EDITORIAL PUBLISHED IN GRANMA NEWSPAPER ON MARCH 26, 2002
THE NAME OF THE MAN TO BLAME FOR WHAT HAPPENED IN MONTERREY IS JORGE CASTANEDA
The history of Monterrey is very recent. There is a devilish and cynical mastermind behind the extremely weird Mexican policy regarding the incident: his name is Jorge Castañeda Gutman.
It was he who thought up and in connivance with the U.S. State Department concocted the plan that Mexico, Argentina and some other Latin American Foreign Ministries would present a draft resolution to condemn Cuba at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. This is something so discredited that even the Czech Government was unwilling to go along with it. As for the Monterrey Summit, his idea was that during the visit to Cuba last February 3, Comrade Fidel be asked the "favor" of not attending the conference in Mexico. No one dared, however, to raise this thorny issue. The first meeting between the two delegations took on a serious and intense character. President Fox respectfully listened to our Commander-in-Chief’s frank and irrefutable words concerning the outrageous U.S. machinations against Cuba in Geneva. They doubtlessly influenced the way the contacts and exchanges of opinions between the Presidents of Cuba and Mexico unfolded.
In the first meeting, Comrade Fidel, as if he guessed the visitors’ intentions and knowing that the U.S. President had warned that he would not go to the meeting "if Castro attended", took the initiative and reminded President Fox that he had received an invitation from the United Nations to participate in the Monterrey Summit. What was said in that meeting held in the Palace of the Revolution between 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. was fully recorded by the stenographers present.
Later, during President Fox’s intense but short visit to Cuba, nobody even dared to raise the subject of the Monterrey meeting nor ask that our Commander-in-Chief not take part.
At four in the afternoon of that first and almost only day of the visit, a meeting was scheduled between Felipe Pérez Roque, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Castañeda where Felipe planned to tackle, very strongly and seriously, the issue of Castañeda’s conspiracy against Cuba in connivance with the head of the U.S. State Department. It was not necessary. Castañeda, completely demoralized by the exchanges of opinion in and development of the previous meeting between the two delegations, gave his assurance that Mexico would not promote a draft resolution against Cuba. Likewise, President Fox communicated Mexico’s stance to the Cuban President in a tête à tête meeting that night, just before the dinner offered to the Mexican delegation.
Castañeda had concocted yet more Machiavellian plans: a breakfast meeting in the Mexican Embassy in Cuba between President Fox and a group of notorious counterrevolutionary ringleaders, before his return to Mexico. Not a word about this had been said while the program for the visit was being worked out. President Fox mentioned it to Comrade Fidel in their meeting the night before, minutes before dinner. "There will be no problem whatsoever between us over this meeting", our Commander-in-Chief told him, "but I am afraid that it might disappoint our people who are very sensitive about this subject and tarnish your image in their eyes". Fox’s reply was that he would only greet them, not meet with them.
Castañeda, however, would not abandon his maneuvers and provocation. He gave President Fox a list of the so-called "prisoners of conscience" who were serving jail sentences for their counterrevolutionary activities. This is an old U.S. Government trick, which they pull on any important western politician who visits Cuba, its aim being to upset and disturb any meeting between friends we have in common and the Cuban leadership. This practice has been rejected by Cuba that long ago decided not even to read the insidious lists. Fox did not say a single word to our Commander-in-Chief on this matter on the many occasions they spoke in private or traveled together. He handed over the list to the Cuban Foreign Minister who accompanied him to the airport. Later, it was said that President Fox had given that list to the Commander-in-Chief.
Castañeda, had had it his way since the next day the wire services commented more on the infamous breakfast with the counterrevolutionaries and the alleged delivery to Fidel of the aforementioned list than on the excellent visit and fruitful and sincere exchanges of opinion between the two delegations.
Apparently not satisfied, on his return to Mexico the unpredictable Foreign Minister made some enigmatic and bizarre statements: "Mexico’s relations with the Cuban Revolution have ceased to exist and relations with the Republic of Cuba have begun."
A few days later, on Tuesday, February 26, he was back on the attack when he opened the Mexican Cultural Institute in Miami and said word for word: "This cultural institute is for all Mexicans, for all Latin Americans and of course, for all Cuban-Americans". And he added: "The doors of the Mexican Embassy in Havana are open to all Cuban citizens, as is Mexico".
The next day, February 27, the official U.S. government radio station, closely associated with the Miami terrorist mob, and which, in a manner both insulting and hurtful to our people, bears the name of the Apostle of our independence, took the Mexican Foreign Minister’s truly strange words and from 7:31 in the morning until 8:01 at night, broadcast his statements eight times, placing extra emphasis on the lie that diplomatic relations between the two countries had been severed, and in Castañeda’s words: "The doors of the Mexican embassy are open to all Cubans". That is what caused the incident at that embassy. During the night, hundreds of antisocial and lumpen people tried to break into that embassy. A bus crashed at full speed into the gates. Policemen were hurt, and it was only the heroic efforts of a small group of guards that prevented several hundred people from getting into the embassy. Only 21 managed to do so. None of them was a professional, an intellectual, or a university student. More than 50 per cent had a criminal record or had received a police warning for criminal activities.
At the Mexican Government’s request, unarmed Special Forces removed the invaders without harming them in the slightest. All the foreign press agencies witnessed the development.
There were a lot of people at that ceremony in Miami who have nothing to do with culture. Jorge Mas Santos and other ringleaders of the so-called Cuban-American Foundation, as well as many other terrorists, were there as guests of honor.
