In Cienfuegos, after devoting a few minutes to the subject of the Pan American Games, I spoke about two fundamental issues: the claim filed against the U.S. government for human damages and the fight against international drug trafficking. Today, here in Matanzas, I must address a matter of paramount importance: the illegal migration from Cuba promoted throughout forty years by the United States.

Before the triumph of the Revolution, a very limited number of visas were granted by the U.S. Embassy for Cuban nationals to migrate to that country. Migrating to the United States was an economic aspiration for hundreds of millions of people around the world, including millions of Europeans attracted by the material resources and living standard of a nation that not only emerged from World War II intact but also the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world following two major conflicts in less than 25 years, both devastating for the rest of the world economy.

The legal procedures required for Cubans to migrate to the United States between 1945 and 1959 were lengthy and extremely rigorous. Those who entered the country illegally, in violation of U.S. law, invariably met with deportation or imprisonment. Nobody dared.

With the Cold War in full swing and McCarthyism in command, anyone even slightly suspected of communist or progressive beliefs, for which it was enough to have ever supported the struggle for better wages, or the concept of agrarian reform, would never be granted a visa.

Everything changed with the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959. The first to leave the country illegally were the murderers, henchmen, torturers, embezzlers and thieves of the overthrown Batista dictatorship, who found a luxurious refuge in the United States. Since then, entry into the United States with no obstacles of any kind has become the norm for all those who illegally leave Cuba under any pretext. As soon as it became clear that a genuine revolution was taking place in Cuba and the first revolutionary laws were proclaimed, a mass exodus began of the upper class sectors.

The mansions they abandoned in Vedado, Miramar, Tarará and other upscale neighborhoods in Havana were occupied by the revolutionary state. Tens of thousands of young peasant women from the countryside and, after the 1961 literacy campaign, hundreds of thousands of scholarship students from humble backgrounds stayed in these houses turned into student residences during the first ten years of the Revolution. Thus, education became widely accessible to the children of all Cuban families before the Revolution was able to build thousands of new boarding and semi-boarding schools, special schools and day-care centers.

It must be said that not a single one of the upper class families’ homes was seized while they remained in neither the country nor the money they had deposited in the banks, which sometimes amounted to millions.

The Revolution never hindered legal travelling from the country to the United States or anywhere else in the world. Successive U.S. administrations, on the other hand, have always encouraged illegal migration. Visas ceased to be a necessary requirement to enter the United States, without exception, regardless even of criminal records or crimes committed in the past; not a single illegal migrant was ever sent back to the country. All they needed to do was declare opposition to the Revolution, socialism, communism or that they were victims of political persecution. The category of immigrant also ceased to be applied to Cuban nationals; from then on, all Cubans living in any other country in the world would be called exiles. Oddly enough, they are exiles or victims of political persecution who almost without exception can travel to Cuba as often as they like.

Facilities for legal migration from Cuba were so extensively used and even abused in the first years of the Revolution that the United States virtually abducted over 14,000 Cuban children. At the time, counterrevolutionary groups organized from the very beginning by U.S. intelligence agencies surreptitiously published and distributed false government bills spreading the criminal lie that the parents would be deprived of their children's custody. Panic was thus sown among many middle-class families who were frightened into sending their children away secretly, without any visa, on the same legal and regular airlines that flew directly to the United States. These children separated from their parents were received there and sent to orphanages or even detention centers for minors. It is imperative to recall these events.

One fatal day, in late 1962, the U.S. government abruptly suspended all regularly scheduled flights and legal departures from Cuba. Hundreds of thousands of people lost all links to their relatives living in the United States, including parents who had sent their children to the U.S. due to the previously described fears. The only remaining possibility was illegal migration, which was encouraged by all means possible as part of the dirty propaganda against the Revolution and socialism. This policy gave rise to successive migration crises.

In February of 1963, the Kennedy administration provided a powerful additional incentive for illegal migration. It announced that Cubans arriving in the United States directly from the island would be received as refugees, while those who sought to enter from third countries would be considered aliens and subjected to all U.S. immigration restrictions.

The Revolution's first response to this arbitrary and harmful policy was to open the port of Camarioca, Matanzas, on September 28, 1965, so that any Cuban family living in the United States could use their own or rented boats to pick up relatives in Cuba, who would be allowed to migrate with the prior permission of the Cuban authorities. Disregarding the U.S. authorities orders to the contrary, close to 1000 boats from the United States came to this small port.

Despite the fact that there were no diplomatic relations or interests sections at that time, the two countries held negotiations. A memorandum of agreement was signed on December 6 of that year establishing an airlift between Varadero and the United States, which operated from January 1966 through April 1973. Except for a number of skilled personnel considered indispensable while their replacements were trained and citizens who were or had recently been in active service in the army or armed institutions in charge of internal order, all those who expressed the desire to migrate were authorized to do so. In this orderly and safe manner, close to 260,000 people could fulfil their wishes to migrate to the United States, and tens of thousands of families were reunited.

Despite all this, the United States continued to strongly encourage illegal migration, which kept on taking place since those traveling by way of the airlift required a visa and not everyone received one. The U.S. authorities were selective and attempted to take away from Cuba as many doctors, nurses, professors, teachers and other university-educated professionals or middle-level technicians as it could. In the United States, these individuals were paid salaries according to their qualifications. But, of course, the salaries paid in the most developed and wealthiest country in the world were incomparably higher than those paid in a neocolony that had only recently gained its independence, and which was at the same time underdeveloped, poor and strongly blockaded by the powerful nation with which it had maintained major economic, financial and commercial ties since the turn of the century. Yet our country steadfastly resisted this brain drain, and through a colossal educational effort, took on the task of training new professionals and technicians, and multiplying many times over the number of those who had been taken away.

In addition to the legislation passed by Kennedy in 1963, which so greatly encouraged illegal migration, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives meeting in Congress approved the so-called Cuban Adjustment Act, signed by President Johnson on November 2, 1966 which established special and exclusive status for Cubans. This Act stipulated that "the status of any alien who is a native or citizen of Cuba and who has been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States subsequent to January 1, 1959 and has been physically present in the United States for at least two years, may be adjusted by the Attorney General, in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence."

In its zeal to destabilize and destroy the Cuban Revolution, this extremely vague and confusing law, with a few subsequent modifications, set forth the legal basis for the automatic right to permanent resident status a year after entering U.S. territory granted to all Cuban nationals leaving the country illegally the minute they set foot in the United States. Such right has never been extended to citizens of any other country in the world. Had the same measure been applied to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, today there would be many more Latin American and Caribbean citizens in the United States than people actually born there. Let us not even think about what would have happened had this rule been applied to the rest of the world.

Under such circumstances, after the airlift was suspended, it was inevitable that sooner or later another migration crisis would come up. This is what happened in 1980, when a situation similar to that in Camarioca was created but this time in the port of Mariel.

It was under President Ronald Reagan's administration, on December 14, 1984, that representatives of the United States and Cuba governments concluded the second migratory agreement after negotiations. According to the text of the communiqué issued, these negotiations ended with the adoption of "agreements for the normalization of immigration procedures between the two countries and to put an end to the abnormal situation which has existed since 1980." Its essential provisions were the following:

"The United States will resume issuance of preference immigrant visas to Cuban nationals residing in Cuba up to the number of 20,000 each year, in particular to close family relatives of United States citizens and of Cuban permanent residents in the United States.

"The United States side expressed its willingness to implement --with the cooperation of the Cuban authorities-- all necessary measures to ensure that Cuban nationals residing in Cuba wishing to migrate to the United States and who qualify under United States law to receive immigrant visas, may enter the United States, taking maximum advantage of the number of up to 20,000 immigrants per year."

Pay close attention to the next paragraph of the communiqué.

"For its part, the United States will continue granting immigrant visas to residents of Cuba who are parents, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of United States citizens. These immigrants will not be counted against the annual limit indicated above."

In other words, it was specified that the figure of 20,000 could be amply exceeded with the category of relatives of those who were already U.S. citizens.

"Cuba will accept the return of those Cuban nationals who came to the United States in 1980 via the port of Mariel and who have been declared ineligible to enter the United States legally. The number of such persons is 2,746 and their names appear on an approved list. [...] The returns will be effected at a rate of 100 each calendar month."

The agreement further included 3,000 visas each year for "those persons who, having been released after serving sentences for acts which Cuban penal legislation defines as ‘Offenses against the Security of the State’, wish to reside permanently in the United States."

