Special Address by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and president of the Councils of State and of Ministers, to party, state and government and Union of Young Communist leaders, representatives of grassroots and official organizations, officers and rank and file members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and from the Ministry of the Interior, and to relatives and surviving victims of the empire’s terrorist attacks on our country.
April 17, 2005
"Year of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas".
Dear fellow Cubans:
"Voting began at 7:00 a.m. in all 37,280 polling stations. At 11:00 a.m., 6, 288, 965 voters had already cast their vote, which is 75 percent of the total, a figure that is 4.3 percentage points higher than at the same time in the 2002 elections.
"At 3.00 p.m., 7, 782, 779 voters had already voted, that is 92.09 percent of the total, a figure similar to the one achieved at this time in the last election.
"At 6:00 p.m., voting concluded in all polling stations. The preliminary information about the total number of voters is being processed and will be made public within the next few hours.
"Votes are being counted right now. The final information is expected and will be corroborated in the early hours of the morning. Signed, the National Electoral Commission. Time, 7:25 p.m."
We kept our word, we voted and now we are here to go on with the battle (APPLAUSE).
One of the objectives of this meeting is to inform the people about what is going on and to provide a better understanding of problems, so that our people can look at each thing, and analyze each thing that happens. That is to say, each of these battles will enrich our people’s political knowledge.
A lot can be learned in circumstances like these, just as we all learned a lot from the battle for the return of that little boy, Elián González. We all took part in that battle and we could feel satisfied with the results.
That was a long, very long battle. Some have said that this situation is similar to the one existing back then. This one may not go on as long, because the US government must take some decision and positions.
How long can this situation go on? The one we are in now, because there will be others and then others. What will they do now? One has an idea, more or less about what they should do. Is there any guarantee that they will do it? It’s impossible to know. What we do see is confusion, as if they did not know what to do. And in fact, it would be best to cooperate as much as possible so that they do what they should do.
In fact, if they do what they should do, the political cost of what is happening will be less. But in the interest of justice, our concern is not the political cost that they may have to pay, because we are not motivated by a thirst for vengeance, but by the absolute certainty that we are right and that Cuba's arguments are irrefutable. And we will continue to inform, observe, and analyze.
Friday's session was excellent and had a strong impact both inside and outside Cuba. The materials from that session have already been transcribed, translated and sent everywhere. All UN members will have them by tomorrow; for now in the most widely spoken language, which is English. And many more thousands will receive all the evidence and data that were discussed here, and not only over there but in all other countries too.
It was a good thing to meet today. Some important information was left over from the last session, and if we leave it for tomorrow, there will be too much. There is material for Monday. Everybody is resting today. It is the weekend (Laughter), although these are no times for "weekends", because everything has its price. There is a complex situation where everyone, it seems, is doing crazy things, because these are truly absurd, crazy things, all kinds of bungling that puts the US government and prestige in a very delicate, a very weak moral position.
The other day I was explaining what had happened with the boat, who was on board that boat, who that gentleman Santiago Alvarez was, and I was beginning to say a few things about Jose Pujol, the skipper of the boat.
I had said that this man was an old CIA agent. The boat belongs to an anti-Cuban terrorist organization led by Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña himself.
"He arrived in the United States illegally in the early 1960’s. He was a member of the CIA special missions groups" --a member of the CIA special missions groups. "He later joined the 'Comandos L' organization" --very famous-- "where he met Santiago Alvarez, and took part in terrorist actions against Cuba and in attacks on foreign merchant vessels that came here.
"He also belonged to the terrorist organizations "Alpha 66" and "ExClub." They invented every possible name to camouflage all those gangs of assassins and mercenaries working for the empire.
"In 2002 he joined up with terrorist Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña, and in October of that same year he became the captain of the "Santrina", a boat used in armed infiltrations into our country". As you will see, Mr. Pujol has also a long terrorist record, which should worry all those US government security agencies.
There are materials that I did not have then. I didn’t have the new article from the Quintana Roo newspaper called Por Esto (That’s why,) and since today is Sunday, and this happened yesterday, it was written yesterday, "that’s why" I couldn’t have known about it on Friday. But, I did bring it with me today, Sunday. And they are very happy with the impact of their article.
I‘m not going to read it all because it is rather long, but I will read some of the most interesting paragraphs. They’re really stirring things up! And I think they will become our allies in this battle against international terrorism, because they are collecting more and more information. They feel especially proud, and they are entitled to, that little Quintana Roo newspaper is rendering humanity a service.
These are the headlines: "Notorious International Terrorist Accused of Causing an Explosion on a Cubana de Aviación Airliner Killing 73 and of Trying to Assassinate the Cuban Head of State " --notorious, accused, those are the words used in the headlines.
"Boat's Suspicious March 15 Stopover in Isla Mujeres en route from the Bahamas to Miami.
"The Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution showed a copy of Por Esto as evidence." We saw the picture, Santiago was there, Captain Pujol was there, and Santiago owns the boat. They searched the boat with dogs and everything; the dogs were well trained, or rather what they say is they were trained to sniff out drugs.
I told the press today, I don’t know why they say the dog was well trained to sniff drugs because Posada Carriles smells of drugs. You should not forget that when he was there in Ilopango they used the same planes that flew in with weapons flew back to the United States with drugs.
That caused a huge scandal but they needed funds. He smells of drugs but the dogs did not sniff him out; he smells of dynamite, TNT and explosives but the dogs did not sniff him out. All those who were there smell of blood but the dogs did not sniff them out.
The Mexican government should train their dogs better (Laughter), because they even took their dogs but still found nothing. Besides, they should teach some geography to the staff that works there and explain to them where the Bahamas are, where Islam Mujeres is, about the compass; Christopher Columbus could not have made it to this hemisphere without a compass. And these people nowadays with all sorts of equipment could...
Really, it is a rare boat that sails from the Bahamas to Miami and runs aground in Islam Mujeres. The newspaper itself said —I remember— that there was a pile of diving equipment on the boat, and some other weird things, but nothing else. So, we asked the Mexican government to investigate.
It is not that we are taking advantage of the occasion to launch an unwarranted attack, although they attack us gratuitously and do all sorts of wrong things, but that is not what this is about. We are asking them to investigate and to let the international public know what happened. Let them investigate and provide information to the international public! Because the ship was searched by the authorities there. I am not going to speak ill of the sailors, far from it. It is said that the Mexican Navy immediately got involved and went to investigate and then came those who had to...Well, I do not know who brought the dogs, after all, as I said, that is a region where there is a lot of smuggling, drug smuggling, of course, as a matter of course...But we don’t know what happened next. They didn’t see any thing very strange on that boat.
That boat should have been investigated further, because the journalist himself was told that the boat had sailed from the Bahamas and was headed for Miami. That is very strange. They should have inquired who those gentlemen were.
It is true they could have been traveling under false names, but there is one who wasn’t using a false name. Pujol showed up there with his real name and surname. There is a photo of Santiago Alvarez, they at least have that photo, and the one I showed here, from the newspaper. I wonder what name he used.
I don’t know what they have done, if they paid any attention to the recommendations --not to say advice-- that we gave them, that is, to go immediately to the boat that should be at the wharf and look for the list, the logbook. Ships usually have all those things, they have documents, where they have been; they keep record of everything, what happened, whether they ran aground or not. Let them look for all those documents before they are destroyed. Let them speak to individuals and ask them: "Will you make a statement under oath? They could find a judge and say "Make a deposition", they know they can’t lie. They have certain methods for scaring people if they wanted to know the truth. And everybody who was there would very easily tell what they know.
According to the newspaper, the shipmaster didn’t want to say what his destination was. Alright, but the newspaper gives more information. It is a good idea to take this into account and recognize the merits of this Quintana Roo paper.
So I’m going to read it. This article was written by Renán Castro Madera, and it is this what it says; I will read it now:
"Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz denounced the presence of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in Islam Mujeres on March 15 and 16, when the shrimp boat "Santrina" ran aground while on its way to Miami, Florida, from the Bahamas." The article doesn’t say the alleged terrorist nor the man accused of being a terrorist, or the ‘alleged’ who Cuba accuses, does it? It "denounced the presence of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles."
