Homage And Lesson Learned From Mr. Charles W. Cherry's Death,12/25/04
Fruits of Tragic Miscalculation, 12/25/04
Only in Miami, 11/23/04
A Failed Witch Hunt, 11/21/04
Destructive Genes, 11/18/04
The Future Of Our Region
In Limbo, 8/14/04
The Alberto Jones Column VII - 2004
Dr. Alberto Jones is a member of the West Indian Welfare Society in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba who now resides in northern Florida. He is an activist with strong communal ties to his homeland and is the director of the Caribbean American Children's Foundation as well as a director of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc. He writes regularly on issues concerning Cuba, and we present his letters and columns here. Past columns are in Alberto Jones Column, Column I covering the period 1998 - 1999, Column II, 2000, Column III, 2001 (Part I), Column IV, 2001 (Part II), Column V, 2002, Column VI, 2003.
On The Wrong Side Of History, 6/30/04
A Tragic Day In The American History, 6/30/04
Haiti, A Man-Made Tragedy, 3/1/04
A Call In Defense Of Our Families, 2/16/04
Fruits of Tragic Miscalculation, 12/25/04
|Two years ago, in a futile
attempt to prevent the growing threat of war in Iraq, we joined tens
of millions of peace loving people around the world, who held
vigils, marched, wrote newspaper articles and sent letters to the White
House, pleading with President George W. Bush, to re-evaluate his bogus
arguments of Weapons of Mass Destruction, links to Al Qaida, violation of
UN Resolutions and every other fallacy that they were capable
of concocting , in order to support their preconceived invasion
Tragically, our efforts were rejected by an administration bent on unleashing a war of "Shock and Awe" against a virtually defenseless country that was ravaged by twelve years of a brutal embargo, that claimed the lives of half a million children through hunger, desolation and preventable diseases.
And today, what should have been a season of peace, love and happiness for everyone around the world, Iraq has been turned into a killing field, its infrastructure has been reduced to rubble, over 100,000 innocent civilians are dead, many more are maimed and Fallujah have joined an infamous list of martyr cities as Lidice, Guernica, Huey, Coventry or Dresden.
Close to 1500 young American soldiers are dead and over 10,000 maimed and their charred bodies are dispersed around the country in medical facilities, leaving mothers, widows and orphans to mourn. Thousands of deranged soldiers victims of battle shock, will be returning to our country someday, only to repeat the horrific acts of violence we experienced at the end of the Viet Nam conflict.
President George W. Bush and his handlers may have fulfilled their delusions of leading a cruzade against the muslim world, hoping to impose our lifestyle and political views. Instead, they amended longstanding regulations that lead to prisoners abuse and torture, created a war that cannot be won, they impregnated, midwife and nurtured millions willing to avenge our trespasses and have placed our troops in an untenable situation, that no one is sure how to extricate them from that hellish quagmire.
Homage And Lesson Learned From Mr. Charles W. Cherry's Death,12/25/04
|It may have been 10 years ago when I wrote my first letters to the editor of the Daytona Times, in which I tried to bring to the attention of our community, the impending disaster that was hovering over the lives of six million Afro-Cubans, whose moral fiber was challenged, their values corrupted and the commission of crimes was encouraged, as a direct result of the negative economical impact, that was caused by the 40 year old US embargo on Cuba.
Controversial as these statements may have resulted and having the potential of alienating some of the newspaper advertisers, these articles were published, for which I have remained eternally grateful to its publisher.
The publication of those articles, led me to meet Mr. Harvey Baker, an extraordinary resident of Daytona Beach and a lifelong activist for social change and justice, who insisted I meet Mr. Cherry; who up until then was for me, just another politician, that had excelled in the art of saying what others wanted to hear.
While I awaited for the opportunity to meet Mr. Cherry, his extraordinary life story began to unfold, through numerous newspaper clips and oral anecdotes that Mr. Harvey Baker kindly shared with me. When we finally met at an NAACP meeting that he was presiding over, his commitment, love and concern for the well being his people came across unquestionably loud and clear.
Years later, we learned about his failing health, surgery, convalescence and death, which constitutes an irreparable loss for our region, especially for the Afro-American community for whom he dedicated his long and mighty walk. Without him, Medgar Evers, Dr. Mary McLeod and many others willing to put their lives on the line, we would be living today in a very different community.