The latter were included as the result of a demand made by Cuba, based on the consideration that these individuals had acted following instructions from the United States, which therefore had a moral obligation to grant them visas, since their counterrevolutionary activities at the service of a foreign power caused them to be shunned in our country and rendered difficult their incorporation to society.

The total number of Cuban migrants seemed sufficient. Although no time limit was established, over 300,000 people could have migrated in a legal and safe manner over the course of ten years, taking into account all three categories.

What happened with this agreement, which was undoubtedly positive and provided an unquestionably reasonable and fair way to deal with the problem?

With regard to the quota of up to 20,000, during 1985 --the first year that the agreement was enforced-- only 1,227 visas were granted for legal migration. During the years 1986 and 1987 there was not a single illegal departure. The agreement had been suspended as a consequence of Cuba's reaction to an unnecessary and obviously hostile measure adopted by the Reagan administration, namely, the creation of an official subversive radio station which with a deliberately hurtful and insulting intention they named after José Martí, the apostle of our independence and the most profound political thinker of our Americas, a prophet and visionary who was the first to denounce the United States' expansionist policy in this hemisphere at the expense of the Latin American peoples.

Following this suspension, exchanges and negotiations between representatives of the two countries were resumed. We did not want this provocation to result in the final suspension of an agreement that, if adequately implemented, could solve the migratory issue. It came into effect again in the last year of the Reagan administration.

In 1988, the quota of 20,000 visas for that year was not fulfilled either, only 3472 visas were granted, that is, 5.8 times less than the number agreed upon;

In 1989, 1631 (12.3 times less);

In 1990, the number dropped to 1098 (18.2 times less);

In 1991, it increased slightly to 1376 (14.6 times less);

In 1992, it dropped below 1000, with only 910 visas granted, 22 times less than the number agreed upon;

In 1993, the total was also under 1000, namely, 964, x times less.

And in 1994, by the end of July of that year, the number of visas granted totaled 544 in seven months, at the ridiculous rate of 77 per month.

The commitment to grant an average of 1667 visas a month had been reduced to this.

None of the last three U.S. administrations in office between 1984 and 1994 had honored the agreement. Notice that under the Clinton administration, which was also legally bound to comply with the agreement signed by the United States on December 14, 1984, the number of visas granted never exceeded 1000: they were 964 in 1993 and 544 in 1994.

Only one of the three categories agreed upon was over-fulfilled once the agreement came into effect again, namely, that pertaining to counterrevolutionaries sentenced to prison terms and their relatives. The quota for this category was fulfilled at 71.71 percent during the eight years in which the agreement was in operation, while the quota of 20,000 a year for Cuban nationals wanting to migrate to the United States was met only at 7.01 percent. As to the commitment to grant, above and beyond that 20,000, an additional number of "immigrant visas to residents of Cuba who are parents, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of United States citizens", without including these visas in the annual number of immigrants previously indicated, it can be deduced from the aforementioned figures that 0 percent were granted.

Of the total number of visas that should have been granted in accordance with the quota of up to 20,000 a year, which should have added up to 160,000 from the time the agreement was signed --that is, over the course of eight years, safe for the two years while the agreement was suspended-- only 11,222 were granted, i. e. 14.3 times less than stipulated.

According to our estimates --although we do not know the exact number of Cuban natives who have become and continue to become U.S. citizens throughout more than 25 years of legal and illegal migration to that country-- close to 200,000 people did not receive visas. If the two years of the suspension caused by the provocation of the subversive radio station were also included, the number of those who did not receive visas would climb to over 240,000 since the agreements were signed.

The United States failed spectacularly in fulfilling the agreements and it unscrupulously dodged its commitments while our country was humiliatingly deceived. Cuba, for its part, fulfilled to the letter its obligations under the agreement; it facilitated legal migration and did not fail to receive a single one of the individuals on the list of ineligibles who were sent back to Cuba.

At the same time, despite the solemn promise made by the U.S. administration as part of the agreement, when it expressed its willingness "to implement --with the cooperation of the Cuban authorities-- all necessary measures to ensure that Cuban nationals residing in Cuba wishing to emigrate to the United States and who qualify under United States law to receive immigrant visas, may enter the United States, taking maximum advantage of the number of up to 20,000 immigrants per year", the main incentive for illegal migration, that is, the Cuban Adjustment Act remained in full force.

Reagan, who had sufficient authority and ample support from Congress and who could have repealed this law after signing the commitment to adopt all necessary measures to ensure that entry into the United States took place through legal means did not do so; neither did the Bush administration. And the Clinton administration, which had a broad majority in Congress until January of 1995, was not even interested in the issue.

The fact is that as the agreement remained unfulfilled and the number of visas granted for legal travel to the United States decreased every year, the number of people who attempted to migrate to that country illegally also increased by the year:

2060 in 1990;

8593 in 1991;

9584 in 1992;

15,772 in 1993;

and 15,067 in just the first half of 1994 for a total of 51,076 in four and a half years.

Those who actually arrived in the United States numbered as follows:

467 in 1990;

1997 in 1991;

2511 in 1992;

4208 in 1993;

and 4092 in the first half of 1994, for a total of 13,275.

During that period, although the U.S. government failed to cooperate, the Cuban authorities managed to prevent the illegal migration of three out of every four people who tried it, which proves our serious commitment to normalize the flow of immigrants. Despite Cuba's unilateral efforts, the number of Cuban immigrants illegally arriving in the United States in the first half of 1994 was 7.5 times higher than the 544 visas granted from the 20,000 quota that the United States should have met to allow for legal travel according to said agreement.

Far from discouraging illegal migration in compliance with the letter of this agreement, shortly after taking power the Clinton administration intensified the economic blockade against our country. At a time, the collapse of the socialist block and the disintegration of the USSR had resulted in Cuba's loss of its major markets and most important sources of supplies of fuel, raw materials and equipment, as well as a significant part of its supplies of grain and other essential food commodities.

Months before his inauguration, Clinton had already supported the bill introduced by Democratic Congressman Torricelli passed by the U.S. Congress in 1992 and signed by President Bush on October 23 of that year. Some time later, already in office, Clinton would sign on March 12, 1996 the brutal Helms-Burton Bill. That he did in the presence of the most notorious leaders of the Cuban-American National Foundation and its closest allies in Congress.

The huge accumulated potential of over 240,000 people who waited throughout ten years for the visas promised in the agreements signed on December 14, 1984, together with the Cuban Adjustment Act and a tightened blockade, in addition to over a thousand hours a week of incessant subversive propaganda and political and psychological warfare waged from the United States, encouraging social unrest, crime and illegal migration, inevitably had to cause a serious migration crisis, as it eventually did.

The total impunity and incentives granted in the United States to all those who illegally left Cuba were contributing to all sorts of acts of violence, including the use of weapons and even the murder of humble crew members or security guards during the hijacking of boats used to illegally migrate to the United States.

From the very first moment, the Cuban authorities were instructed not to attempt to intercept stolen or hijacked boats leaving the docks or coasts with people on board. These instructions were required to avoid accidents for which our country would always be held responsible.

Earlier, precise instructions had been given not to use weapons under any circumstances to prevent such departures. Our country had no obligation to protect the U.S. coasts. Cuba, which had always authorized legal migration, finally ceased assuming sole responsibility for all efforts to combat the illegal migration increasingly encouraged from the country where these illegal migrants were heading. Our authorities limited themselves to trying to dissuade those attempting to leave on inadequate means and to watch from their patrol boats those attempting to leave one way or another helping when necessary as they approached the numerous U.S. Coast Guard vessels awaiting near the 12-mile limit of our territorial waters. Under these circumstances, only one thing could happen. This is how the third migration crisis broke out.

Communications were again resumed between the two governments through different channels. At no time did Cuba back away from the search for a genuine solution. As a result of intense negotiations in New York between delegations from the United States and Cuba, and with the cooperation of common friends, the two sides eventually agreed on certain formulas that, although not linked to the end of the economic warfare against our country --a major factor spurring illegal migration-- they did included again, and seemingly more seriously this time, measures such as the granting of no less than 20,000 visas annually for legal and safe migration to the United States. Also, the commitment for the U.S. Coast Guard to intercept beyond Cuba's territorial waters those attempting to illegally migrate, and to return them to Cuba. Our commitment was that those returned would be sent back to their place of residence with the guarantee that they would not be sanctioned in any way for attempting to leave the country illegally. This has been fulfilled in the case of everyone, without exception.

