An EFE wire story dated March 13 in Miami reported that a group of 28 Cuban illegal immigrants arrived in the Florida Keys on March 12. The group was made up of 16 men, 7 women and 5 children.

Another wire story issued in the same city on Tuesday, March 14, by AFP reported that on the evening of the previous day another group of 14 Cubans arrived in Marathon Key, Florida. There were 3 men, 5 women, 2 boys and 4 girls, "including a four-month-old baby girl."

The wire story stated that this information had been released by a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman and with regard to his comments, it added the following significant paragraph: "‘I didn’t know you could travel so fast on a drifting raft,’ the spokesman ironically noted, saying that this was probably another case of immigrant smuggling from the island."

Such incidents irrefutably confirm every word spoken by comrade Fidel at the closing of the 7th Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women as well as the editorial published in Granma 48 hours ago under the title "The Cuban Adjustment Act as part of the United States Perfidious Immigration Policy".

While the debate continues over the Cuban-American terrorist mob’s kidnapping of a shipwrecked Cuban boy aged five years and 11 months that is already world famous, it has been demonstrated that every day now between four and five Cuban children are exposed to the danger of a shipwreck or death.

In response to Cuba’s justified denunciations, the U.S. authorities have said that the publicity thus given to the Cuban Adjustment Act, together with the observation that the U.S. Coast Guard Service has been demoralized, have contributed to an increase in illegal emigration. But, the infamous Adjustment Act needs no publicity since no one in Miami or Cuba is unaware of its existence. At least, everybody knows that due to the hostility against Cuba and its Revolution any Cuban arriving anywhere in the United States, whether a tiny island or any point on its immense coastline or its enormous land area by sea or by air, "fleeing from socialism and in search of freedom," is welcomed with honors and privileges. Even misinformed people from such distant countries as India and Pakistan have come to Cuba as tourists and committed crimes and kidnappings in order to travel to the United States on sports’ boat.

The statistics on the number of illegal immigrants intercepted clearly shows the demoralization of the Coast Guard Service as a result of the clumsy trap set up in the city of Miami when in complicity with the Cuban-American National Foundation the smugglers placed a small group of immigrants on a boat just off the coast while dozens of TV cameras, radio stations and journalists awaited there to capture scenes of the efforts made by the Coast Guard personnel to prevent the boat’s passengers, who had jumped into the water, from reaching the shore.

That pitched battle involving rather rough methods was widely covered by the media in the United States and the world thus discrediting the Coast Guard Service. Nobody cared to explain the cause of this fiercely stubborn attempt to reach land. Everybody attacked the Coast Guard Service, including the top government authorities. Nobody explained the reasons behind this incident, this provocation. Nobody said that what so strongly spurred that group of immigrants was an Act which, throughout 33 years, has discriminated against citizens of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and the rest of Latin America and the world by granting the privilege of resident status and the immediate right to work to all those coming from the blockaded island of Cuba, which they are bent on destabilizing and starving to death.

A subsequent accident several days later ended up with the sinking of a boat carrying illegal immigrants from Cuba when they disregarded the instructions of the U.S. Coast Guard and attempted to avoid being intercepted at any cost. The result was a collision between the boat and the Coast Guard cutter. This further inflamed the mob, which stepped up its attacks. Since then, a number of our compatriots --who know how to read and write and are no fools-- armed with machetes to cut ropes, doused their boat with gasoline and threatened to set it on fire to the astonishment of the marines on board the Coast Guard cutters. These were genuinely and almost totally demoralized. Everybody knows it. Their current capacity to intercept illegal immigrants has been reduced to almost zero. Why try to hide it?

On the contrary, what Cuba has published has been aimed at exposing the dangers involved in these misadventures at sea, particularly for women and children. But, when the organizers and participants in these journeys are dangerous and unscrupulous criminals lured by consumer societies and easy and abundant opportunities for theft, gambling, drugs and mob activities who drag women and children along with them, it is obviously useless to try to warn them since they are very well informed about the Cuban Adjustment Act.

In addition to all of the above, Reuters, a transnational press agency whose leading reporters, at least in our country, specialize in manipulating and interpreting as they see fit everything that is said and done in Cuba, reported with regard to the aforementioned Granma editorial that "Cuba warned on Tuesday of the danger of another mass exodus of Cubans to the United States if Washington continues failing to fulfill the migratory agreements signed by the two countries." The phrase "mass exodus" was never used in the editorial that was neither drafted in threatening terms.