The site of the viewing could not have been more appropriate for our community to come out and pay their respects and gratitude to a life devoted to the uplifting of his people.
Sadly and to my consternation, what should have been a clear expression of a mourning community with hundreds of grieving people lining the streets, did not happen. Confused and trying to find an answer for this inexplicable behavior, before traveling home I drove through Martin L. King and George W. Engram Boulevards, Second Avenue, a few lesser known streets and the Volusia Mall, only to come across hundreds of those I expected to be at the viewing.
This single action have confirmed and brought to the front burner, the most tragic social failure of our times; that, as another silent killer, have been corroding the fiber and family values of people of African descent around the world, through a relentless promotion of consumerism, lack of education, encouragement of vices, systematic destruction of our ancestral links and heritage, and by creating an amorphous mass of defenseless human beings, that are devoid of their most basic history and sense of direction.
As dramatic and as ugly as these conclusions may seem to be, it is my sole intention to share my fears with every educator, social worker, politicians, religious and lay worker, academicians, jurists, and encourage everyone who have something to contribute to reverse this disaster; to take a hard look at these facts, recognize that we are all indicted for failing to educate our children, for not confronting head-on these social maladies and our inability so far, to develop a critical analysis, evaluate its effect and design a methodology that is capable of stopping this onslaught, which will eventually lead to our demise.
Recognizing our failure is not a crime. A crime is to ignore the facts and pretend that everything is OK. None of us should give up! Our people have been through worse during slavery, segregation, racism, the drug war, the AIDS epidemic and we survived. These adversities confirm our dominant genetic make-up, that have proven to be capable of confronting and neutralizing every pathogen that have come our way, if we are only willing to stimulate its reaction.
Repeating the names of our leaders that were murdered before, during and after the Civil Rights struggle, and attributing some of today's problem to our lack of leadership, is an unacceptable excuse. People are not born leaders, they evolve from specific adverse conditions in their environment.
The efforts, sacrifice, teachings and the ultimate price that was paid by so many of our forefathers, must not be in vain. If we are to survive, it is crucial for us to come together, pick up the baton that was carried with dignity by Mr. Cherry and hundreds of other exceptional sons and daughters of Africa, and commit ourselves to work for or support those, actively engaged in projects that may lead to a radical transformation of our present predicament.
For the past 50
years or so, many people around the world have described Miami as a Banana
Republic within the United States. The
recent adjudication by Judge
Desnick of 86.5 million dollars to the daughter of an
unquestionable CIA agent turned Bay Of Pigs Invader, who through
his actions, may have caused
irreparable damage in Cuba, perfectly fits this
Renowned attorney Spencer Eig, who successfully defended this
case, was part of the
infamous array of legal, political, religious and lay
vipers, who mercilessly and in broad daylight, were willing to prey
on six year old Elian
Gonzalez by forcefully retaining him away from his parents in order to satisfy their sadistic hate for everything coming
out of Cuba.
|During the past 15 years,
hundreds of humanitarian, social, profe7ssional, health, labor, solidarity,
environmental, education, sports, legal, senior, handicap, religious
groups and others, have developed an exemplary work relation with their
Cuban counterpart, through which, mutually beneficial experiences have
been developed, that have touched the lives of hundred of thousands of
people in Cuba, the United States and around the world.
This beautiful and respectful intellectual exchange among people, has been the basis of this fruitful relation, in which neither party have tried to influence the other, through their views, belief, race, gender or ideology.
The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries with which Cuba sustained 80% of its import/export transactions, brought that country to the most severe financial crisis in its 500 years history, when it found itself overnight, devoid of most of its raw material, energy, food, medicine and others.
Every political analyst around the world concluded, that based upon the "Domino Theory" it was a matter of days for Cuba to follow suit. And suddenly, out of nowhere, hundreds of solidarity groups sprang up around the world, and with a loud and uniform voice proclaimed, that Cuba Will Not Succumb!
In the early 90's, when few factories were working, most people were unemployed and the lights were out much longer than they were on, Cuba convened the First World Solidarity Conference. Hundreds of delegates from over 120 countries converged on Havana, devised strategies and pledged their unflinching support to do everything within their means, to defend the well being and dignity of the Cuban people.