Likewise, we pledged to halt a massive migration avoiding the use of force and relying entirely on persuasive methods. The adoption of this procedure was a Cuban proposal.

Once again, we honored our commitment with mathematical accuracy. In just a few days we stopped the flow without ever resorting to the use of force with the people’s cooperation and the proper use of the mass media to explain the content and purpose of the agreement. We set a deadline for the owners of vessels located on the coasts with migration intent to remove them; they cooperated. Means of transportation that could be used for illegal migration were intercepted on land. All this was easily achieved. The combination of measures adopted at that moment by the two sides had an almost complete paralyzing effect on the illegal exits.

Aside from the fact that the U.S. authorities always select a percentage of illegal migrants for reasons that are neither explained nor clearly justifiable and that we suspect to be politically motivated to appease the die-hard enemies of the agreements, we can state that the migratory agreements have been basically enforced by both sides, rigorously and seriously:

· Close to 80 percent of illegal emigrants intercepted at sea have been returned to Cuba.

· No fewer than 20,000 visas have been granted to Cuban nationals every year since the agreements came into effect.

According to figures supplied by the [Cuban] Immigration and Aliens Department of the Ministry of the Interior between October 1, 1994 and September 30, 1995 its offices received 26,634 citizens with visas granted by the U.S. Interests Section.

In the same date from 1995 to 1996, the figure was 15,547;

from 1996 to 1997, 13,201;

from 1997 to 1998, 17,263;

and between October 1998 and July 2, 1999 still two months short of the period indicated above, a total of 21,429 visas were granted.

As you can see, the first year that the agreement was enforced, in addition to the 20,000 visas agreed upon, another 6,589 were granted to people from the large group who had applied on the terms of the unfulfilled previous migratory agreement. If an average of only 15,000 visas were granted for the years 1995-1996, 1996-1997 and 1997-1998, it is because the U.S. requested and we agreed, as an act of good will, to factor in over the course of three years the visas granted to 15,000 illegal migrants temporarily sheltered at the Guantánamo Naval Base, for whom the U.S. had found no other solution. In spite of this, 94,074 visas were granted, thus almost 100,000 people have been able to legally migrate to the United States by safe means, without the loss of a single life.

The implementation of the agreements is subject to a systematic analysis and control.

For more than forty years throughout the history of the Revolution, again the main obstacles in the fight against illegal migration are the absolute tolerance and the exceptional privileges accorded to Cuban citizens arriving illegally in the United States; precisely those that the U.S. authorities do not consider eligible for visas.

Even conceding that a number of them grew impatient and that others simply let themselves be carried away by a taste for adventure and illusions about the wonders of a consumer society that they see in movies, television series and advertisements in magazines and newspapers, many of those who illegally migrate are ungovernable individuals, people who do not want to work or marginal elements with antisocial behavior, potential offenders or criminals with police records, to whom the U.S. Interests Section would never grant a visa.

Every time an illegal migrant reaches the United States, he or she raises the desire or need to reunite family members and friends there, thus increasing and further promoting illegal migration.

The infamous Cuban Adjustment Act is at the root of this phenomenon, which in no way benefits U.S. society. The United States will never be able to reestablish discipline on its own coasts while this law stands. Past and present senior authorities in the United States bear the full responsibility for those who throughout the last three decades have perished and those who still run the risk of perishing in these ventures, as the result of an immoral and anachronistic policy fully devoid of ethics and a sense of humanity.

The most intransigent enemies of the latest migratory agreements, many of them entrenched in important U.S. political institutions and closely linked to the Mafia of the so-called Cuban-American National Foundation, avail themselves of these circumstances to tirelessly conspire for their destruction.

Encouragement of and incitement to illegal migration have increased.

Between January and July of the current year, the subversive José Martí radio station has broadcast information offering blatant or veiled incitement to illegal migration from the country. We have chosen just a few examples.

In a January 20, 1999 broadcast, it was announced:

"The growing tide of Cuban migrants arriving in Florida presumably as a result of illegal trafficking has led U.S. officials to think that perhaps the island's government has relaxed the control of its borders."

On March 9: "Cubans continue to arrive on the coasts of Florida in groups who admit having paid for this illegal smuggling."

On April 1, 1999: "The exodus grows larger every day. They seek to escape from the economic problems they face in the country, which continue to worsen. The need to achieve what they want in material terms leads Cubans to go abroad any way they can."

On April 21, 1999: "So far this year, some 600 Cubans have been detained by U.S. authorities. According to U.S. laws, Cubans who manage to reach land have the possibility to remain in the United States and legalize their migratory status. The majority of those who are intercepted on the high seas are repatriated."

Nobody knows how or why, but the fact is that in late April, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service adopted an unfortunate, unnecessary and untimely decision widely publicized by radio Martí and other stations. This decision and the broad publicity it received constitute a genuine act of sabotage against the migratory agreements.

Likewise, the other subversive radio stations in Miami highly emphasized the news. We will limit ourselves to reporting only what was broadcast by the official subversive radio station in the United States on April 29: "The 34 undocumented migrants who arrived in Florida during the last 24 hours according to the U.S. Border Patrol are among those who will benefit from a new relaxation of the Cuban Adjustment Act, which now grants the immediate right to work.

"The Immigration Service announced in Washington that it has not changed its migration policy towards Cubans who arrive illegally in the United States, but rather has clarified the law to allow them to achieve permanent residence and work permits. The Cubans, together with their wives and children, who have arrived in places not designated as ports of entry into the United States, are eligible through parole, and can subsequently regularize their situation in the United States. An Immigration Service spokesperson said that this clarification immediately enforced has greatly helped Cubans who arrive through beaches, airports or seaports. The Immigration Service instructions also indicate that Cubans living in United States without a legal permit should address an Immigration Service official to receive parole, and one year later they will also obtain permanent residence."

Such reports were broadcast repeatedly by this and other similar radio stations. Curiously enough, coinciding with these reports rumors began to be spread from the United States purporting that the Cuban government would imminently authorize illegal migration from the country.

Back in January, as I already said, the official subversive radio station announced that "the island's government has relaxed control over its borders."

On May 25, it reported: "Different reactions have been provoked by a press report stating that there could be another mass exodus of illegal Cubans towards Florida. According to U.S. Coast Guard figures, the flow of rafters has increased in recent years. Actually, 406 rafters were intercepted in 1997; 1,047, in 1998; and until the month of May this year the figure is 488."

Two days later, on May 27, the radio station reported: " A series of news reports in the Puerto Rican press are reflecting concern over the Cuban government's opening of its maritime borders, which will provoke an avalanche of migrants to the United States. This much has been known to be rumored in Havana and other provinces."

You can see that in the same news report where they speak of concern in Puerto Rico, this official subversive radio station states categorically, as if it were a real and irrefutable fact, that such concern is due to "the Cuban government's opening of its maritime borders, which will provoke an avalanche of migrants."

On June 1, they broadcast: "It is believed that alien smugglers are charging between 2,000 and 8,000 dollars per person. Statistics indicate that in the last eight months, 1,177 people arrived in U.S. territory this way, as compared to 615 during the entire 1997-1998 fiscal year."

It was soon possible to observe the highly negative effects of the repugnant trafficking of migrants carried out from Florida combined with the stupid decision adopted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the gross campaigns waged by the official subversive radio station and others of its kind to promote illegal migration, and the rumors and totally unfounded news reports on the Cuban government's alleged opening of its maritime borders. The same official radio station openly confessed that "the immense majority of those who arrive illegally on the Florida coasts are transported by smugglers operating out of the United States."

Was it chance or a bizarre coincidence of unrelated factors? Is it perhaps a genuine plot hatched by the Cuban-American National Foundation terrorist Mafia and the extreme right-wing sectors in the U.S. Congress acting in complicity with the heads of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and those who actually direct and draw up the guidelines for the official subversive radio station?

The events that took place in Florida in late June and early July provide an undeniable evidence of the shameful conspiracy against the 1994 and 1995 migratory agreements.