That journalist should be given protection, because those terrible assassins...Well, in fact, I do not think they will dare do much, denunciation is a powerful weapon, a powerful shield. I don’t think they will dare kill the journalist.
Then the article continues: "The Cuban Head of State, during his special appearance yesterday in Havana, referred to the newspaper Por Esto and described it as the Mexican media that reported the presence of the shrimp boat "Santrina" on the coast of Quintana Roo.
"According to a report by Radio Cadena Agramonte, datelined Camagüey" --it seems they can receive Radio Cadena Agramonte there-- "Cuba, Fidel Castro referred to the articles written by reporter Yolanda Gutiérrez about the presence of the ship "Santrina" off the coast of Isla Mujeres.
"The Cuban Head of State said and we quote: "...in a Quintana Roo newspaper called Por Esto which referred to a shrimp boat called "Santrina" which ran aground near Isla Mujeres and which is supposed to continue on to Miami; nothing untoward was discovered about the crew in a routine inspection.
"The Cuban news report added that: referring to the information in the Quintana Roo newspaper, Fidel said that, according to the daily, the acting harbormaster had said that the boat had run aground off the coast as a result of some steering problems, and that it had been visited by the Mexican authorities. The paper reported that the boat had sailed from the Bahamas and that is ultimate destination was Miami where, according to José Pujol, the boat would be adapted as a training vessel". It should be a training boat for terrorism.
"Fidel wondered who the owner of the "Santrina" was, and added that the boat had been bought under the aegis of the "Marina Caribe" Ecology Protection Foundation", and that it had been used for terrorist actions against Cuba.
"He pointed out that the chairman of that foundation was terrorist Ernesto Abreu, one of those who went to Panama to fetch Posada, and that its treasurer was Santiago Alvarez, who also went to bring Posada by plane."
It so happens that roughly two or three years ago a gentleman came here and one of our comrades said: "That Abreu rings a bell". Isn’t he the one who was caught in Pinar del Río trying to bring in some weapons? Well, it was said he spent some time in prison. One of his daughters even came here; she behaved correctly and came here to speak in favor of her father. She can’t be criticized for that, she explained everything, and even apologized. We agreed to set this gentleman free. I think this is him, he has the same name, it is very difficult...he was sent here, and he landed a few weapons in Pinar del Río. He was captured, and it was really because of the actions taken by his family that we set him free, and because we realized that he wasn’t very important, he had said that he was going to organize a guerrilla band in Pinar del Río. Even the children of that region, the boy scouts could have captured that fellow. And he was sent back. The only thing he did was to board that plane, and he was rewarded with a trip to Panama to accompany Posada Carriles to his Central American destination and, of course, Santiago was there too.
But we don’t regret that. Probably that lady will be embarrassed to know that her father has been stuck in the middle again but this time he was not on the boat, he’s in no condition for an adventure like that. But we remember that incident, because these were the names that we quoted, the names of those who traveled to Panama when that charming lady pardoned them.
"According to what the paper reported on March 16, the "Santrina" was captained by the old CIA agent José Pujol, known as Pepín, and Santiago Alvarez himself was on board, as shown in the photo the paper published.
"Later on he also quoted the newspaper as saying that it was said that Posada Carriles had arrived in Miami a week ago by sea, which coincided with the arrival of the "Santrina" to that city."
They wrote here --and I don’t really understand it--: "At another point he also quoted that newspaper". They must be referring to some other newspaper.
And then the article continues: "And that’s all the information published on the Web by Radio Cadena Agramonte" --the Web page-- "on Friday April 15, which includes the timely information that we published on March 15 and 16.
The article goes on: "Among other important issues included in our March 16 edition, we reported that after the routine inspections by the appropriate authorities which found nothing untoward, the shrimp boat "Santrina" which ran aground near Isla Mujeres, will sail for Miami on this Wednesday after stocking up with fuel, food and water for the journey.
"According to Angel Gabriel Vallejos Sánchez, who is acting harbormaster in the absence of the harbormaster himself, the vessel had steering problems and that is why it ran aground near the coast, fortunately in an area where there were no reefs, which is why it is thought no ecological damage was done". And then they more or less repeat what they said, going into more details on some points.
"He added that once the Santrina docked at the concrete wharf, it was visited by the authorities who always check when a vessel flying a foreign flag enters the harbor. The Mexican Navy was the first to arrive whose officers with dogs" —It seems that the dogs belonged to the Navy— "trained to detect narcotics and arms searched the vessel but did not find anything untoward.
"Immigration, International Health and Sargapa authorities also inspected the boat. Finally, once rescue operations had been completed, the harbormaster’s office simply filled out the relevant forms detailing the incident.
"In answer to a direct question, Vallejos Sánchez said that no type of sanction would be imposed on José Pujol, captain of the Santrina, so it was, in his words, just an ordinary accident which didn’t deserve any sanction.
"Both the vessel and its crew ‘have all their papers in order and are properly registered. To date we have no information from any of the authorities involved in the search’.
"The acting harbormaster said that the boat had sailed from the Bahamas and that its final destination is Miami where, according José Pujol, it will undergo refitting to turn it into a teaching vessel".
"The story of this vessel in Mexican waters was reported in our March 15 edition when we said that an American shrimp boat-type with a five member crew on board was stranded a short distance from Isla Mujeres for several hours. When it was trying to gain access to the harbor —gain access to the harbor— along the shipping canal it hove too far towards the coast, although according the sources in the harbormaster’s office the accident did not damage any zone with reefs". More and more care is taken of that, isn’t it? Because its one of things that attracts people who go to look at the corals.
"The Santrina, which is approximately 90 feet long and has a draught of about five or six meters —that shrimp boat is relatively deep, it has a much bigger draught than the Granma and has more feet in length than the Granma. The Granma was about 60, seventy something feet long— "registration number 604553 ran aground at about 7:45 when it tried to enter the harbor after arriving at the northern part of Isla Mujeres.
"Its crew and captain, José Pujol, had sailed from the Bahamas" —they repeat that again, naturally— "and was heading to the island to stock up on food, water and fuel" — a boat as big as that with such a small amount of fuel. Our boat was much smaller and we filled it with tanks and it still had an inch of fuel when it got to las Coloradas but this boat, a big one, had to go in to get water and fuel, that’s like us making a little stop off on our journey from Tuxpan to las Coloradas —so it could cover the rest of its route which is unknown because the captain refused to talk to the media saying he had a lot of work. Similarly, the staff of the harbormaster’s office are in the dark about the Santrina’s ultimate destination, at least until Mr. Pujol makes an appearance in the harbor offices so the appropriate paperwork can be completed.
"The same sources explained that the shrimp boat-type vessel, it is not known what it is usually used for, was normally entering the port when it hove too much towards the coast to go round the buoys at the entrance to the shipping channel and that made it run aground in a stony area surrounded by a sand bank where, apparently, there are no reefs nor coral.
"As soon as people heard about the mishap, the staff of the harbormaster’s office set to work to coordinate the rescue efforts. They were joined by the vessel 3 de Deciembre "— that’s new information— "owned by Javier Ayala Rejón" —that must be some boat that helps other vessels, I believe— "and another two motorboats from the Isla Mujeres tourist cooperative".
All these people can be talked to asked questions. Surely those from the Por Esto newspaper are still investigating and we will be very grateful to them. We will be waiting for anything they find out.
"After many attempts, because the stern was deeply embedded in the rocks and sand deposited over time by marine currents in the area, finally, the Santrina managed to get out of its predicament at approximately 12:30 and then tied up at the concrete wharf. The Mexican navy arrived immediately afterwards to do a routine search with its two dogs.
"Meanwhile, the staff of the National Marine park set off to survey the area where the vessel had run aground in order to verify that there really had been no damage done to the marine ecosystem and a diver also dove down to inspect the Santrina’s hull.
"Before setting foot on terra firma, the Santrina’s crew were visited by International Health, Immigration, Sagarpa and Customs authorities and then went to the harbormaster’s office to fill out the relevant forms".