Among those groups taking the podium, Pastors For Peace was the most impressive. The wonderful, humanitarian work that they have done in the United States and Central America on behalf of the downtrodden, poor, sick and ignored, was impacting. Since, our group have had the privilege to collaborate and support their relentless struggle to restore hope and dignity to the abused, wherever they may be.
Over the past decade and a half, hundreds of groups and organizations from around the world, have worked diligently collecting and transporting all usable item of every nature, and brought a wealth of moral support to the Cuban people, which have enabled them to survive in the midst of the most hostile, suffocating man-made environment, that their longstanding nemesis was able to create.
And, it was precisely these adversities that have fostered Pastors For Peace commitment and dedication, that have given birth and nurtured a huge trans-continental movement of people between 10-80 years of age and beyond, who are totally committed to peace, respect, love and care. Only seeing these incredible individuals in action, can it be possible for us to weigh and calibrate human beings endless capabilities.
By attempting to apply their religious and social convictions in Cuba, Pastors For Peace have earned the wrath and reprisals of many powerful organizations and branches of the US government, opposed to the Cuban government and its people.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise, that among all of the solidarity groups working in Cuba to mitigate the suffering of its people, none is better known, none is more respected and none is more admired than Pastors For Peace. No other group have contributed more to expand the understanding of the Americans people's views in Cuba and the Cuban reality in the United States, than Pastors For Peace.
The tireless, constant educating and unyielding moral principles of Reverend Lucius Walker Jr., founder and executive director of this organization, is an open text book of the humble life of a true believer of the gospel, who closely adheres to the teachings of the scripture. Willing to pay whatever price for exercising his faith, have placed him repeatedly in the line of fire.
And now, Pastors For Peace, which is one of the best known non-profit US organization in our region because of its successful humanitarian work, through which it have substantially improved the image of our country, is now under the gun of the United States Treasury Department, for doing in Cuba, the same humanitarian work that it has done for the past twenty years in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Haiti.
OFAC, the enforcing arm of the US Treasury Department, have issued a brutal Request to Furnish Information (RFI), demanding names, address, phone & travel dates, related services, airline tickets, visas, airport departure taxes, names and phone of contact person in Cuba, itemized payment records/receipt and much more, that must be furnished within the next 20 days. Failure to do so, could result in Civil and/or Criminal penalties.
As it could be expected, these draconian and illegal measures, are the result of 500 pages of recommendations of the Commission For The Assistance To A Free Cuba, that co-chairs Colin Powell and Mel Martinez, under the auspices of and embolden south Florida ultra-right-wing Cuban-American community, submitted to, and was immediately enacted by President George W. Bush.
Every peace loving person in the world should be sure, that Pastors For Peace will not lower its moral and humanitarian flag or yield to this disgraceful blackmail. On the other hand, Cuba has suffered a vicious blockade for more than 40 years, that have been characterized by assassinations attempts, invasions, economical and biological warfare, sabotage and all other imaginable forms of aggressions, without ever retreating, crying uncle or compromising its solidarity with other countries in need around the world, while it has steadily advanced the nation social agenda, placing most of its indicators ahead of all other countries in the region.
If the Cuban history may serve as a guide, the world can rest assured, that the people will suffer enormously and many may die, but the ideals, sacrifice and aspirations of the founding fathers to create a nation that is Free, Sovereign and Independent, will never be negotiated or compromised.
At the turn of the past century, Bonifacio Byrne, one of Cuba's most illustrious poet wrote:
"ON OUR KNEES, ONLY TO HONOR OUR DEAD"
As a youngster, I
learned in school about the brutal destruction of Guernica, Stalingrad,
Lidice and Coventry, before and during WWII. Twenty years after the
end of this monstrous war, I had the opportunity to visit Dresden,
Germany, which was totally destroyed and reduced to a pile of rubble,
through the massive fire-bombing of England's Royal Air Force, in
retaliation for what the Third Reich Luftwaffe had done before to
As horrible as this
mass destruction could result to the naked eye, it was even worse, when
eyewitnesses to this human catastrophe, reflected on the warnings that was
provided to them by short wave radio transmitters in England, advising
everyone in that city, to go across the Elbe river at noon on that fateful
day, before the bombing raid began. And just as it was announced,
the bombing started on schedule, on the other side of the of the river,
where people had gone for cover.