A genuine trap was set for the U.S. Coast Guard mandated by the U.S. government to intercept at sea those attempting to illegally enter that country. It had been an easy job to simply assist those traveling on raft, rowboat or slow and flimsy vessels during the crisis that preceded the agreements. This time, however, they would have to contend with speedboats manned by mercenaries returning to Florida after picking up their human cargo from isolated spots along the Cuban coasts. In Florida, they would also have to deal with the hostility of the Cuban-American Mafia determined to destroy the migratory agreements.

In late June, that Mafia dealt an overwhelming blow to the U.S. Coast Guard. Knowing the exact time that a rowboat would reach a certain spot in Miami Beach, they awaited with a large crowd of media. Those on the boat jumped into the water 500 meters before reaching the shore. The Coast Guard tried to prevent them from reaching land, where they would automatically become legal aliens and receive residence in accordance with an absurd and anachronistic law in force for more than 33 years; one which nobody in this world can understand or explain.

The show came off perfectly. News agencies sent out dozens of dispatches and the event was broadcast around the world by the media.

On June 29, the EFE news agency stated the following in one dispatch: "Six Cuban rafters played the starring role today in a dramatic odyssey, with live TV coverage, as they attempted to reach Miami Beach swimming, in spite of Coast Guard efforts to stop them. A Cuban migrant managed to swim ashore in Miami Beach, after evading the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats that tried to intercept him and prevent him from setting foot on land.

"When he reached the beach between Collins Avenue and 85th Street, he raised his hands while applauded by the expecting crowd. Police arrested him immediately.

"Another four rafters from this same group aboard a small wooden boat with no motor were arrested by U.S. authorities after a dramatic chase, broadcast live by the Hispanic channels in Miami, Telemundo and Univisión, which interrupted their regular programming to report this event.

"[...] The six Cubans presumably set out from Caibarién, on the northeastern coast of Cuba. The group is made of young men dressed only in shorts. They jumped into the water when surrounded by Coast Guard boats and helicopters.

"The Coast Guards sprayed them with fire hoses from their cutters to prevent them from swimming to shore and the TV images even showed how some officials tried to forcibly stop the Cubans who were in the water."

Under the headline "Exiles React Angrily", El Nuevo Herald published the following on June 30, 1999: "The indignation, rage and disappointment of the Cuban exile community resounded in southern Florida on Tuesday, after Coast Guard Service boats intercepted a group of Cuban refugees trying to reach shore.

"[...] Television images of six Cubans swimming to the beach while harassed by members of the federal agency originated, a few minutes after 3:00 p.m., a spontaneous protest demonstration by hundreds of exiles at the beach where two of the refugees arrived, and in front of the Coast Guard station in Miami Beach.

"[...] Radio stations were jammed with phone calls while hundreds of demonstrators marching towards the Coast Guard station blocked the streets, preventing cars from going either way on the MacArthur Causeway.

"[...] Miami Beach police reported that demonstrators blocking the street prevented a woman from taking her sick child to the hospital.

"[...] Outside the Coast Guard station, the protests intensified. The number of irate demonstrators carrying banners and placards increased constantly. At the closing of this edition they were still there.

"[...] The wave of protests even reached the U.S. Congress.

"Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida considered this action ‘an act of aggression against Cubans who have expressed their desire to live in freedom and democracy.’

"New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Torricelli requested humanitarian visas from the State Department for the four Cubans who were unable to reach the shore and are now on board a Coast Guard cutter.

"Republican Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart wrote to President Bill Clinton stating his indignation over the measures taken by the Coast Guard on Tuesday.

"A White House spokesman reported on Tuesday that Clinton had been informed of the events on the Florida coasts.

"‘This appears to be the result of an alien smuggling operation, in which the Cubans paid thousands of dollars to be dropped near the shore,’ stated a White House spokesperson who preferred to remain anonymous."

Attacks against the migratory agreements began immediately. On June 30, El Nuevo Herald stated in an editorial: "Images of the Coast Guard harassing and arresting six Cuban refugees trying to reach Florida shores swimming say more than hundreds of words about the migration policy between Cuba and the United States."

A Reuters' cable dated July 1 in Miami reported that "Representative Lincoln Díaz-Balart urged the U.S. government to suspend an immigration agreement under which all Cuban migrants intercepted at sea are generally returned to Cuba and those who set foot on land are allowed to stay in the country and apply for political asylum.

"Díaz-Balart also urged Washington to implement a ‘serious and vigorous program’ to aid Cubans struggling to overthrow President Fidel Castro's government.

"‘The Cuban crisis and the tragic oppression of the Cuban people can no longer be treated solely as a migration issue. It has to be faced in all its magnitude’, said the congressman."

Under the headline "Doubts on How the Rafters Reached Florida", the NOTIMEX news agency reported on July 1: "The United States released six Cuban rafters in response to the protests of exiles, amidst differing versions of how they had actually reached U.S. shores, not by crossing the sea to Miami Beach in a rowboat.

"Investigators said they are convinced that the six Cubans had been dropped near the Florida coasts, after contradictory information was given during interviews.

"‘After six days in an open boat as they said, they would have been dehydrated and exhausted, and unlikely to have the energy to swim ashore after jumping in the ocean,’ indicated Dan Geoghegan, spokesman of the Border Patrol in Miami.

"‘Their lips would have been completely dry, and that was not the case,’ declared Jim Orgeck, a Border Patrol agent who interviewed the aliens."

On July 1, 1999, under the headline "Cubans Arrested in Florida Introduced by Smugglers," CNN in Miami reported:

"The U.S. Border Patrol announced Wednesday that it believes the six Cubans arrested while trying to land in South Florida were part of an alien smuggling operation.

"The chief of the Patrol's Miami office, Keith Roberts, said that some of the statements of the Cubans arrested on Tuesday were inconsistent. Most outstanding was the fact that they did not show many signs of having been exposed to the sun, nor were they dehydrated, as most Cuban rafters are, he said.

"Their hands were not damaged as they normally would be after rowing from Cuba to Florida. Authorities maintain that even though the arrival of the Cubans on a small boat caused a deep impression on local TV, illegal alien smugglers had orchestrated the operation.

"[...] The State Department granted asylum to all six," ended CNN.

It is highly unlikely that a row boat that set out from Caibarién, in the central part of the island, could reach the United States through Miami Beach, 400 kilometers away, at a spot between a city street and an avenue, with the occupants arriving fresh as daisies.

On that same day, July 1, El Nuevo Herald published that "Hialeah Mayor Raúl Martínez participated in a brawl during the early morning hours of Wednesday on the Palmetto 826 Highway, which ended with head injuries to the chief of police and seven persons arrested.

"The incidents broadcast on local television show the mayor running down the expressway in shirt-sleeves and turning around to exchange punches with a smaller, thinner man, while several policemen and other individuals tried to separate the two.

"It all happened around 2:00 a.m., when a civic protest in support of the Cuban rafters harassed by the Coast Guard on Tuesday afternoon turned into a field battle.

"According to the mayor, he was hit first. ‘I will not allow anybody to punch me and go on as if nothing had happened; I will not turn the other cheek,’ said Martínez commenting on the fight.

"‘The right of the people in Hialeah to protest will always be respected, but I will not allow hoodlums to take hold of our streets,’ added Martínez explaining what had happened.

"Minutes after this incident, Rolando Bolaños, chief of police in the municipality, was hit on the head with a rock. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he got six stitches.

"Bolaños told El Nuevo Herald that the incidents were headed up by ‘groups of gangsters.’"

On July 2, a dispatch from EFE reported that "forty Cuban exile organizations demanded the repeal of the migratory agreements signed by Washington and Havana, arguing that the treatment received by the six Cuban rafters who swam 500 meters to reach Miami Beach is a consequence of such agreements.

"These organizations, most with headquarters in Miami, stated in a communiqué that ‘these events are a direct consequence of the 1995 migratory agreement.’

"The organizations also demand the immediate revision of ‘the policy of rapprochement towards Cuba, so that Fidel Castro and his regime’s grip on power are not further prolonged;’ they also urged a stronger support for internal opposition in Cuba."

An AFP dispatch on July 3 stated: "Hundreds of Cuban Americans demonstrated this Saturday to demand the repeal of the migratory agreement between Washington and Havana.

"Miami Mayor Joe Carollo expressed his solidarity with the demonstrators in the Little Havana district of Miami.

"With the coming presidential elections in 2000, none of the major U.S. political parties wants to offend the Cuban Americans, since victory in the Florida State and, theoretically, the White House itself could depend on their vote."