Well, that’s the information. I repeat that we shall be very grateful for any new information: what time they disembarked, what they did there, all this information is of great interest because really the 180,000 workers, and the $30 billions the Homeland Security Department has are not enough and they need help. I beg the people in Quintana Roo to offer their generous cooperation. We don’t know how many journalists there are or how many are working on this, but they have the information, no doubt, and they tell the world about the strange things that happen there and they are, it seems, satisfied with the work they are doing.
I hope they become famous, because this story is not over yet.
They are handing me a note of clarification here. Ernesto Abreu is the son of Ernestino Abreu who was the one we mentioned: that gentleman has behaved well, it wasn’t him, it was his son. He was given extra-penitentiary leave for humanitarian reasons, of course.
I was saying that we should help them or else the United States will be in great danger because monstrous fellow like this man can drop in there and can drop in on Mexico too.
There is more material. Here, for example, is an article that I couldn’t read the other day, and I will try to read it quickly so that people out there don’t fall asleep, the people who were voting today.
This is an article from The New York Times, Wednesday 13, I brought it on Friday. It’s not about Posada Carriles, but about that other notorious character, an associate of Otto Reich and others in Bush’s close circle of friends, whom they really must have left high and dry. Such friends! With such friends Bush doesn’t need enemies.
What does The New York Times article say? This is what it says:
"Questioning Mr. Bolton" —you have perhaps heard mention of him, he is one of the gang, but one of the worst. This is the gentleman who accused Cuba of manufacturing biological weapons. That is not to be taken lightly. He accused Cuba of producing or of doing research into biological weapons that could be used against the United States. You see what an awful lie that is.
One really wonders, and that is what I want Cubans to be able to meditate and reflect on, why this accusation that Cuba was manufacturing biological weapons? It’s not the same as saying it’s anti-democratic and all those other lies they tell to insult us. This wasn’t meant to insult, this had other motives. And you will remember that we gave him an answer. It was at the time when we were engaged in a controversy with the gentleman who presides over the Mexican government, the president of Mexico.
I remember that the news of the accusations arrived around that time. All sorts of accusations fell like rain back then, that weapons were arriving from China or some such thing; not true, a complete lie; that we were preparing to launch an electronic war to interfere with all US communications and even jeopardizing space flights. All that was left was for them to claim that the rocket that a plane launched, the one that had an accident, was Cuba’s fault too.
I remember that it was at that time that we were installing in Pinar de Rio, I think it was Pinar del Rio, the last system of solar panels for schools. We had installed a lot of them in a short time —I don’t remember the exact number now, I think there were more than 2,000 panels— to bring them electricity and with that the audiovisual programs and even computers to all schools in the country which didn’t have electricity. The accusations were raining down and I spoke there, you can look for the speech; it was something new everyday. One day it was electronic warfare; the next day, weapons from China. It was all made up. Of course, nobody has to give account to the United States if we buy some weapon or other. The thing is, we had a lot [of weapons] and we still have them, they are enough and there’s almost too many. We received weapons for many years and we have kept them and preserved them, we have improved them, but that’s quite different from what they were saying.
And now that comrade Raul is paying a visit they want to make a show of it, some little scandal.
"Number two travels in secret to China". So, he traveled secretly to China and it was on television in Geneva? He has had the trip planned for a while now. On the other hand, one always has to be somewhat discreet. Shall we be telling all the Posada Carriles in the world where we are going and at what time and where we will be landing? They must be out of their minds! (Laughter) No sir, we are not going to tell them anything!
Really, they are almost at the point of saying that he went to look for nuclear weapons in China. They spend their time on that sort of stuff and make everything a big mystery. There is no mystery but I won’t tell them the itinerary either, nor where he is going, nor how he is coming back or anything, only that we are watchful here because they are a bunch of crooks. Don’t forget that thing about the transition, etc. and if anything happens to me, then immediate intervention.
I recommend that we are all more on the alert than ever and especially our Revolutionary Armed Forces and our Ministry of the Interior because as the bandits say that they have to take advantage of the transition, but the transition could be by natural death, it could be by accident or it could be by an unnatural death, because they are experts in that sort of thing. Yes, since they have spent their time studying the science of killing.
But we are ready here, if I faint, or have a heart attack or something like that, well then everyone knows they have to waste no time in going and getting their weapons. The whole country on a state of total alert, immediately, so they don’t get any ideas, or try to take advantage, if anything should happen.
Our duty is always to prevent and look ahead and not give them the tiniest opportunity, not the tiniest, or any chance so there are no opportunities or chances.
No, the fact is they don’t know whom they are up against, and it’s not me, it’s the people, it’s the Party, it’s our Revolutionary Armed Forces, it’s the Ministry of the Interior and it‘s the millions of fighters who know how to use weapons. (Applause)
This is in connection with the article about this gentleman, and I told you who this gentleman is. But that same article goes on to say a few more things.
They put forward that gentleman’s name for nothing other than US representative to the United Nations and some lawmakers are contesting him. Do you know why? Because of the lies he made up about Cuba.
You see, we protested, we said it was a lie. When Carter came I said to him, "Look, they are saying that we are manufacturing biological weapons in the Genetic Engineering Center; what we produce there is this and that and medicines to save lives" —and we produce quite a few very good medicines, as do other centers cooperating with them; they are producing drugs against cancer, many of them are in the experimental stage, but the outlook for them is very good. Cancer is a very complicated illness, there are several types, but some of the results have been remarkable. And even a research center from over there has asked for a technology transfer and they are paying some money and one supposes they will pay at a given moment, because 600,000 people die of cancer in the United States. So, who would dare to say no to a scientific institution which requests a technology transfer? And we are transferring it.
Our centers are engaged in those things. The most awful thing in the world was what he said. But we have learned how they do things, how they have done things down through history, looking for pretexts. The imperialist are always looking for pretexts for their wars, and this crook started to invent this pretext, and it’s not a coincidence, neither are the other things that were in the news back then. Their assistants should look for what I said there, with the date and all. I will continue to demonstrate to our people what the enemy is like, what weapons they use and how to oppose them by, among other things, unmasking them thoroughly.
Carlitos has used his excellent contacts and files; "Speech in the school in Pinar del Rio, June 14, 2001" —Posada Carriles was already in custody in Panama— "1,944 schools have photovoltaic cells for the audio visual program". That is the exact number 1,944. And you have to add to that the two thousand and something video halls on the mountains.
Is Alfonso out there somewhere?
Alfonso. - There are 1,905.
Commander in Chief. - One thousand nine hundred and five, but we have them in other places, too. Well, that’s a different thing, around 4000 and a reserve of a few thousands, always and under all circumstances ready to be used for useful things.
So, he is proposed as US representative and they are challenging him because of the lies and other things. He took reprisals against officials who didn’t agree with his lies. We didn’t know that ourselves and we are now learning what The New York Times article says and that’s what it’s called: "Questioning Mr. Bolton"
Then it reads:
"The longer John Bolton’s Senate hearing for the post of United Nations representative went on, the more outrageous it seemed that President Bush could have nominated a man who had made his withering disdain" —his distain, his contempt— "for that world body the signature of his career in international affairs". That’s where this liar, this cynic of the gang was going to end up.
"Some fear that the aim is to scuttle the United Nations, it’s more likely, but just as disturbing, that this is another example of Mr. Bush’s rewarding loyalty rather than holding officials accountable for mistakes especially those who helped to build the case for war with Iraq". A reward.
"Whatever the explanation, the hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee only added reasons for denying the job to Mr. Bolton. It turned up a third incident" --we already knew of two—"in which Mr. Bolton tried to have an intelligence analyst punished for stopping him from making false claims about a weapons program in another nation, notably Cuba".
This is why I say that we have to rely on the moral reserves of people who get angry, and today there must be more and more people in the United States flabbergasted at the monstrosities we are denouncing and our denunciations are irrefutable! Irrefutable!
That man was opposed, he had some ethics and he said: "This is a lie, why?" And he is an analyst there, they can’t say he is someone Cuba infiltrated or that he is from Cuban intelligence, because there was more than one of them, in various places. We know that because the article told us about it.