Then, we learned
about Hue, My Lai, Son My, India-Pakistan, Iran-Iraq wars, genocide in the
Balkans and Africa, the military dictatorships and death squads in Latin
America who murdered and disappeared tens of thousands of ordinary
citizens in Central and South America, notwithstanding the hundreds of
thousands needless silent deaths through hunger, ignorance and preventable
In a few days, the bitterly contested Presidential election will have taken place, returning the incumbent or the challenger to the White House, in what will be hailed as an example of democracy in action.
For older Cuban-Americans, it is very difficult not to draw a parallel with our past experience in Cuba, when what was known as "Political Sergeants" criss-crossed the countryside and cities buying votes, offering kick-backs, validating deceased voting cards, offering no-show jobs or badly needed access to healthcare facilities and educational institutions, in exchange for your voting rights.
And today, 50 years after, nothing have changed in Miami, where modern Political Sergeants riding SUV's, still control the voting choices of those yearning for a Section 8 housing assistance plan, a good quality assisted living or nursing home vacancy, access to community centers meal programs, quality medical services, keeping their present job or even some of the benefits they already enjoy.
Refusing to ride their free pick-up van and failing to
vote the way you were told, can determine if you will retain or not, any
or all of the life offerings described above.
In early June, Mr.
Colin Powel and Mr. Mel Martinez, co-chairs of the Commission For The
Assistance To A Free Cuba, delivered to President George W. Bush 500
pages of recommendations towards "Regime Change" in Cuba.
This blueprint was rapidly enacted by the President and it have since
unleashed, a tug of war between both governments, that eerily reminds us
of the punch and counterpunch, confrontational environment that
characterized the 1960's.
This cruel measure
that have re-defined Cuban families, excluding aunts and cousins, reduced
our visits to the island from once a year to once every three years and
severely curtailed the amount of money we can spend during our visit, has
a sinister undermining objective towards the Cuban economy, and is
determined to render its people through hunger, disease and death.
unilateral, aggressive, coercive measure went into effect, a number of
foreign business entities in Cuba have been threatened with retaliatory
measures if they did not ceased, desist and disinvest from their ventures
in Cuba. Tens of millions of dollars in Cuban assets around the
world have been illegally seized.
parts and all types of supplies that have been purchased, paid for and
have been awaiting delivery, only to be cancelled under orders from
the Office Of Foreign Asset Control of the United States Treasury
Even in the case of
such a critical pediatric vaccines and cancer medication
that Cuba purchased in Denmark, Cuba no longer has access to it, because
it has a greater than 10% content of US products.
Earlier this week
during the Florida senatorial debate between Mrs. Betty Castor and Mr. Mel
Martinez, many statements from both candidates were evasive, hyped or
distorted, hoping to persuade voters of their values and qualifications.
My insufficient knowledge of Mrs. Castor's background limit my ability to
comment on perceived inaccuracies. Not so with Mr. Mel Martinez,
with whom I share age, culture, history and country.
It has been said
repeatedly, scratch the skin of an extremist and you will find an
opportunist, and Mr. Martinez is just that. Repeating many of the
heinous tactics he used against Mr. McCollum during the
primary, he tried repeatedly to tarnish Mrs. Castor's public record and
sow doubts about her character, while attempting to project himself as the
only candidate capable of solving our social ills, if elected to the US
Rather than reviewing
his questionable performance at the helm of the Orange County government,
it may be a worthy exercise to contact residents in Eatonville, Orange
Blossom Tr., Parramore and other neighborhoods that he perceive as below
his social/ethnic status.
Devoid of a worthy
public record, Mr. Martinez was quick to resort to the worn-out, self-pitying
Cuban victim melodrama, tearfully describing on one hand, how at age 15,
he was forced to leave his country alone. Moments later, he
described himself as the embodiment of the American Dream, where he
received education, wealth, and power.
What Mr. Martinez
failed to say was that he was part of the 14,000 middle-class, primarily
white Cuban children that were smuggled out of Cuba, through the most
elaborate, despicable and immoral plan prepared by the CIA, by instilling
fear in parents, who were told their children would be taken away, shipped
to Russia, from where some were already returning in the form of canned beef.
And then, in a cruel
betrayal of other Peter Pans, as they were known, he did not have a word of
sympathy for those who had to wait for 5 years or more to be reunited with
their parents, for those who never did, or for those well documented cases
of physical, mental and sexual abuse.