On that same day, July 3, El Nuevo Herald published, among other things, that the "policy traditionally adopted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service is to repatriate Cubans who are ‘still wet,’ who have not set foot on land. According to Kelly Spellman, a Miami spokesperson for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the local office ‘had nothing to do’ with the decision to let these Cubans stay in the U.S. ‘This is something that came from higher up, directly from Washington.’"

On July 6, an EFE dispatch said: "The Washington authorities are analyzing a Cuban proposal to return to the United States 26 U.S. citizens held in the Caribbean island suspected of alien smuggling, the State Department announced today.

"‘No formal response has been given to the Cuban government, except to ensure our commitment to fight against alien smuggling,’ said James Foley, assistant spokesman with the State Department.

"[...] More than 1,200 Cuban immigrants arrived on the coasts of Florida during the first half of this year, most or them brought by groups of smugglers who operate out of this state and charge up to 10,000 dollars for the trip, according to the Border Patrol."

On July 6, the EFE news agency reported from Miami that "the arrest in Cuba of two alien smugglers who operate out of Miami confirms local authorities' suspicions of a flourishing illegal trafficking of Cubans.

"‘Eighty percent of the Cubans who have arrived on Florida's coasts have been brought by smugglers,’ said Daniel Geoghegan, a Border Patrol spokesperson."

The following day, NOTIMEX reported from Washington: "The U.S. government admitted today that the smuggling of undocumented Cubans is increasing. However, it denied that this situation could be considered a migration crisis from Cuba towards the U.S.

"The Clinton administration said it is aware of the increase in the number of U.S. organizations involved in the smuggling of undocumented Cubans.

"According to the State Department, there has been an increase in the number of undocumented Cubans who have entered or tried to enter the U.S. This shows that there are more organizations involved in the trafficking of immigrants from the Caribbean Island.

"‘There are no indications that Cuba has relaxed its migration policy to promote undocumented migration, and we expect the Cuban government to continue fulfilling the migration agreements,’ said the State Department spokesman.

"The United States is committed to promoting legal and safe migration and to fulfilling the mutual agreement signed with Cuba on September 9, 1994, and ratified on May 2, 1995, stressed the diplomatic spokesman."

But there was more trouble in store for the Coast Guard. Ten days after this incident, a Coast Guard vessel tried to intercept another boat trying to reach the coast 50 kilometers north of Miami. The boat did not obey orders. The Coast Guard had to maneuver and its cutter hit on one side the other boat with 12 people on board; the boat sank and one woman drowned.

According to an AP dispatch, the boat involved in the July 10 incident was trying to break from the U.S. patrol boat, 16 kilometers from Hillsborough Cove and 57 kilometers north of Miami. After the collision, the boat sank in six minutes.

"The incident has taken place at a time when relations are tense between the Miami Cuban exiles and the Coast Guard."

CNN reported that "the body of a Cuban woman that had disappeared last night along the coast of Florida was recovered today. The boat she was on collided with a Coast Guard cutter and sank."

CNN added that the Coast Guard was "under scrutiny since the incident of June 29."

Reuters reported from Miami on July 10 that "the Cuban migrants involved in the collision with the U.S. Coast Guard had threatened the Coast Guard officers with a machete before the accident that caused the sinking of their boat and the death of a woman, said authorities here on Saturday.

"This death outraged the large Cuban community in Miami already furious over last month incident and in the midst of a U.S. Coast Guard campaign to prevent illegal immigration of Cubans to the United States."

On July 12, an EFE dispatch stated that "the collision between a boat with 12 Cuban rafters on board and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, which resulted in one casualty, has generated new demands from the exiles for the United States to review the migratory agreements with Cuba.

"The influential Cuban-American National Foundation condemned again today the migratory agreements reached by Washington and Havana in 1994 and 1995, which ‘unjustly force’ Cubans to be repatriated when intercepted at sea, even if they are just a few meters from shore.

"We are asking the United States to cancel these migratory agreements that should never have existed, declared to EFE Mariela Ferretti, spokesperson for the anti-Castro organization."

Also on July 12, another EFE dispatch noted that "a group of 14 undocumented Cuban migrants are trying to evade the U.S. Coast Guard off the coasts of Miami, threatening to set themselves on fire if they are not allowed to reach the shore, Radio Caracol reported this Monday.

"The Coast Guard confirmed that a boat with 10 to 14 passengers on board refused to change its course approximately 40 kilometers east of Key Biscayne, an island facing central Miami.

"Under the bilateral agreement in force since 1995, the U.S. Coast Guard is compelled to pick up the undocumented Cubans at sea and repatriate them. But unlike Haitians or other migrants, Cubans who reach the U.S. coasts can normalize their migration status and have the immediate right to a work permit.

"It is an apparent political contradiction that, according to some analysts, promotes illegal migration from Cuba.

"Republican Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart has demanded the end of the migration treaty and the Cuban-American National Foundation is also lobbying other congressmen on this."

How will the U.S. be able to intercept speedboats? How will they be able to prevent an accident even in the case of normal boats that refuse to obey orders? How can they implement their contradictory laws and prevent their country from becoming ungovernable? They will have no other option than to abolish the preposterous law that undermines the basis of authority of their own Coast Guard. These are at the mercy of permanent blackmail and of whatever manipulations the Foundation might devise. Thanks to the organizational capability of its people, Cuba can reduce illegal exits from the country to a minimum. The task, however, is made much more difficult by the powerful incentive posed by the privileges granted to the potential violators of their laws.

In our country, there are several thousands of private sport or leisure boats, although not as many as in the United States. It would be impossible to absolutely guarantee that not a single one of them could leave from any point along the 5746 kilometers of Cuban coastline, and as matters stand the United States will not be able to intercept any of them.

The authorities themselves have stated publicly that the alien smugglers have launched a campaign of disobedience.

Something even worse: it is extremely difficult for the Coast Guard to face the most serious problem, namely, the increasing number of alien smugglers who can collect their human cargo at any point along the coast, prearranged through any of the almost 100,000 Cuban visitors who travel from the United States to Cuba every year.

Shall we have to ban these visits? Shall we have to cut communications and other forms of coordination to further increase cooperation with a government that, by keeping a legal provision impossible to justify and sustain, is not capable of enforcing its own laws and relieving itself from the blackmail of a gang of insolent traitors who are not even the absolute majority of the Cuban residents in the United States? Why not think of the millions of retired U.S. citizens who seek peace and quiet in Florida, or the millions of Latin American and Caribbean residents who do not enjoy the same privileges that have always been granted to those leaving Cuba illegally without visas or any other document?

Why not think that like most American people a large majority of Cuban residents oppose the genocidal and immoral blockade against their native country and their own relatives?

The U.S. government should know that an increasing number of those residents want communications, normal travel between the United States and Cuba and legal and safe migration, without the loss of a single life.

Who are the true violators of human rights? Who are endangering many lives with such illegal migration? Who are trying to force millions of Cubans to surrender through hunger, millions of Cubans who will never give in or sell out? How long can the United States maintain this absurdity? If only votes and votes alone is what the U.S. leaders are interested in, it is time for them to understand that this policy will end up costing them many votes.

On July 13, an EFE dispatch reported that "three Cuban-American members of Congress, two Republicans and one Democrat, accused the governments of Washington and Havana of promoting the illegal departure of Cubans towards the United States to help Castro's economy.

"Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Díaz-Balart, both Florida Republicans, and Robert Menéndez, a New Jersey Democrat, expressed their disappointment with ‘President Bill Clinton's administration in view of all the decisions they adopt to the benefit of the Cuban government.’

"The House members spoke to the press after a meeting with representatives of the State Department, the Department of Justice and the Coast Guard on the latest incidents involving Cuban rafters in Florida waters."

On July 13, the AFP news agency stated that "Jorge Mas Santos, a top leader of the Cuban-American National Foundation, will ask Bill Clinton during his visit to Miami that the United States stops repatriating undocumented Cubans picked up at sea.

"In an interview with this agency, Mas Santos, deputy chairman of the CANF board of directors, affirmed that the anti-Castro group wants repatriations to cease and undocumented Cubans be taken to the Guantánamo naval base ‘until the Cuban situation and the Fidel Castro issue are solved’.

"Furthermore, the Cuban-American National Foundation promotes equal rights to migration and political asylum for those who reach the Florida waters and those who reach American soil.

