985-86 delivered weapons from El Salvador to Contra counter-revolutionaries in Nicaragua. He adds that Posada “had spent 10 years in a Venezuelan jail for blowing up a Cuban airliner, killing 73 people, in 1976.”
Harkin continues: “So I ask, Mr. President: Can we really believe that Don Gregg never asked his former CIA colleague Rodríguez about either the secret supply operations or Rodríguez’s partner, international terrorist Luis Posada?” Gregg was Bush’s national security advisor.
Photographs of some of the victims of the bombing of a Cubana airliner in 1976 are displayed outside the U.S. Immigration detention center during the trial for Luis Posada Carriles, Aug. 29, 2005, in El Paso, Texas. | Rudy Gutierrez / El Paso Times via AP
Observing that Rodríguez was Bush’s “good friend,” Harkin asks Bush—who was not present and who never responded—“did you ever ask him about his associates and whether he had in his employ Posada?” Then as regards Cuba: “Mr. Bush, when you were CIA Director in 1976, did you ever investigate the role of Posada and other Cubans in the 1976 airliner bombing?”
According to Harkin, Bush “took a personal interest in this and a string of related anti-Castro bombings that shook the hemisphere that year, 1976.” He identifies Posada as an operative of the CORU group of terrorists responsible for the bombings. And Posada “worked for the CIA on contract as late as 1975.” Actually Posada “worked virtually full-time for the CIA from the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 until 1967.” So, says Harkin, “the first step is to come clean about Luis Posada, the international terrorist.”
He concludes: “The Posada case demonstrates that you didn’t bother to use your offices and your International Terrorism Task Force to investigate the activities of a known international terrorist. Was it because, Mr. Vice President, of Posada’s ties with your ‘good friend’ Félix Rodríguez? Or was it because of Posada’s role in organizing the secret Contra supply operation run out of Ilopango airbase [in El Salvador]? Or was it because of Posada’s past ties with the CIA, which you headed in the mid-1970s?”
During his tenure as CIA director, Bush could have hobbled Posada the terrorist who had worked for or with the CIA. That didn’t happen. Posada had free rein to plot the airliner bombing, deliver weapons to the Contras, arrange to have hotels in Havana bombed in 1997, and try to kill former Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000.
Harkin’s last question lingers, although answers fall short. Fabián Escalante, former head of Cuban intelligence services, provided insight, however. He claimed that Posada joined other Cuban-American assassination experts banded together in the CIA’s “Operation 40,” based in Miami. Escalante cited sourcesindicating that a few members of that group, Posada included, were present at Dallas’s Dealey Plaza on the day that President John F. Kennedy was killed.
Escalante suggested that Posada’s grim deeds go unpunished, because “he has a life insurance policy, which is what he knows about the Kennedy plot.”
In the end, it’s clear that President George H.W. Bush in normal circumstances was accommodating and adept at social niceties. It’s clear also that when the stakes were high—bringing down the Cuban Revolution, for example, or institutional loyalty, or both—opportunism took precedence over ethics.
In any case, dirty war against Cuba was a project far larger than the actions of Bush or Posada alone. Attacks on a wide front have been constant and probably continue. They are bereft of an ethical North Pole.
According to journalist Arthur González, scientists have recently identified the presence in Cuba of a new serotype of hemorrhagic dengue. That potentially fatal infectious disease has been endemic in Cuba ever since the 1981 appearance of an earlier serotype. The outbreak then, widely attributed to biological warfare at the hands of the United States, sickened more than 344,000 people and killed 159.
González claims that U.S. operatives introduced the currently new microorganism. The purpose, he states, would be to disrupt tourism and force Cuba to spend money on controlling an epidemic rather than on solving current economic problems.
Tried in New York in 1984 for murders and terrorism, CIA agent Eduardo Arocena, a Cuban-American with terrorist associations, confessed to having introduced harmful biological agents in Cuba. Many think he had a role in promoting the 1981 epidemic. González catalogues diseases of pigs, dairy cattle, sugar cane, plantain, citrus fruits, and coffee plants for which he blames the United States.
Luis Posada Carriles died at the age of 90 on May 23, 2018 in Miami, where he had lived happily undisturbed for decades. Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive referred to him as “one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history” and the “godfather of Cuban exile violence.” But his enabler George H.W. Bush is widely and officially remembered as a genteel gentleman whom current politicians might well emulate.