"Trying to tailor intelligence is enough to disqualify Mr. Bolton from this job, but the hearing also provided a detailed indictment of his views on the U.N., multilateral diplomacy and treaties.
"Mr. Bolton tried, but failed, to explain away his long public record of attacking the United Nations. Senator Barbara Boxer dealt rather neatly with Mr. Bolton’s lamentation that he was being misquoted by playing a videotape of a 1994 speech in which he said: "There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be lead by the only real power left in the world" –that’s the United States– "when it suits our interest and when we can get others to go along". This is what the liar said. This is one of those people who can walk on hi long tongue, they’d better watch him. (Laughter).
"Mr. Bolton tried to convince the senators that he was just being provocative with those remarks and that as U.N. ambassador he would confine his utterances to official policy vetted by appropriate agencies, like the State Department. But much of the hearing focused on Mr. Bolton’s contempt for that process, especially on his attempts to have a State Department intelligence analyst punished for stopping him from misrepresenting intelligence on Cuba.
"Mr. Bolton wanted to give a speech saying that "the United States believes that Cuba has a developmental offensive biological warfare program and is providing assistance to other rogue states". The others must be that electronic war. That‘s in inverted commas, it’s what he said.
"That sound scary" —the newspaper says— "but it was not true. Cuba was not doing those things, and US intelligence agencies did not think it was. But according to numerous accounts, Mr. Bolton became enraged when an analyst from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research pointed out the error and tried to have the analyst removed from his post". He put pressure so he would be fired.
"Mr. Bolton’s attempts to dodge accountability were almost comical. At one point, explaining a trip to the CIA. in which he tried to have an analyst for Latin America on the national Intelligence Council removed for a similar act, Mr. Bolton said he had gone there only to learn what the council does. The explanation was not remotely believable from someone with Mr. Bolton’s background in national security. But for future reference, he might check www.cia.gove/nic, which has nifty theme music and an explanation of the council’s job preparing intelligence reports.
"Carl Ford Jr., who led the State Department’s intelligence office at the time and is now retired, flatly contradicted Mr. Bolton’s claim that he hadn’t tried to have the State Department analyst fired. His appearance was a personal risk, given the way the administration vilified another intelligence officer, Richard Clarke, who challenged its line on the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Ford called Mr. Bolton a "kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy" and said the intimidation had had a lasting effect on his department".
See what kind of man is this Mr. Bolton; they’re all gangsters.
"Some of Mr. Bolton’s Republican allies tried the "no harm, no foul" ploy, saying his misbehavior shouldn’t count because he had ended up giving an accurate speech. Others said the issue was just a question of management style. But they are wrong. With America’s credibility as low as it is, the last thing the nation needs is a United Nations envoy who tries to force intelligence into an ideological construct".
Interesting, isn’t it? You can see that you weren’t invited here today to waste you time. There is more about this Mr. Bolton, if you wish. Is it alright with you? (Shouts of Yes! And applause).
Now it was no longer The New York Times but the Newsweek magazine from Friday April 15, 2005. Well, I didn’t know about this on Friday, it was not the 13 it was the 15 the day that Alarcón and I spoke here.
Newsweek: "Bolton visited the CIA to demand that an analyst be dismissed" —the other one, this is not the State Department; this is the CIA, pressuring the CIA.
"In a closed door session with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Stuart Cohen…" This we did know about because it came out there in that interview, meetings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, since this is a very important position and it needs approval. That is where Jesse Helms used to be, the author of the Helms-Burton Act. Burton is the other. That fellow no longer matters (Laughter). He’s like that stupid law they made, well, to attack the prestige, test the courage and mettle of our people, their ability to be steadfast and win.
It reads: "In a closed door session with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Stuart Cohen, former head of the National Intelligence Council" —I don’t know why I bother trying to pronounce that but it’s here, this is the former head of the National Intelligence Council— "has stated that John Bolton visited his office in the CIA to demand that the senior Latin America expert in the organization be fired, Newsweek reported.
"Bolton thought the expert’s analyses on the subject of the alleged existence of biological weapons in Cuba were not alarmist enough. Bolton’s prediction on this has since been repeatedly shown to be untrue, including by former US president James Carter".
I invited him; he didn’t go he didn’t think it was necessary, but I later visited that place with other people to have a soft drink there, where it was said they were manufacturing biological weapons.
"The expert was not identified" —the magazine says— "because he is on an undercover mission abroad". That is why they don’t mention the name of the expert this fellow was pushing to have fired. In these cases they call them Smith, they give them an assumed name, the magazine does, of course, since this is a CIA man who is overseas.
"In its previous edition Newsweek had revealed how the State Department’s weapons of mass destruction expert, Christian Wassermann had also had arguments with Bolton about a speech falsely saying Cuba had biological weapons.
"According to a Senate Intelligence Committee report, Wassermann said that he had sent an email with suggestions for changes to Bolton’s speech and that when the latter received a copy of the email he was furious and tried to have him transferred". Gangsters. Just look at the goings-on, also look, side by side with this, at the attitude of some people. This is why I say there are some ethics, I said that. I had not seen these things but some of them have some sense of ethics. There are senators, there are lawmakers, many people who say, this is barbarous, it’s stupid, it brings dishonor on the country and they rise up and criticize.
"Intelligence sources say that a review of the Cuban issue, carried out by the intelligence community as a whole, gave total support to the analysts who criticized the draft of Bolton’s speech, the magazine goes on to say." Granma didn’t say it, The New York Times said it, and now Newsweek, another important US magazine, is saying it. These are the newspapers and magazines that they tried to deceive by telling them Cuban intelligence had made up the theory that Posada Carriles was in the United States, watch carefully. "The review concluded that federal agencies were right to cast doubt on the accuracy of a 1999 intelligence report that Bolton used."
You can see what an important example this is. It would be a good thing if the papers and magazines that already know about the lies and the nonsense were to address the relevant bodies, address the president of the republic, the president of the United States and Congress to ask that he take the right position over this delicate matter. They can’t wait for 30 days. How long will they keep on with the mystery, the lies?
That was serious, but this could be even more serious with the entry of a vicious fellow who has acknowledged his crimes, an airplane blown up in mid air, bombs in hotels. "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time", he said, that gentleman with such a history is being given entry in the United States. That is a serious crime, even for those who are the accomplices to this entry. A serious crime by Mr. Santiago Alvarez, Mr. Pujol, a serious crime by all who went with him, not from Panama to Central America but from outside the United States to inside the United States, violating those laws that we read about here, the Security law. It is a serious crime, very serious, and American should be concerned. I was saying that there are many educated Americans, who have studied, who have opinions, whom they have tried to fool, and as Lincoln said, you can fool part of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people part of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. (Applause)
This is why I am reading this article from the US magazine. I am suggesting to these people that they realize that everything is a huge mistake, that it is very serious, that it could lead to a political crisis in the United States, that I recommend they speak out, that they do something, that they fix things quickly, and this gentleman turns up and they don’t kill him, because in a situation like this it could happen.
Look what happened when they assassinated Kennedy: the actual culprit was liquidated that same day, 24 hours hadn’t passed, at night, a pious man who was so hurt by the event he decided to go to a police station, not to a bar, not to a cinema and killed him, and then he too died, mysteriously.
It is good to look into this. It’s useful because there were people who said, don’t go on. And they are inventing a false story; but it was not a coincidence, neither the making up nor the false story were coincidences.
They hadn’t yet attacked Iraq and they were looking for another country to attack.
Over there, they invented chemical weapons and many other things. The point is that they didn’t find anything. That is the truth. But, there they go, all together, great pals.
Newsweek says: "On the other side, Otto Reich, former State Department assistant secretary for western hemispheric affairs admitted in an interview with the Knight Ridder chain that he too had tried to get the same CIA expert fired and that he had discussed the matter with Bolton, but that he didn’t know if Bolton had taken any action against the analyst.". See, Otto Reich, the man who goes and gets Posada Carriles out, or goes and talks to the lady from Panama after the Secretary of State had been there.