However, this explains the concern elicited by our editorial among federal authorities in Miami and even the Cuban community in Florida and other parts of the United States, since such an occurrence could lead to the suspension of the growing number of visits --over 100,000 annually-- by Cuban immigrants in the United States to their relatives in Cuba.

An AFP wire story issued yesterday, March 15, reported: "Federal and local authorities in Miami ‘are not on alert’ for an eventual massive influx of Cuban immigrants --despite concerns elicited in the local media by a Granma editorial--according to an announcement made this Wednesday by Bill del Grosso, preparedness coordinator at the Office of Emergency Management in Dade County, Miami."

"A federal judge in Miami is expected to issue his ruling shortly on the fate of the shipwrecked Cuban child Elián González, and some local radio and television stations have speculated that in the case that the judge does not make it possible for the child to be promptly returned to Cuba, the Cuban government might permit such an exodus.

"‘At the moment we are not on alert in this regard,’ declared Bill del Grosso, although the Office of Emergency Management in Dade County, Miami, has a ‘Cuba contingency plan’ that would be enforced in the event of a massive influx of Cuban immigrants or a change in government in Cuba, in order to control the crowds expected to take to the streets.

"There is also a plan dating from October of 1998 that foresees funding from the federal government for all costs that would be incurred by Florida in dealing with a massive influx of Cuban immigrants.

"Joe Mellia, a Border Patrol spokesman, emphasized that ‘we are working like we always do, nothing out of the ordinary.’"

Although the comments made by the preparedness coordinator at the Office of Emergency Management are somewhat ridiculous when referring to measures for contingencies like a change of government in Cuba to control the crowds who would take to the streets, he nevertheless reflects the prevailing atmosphere in Florida. Apparently, that coordinator has not realized that in Cuba the crowds have really been on the streets for more than three months demanding the return of Elián, the elimination of the absurd Cuban Adjustment Act and the end of the aggressive and genocidal measures against our country outlined in the Oath of Baraguá.

On the other hand, many increasingly radical opinions are heard in our own country every day, and in growing numbers, to the effect that Cuba should respond to the drawn-out kidnapping of the child and to the Cuban Adjustment Act by opening our coasts to all those who wish to take advantage of this infamous, senseless and provocative law.

There are many in Miami who believe that another Mariel or mass exodus is imminent. However, there is absolutely no evidence that Cuba has taken a single step in this direction. On the contrary, it is thanks to the special effort made by our country to keep control of its coasts, of privately owned boats and the materials to construct them, that a considerably larger number of illegal emigrants --the majority of them with criminal records and antisocial backgrounds-- have not attempted to take advantage of the privileges and pardon for any kind of crime offered by this criminal Adjustment Act.

Although it is much more difficult to protect our thousands of kilometers of coastline by intercepting speedboats that come from Florida with two or three outboard motors that can reach speeds of up to 50 miles an hour, we have captured dozens of such immigrant smugglers. And let it be said that if apprehended today they would face sentences of 30 years to life imprisonment. It is the U.S. investigation and law enforcement agencies that have failed to arrest those responsible for the violation of the American laws.

The arrival by sea of a boat carrying 14 people from Cuba, with three men and no less than five women and six children, including a four-month-old baby, is the height of provocation. Anyone can understand the anger that has built up throughout more than three months over the cruel injustice and abuse committed by kidnapping the Cuban child Elián González, submitting the case to judges who have no legal jurisdiction and no right to decide on his fate according to international legal standards, and the endless delay of his return, which has provided the kidnappers with all the time they need to alienate and destroy the mind of this defenseless child.

Naturally, this situation has increased our people’s bitterness and indignation. But it has also increased their wisdom, their political culture, their fighting spirit, their unity, their discipline, their revolutionary consciousness and their profound conviction about the justice of the line they have relentlessly pursued with exemplary tenacity and heroism against aggressions by the most powerful and aggressive empire that has ever existed.

Our people do not constitute a military or economic power; in fact, they lack wealth although they are powerful in ideas, immensely rich in experience and invulnerable in their immense morale. They know what they are doing, as they have known for the last 40 years what must be done in every circumstance. We do not want any conflicts nor are we trying to create one. We simply demand justice for our homeland and claim its right to be free and sovereign to follow its own way, to unite with all those in the world currently subjected to plunder and who for centuries have been the victims of colonization, extermination, enslavement and the most merciless exploitation.



Tireless fighters for a better world, experienced and determined: this is what we are and what we will continue to be.


Editorial published in Granma on March 16, 2000