And yet, when 6 year
old shipwrecked Elian Gonzalez was found floating on an inner tube on
Thanksgiving day 5 years ago, and his distant relatives in Miami
shamefully tried every possible venue to keep him, Mr. Martinez was
amongst the staunchest supporters of this public kidnapping, as they unabashedly tried to mesmerize his young mind by
having him tour Disney World with
all its glitter.
But nothing could be
more revolting than to hear this cynic, this professional liar talk about his
86 year old aunt living in Cuba, when, through his actions as co-chair of
The Commission For The Assistance To A Free Cuba, he wrote 500 pages of a
the most repugnant report, redefining the concept of Cuban family so that
excludes aunts and cousins, reduces from $160 to $50 per day the
amount we can spend, and limit our visits to our homeland from once a
year to once every three years.
Florida residents and tens of millions of people elsewhere have seen or
experienced first hand the fear, devastation and deaths that hurricane
Charles, Frances and Ivan are capable of inflicting on people of all creed
or walks of life, reducing them to a desperate mass in need of care, love
performance of City governments, the Red Cross, FEEMA, Fire and Police
departments, EMS, Utilities, Salvation Army and tens of others
organizations charged with saving lives, mitigating pain and providing
hope was a vivid example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for
the incredible outpouring of tens of thousands of caring individuals,
determined to assist those in need, was obscured and hijacked by President
George W. Bush’s highly charged political photo-op, during his visit to
our State, handing out water, ice or food to hurricane victims.
because of this President’s mean spirited, vengeful obsession with his
anti-Cuba, "Regime Change" policies, 3/4 of a million
Cuban-Americans living in the United States are prohibited from sending a
bottle of drinking water or a handful of nails to their relatives living
in Cuba, victims of the same hurricanes that have left them as it did
here, without shelter in our oppressive summer weather.
For most people
around the world, August 15 2004, may just be another Sunday with its
regular rituals. Yet, for millions of people in Latin America , it
will be a day filled with fear, anxiety and hopes of either controlling
another piece of our history, culture and the future of our region, or
regressing into our colonial history of oppression and subjugation, always
imposed by external forces.
President Hugo Chavez
of Venezuela, was elected twice in huge landslides since 1998. He
recommended changes to the constitution that were overwhelmingly approved,
in which, for the first time in its history, 22 million marginalized
citizens of this nation of 25 million, would share in its huge
oil-revenue. The government created two TV educational channels and
distributed 100,000 TV sets to community centers in poor
neighborhoods, as part of an illiteracy eradication program for two
He instituted the
most ambitious health care program in this hemisphere, by recruiting
10,000 physicians, dentists, nurses and other healthcare providers, who
live with families and provide primary care to over a million dwellers in
the slums. Those afflicted with serious health issues are sent
abroad by the government for further treatment.
cultural instructors, environmentalists and agriculture specialists,
complete the support team engaged in this human development program that
is devoted to enhance the quality of life of over 5 million of Venezuela's
Because Cuba is the
only country in the world where they could immediately contract thousands
of highly qualified professionals at less than half of the marketplace
salary, that is what the government of Venezuela did, earning them the
wrath of the Bush administration and its full fledge commitment to remove
President Chavez from office.
To that end, a task
force headed by ultra-right-wing Cuban-American Otto Reich and
undersecretary of State Roger Noriega has spent millions of dollars
through US-AID, NED, CIA on others, hoping to apply the "Domino
Theory" of dethroning the Venezuelan and Cuban government at the same
In 1848, President
Polk offered Spain 100 million dollars for the purchase Cuba. The
Monroe Doctrine, annexationist Gen. Narciso Lopez, the Spanish-American
War, the Platt Amendment, puppet presidents Estrada Palma, Antonio
Machado and Gen. Batista, the 45 years US embargo, the bay of pigs,
assassinations attempts, economical and biological warfare and endless
other attempts, have failed to engulf that country.
A Shining Example Of A Positive Human Behavior, 8/30/04
|President George W. Bush
must have suffered a severe dejection on Sunday, when he witnessed over a
hundred thousand people on the streets of New York, expressing their
anger, disgust and rejection of his policies of hate and destruction that
he is spreading across the world.