"According to Fernando Rojas, Cuban-American National Foundation spokesman, if a massive flow of Cuban immigrants similar to that of 1994, when around 30,000 people migrated in precarious vessels, should take place again the Foundation would favor a U.S. naval blockade of Cuba to prevent tragedies at sea, even if the immigrants are, from their viewpoint, political refugees.

"During the afternoon, Clinton will be raising funds for the Democratic Party at a lavish dinner for some 60 people in the home of Cuban-American sugar tycoon Alfonso Fanjul.

"Mas Santos, who will attend the dinner, said Fanjul invited him precisely because he wants to address the migration issue with the President.

"‘My message to President Clinton tonight will be that he has to be ready to react forcefully, and to tell the Castro regime that it is not going to determine the United States' migration policy,’ he said.

"‘I will also tell him that until the person causing this problem, that is, Fidel Castro, is eliminated, this problem will not be solved. I believe our global policy has to be that of ousting Castro from power,’" Mas Santos added.

It is impossible for the Mafia to hide its repugnant and evil intentions. What they want, and everything they propose and do is aimed precisely at unleashing a migratory crisis.

The lavish dinner did in fact take place on July 13 at sugar tycoon Alfonso Fanjul's mansion. One of the participants was Jorge Mas Canosa's son who acceded to the throne a few weeks ago as appointed chairman of the infamous Foundation. He paid 25,000 dollars a plate, like the other 59 participants in this dinner, and around 1.5 million dollars were raised for Al Gore's presidential campaign.

The Fanjuls are two Cuban-American brothers from a wealthy family of noble ancestry, owners of large estates, sugar mills and sugar businesses in several countries. Their present fortune exceeds a billion dollars. One brother raises funds for the Democratic Party and the other for the Republican Party. Both are closely linked to the Foundation ringleaders and had significant trade and political links with its previous chairman. They dream of recovering their enormous properties in Cuba.

On July 13, El Nuevo Herald published an article stating: "To clarify doubts in the minds of hundreds of refugees all over the country, the Immigration and Nationalization Service ratified on Monday that all Cubans who reach U.S. territory illegally shall be eligible for the Cuban Adjustment Act.

"‘Our policy is clear and consistent in this regard,’ said Dan Kane, a spokesperson for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington.

"‘All Cubans who reach American soil will a the right to the Cuban Adjustment Act, after being processed by a district immigration center.’"

That same day, El Nuevo Herald reported: "Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, believes that the increase in illegal arrivals of undocumented Cubans is a possible indication of a mass exodus, and has ordered a general alert in all of the county's institutions.

"‘We are on the highest alert level in view of the possibility of a mass exodus of refugees,’ said Penelas.

Under the headline "Cuban Exiles Attempt to Repeal Migratory Agreement with Cuba", the Diario de las Américas published an article on July 14 stating: "After having won this confrontation with Washington on the fate of six rafters, Cuban exiles are ready to wage the battle to annul or modify the migratory agreement with Cuba to prevent deportation to the island of those intercepted at sea.

"The agreement signed in 1995 was challenged last week when the U.S. government, faced with pressures and protests from Cuban exiles, allowed four Cuban rafters intercepted a few meters from Miami Beach to remain in the United States."

"[...] The Cuban government has yet to react to this violation of the agreement, and there are persistent rumors in Miami that in reprisal Havana could allow a new exodus of rafters like that of 1994 when more than 30,000 Cubans arrived on the coasts of Florida.

"The agreement was signed precisely to prevent another rafters' crisis. Since then, the United States has deported almost 3,000 Cubans who were intercepted at sea and did not get the chance to reach American soil.

"[...] Washington agreed once again to grant 20,000 entrance visas to the United States.

"The migratory agreement began to flounder last Tuesday due to an unprecedented case in the history of rafters reaching the coast of Florida in fragile boats. For the first time, television networks broadcast live the odyssey of those six rafters.

"[...] In Washington, Cuban-American Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart asked Congress to cancel ‘this dishonorable pact,’ the migration agreement, and accused the Clinton administration of being the ‘watchdog of the Cuban regime.’

El Nuevo Herald, true to its old ways, published on July 15 a new article under the headline "Clinton Concerned Over Migration Policy":

"On Tuesday, before President Clinton's return to Washington, after his one-day visit to South Florida, he made an encouraging promise: to review the United States' immigration policy towards Cuba.

"According to some of the local people who had the opportunity to meet with the President, Clinton left Miami ‘aware of the thinking of the Cuban exiles’ and saying that ‘it was necessary to review the agreements between Cuba and the United States.’

"‘We will see if the current policy is manageable based on the problems we are facing,’ said Clinton during a fund-raising dinner for the Democratic Party."

"Jorge Mas Santos, deputy chairman of the Cuban-American National Foundation, and one of those who spoke with Clinton, said he told the President that ‘it was not fair to return Cubans intercepted at sea to Cuba.’

"‘He promised to do everything possible to review the migratory agreements with Cuba and prevent more deaths at sea,’ underlined Mas Santos to El Nuevo Herald.

"The Cuban American leader added that Clinton said he ‘feels frustrated’ for not having been able to oust Fidel Castro from power.

"This Wednesday the State Department in Washington said that up to now it has not received orders or instructions from Clinton to review or change U.S. policy towards Cuba.

"[...] ‘The U.S. has a program to grant 20,000 visas per year to Cubans, precisely to discourage the dangerous crossing of the Florida Straits by undocumented migrants,’ said James Rubin, a State Department spokesman.

It is hard to believe that the President of the United States, recognized as a cultured and intelligent man, would have held such a conversation as reported by journalist Fernando Almánzar in El Nuevo Herald that shows him in an almost servile position before the crown prince of a terrorist Mafia, a superficial, naive, ignorant and conceited individual who, judging by his own words, has absolutely no political knowledge, and while he may have a large fortune inherited from his father, he does not have anything at all inside his head.

I prefer to believe that these are only fabrications, distortions and fantasies stemming from the vanity of an irresponsible, ignorant, indiscreet and immature person.

Another media source at the service of the Mafia, the Diario de las Américas, reported that "three Cuban-American members of Congress accused the U.S. government of concealing Cuba's trafficking of persons, in addition to drug trafficking, money laundering and a series of illegal dealings."

These extremely grave and irrational charges against the Clinton administration of conspiracy with the Cuban government in drug trafficking, money laundering, alien smuggling and other illegal dealings were raised, not surprisingly, by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Díaz-Balart, both Florida Republicans, and Robert Menéndez, a New Jersey Democrat, three well-known characters financed by the Cuban-American National Foundation.

Another piece of news, more sensible and serious, was reported from Washington by NOTIMEX on July 15, two days after the famous dinner. "The United States announced today the establishment of a special group to combat alien smuggling from Cuba" --it should have said from the United States-- "a problem that has tripled in one year and increased physical risks for those interested in reaching Florida.

"The effort will be spearheaded by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and will also involve the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Coast Guard, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office based in Miami and the Florida state government.

"Daniel Kane, spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, explained that organized groups are now charging between 8,000 and 10,000 dollars for transporting a Caribbean person to the United States by risky means.

"He highlighted that during the 1997-98 fiscal year, 615 Cubans were found out smuggled into Florida and the number tripled to 1700 in this 1998-99 fiscal year ending next September 30.

"Kane noted that the group will try to identify and bring to trial those responsible for exploiting the islanders, ‘since what we are trying to do is send a strong message about the dangers of this type of illegal transportation.’

"The spokesman pointed out that the smugglers use speedboats which they overload. ‘Recently forty Haitians and nine Cubans perished while transported this way.’

"He warned that this type of crime is punished with up to 10 years' imprisonment and called on the Cubans in Florida, who usually pay for the transportation of their relatives, not to risk the lives of their loved ones.

"‘Every year the United States assigns 20,000 visas for Cubans and there are many legal opportunities for them to come to Florida,’ he pointed out.

"Kane stressed that the smugglers advise the people they transport that in the event that they are intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard, they should threaten to set themselves on fire if they are not allowed to set foot on land."

On July 16, the EFE news agency reported from Washington that "the U.S. Immigration Service today warned traffickers of illegal Cuban migrants that they are risking drastic federal penalties if they continue this criminal business.

"The FBI and the State Department reminded Cubans who try to enter this country without the relevant migration documents, that there are many dangers in the crossing that can be avoided by being patient while their visas are being processed by the United States Interests Section in Havana.

