U.S. Accuses Cuba of Blatant
By George Gedda
The United States is accusing Cuba of "blatant distortions" in claiming
that Washington intends to invade the island and evict people from their
homes as part of a post-Castro occupation plan.
Responding to an official Cuban statement on July 1, the State
Department registered its disagreement in a four-page note sent to the
Cuban diplomatic mission in Washington last week. A copy of the note was
obtained by The Associated Press.
The Cuban position had been set forth in a statement by National
Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon the day after new U.S. penalties
against Cuba took effect.
Alarcon's statement began by saying that "the empire (the United States)
plans to crush the Cuban nation and proclaims its intentions with
It said the United States "is intensifying the economic war, the
internal subversion, the anti-Cuba propaganda and the pressures on the
rest of the world designed to pave the way for a direct military
intervention that would destroy the Revolution, end our independence and
sovereignty and realize the old annexationist fantasy of seizing control
The State Department note said Secretary of State Colin Powell and
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld have said repeatedly that the
United States has no intention of invading Cuba.
It added that Cuban authorities have refused U.S. offers to directly
inform the Cuban people of American policy, including the goal of a
peaceful transition in Cuba.
"The mendacious threat of military action does not fool the Cuban people
and cannot obscure the regime's half-century of economic failure and
political repression," the note said.
President Bush's directives are partly designed to curb the flow of U.S.
dollars to Cuba. Visits by Cuban-Americans to the island can be made
only at three-year intervals instead of annually, with no humanitarian
The authorized per diem for a family visit was slashed to $50, compared
with the previous $164. Dollar transfers to Cubans on the island are
still permitted - the $1,200 ceiling remains - but recipients can only
be immediate family members. The range of humanitarian items that can be
shipped to Cuba was sharply reduced.
Bush's policy shifts had been recommended by a government commission
headed by Powell. The bulk of a commission report, issued in May,
focussed on post-Castro U.S. assistance activities and needs assessments
in the fields of agriculture, the economy, infrastructure health,
education and housing.
As Alarcon described it, "The Cuban society would be completely
subjugated to the United States, which would dominate all its activities
without exception." Homes in Cuba, he said, could be reclaimed by the
"annexationist mafia" that backed the pre-Castro military government.
The note insisted that the proposed transition programs "are not
intended to be a prescription for how Cuba organizes itself or what
policies it decides ultimately to pursue; those decisions remain with
the Cuban people, expressed through a free and sovereign Cuban
It added: "The United States does not intend to dictate terms; the Cuban
people have already had to suffer that for the past 45 years."
José F. Sánchez
La Nueva Cuba
July 14, 2004