And he [Powell] is a prestigious official, at least in the United States. At one point he was even considered a strong candidate to the presidency because he had been in the other Iraq war. He was chief of staff, a good communicator, a black man of Jamaican ancestry, who many people thought of as a likely candidate, because in that country anyone who has been in a war may end up as a presidential candidate and his name back then was often brought up on television in that connection. But, he didn’t want to run. In fact, his family was very much afraid that he would be assassinated. In this case, they used him to go there. There were elections coming up, and Florida is a very important place; the previous elections had already been won by fraud. And they used the Secretary of State, but Otto Reich went there, too, later.
This is the same Otto Reich who was with Posada Carriles in the Ilopango operation, in the Iran-Contra scam. Just look at all the connections: the same gang. And this is long, long thread from the skein, Otto Reich, Bolton, Helms.
Look, he admits that he also pressured the other one. This is the same Otto Reich who was with that other crook Noriega, Helms’ "pious" assistant who came to Cuba when the Pope visited and went to Santiago de Cuba. I’m not going to repeat the story, we know what he did. This same gentleman went to Venezuela with that Otto Reich, who was something or other of the hemisphere, a State Department official, to say that Venezuela and Cuba were destabilizing democratic governments in Latin America. That was when they said all that other stupid things I told you about transition in Cuba, and death and rapid action. Those were the theorists of a rapid coup in circumstances like that, to prevent anyone taking over, they said, preventing a new leader taking control if anything should happen to me.
But they were such cynics, both Noriega and Otto Reich —so there’s no confusing him with our Otto. (laughter) Those great cynics talked about hastening this moment of tension.
We have taken measures, of course, we have. The measures are taken and written down, too, regarding what to do in any circumstances, with several variants. Thank you little Otto, thank you little Noriega, (laughter) thank you because we realized what scoundrels you are and we guessed what your plans were. Because, of course, it’s very easy to guess their plans.
Someone has said that lies have short legs and it’s true, we have proved that in public life, we could guess those fellow’s plans.
They believe that I have spies all over the place, they can distrust even their drivers. And I don’t have any spies, I don’t know if Intelligence does. But Intelligence doesn’t have spies, Intelligence has revolutionaries seeking information. (Applause)
In fact, the cards are on the table. That’s the way they act, we see it, and sometimes we outguess them. They went to Venezuela to find justifications to intervene in Venezuela, to justify their policy of interfering in Venezuela. Let’s be clear about this: all of that is part of the empire’s strategy, and these two belong to the empire’s extreme right, and that’s who’s in power.
But look at their conniving and there could be more with Posada Carriles and with Bosch, the same that corrupt court acquitted, when —as Alarcón explained— they didn’t hand over the information and moreover, bribed and did everything to get them off.
And that man is there, quite well, although he must have some resentment, because when he spoke of his old comrade in "adventures" and comrade in the monstrous crime in Barbados, he said that if he was there it couldn’t be any old John Smith. Do you remember the phrase I read here? "It couldn’t be any old John Smith who brought him here". Of course it wasn’t any old John Smith who pardoned him! I’ll say no more.
"Reich admitted that he had gone to CIA headquarters in 2002 to personally deliver a letter demanding the analyst be fired.
"The high official that Bush wants to appoint as ambassador to the United Nations has refused to talk to Newsweek". So, it is. That Bolton fellow didn’t want to talk to Newsweek.
This is what it says here:
"According to today, Monday’s Washington Post, Carl W. Ford, a veteran analyst with the State Department, could be a witness who would come to tell the Senate Committee about Bolton’s aggressive behavior towards officials working on Cuban issues".
I’m looking for the date because there is even some contradiction here, because it says, "today, Monday’s Washington Post" it might be a mistake someone made. But never mind, that’s not important, it makes absolutely no difference to the essence of what we are discussing here.
"In 2002, when he began to attack Cuba, while all of Washington’s attention was focused on Iraq and Al Qaeda, Bolton clashed with Westermann, and Ford, as head of the State Department’s Intelligence and Research Office, had to intervene on the analyst’s behalf. Bolton never again spoke to him". They bear grudges, these gangsters.
You will see, there’s more.
This one is called "Newsweek. Bolton’s attempts to intimidate officials into acting against Cuba investigated.
"According to an exclusive report under the by-line Mac Josenbalt" —that is the other one— "in the edition of Newsweek which went on sale this Monday, April 4" --this seems to contain what was summarized in the other but that last one was from the 15th. There could be a mistake about the date, but these are articles published like this— "investigators for the Foreign Relations Committee have contacted the State Department and the intelligence services to document information which says that Bolton thought the analyses of the two experts on the subject of biological weapons in Cuba were not alarmist enough.
"Newsweek says that these kinds of accusations have been circulating in intelligence circles since at least 2003, when Congress investigated similar accusations about analysts being subject to pressure to have them produce alarmist reports about Iraq’s weapons program under Saddam Hussein. The hearings didn’t have much effect, Newsweek says, but the State Department’s expert on weapons of mass destruction, Christian Westermann revealed that he had had arguments with Bolton about a speech falsely alleging that Cuba had biological weapons.
"According to a report from the Senate Intelligence Committee, Westermann said that he sent an email suggesting changes to Bolton’s speech.
"The second case involves a senior analyst on Latin America who Bolton and Otto Reich, then the most powerful State Department official on continental affairs, as well as other White House staff tried to stop" —this is apparently the third, one expert on Latin America, that was the one in the State Department, the one from the CIA and a third official— "him from being promoted because he was too soft on Cuba and because he had been a member of the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton.
"Otto Reich admitted to Newsweek that he wrote a secret letter to the analyst’s bosses criticizing his work.
"Charles Tenet, former CIA director resisted pressure from Bolton and Reich, Newsweek reports. "The official was promoted". Despite that crook’s campaign. Isn’t this interesting!.
Charles Tenet, former CIA director resisted pressure from Bolton and Reich, both of them, the diabolical duo, which rather than a duo is a trio, perhaps a quartet. Here it is. Let me see what day this is. This is from April 13, 2005, four days ago.
Another article: "Bolton called abusive". And then it reads: "Under oath, Carl Ford, who describes himself as a conservative Republican loyal to President George W. Bush’s government, said that he had never seen anything like Mr. Bolton, who abuses his authority over his subordinates" —to the core, I add. This is not a Cuban spy talking, no, you heard how the man describes himself.
"On the second day of the Senate Foreign relations Committee hearings, Ford, who worked with Bolton on matters relating to weapons of mass destruction said that the latter usually denigrated those who went against him. ‘Bolton is a "kiss-up, kick down sort of guy’, Ford said.
"For two hours, Ford spoke of the difference of opinion in 2002 over Cuba’s alleged capacity to manufacture biological weapons, something that was never proved but that Bolton wanted to stress in a speech.
"Ford, former director of a department of intelligence affairs in the State Department, was summoned to the hearings so he could describe the way Bolton treated another analyst, Christian Westermann and say if he had tried to get him fired over the disagreement on Cuba.
"Ford said that during a heated argument in 2002, the message he got from Bolton was that Westermann should be fired.
"According to Ford, Bolton’s furious reaction —he often shouted at his subordinates Ford said— managed to intimidate other analysts who were afraid to go against him. The fear was so great that then Secretary of State Colin Powell had to meet with them to convince them to keep on telling the truth, Ford added".
I think there’s no need for any more, time is going by and I don’t want this to go on too long nor leave certain things for another day.
Oh! Here it is; an article by Otto Reich. An opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal from Thursday, April 14.
"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. publicly unmasked the campaign which has been underway to discredit him and derail his nomination. They also demonstrated once again the need to reform the Senate confirmation process" —he’s complaining about this process because they’re putting the heat on Bolton, and they’re already itching to change even the Constitution of the United States, this guy’s really off the wall— "which has become so politicized that it is not serving its constitutional purpose". He wants to do away with the process; what’s all this sniffing around and finding things out about?
"I have strong opinions on…Senate hearings in general" —all of them, they have to be removed so that the bandits have their way, even traditions have to be removed so that the bandits can do as they please— "and on the Bolton hearings in particular…since in the past two decades I have been confirmed twice and smeared once". It’s a long article, full of foolish and idiotic remarks, so we’ll limit ourselves to a few paragraphs only.