On Saturday, thousands of people took
to the streets in Greece, denouncing an attempt by Secretary of
State Colin Powell to take part in the closing ceremony of the Olympic
games, forcing him to shamefully stay home or go to a military garrison,
the few remaining places where he may still find an audience.
But their anxiety and disgust should
have been even greater hours later, when they learned that Cuba won so
many medals at the Olympics. This is the country they are trying to
suffocate, bring to its knees through hunger, disease and death, as it is
blatantly spelled out in the recently enacted rules coming out of the 500
pages of recommendations of the Commission For The Assistance To A Free
Cuba that was headed by Secretary Colin Powell. It must have been
heartbreaking and demoralizing to see their shattered dreams go down the
For this small, third world,
poverty-stricken, under siege, primarily black-brown Caribbean island of
11 million inhabitants, to end up in the eleventh place by winning 27
medals, ahead of rich nations such as Spain, Netherlands, Canada,
Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Austria, New Zealand and others; ahead of
all of Latin America and the rest of the Third World, is nothing
less than a triumph of humankind.
Irrespective of each individual
view of Cuba and of its system of governance, the one undeniable and
irrefutable fact that has been demonstrated again through these human
achievements is that, given the basic conditions, people of every
social, ethnic, religious, political or sexual orientation, are capable of
achieving heights that far exceeds preconceptions and caps that have been
artificially created by supposedly wise men.
The terrible example that Cuba is spreading around the world with these actions and others of even greater human value, that so far, they have successfully kept under wraps, away from the average citizen, are some of the reasons for this 40 year old war of attrition, with an endless list of lackey like Ms. Moscoso, the President of Panama and her killer friends, Mr. Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo, Dr. Orlando Bosch and many others, who persist in their macabre project of destroying Cuba by all means.
Up until August 25th, less
than 10% of the population in Latin-America, few in the United States and
a handful elsewhere, had heard of Ms. Mireya Moscoso, President of the
Republic of Panama. Now they have!
Severe pressure from Secretary of
State Colin Powel, a possible $400,000 severance pay coming from the
ultra-right-wing Cuban-American community in south Florida, and a
lack of convictions and backbone led her on 8/26 to grant a
Presidential pardon to four notorious anti-Cuba terrorists who boasts the
most extensive and virulent crime record within the
Cuban-American emigrant community.
She pretended to ignore that
these assassins murdered people in front of their children in New Jersey
and Puerto Rico, Cuban diplomats in New York, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and
Canada, fired bazookas at a
freighter in the Miami river and at the UN building during a
worldwide assembly, fire-bombed
and blew to bits tens of opponents in Miami, blew up a Cuban airliner in
mid air killing 73 passengers on board off the coast of Barbados and wired
a car bomb that killed Orlando Letelier, former Chilean foreign
minister and his US born aide, Roni Moffet on the streets of Washington
DC, etc., etc. This seems not to have risen to her concept of human
decency and value.
Caught red-handed with 75 pounds of plastic explosive C-4 that this gang intended to place under the amphitheater of the University of Panama, hoping to murder Fidel Castro and many of the 2000 students he would be speaking to, squarely places Ms. Moscoso in the league of such notables as the Shah, Cao Ky, Duvalier, Marcos, Suharto or Mobutu. May Latin-Americans be able to forgive her betrayal of our painful history.
During a campaign speech in Tampa on July 16, President George W. Bush accused the Cuban government of being procuress or pimps who have turned Cuba into a mega-international sex tourist destination by encouraging the Cuban women into prostitution, child prostitution, and pornography, effectively replacing SE Asia as the prime destination of this human scourge.
Having lived in Cuba 20 years prior to the triumph of the Revolution, 20 years after and close to 25 years in the United States should allow me to provide an honest assessment of these offensive, cruel, and demoralizing statements against my fellow countrymen. Because of the profound respect that I profess for my host country, I will refrain from any comparisons between the United States and Cuba on this very degrading issue.
Shortly before the outbreak of WW II, the United States government launched a huge expansion of its Naval Base facilities at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, turning it into a year-round training facility. Thousands of officers and enlisted men stationed on the base or as part of the fleet, traveled regularly to Cuba on shore leave, spawning a vibrant prostitution community that enticed hundreds of women from all over the country to relocate to Caimanera, Boqueron or Guantanamo to enroll in a booming sex trade.
