News Release

Spotlight on Cuba

ANYA LANDAU, WAYNE SMITH
Landau is a research associate with the Center for International Policy (based in Washington, D.C.). Smith is a senior analyst with the group. They are authors of the recent report “CIP Challenges Bolton on Cuba Bio-Terror Charges.” Landau is going to Cuba on Wednesday.
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MARLENE ARZOLA
Outreach coordinator for the Cuban Committee for Democracy (based in Miami), Arzola said today: “We need engagement with Cuba, and to shift away from the politics of isolation towards more openness and dialogue. It’s hypocritical of the U.S. government to talk about democracy in Cuba and not other places where that isn’t as convenient.”
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JANE FRANKLIN
Author of Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History, Franklin said today: “The Jimmy Carter visit highlights the threat to our freedoms posed not by Fidel Castro but by the right-wing Cuban lobby and our own government. First, a former president of the United States has to request the [U.S.] government’s permission to travel to Cuba. Then two members of Congress — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart — demand (on March 22) that the White House deny this permission. What these forces mean by restoring ‘democracy’ to Cuba is really restoring plutocracy under U.S. domination. It’s no mere coincidence that Diaz-Balart’s father was head of the Cuban Senate under the Batista dictatorship
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LARRY BIRNS
Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Birns said today: “The Bush administration seems intent on ratcheting up its anti-Castro campaign by launching, just as former President Jimmy Carter was preparing to fly to Cuba, un-evidenced accusations against Cuba to promote an atmosphere of crisis where none existed before. Secretary of State Powell apparently has leased jurisdiction over Latin American affairs to ideologues within his department who appear to be preparing to announce a stepped-up anti-Havana policy on May 20. Perhaps the most dangerous recent development facing U.S.-Cuban relations arises from the unsubstantiated accusations and thinly-veiled threats made by John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Claiming that the Cuban bio-terrorism threat had been ‘underplayed’ by previous administrations, Bolton — whose far-right credentials were exhibited while serving as a senior Department of Justice official during the Reagan administration — tried to cast Cuba’s internationally-applauded biotechnology sector, which accounts for tens of millions of dollars in its vitally important export income and substantially contributes to the island’s high health standards, as a front for bio-terrorism. Otto Reich, the administration’s controversial assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, now leads a veritable cabal of highly directed and radicalized Cuban-American administration officials intent on fomenting greater hostility between the two nations by concocting an atmosphere of near-hysteria between the two countries.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378