"I know quite a bit about the spurious charge being used to try to stop Mr. Bolton. As the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, it was my responsibility" —it was that scoundrel, a buddy of Posada Carriles over there in El Salvador— "to ensure that policy makers had the best possible analysis on which to base their decisions, which in some cases involved life-and-death matters". Cuba’s biological research work was a matter of life and death: simple, conscious, deliberate and sinister lies.
"In my opinion, and that of many of my fellow ‘intelligence consumers’, we were not receiving the best possible intelligence analysis from this highly placed officer. I documented complaints about the analyst in question in a classified three-page letter, which I handed to the supervisor. I specifically stated that I did not wish the officer punished in any way, but that I did expect from the intelligence community a less biased and more professional analysis, which this individual had proven incapable of providing".
"When one errs consistently", --he is the best example—"and when his errors are exposed by others in the intelligence apparatus, as was the case of ‘Smith’" —Newsweek didn’t reveal Smith’s real name, obviously, because he was on a mission—"then it’s time for someone to step forward and say we can do better. That’s what I did".
"John Bolton has served our nation well in many posts under three presidents. He deserves to be confirmed". Faced with all this, he’s written articles for this and for other magazines, to defend him.
There’s something else, something important, something very important: "It was precisely Bolton and Wolfowitz" —that last one has a weird name— "who was the Pentagon’s second and is today the president of the World Bank" — the president of the United States appointed him. That’s why I was saying, at one point that they’re going to reward those who promoted the war. There’s apparently growing awareness in the United States about the responsibility of those who drag that country into that ignoble and costly war, those who sparked off the war against Iraq with lies.
So, these two gentlemen were the key figures in building up pretexts for war. Thus, the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis weigh on these two gentlemen’s and Otto Reich’s conscience. Over one hundred thousand! We’re not talking about 10, 20, 30, 100 or 1,000. Over one hundred thousand people have died!
There you have the sinister results of the lies of two bandits who have crept up into the tightest circles of the US president. What’s he going to do with them? Will he appoint them to the United Nations? Will he appoint them presidents of the World Bank? Where is this world going? It’s insane.
That’s the situation in Iraq. How much more will it cost? It’s cost the deaths of 1,500 US soldiers and around 2,000, 3,000 wounded —they’re not revealing the figures— and we don’t know how much more it’s going to cost them.
It was these two, this fellow who was saying we were building biological weapons, who persisted with the bear-faced lie to such an extent that he met with resistance, --and we were very happy about that-- it confirms what I said about many people in the United States, that they themselves will ultimately demand explanations for all of these things. It’s serious, extremely serious, what can say? What can we say about what’s happening right now?
The secretary of State herself, Madeleine Albright, she might be one of the worst reactionaries, she’s very reactionary, but she’s also an intelligent woman, there’s no doubt she’s an intelligent woman; but she’s reactionary in the extreme, I imagine she’s very proud, she’s puffed up with pride, it seems. What’s sad for a secretary of State is that later, after 30 days after the supposed arrival, she’s obliged to say she has no evidence of the presence of Posada Carriles in the United States and that the theory that he’s there has been made up by the [Cuban] intelligence. At least, that’s what officials said, and what the State Department spokesman has said again and again.
This person has to see that it’s a shoddy business, that there can’t be diplomacy in any state that respects itself, and in that country there are many politicians, many writers and intellectuals who have respect for themselves; what’s more, reactionaries with a tad of respect for themselves, they’re reactionary, they don’t believe in anything except the capitalist system and are opposed to everything, but they can be people with dignity; being a reactionary does not mean being a scoundrel, though the worst scoundrels are often very reactionary people.
Oh! I made a mistake, I said Madelaine Albright and it is someone else who’s there now. But we saw this lady on the news a few days ago speaking about the government’s intentions when the Pope visited. I correct myself, I should have said Condolezza Rice.
My apologies, I ask the secretary of State to forgive me, I spoke about another person and didn’t speak ill of them. I was referring to Condolezza, I was talking about Condolezza, who is very reactionary; but she is undoubtedly an intelligent woman.
On some occasions I’ve heard the US president call her Mrs. Arroz, "señorita Arroz", Spanish for rice.
Well, she’s been traveling around, but it must be hard for anyone seeing that kind of shoddy work, it must make her feel bad, anyone would feel bad, and I think they would do well —she’s close to the president— to ask for a hearing, to come forth and tell the truth, and ultimately resign, because they’ve cast her for a very embarrassing part, she’s losing credibility, no one in the world’s going to take her seriously afterwards. To sum up, it’s incomprehensible that such things happen at all.
This gentleman’s intentions are clear enough. These two are considered the people chiefly responsible for the war in Iraq, and already more than 100,000 lives weigh on their consciences, as do the lives of US soldiers who are dying there in an alleged war on terrorism, to which the country was driven by those gangsters. You can’t call them anything but gangsters, arrogant gangsters, and that’s why I say that if they’re so arrogant, if they have so much power, it would be interesting to know when, where, how and who was told that Posada Carriles was going to enter the country accompanied by Santiago Alvarez, in violation of every US law and making a mockery of the work of 22 government bodies, 15 intelligence organizations, 180,000 officials and $30 billions. I don’t think anything similar has ever happened before.
When things of this nature started happening in Rome, it was a sign that that society or that empire…Well, the empire is full of problems and contradictions, but it also has many knowledgeable and experienced people, and we’ll see what happens.
At least, we know for a fact that the Foreign Relations Committee is investigating what this man who was appointed to the United Nations did. It’s been proven that quite a number of officials, even CIA director Charles Tenet opposed the sanction. Of course, he’s no longer there, I think someone else is there now, I think his name is Negroponte. Isn’t it Negroponte?
Alarcón, why don’t you give us a five-minute biography of Negroponte? No more than two minutes, an impromptu.
Ricardo Alarcón: That’s a tough one.
Negroponte is best known for having been US ambassador in Honduras. He was closely linked to a whole series of human rights violations in Honduras. Back then, he was denounced for having harbored and protected the worst human rights violators in that country. Clandestine operations and support for the contras and so forth, all of the activities we were discussing the other day, were also taking place at the time.
Later, he was in the United Nations. When he was appointed to the UN, all of that came to light.
Commander in Chief: Didn’t he also have something to do with Venezuela?
Alarcón: In Venezuela? No, I don’t remember that he did. Otto Reich was the one who was ambassador in Venezuela when the famous trial was held, the time when Bosch got the famous acquittal and there’s a good number of messages from Otto Reich directed at the State Department asking for Bosch to be given a visa. They didn’t give him one then, but he slipped through, apparently with the help of his friend who was ambassador in Caracas at the time. That’s one episode. He later went to Panama for him, to defend him, but before that he had got the other fellow out of Caracas.
Commander in Chief: If the Church is in the hands of Satan, as they say. But, well, I think this official might have a sense of honor. The tail they’ve pinned on him runs from Florida to Isla Mujeres. So, how does he explain it? The chief of the 180,000, the chief will have to explain. Ok, so who’s going to answer for this? Maybe he’ll give an honorable answer, maybe; but he’s been put in a difficult situation. What is the organization good for? Who did that? Was he consulted? We should ask who tied all the lose ends: Otto Reich, Bolton, that one who belongs to the mob…
Alarcón: Oh, yes, Melquiades, Mel Martínez.
Commander in Chief: Mel Martínez who was a [Housing] Secretary. Who moved all that? They must know the date, the time, where, who authorized it, how things were said. There are many questions to answer, because the man’s there. I hope he doesn’t disappear. I was giving them a warning, because that man, just think of it, he’s a colossal headache, and if [Lee Harvey] Oswald was removed that same night, you can imagine. Just in case, I talked about that today at noon, urging them to make sure he wasn’t banished.
Alarcón: I forgot to mention that Negroponte is someone with close ties to this group. Until recently, he was also ambassador to Iraq, meaning, the one they sent as ambassador. The first ambassador to Iraq when they mounted that farce about an independent government.
Commander in Chief: But, really, you’re not giving the man a chance to get his act together, Alarcón. You’re grilling the poor fellow.