Never mind that these men are mercenaries and terrorists, never mind that their Foundation for Crime has for years paid for terrorist attacks against hotels in Cuba and sea-based attacks against other tourist facilities. In Castañeda’s opinion, they are very important: after all, they were the ones who, by perpetrating a scandalous fraud, decided the presidential elections in Florida.
Why did such a provocation take place?
Why did the Mexican Foreign Minister make a speech like that at the opening of a Mexican cultural institute in Miami?
Why did he address his sluggish and sycophantic words to "the select group" of mobsters and terrorists invited to the ceremony?
Why does Cuba have to put up with it?
Why does the Mexican government not put an end to this gentleman’s continuous insults and provocation?
These shameful events took place before the incident over the Monterrey Summit.
All that was the result of Mr. Castañeda’s Machiavellian and provocative policy. The Cuban President was asked not to attend the Summit 24 hours before his departure for Monterrey. After strenuous exchanges of opinion and with great difficulty the Mexican Government consented to an agreement accepted by Cuba -- with no other alternative -- that the head of our delegation would withdraw in the afternoon of the 21st. The Commander-in-Chief kept his word, but could not leave without giving a brief explanation, as much for the Cuban people as for international public opinion: "I ask for your indulgence since I will not be able to accompany you any longer. A special situation created by my participation in this Summit obligates me to immediately return to my country."
It was the shortest possible explanation he could offer on such a strange behavior, which could have been interpreted as a cowardly act over the fear of crossing paths with or finding himself face to face with the master of the world. This had happened once before in June 1992, with President George H. Bush, without causing the slightest incident and with mutual respect. He explained that Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, president of the Cuban National Assembly, our supreme body of state power, would take over for him. He asked that Alarcón not be prevented from attending any of the Summit’s functions. Complying with this simple, minimal and logical request would have brought the incident to a close. Nevertheless, the arrogance, haughtiness and sinister influence of Mr. Castañeda were able to accomplish yet more. There was not only a desire to trample on Cuba’s rights, but also to humiliate it. It was necessary to protest and denounce what had happened. The Mexican Foreign Minister swore and forswore that nobody, absolutely nobody had asked that obstacles be placed in the way of or limitations placed on the Cuban President’s participation. He shamefully lied about events he knew only too well. He has even left doubts floating around about what really happened.
There has been a deluge of official statements sowing doubts about the truth of the statements made by Felipe Pérez Roque, the Cuban Foreign Minister and by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, Speaker of the National Assembly of People’s Power.
How long are they going to try the patience of our kind-hearted and friendly people?
Cuba has irrefutable proof of everything that happened which would sweep away any doubts. However, it has preferred not to use it, because does not want to hurt Mexico, to damage its prestige, or to cause any political instability in that sister country. Nobody needed to ask our Government to support Mexico’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council; we simply did it, Castañeda notwithstanding. But, we did not wish to communicate this to President Fox through his dishonest and scheming Foreign Minister. We did so in a direct message to the President.
This was the second time that the Mexican Government had tried to prevent Cuba’s presence at a summit. The first time was in 1981, when our country chaired the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. Ronald Reagan was the U.S. president at the time and he threatened not to attend, just like the current U.S. president. But back then President López Portillo --on the advice of his Foreign Minister, Jorge Castañeda de la Rosa, a friendly and honorable man-- showed great class and invited Fidel to Cozumel, where they had a long conversation and he explained the true reason why he had asked him to decline his right to attend. Cuba replied in its unwavering spirit of friendship toward Mexico. That could be understood and tolerated.
Times are different now. The empire is more powerful and aggressive than ever; it threatens our Homeland, steps up its hostility, perseveres with its intention of maintaining its almost half a century old blockade and of keeping Cuba on its arbitrary and unfair list of countries which sponsor terrorism. It appoints to the position of Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs a well-known gangster, a participant in loathsome acts of terror and crime in Central America, an intimate friend of Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch. These two were responsible for the explosion that blew up a Cubana Airliner in mid flight with 73 people on board, including the youth fencing team with all of the gold medals won in a Central American and Caribbean tournament. They all perished; but they could not be recovered. There have been dozens of terrorist attacks on Cuba and plans to assassinate Comrade Fidel organized by the first of these two sinister characters funded by that Foundation with whose top men Mr. Castañeda is now on such intimate terms.
There could not be a greater accumulation of events than those perpetuated by this renegade. In his youth he requested and even received military training so he could support the guerrilla movement in Central America. Today, however, he has become an instrument of the imperialist plans against Cuba, more out of ambition and vanity than due to hatred or to an ideology, which he has never had nor will ever have.
For the honor of Mexico, somehow such insults and aggressions against the Cuban people must come to an end. Cuba should not be forced to show the evidence it possesses. We are aware that governments come and go but peoples remain. Still, we wish to maintain normal relations with the Mexican Government and not to cause even the slightest damage to President Fox’s authority and prestige at a time when serious human and economic problems are awaiting a solution on which depends the fate of millions of Mexicans who live illegally in lands snatched from their country. Hundreds of these people die every year crossing and re-crossing borders, or they must refrain from seeing their loved ones, and suffer discrimination and the violation of their most basic human rights.
All we are asking for is an end to Mr. Castañeda’s provocation, insults, lies and evil plans against Cuba. Otherwise we shall have no alternative but to make public that which we have not wished to make public and tear to pieces his false and cynical statements, no matter what the cost. And let no one doubt it!