"It was recalled that the migration agreements signed by the United States and Cuba in 1995 grant this Caribbean country 20,000 U.S. visas a year, which can be applied for by any Cuban wishing to do so.

"‘These traffickers of human beings do not mind risking the lives of these people in their efforts to make profits,’ said Kane."

Very recently, on July 19, AFP reported from Miami: "The Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, urged President Bill Clinton on Monday to respond to the increase in the traffic of illegal migrants --most of them Cubans-- asking for more Border Patrol troops to be deployed in that Southern state.

"In March, Bush asked Secretary of Justice Janet Reno to increase the Federal authorities' activities to stop illegal migration to that state's coasts, and he has not yet received an answer.

"‘We have once again expressed our concerns to the Federal government,’ said Bush.

"‘President Clinton must become involved,’ Bush noted. ‘We need more Border Patrol troops and more federal resources to confront the issue of alien smuggling.’

"‘These smugglers must be prosecuted and the Florida government is willing to help the Federal government fulfill its responsibilities,’ he added."

Obviously, not every American politician from either side of the aisle share the bizarre ideas of the Cuban-American Mafia on illegal migration from Cuba to the United States.

What is the Cuban-American National Foundation?

An imperialist entity that promotes the most severe economic blockade possible against Cuba, the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, and dozens of Congressional amendments aimed against our country. It is a sworn vitriolic enemy of the migratory agreements signed in 1994 and 1995 and of the slightest cooperation between the United States and Cuba in the struggle against international drug trafficking. It is an unpunished organizer of attempts to assassinate me, and the instigator of the terrorist acts against our tourist hotels to try to ruin one of the country's most prosperous industries and one of the main sources of hard-currency income, which creates jobs and boosts many industrial and agricultural sectors which supply goods and services for that activity.

The CANF was founded in July, 1981, and cynically registered as a non-profit, philanthropic, and educational organization devoted among other things to do research work, publish and arrange educational and humanitarian functions.

I have taken some valuable data about the origins of this institution from material for a future book about the forty years of crimes against Cuba and other documents prepared by well-informed sources.

During the 70s, the ideologues of the U.S. extreme right, whose strength had been steadily growing since the previous decade, agreed on the need to reshape the United States' hegemonic role in the world, and elaborated the political program that Ronald Reagan's future administration would pursue. In 1979, that laboratory of imperialist ideas produced the so-called Santa Fe Program, describing how the new Republican administration should act vis-à-vis the continent's reality.

Along with Brazil and Mexico, Cuba was included among the countries that the United States should give priority to in this region. Our country was perceived as the major adversary of that Northern power in this hemisphere. "Cuba has been a problem for American policymakers for more than two decades", the extreme right stated. "The problem is no nearer solution today than it was in 1960 --indeed, the problem has grown to truly dangerous proportions."

"The United States can only restore its credibility by taking immediate action," noted the aforementioned Santa Fe document referring to Cuba. Consequently, its authors proposed carrying out "frankly punitive" actions. Among these actions, they recommended starting a political and ideological offensive, including radio broadcasts "under open U.S. government sponsorship," promoting internal subversion and even armed intervention, an option which was not ruled out.

For these ideologues of the U.S. extreme right, the problem was not only to change the policy towards Cuba and go as far as necessary to "solve the Cuban problem" but, at the same time, to devise the ideal way to justify the new course the future administration should take in order not to act directly but "responding" to requests from the Cuban immigrants in the United States who would be "demanding" the change and concrete measures.

After President Reagan's inauguration in January 1981, the U.S. government immediately adopted the recommendations of the Santa Fe Program.

U.S. researcher Gaeton Fonzi writes in the Esquire magazine that it was veteran CIA officer Richard Allen, at the time President Reagan's National Security Adviser, who proposed the idea of uniting the Cuban exiles and fashion --in his own words-- "an effective bolt with which the President's aggressive foreign policy can be implemented." In an interview with the National Journal, Allen said, "I told them [Reagan and his team] that the best thing they could do was to create an organization that spoke with one voice or would seem to speak with one single voice." "I am very happy that they followed my advice," he added.

The first step towards creating that single voice was taken in 1980 by Roger Fontaine, at the time a member of the Santa Fe Committee and one of the ideologues of Reagan's future administration who was later in charge of the policy towards Latin America in the National Security Council. That year Fontaine publicly expressed "the possibility of creating a Cuban lobby before the U.S. Congress to justify a more aggressive policy against Cuba." The mission was defined both by Allen and Fontaine as follows: to set up a lobby or pressure group in Washington that would work through a Cuban-American entity to propose Congress and the government the measures against Cuba that had already been planned by the new administration policy makers.

In Washington, and in the United States at large, Cuban immigrants were linked to terrorism, the CIA's dirty operations, and violence. Therefore, a new type of organization had to be created which would guarantee, on the one hand, total subordination to that policy and, on the other, a renewed image acceptable to American society.

The main objective of the order to create the Cuban-American National Foundation was to change the image of the Cuban emigration. The most revealing feature of this shameful project is that most of the now millionaire directors of the Foundation were selected from among the old men of action of the Central Intelligence Agency. They now had to devote all of their time and energy to a new type of political work: visits to Washington, intensive lobbying before members of Congress and administration officials, contributions to electoral campaigns and other political activities, and all of this with the greatest possible coverage by the media.

The creation of the Cuban-American National Foundation in the '80s did not mean the end of terrorist actions against Cuba, but it did represent the inception of a new form of U.S. aggression. During the Reagan and Bush Republican administrations, the organization acted as an appendix of the U.S. Government's foreign policy and as a pressure mechanism within the country itself to impose that policy.

According to the aforementioned American researcher, the Foundation received over 200 million dollars in government funds under these two presidents in order to carry out these activities.

Many analysts coincide in pointing out that the CIA's and the National Security Council's conception was effectively accomplished. The Foundation was organically integrated into the American political system. Its influence has had a bipartisan scope and involves not only electoral political sectors but also the government bureaucracy at different levels.

The Cuban-American National Foundation was induced from the beginning into inserting itself fully into the lobbying which is characteristic of the American system by means of political action committees, the so-called PACs, which make it possible to finance political campaigns and serve to channel their "special interests" among U.S. Senators and members of the House, as well as in electoral campaigns.

The Foundation contributed important amounts of money for these campaigns. From 1982 up to the present, several dozen House and Senate members from both parties have benefited from the Cuban-American National Foundation financial contributions and subordinated the United States' national interests to those "special interests". According to reports in the Federal Elections Committee, at some stages up to 60 members of Congress have received contributions from the Foundation in one year. In the 1997-98 period, 52 % of the funds went to the Democratic Party and 48 % to the Republican Party.

The CANF has developed a new, unique way of lobbying through intimidation. Cases are known in Washington about members of Congress who have been pressured in their electoral districts or states and have been subjected to other subtle forms of blackmail or threats, or their political opponents have received considerable cash contributions, for the only reason of not having accepted the Foundation money or endorsed its policy proposals.

The donations normally authorized for political campaigns can be institutional or personal. There are thousands of ways to do it. The dinner in Fanjul's mansion, where 1.5 million dollars were raised in one night, at a rate of 25,000 dollars a plate, is one of the many apparently honest ways of doing it.

According to data from the United States Federal Electoral Committee Records obtained through Internet, from January 1993 to March 1998 the Cuban-American National Foundation contributed as an organization 105,521 dollars to Robert Menéndez; 101,050 dollars to Robert Torricelli; 62,797 dollars to Jesse Helms; 43,057 dollars to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; 42,645 dollars to Lincoln Díaz-Balart; and 22,200 dollars to Dan Burton, all very well known in our country for their infamous deeds.

Between 1991 and 1998, Mas Canosa and Jorge Mas Santos made 142 personal donations totaling more than 127,000 dollars to a group of Senate and House members including Dan Burton, Robert Torricelli, Jesse Helms and Cuban-Americans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Díaz-Balart and Robert Menéndez.

These contributions are those officially registered, as required by U.S. electoral law. They do not include the large sums of money given in cash that do not show in any record. It is well known that important personalities have received up to 80,000 dollars in one single contribution, in violation of the U.S. law. Everything is known because people simply talk.