Alarcón: Well, perhaps if it’s John Paul’s first miracle (Laughter), but he comes from the very heart of that mob.
Commander in Chief: John Paul’s already taking all of this into account.
Alarcón: I don’t dismiss the possibility that John Paul is capable of a miracle, but we’d need more than a miracle, because this man belongs to the same group as Otto Reich and Wolfowitz, all those people.
Commander in Chief: Really?
Commander in Chief: So, there’s no chance of him coming around?
Alarcón: That’s the kind of career he’s had, Commander, from the UN to Bagdad, from Bagdad…
Commander in Chief: I forgot Bruno was there. Bruno made you remember. I think Bruno spoke to you just now.
Alarcón: No, I wanted to confirm with him that the man had been in Bagdad; it seems he wasn’t there for long.
Commander in Chief: Bruno, do you want to say something, or are you just sitting in? What are you doing? He was there for quite some time.
Bruno Rodríguez: I was listening attentively. I was in the United Nations when Negroponte was there. There were quite a number of skirmishes with him over the issue of the political manipulation of human rights in Cuba as he worked intensely in this connection, and he’s a sinister character, someone with ties to most reactionary groups in the United States, to the US Special Services, from the time Alarcón was talking about with respect to the dirty war in Nicaragua up to when he took charge…
Commander in Chief: But he’s not stupid, is he?
Alarcón: No, he isn’t.
Bruno Rodríguez: No, he’s not in the least bit stupid.
Commander in Chief: Well, if he’s not stupid, at least there’s some hope the man will realize what’s going on and say something. We aren’t accusing him, we are explaining the situation.
Some other day, Bruno, you can tell that story about my conversation with you when they took you out of the Juventud Rebelde newspaper and put you forth as candidate for ambassador to the United Nations. Not now, Bruno, because we don’t have much time. Leave it for some other day, when it’s your turn to explain things (Laughter).
Ok, I’m looking at my watch and realize we don’t have much time, however, we’ve got first-rate material here, it’s an article which was just published this morning.
Sympathetic hands got hold of it quickly, because this was sent to us as soon as it was printed, and thanks to the efforts of translators, a very intense effort, they translated the text of the article that appeared in The Washington Post. Another article from The Washington Post, I’ve read things from The Washington Post, The New York Times and Newsweek.
This article appeared this morning. I couldn’t have it with me on Friday because of what I’m explaining but I think it’s very important. Who wrote it? The same journalist who interviewed Posada Carriles in 1998. The New York Times sent this journalist to interview Posada Carriles, and she wrote, I think, three articles, two of them very important.
I have it in front of me, I’ve read it, it’s been underlined for quite some time, because I had an interview with another journalist, Tim Golden, a journalist from The New York Times, which lasted many hours. He came to find things out. We showed him all of the evidence we had against Posada Carriles. Then, later, The New York Times published these lady’s articles, the things the guy said sparked off a scandal. There was a run around, I’ve already explained this, they went looking for him to have him discredit this.
I waited for them to publish this journalist’s [Tim Golden] articles but they never did. I believe some strong pressures were brought to bear on The New York Times. This is what I believe, I don’t know for a fact. The fact is that The New York Times had brought off a coup by publishing those interviews with Posada Carriles, which scandalized the very powerful Foundation mob.
On July 12 and 13, 1998, the woman journalist published some tremendous articles. The first article she published on July 12, 1998 —it might be worthwhile to read it, there’s two of them— and the same journalist turns up again now and writes another article. Her name is Ann Louis Bardach. She’s been here, she’s even asked me some questions on a number of occasions. She’s not a friend of Cuba but she became very famous for the articles she wrote for another magazine. But those two  had a huge impact, and the one she published today is really interesting. I’ll read it quickly to wrap up. So, anyone who’s falling asleep wait a bit more, I don’t think I’ll be more than 20 minutes (Laughter). It goes like this:
"By Annl Louis Bardach".
"Sunday, April 17, 2005". It was published today, we couldn’t leave it for tomorrow, nor the day after, it was a good thing it was published today. It says that: "In 1988, the late, great Cuban exile director Nestor Almendros released his critically acclaimed film about political prisoners in his homeland —a documentary that shattered whatever was left of the utopian view of Cuba. It was called "Nobody Listened".
I want to read it verbatim because many know this story, part of the terrible defamatory campaigns against our country. I want to read this to show you the author is not a fidelista or a Castro spy or agent, she begins her article by saying what I’ve read.
It goes: "The title would work well for a sequel, this time set in Miami to shatter any lingering illusions about the nature of Cuban exile politics".
"The anti-hero could be Luis Posada Carriles, the fugitive militant" —it doesn’t say the ‘veteran’, it says the ‘fugitive militant’— "would-be assassin of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and prison escapee who is wanted by Venezuela for the 1976 shoot down of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 civilians. Late last month, a South Florida television station offered a startling exclusive: Posada, last seen in Honduras, had slipped into Miami. Then last Tuesday, Posada’s newly retained attorney had the temerity to request asylum for him.
"Posada must have thought nobody would be listening. How was it possible that a self-described ‘warrior’ and ‘militante’ —long a fixture on the U.S. immigration authorities’ watch list— had crossed into the United States with a bogus passport and visa? And is it remotely conceivable that the Bush administration, notwithstanding its purported commitment to the war on terrorism (Rule 1 of U.S. counter terrorism policy: "make no concessions to terrorists and strike no deals"), would consider residency for a notorious paramilitary commando? He has even boasted of orchestrating numerous attacks on both civilian and military targets (including the 1997 bombings of Cuban tourist facilities that killed an Italian vacationer and wounded 11 others) during his 50-year war to topple Castro.
"In any other American city, Posada, who is now 77, might have been met by a SWAT team, arrested and deported. But in the peculiar ecosystem of Miami, where hardline anti-Castro politicians control both the radio stations and the ballot boxes, the definition of terrorism is a pliable one: One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. His lawyer made the tortured argument that those who planted bombs in Havana could not be held responsible for innocent victims unless it could be proven that those victims were, in fact, targets. Other supporters have underscored that Posada was once a CIA asset who fought for its ill-fated excursion at the Bay of Pigs, and who played a crucial role in the Iran-contra operations during the Reagan-Bush years."
"It is a story of keen interest to me as Posada had granted me an exclusive interview in June 1998. At a safe house and other locations in Aruba" —just look at how close to Venezuela that is— "I spent three days tape-recording him for a series of articles that ran in The New York Times. The urbane and chatty Posada said that he had decided to speak with me in order to generate publicity for his bombing campaign of Cuba’s tourist industry —and frighten away tourists. ‘Castro will never change, never’, Posada said" —thanks a lot, bloody knight.(Laughter and applause) — "’Our job is to provide inspiration and explosives to the Cuban people’.
A damn would be needed to hold the tears this man has made the Cuban people shed.
"Instead of undermining Castro, such comments have enabled the Cuban leader to argue that his foes are lawless at best and killers at worst. And so Castro remains in power, and Posada is looking for a new home".
Actually, he’s looking for other things.
"Posada and his Miami strategists are hoping that he can follow in the footsteps of his fellow conspirator, one-time cellmate and convicted terrorist, Orlando Bosch. In 1976, Bosch, Posada and two Venezuelans, were charged and imprisoned for the bombing of the Cuban civilian airline —the first act of airline terrorism in the hemisphere— killing all aboard, including the members of Cuba’s national fencing team, many of them teenagers.
"The powerful exile leadership in Miami financed a legal crusade to free the two, challenging the trial process in Caracas, where bribery is widespread. Bosch would serve 11 years and Posada nine before their lawyers won acquittals.
In fact, as Alarcón explained, Posada wasn’t acquitted, he was declared a fugitive, it’s just a detail, but worth mentioning.
"But both remained jailed pending prosecutor’s appeals and new trials, in accordance with Venezuela’s labyrinthine judicial system".
"Their indictment was the result of the collective data and wisdom of three intelligence organizations: American, Venezuelan and Cuban.
Mention should be made here, I might add, of Trinidad and Tobago, which made the chief contribution, that Caribbean intelligence organization.