Curiously enough, Arnaldo Monzón Plasencia, one of the main promoters of contributions for Robert Menéndez in New Jersey, was convicted of money laundering in 1985, according to the November 8, 1998 issue of The Star Ledger. He admitted having concealed 100,000 dollars from the Internal Revenue Service, for which he was sentenced by in U.S. court of law. As you remember, Arnaldo Monzón Plasencia was one of the main organizers of the terrorist actions promoted against Cuba from Central America by Luis Posada Carriles, and formerly belonged to the terrorist organizations Alpha-66 and Omega 7, the latter one responsible for the death of a Cuban diplomat in the United Nations, among other violent actions against the Revolution.

At the same time, the Cuban-American National Foundation also supplies financial and material aid to ringleaders and active members of small subversive groups in Cuba. This support has increased since 1998 in keeping with the United States' policy toward our country, using Cuban exiles as emissaries to financially supply the counterrevolutionary ringleaders and their groups.

Outside the United States, the CANF has financed the political campaigns of corrupt politicians who once in power have paid back this favor by granting important concessions to the companies owned by the Mas Canosa family, mainly in the field of communications.

The services rendered to the conservative and extreme-right sectors of U.S. politics to further the formulas of the Santa Fe Program have been admitted. An eloquent fact: between 1981 and 1998 more than 150 bills or amendments against Cuba were submitted to the U.S. Congress.

The CANF also assumed other roles. In 1985, certain U.S. power groups urged the Foundation to exert pressure to abolish the Clark Amendment, which banned economic and military or paramilitary assistance to Savimbi's bands in Angola. Immediately after that amendment was repealed, Ronald Reagan authorized 30 million dollars in covert funds to UNITA.

The CANF leadership has been mostly made up by individuals linked to the Batista dictatorship one way or another or by people who were significantly affected by the Cuban revolutionary laws. At this moment, we can mention several cases by way of example.

Francisco José Hernández, chairman of the Foundation until very recently when replaced by Jorge Mas Santos, is the son of Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Hernández Leyva, tried in Santa Clara in 1959 for war crimes committed during the Batista’s dictatorship and sentenced to death; Roberto Martín Pérez, a member of the executive committee and head of the Foundation's paramilitary group, is the son of the well-known Batista henchman Lutgardo Martín Pérez who managed to flee to the United States; Ninoska Pérez Castellón, the CANF director and spokesperson is the daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Pérez González, second chief of the bloody Motorized Division of Batista's police in Havana, who also left the country for the United States; Jorge Fowler, the Foundation's lawyer, is the son of a landowner with the same name who owned 1900 caballerías (62,000 acres) of land in Cuba and the Narcisa sugar mill.

Who did Reagan's team choose to chair the organization proposed by the American extreme right in the Santa Fe document? It chose Jorge Mas Canosa.

Who was Mas Canosa? The closest friend and comrade in arms of Luis Posada Carriles, a monstrous character who along with Orlando Bosch coldly and cowardly murdered 73 innocent people aboard the Cubana aircraft blown up in mid-flight after take off from the Barbados airport on October 6, 1976. He directed and participated in numerous terrorist actions and crimes that caused the death of valuable comrades, some of which were dramatically described in the trial that followed the claim for human damages filed by the Cuban people against the U.S. government.

A well-known article published by the New York Times on July 13, 1998 reveals some interesting facts. "Two years after the Bay of Pigs invasion ended in ignominious failure on the beaches of Cuba, two young Cuban exiles stood next to each other in the spring sun at Fort Bennings, Ga., training for the next march on Havana.

"It was 1963, a time of feverish American plotting against Fidel Castro's rule. The two men were among the exiles that had survived the bungled operation to overthrow the Cuban leader and had enlisted in the U.S. Army, confident that President Kennedy would soon mount another attack that would banish communism from the hemisphere.

"The orders never came, and both men soon quit the Army to begin their own three-decade war against Castro.

"Jorge Mas Canosa, the younger of the two, emerged as the public face of the movement, a successful businessman who courted presidents and politicians, raised money and relentlessly lobbied the White House and Congress to get tough on Cuba. By the time Mas died of cancer last November, after two decades of denying any direct role in the military operations of exiles seeking to destabilize Cuba, he had become perhaps the single most influential voice in tightening America's official policy of economic and political quarantine.

"The older man, Luis Posada Carriles, a former sugar chemist, became a leader of the exiles' clandestine military wing, plotting to kill Castro and planting bombs at Cuban government installations. As Mas was building a personal fortune that eventually exceeded $100 million, Posada remained in the shadows, consorting with intelligence officers, anti-Castro militants and even, declassified documents say, reputed mobsters.

"Now, as he nears the end of his career as the most notorious commando in the anti-Castro underground, Posada has for the first time detailed his 37-year relationship with exile leaders in the United States and with the American authorities."

Not much more information is needed for an accurate profile of the man who chaired the Foundation. An active CIA agent during the months prior to the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion, he enlisted in the U.S. Army with Posada Carriles after the attack failed hoping to participate in a military invasion against Cuba that would never have defeated the Revolution, but would have cost our people hundreds of lives. Later, both characters would abandon the U.S. Army after the military invasion plans --decided upon by the U.S. government from the early months of 1962-- were thwarted. This was so thanks to the timely measures adopted which led to the October [Missile] Crisis that year and put the world on the brink of a nuclear war. That crisis ended with compromises that, although not constituting a total guarantee for Cuba, frustrated and indefinitely postponed a direct military aggression against our country.

But they never parted. They both remained CIA agents and both carried out different tasks but within the same strategic imperialist plan. This was very clearly described by journalists Ann Louise Bardach and Larry Rother in the above-mentioned New York Times article.

Mas Canosa, by then already a millionaire, organized and financed Posada Carriles' escape from a Venezuelan maximum security prison where he had been jailed for the Barbados sabotage. The operation cost 50,000 dollars. After Posada Carriles was free he immediately joined the operation mounted by the White House in El Salvador to supply weapons for the dirty war in Nicaragua; almost every CANF senior official was sent by Mas Canosa to greet him and give him their support.

Mas Canosa, that old CIA agent, was the person the extreme right assigned the task of grouping the Cuban exiles in the United States into an organization which could serve to promote, through the U.S. Congress, the shady plans previously conceived by that extremist sector against our homeland.

From the moment he arrived in the United States, he was an agent of imperialism, which he served unconditionally to the last minute of his life. He and his Foundation actively supported the worst political and counterrevolutionary forces in Nicaragua, Angola and other countries, always serving the interests of the United States. He dreamed of seeing the Cuban Revolution destroyed, our people vanquished by hunger and brought to their knees, or our country being invaded by the U.S. armed forces. He hated the work of the Revolution and our people’s resistance with all the frustration and impotence he had accumulated.

He was a mercenary who, using all of the empire’s resources, caused great harm to Cuba. I rather avoid other references to his shameful and disgraceful life. I will not say he was a traitor to his country because he always loved one single homeland: the United States.

The Cuban-American National Foundation and the extreme right forces are now the organizers of the conspiracy to remove the migratory agreements and hinder any cooperation between the United States and Cuba in the fight against drug trafficking.

As can be very clearly understood by all the aforesaid, every concerted step that they take and all that they do through their allies in the U.S. Congress and the media at their disposal, has the single purpose of provoking a migration crisis whose consequences may be incalculable.

Here and now I am categorically warning them that there is not the slightest possibility that Cuba will not honor the obligations stemming from the migratory agreements in force, or that it will authorize a massive illegal exodus. As for those taking place spontaneously as a consequence of the ongoing and growing encouragement from the United States, the absurd legal regulations protecting those who break both our laws and theirs and the privileges and prizes awarded to them, we say that with our people’s help we will reduce them to a minimum.

The United States government might show signs of doubt, hesitation and weakness as to what it must do vis-à-vis the hollering and blackmail of those in Florida who try to advise, demand or decide what the government should do.

They dream of an armed conflict between the United States and Cuba. Their hatred is such that they wish to see our homeland under a genocidal and destructive attack like the Serbian people had to endure.

None of this frightens us. We are revolutionaries and we act on principles not on fear. We have an educated, organized, courageous and conscientious people. We have developed all the relevant ideas to prevent anything from altering the internal order of the country, not through the force of weapons but through the force and consciousness of the masses.

Forty years of hardships and struggle, of unyielding tenacity and experience, are not worthless. To confront the chaos existing in the colossal world power of the North, we have the unity, coherence, discipline, staunchness, intelligence and awareness of a people that has been privileged by history and that loves and defends this small island.