"’Bosch and Posada were the primary suspects’, a retired high-level CIA official familiar with the case confirmed in an interview, adding ‘there were no other suspects’. A close confidante of the two militants told me, ‘It was a screw-up. It was supposed to be an empty plane’
Forget the pilots; the pilots had to be taken down along with the usual crew, stewardesses and all.
"Others contend that the men believed the airline to be a military craft, though neither man has ever expressed remorse for the civilian death toll. An unrepentant Bosch still calls the plane ‘a legitimate target’, recently telling a Miami reporter, ‘there were no innocents on that plane’.
"Posada ‘escaped’" —she writes it within quotations— "from prison in 1985 after his Miami cohorts paid a $28,000 bribe to the warden. Three weeks later, he was in El Salvador, where Felix Rodriguez..."
A very infamous guy, who accompanied the troops that went into combat at Quebrada del Yuro, who interrogated Che, who witnessed and participated in his killing in that school; it’s that Rodríguez, a big shot with the gang: Bosch, Rodríguez, Posada Carriles and others, one who left and went straight to the United States, the murderer of Allende’s ex-Foreign Secretary, Orlando Letelier, and of a US citizen who was with him, the same that, of course, was acquitted. That’s another well-known member of the gang and we should keep delving into it, we may come across interesting things, but I don’t want to add anything else today. And Otto Reich was there with them, working for the Reagan and Bush administrations.
The article continues thus:
"Three weeks later he was in El Salvador, where Felix Rodriguez, a comrade from his early CIA days, was waiting for him with a very special job offer" —we spoke here about his two jobs— "to be his deputy in the covert Contra resupply operation directed by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North. In our conversations, Posada blamed a fellow commando (conveniently dead) for the airline bombing and cited political influence peddling in the Venezuelan justice system for his and Bosch’s long prison stints. Their critics argue the opposite: that Venezuela’s endemic corruption enabled Posada and Bosch’s supporters to buy them superb accommodations in prison and, ultimately, Posada’s escape.
"Bosch was allowed to leave Venezuela not long after then-US. ambassador Otto Reich voiced concerns about his safety in a series of cables to the State Department.
"Attorney General Richard Thornburgh described Bosch as an ‘unreformed terrorist’.
Attorney General Thornburgh, is it the same one, Alarcón?
Ricardo Alarcón: That was the attorney. I quoted the document that was signed by his deputy.
Commander in Chief: This happens at that point in time, look what the journalist says:
"Attorney General Richard Thornburgh described Bosch as an ‘unreformed terrorist’ who should be deported. But Bosch had a powerful advocate in Jeb Bush, who at that time was managing the campaign of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
This is the ferocious wolf, don’t forget that on the 22 it will be five years since the government ordered the rescue of the child. How sad, how heartrending were those long days, weeks and months, seeing those images that are shameful and will always be shameful, what they did with that child. That’s Otto Reich, he sent the cables.
"He (Posada) flew to Miami in December 1987 without a visa and was promptly arrested.
"…Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban exile to win a seat in the U.S. House. In an unusual presidential intercession on behalf of a convicted terrorist, President George H.W. Bush overruled the FBI and the Justice Department and in 1990 approved the release of Bosch, who won U.S. residency two years later.
"Posada is gambling that he will have Bosch’s luck and is banking on the same supporters".
I don’t agree with that, with due respect for the journalist’s point of view. No, he’s after other things. What he really wants to do is to continue his terrorist activities in Miami, the same he was doing from prison in Panama, sending his lackeys; Santiago himself declared that he’d go all over the place, don’t forget that, because he was running around Central America, it was becoming difficult for him, he had to go to Miami, he had other motives. But I respect the journalist’s opinion and read just as she wrote it:
"But Bosch’s presence in Miami has often proved to be an embarrassment to the Bush family. When a Newsweek reporter questioned Bill Clinton about his pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, he snapped, ‘I swore I wouldn’t answer questions about Marc Rich until Bush answered about Orlando Bosch’. Few Republicans raised the issue again.
"In November 2000, Posada was arrested again, along with three other anti-Castro militants for plotting to assassinate Castro during the Ibero-American summit in Panama. All of the arrested men had impressive rap sheets" —says the journalist— "and had been charter members of the terrorist groups CORU or Omega 7".
Everyone knows who created those groups, it was the CIA, make no mistake about it, that’s been well proven. In fact, in those days, the CIA forced them to unite, ‘join up or the party’s over’, they said.
"In April 2004, Panama’s Supreme Court sentenced Posada and his associates to up to eight years in prison, but in August the quartet was sprung by a surprise pardon from departing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, who maintains good relations with Miami’s political leadership. Her pardon outraged U.S. and Latin American law enforcement officials.
"Three of the men were flown to Miami and met by their jubilant supporters just days before the 2004 presidential election. But Posada disappeared —until his emergence here last month.
"The quarter are not the only unsavory characters to be given the red carpet in Miami. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen, with the backing of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, wrote letters on behalf of several exile militants held in U.S. prisons for acts of political violence. Some were released in 2001, including Jose Dionisio Suarez Esquivel and Virgilio Paz Romero, both convicted for the notorious 1976 car bomb-murder of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his American assistant Ronnie Moffitt, in Washington. Once released, instead of being deported like other non-citizen criminals, they have been allowed to settle into the good life in Miami.
"South Florida’s politicians have also tried, unsuccessfully so far, to convince the Justice Department to release Cuban-born Valentin Hernandez, who gunned down fellow exile Luciano Nieves in 1975. Nieves crime was speaking out in support of negotiations with the Cuban government. Nieves was ambushed in a Miami hospital parking lot after visiting his 11-year-old son. A year later, Hernandez and an accomplice murdered a former president of the Bay of Pigs Association in an internecine power struggle. Hernandez was finally captured in July 1977 and sentenced to life in prison for the Nieves murder. Exile hardliners, though, continue to refer to him as a freedom fighter.
"Polls show that Miami’s political leadership and its radio no longer speak for most exiles. The majority of Cuban exiles, like other Americans, abhor terrorism ,whether in Cuba or Miami, left or right. But as one convicted killer after another is allowed to resettle in Miami, the political climate there has chilled and few dare to speak out. And when they do, it seems that nobody is listening.
"Since 9/11, the administration’s double standard on terrorism, with its Cuban exception, is even more glaring. Just before the Justice Department announced a post-9/11 sweep of those ‘suspected’ of terrorism, it had quietly released men who had been convicted of terrorism. Last Thursday, the administration congratulated itself on a sweep that netted 10,000 fugitive criminals, yet somehow Posada eluded it.
"I remember Posada’s sly smile when he told me that he had at least four different passports from different countries in bogus names, including an American one. When I asked when he last visited the United States, he chortled with amusement. ‘Officially or unofficially? I have a lot of passports’, Posada said. ‘If I want to go to Miami, I have different ways to go. No problem’. Evidently not".
That’s the article published today. You couldn’t be more persuasive, and the person who wrote it has written before. She says very strong things and she doesn’t sympathize with the Cuban Revolution.
It’s 10:59 PM. I was about to conclude and now they’re brining me a sheet of paper. The election results are in. There is a not, it reads:
"The following preliminary information was gathered at 6:00 PM, after the polling stations had been closed: 8,168,253 people exercised their right to vote, 96,27% of the population (Prolonged applause), a figure higher than that of the past elections for delegates to the municipal assemblies of the People’s Power, which was 95,75%".
Bear in mind that anyone outside of their municipality cannot vote. There are hundreds of thousands of people outside of their municipalities. Nancy here wasn’t able to vote, and I suspect others who are outside of their municipality weren’t able to do so either. It’s an impressive figure, and almost everyone voted early in the day.
"The final election results will be announced tomorrow once they have been legally verified. Signed, the National Electoral Committee".
"Time: 10:30 PM".
Patria o Muerte!
If you’re not tired, we may be seeing each other again tomorrow at 6:30 (Applause). In any event, read the paper in the morning, there’ll be news there most likely. It’s tough, things are heating up, and a day with no news leaves us in the dark. There are plenty of interesting things to follow, I’m sure. So, most probably, we’ll be seeing each other.
See you tomorrow! (Applause)