Although the city of Guantanamo is much smaller and less important than Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba, it soon enjoyed the unsavory title of having the largest "Red Light" district in the country which influenced the behavior of every individual or institution in this city through the abundance of prostitution money, drugs, gambling, graft, etc.
The official Red Light district in Guantanamo, was commonly known as the "Zone" and it covered a north-south area of six blocks (B. Varona, D. Marmol, E. Palma, E. Giro, Crombet and Aguilera streets). The east-west area covered seven blocks (Oriente, J. del Sol, A. Saco, S. Sanchez, Agramonte and Moncada streets). Within this perimeter and on Marine street in Caimanera were the finest brothels in town: The Cachalot, The Gran Vals, Roof Garden, Gold & Silver and others.
Additionally, Guantanamo had the largest amount of bars per capita in the nation, most of which had females waitresses, who were expected to be "nice" to their customers. Other locations described as Night Clubs, which catered primarily to mid level officers, kept a "ladies registry" with personal pictures, body measurements and other important specs that would be provided upon request to potential sex partners.
The USO had its office on Calixto Garcia's street. It later moved to a more spacious location on Pedro A. Perez street. Among its many activities were to recruit middle-class, educated, white ladies, who were invited to local parties they hosted regularly. Also, every Monday evening, they chartered a special two-coach train that would shuttle these ladies to "dance" at the Officers Club on the naval base.
The Uvero beach was the extra secluded hideaway of the ultra-rich and famous Lion's Club members of southern Oriente. Located a few miles east of the United States Naval Base, this small, white sand inlet looked more like a large swimming pool, because of a natural coral reef wall that isolated the beach completely from the open sea. A man made opening allowed small and mid-size motor boat to access the swimming area.
Most, if not all, of the wealthiest families of this part of the country had their luxurious summer homes at this beach. High ranking Cuban politicians, clergy, police and army chiefs, judges, journalists, bankers and administrators mingled and partied freely with the commanders, captains and admirals from the US naval base. Another characteristic of this beach, is that there were no businesses. Each family alternatively organized back yard or beach parties, to which everyone, except employees, was automatically invited.
During the summer season, it was a family environment with children, parents, grandparents and guests. Even so, there were different sorts of incidents taking place, in which during a party, someone could go missing or someone returned unexpectedly home to encounter some unholy situation, which lead to fist-fight, minor injuries, divorce and a few shots going off. None of these incidents were ever subjected to a police report. Needless to say, off season this became the perfect hideaway for non-reportable sexual activities and orgies.
Lottery, bolita, baseball, billiard, car tag, coroto, and cock-fight, were some of the generalized gambling culture in our community. The use of marijuana, cocaine, heroine and some mood altering medications was an open secret, especially among those financially secure.
For these and many other reasons, most females living in the Guantanamo region, whenever they traveled out of the area, if asked by strangers where they were from, would choose a generic answer by saying "Oriente" the province, rather than Guantanamo, the city, which people would associate with prostitution.
Because of the close interaction between businesspeople, sex trade operators, and navy personnel stationed on the US naval base, a large underground network was forged, through which the US military personnel who could travel unhindered through the naval base gate, would transport hundreds of cartoons of cigarette and other types of easily marketable goods that would be sold to black market wholesalers in Cuba. This provided the extra cash the US military personnel needed to support their party/prostitution lifestyle in Guantanamo.
In this murky, convoluted underworld, high ranking officers/civilian provided contract leads, secured bids, or offered inside information to individuals or companies engaged in doing business with the Navy.
A case in point. One of the most powerful businessman in our community secured through this tortuous relations a lifetime, non-bid monopoly on yearly sales of thousands of dollars in cigars, soft and alcoholic beverage to the naval base. Additionally and through these same connections, his fleet of 4 or 5 vessels that transported passengers to and from the naval base, had an exclusive privilege of purchasing fuel, lubricants and dry dock services at military discount prices on the base, as opposed to the other operators who had to purchase such services at regular prices in Cuba.
For most residents of Guantanamo, this was a city under siege. Three or four times a week, a special train transporting hundreds of enlisted personnel on shore leave arrived in town, unloading its human cargo, which headed to the "Zone" to engage in drinking, sex, and all other outrageous behavior.
This unique environment made Guantanamo different from the rest of Cuba and, for that matter, the rest of the world. Party time in many countries take place on Friday or Saturday evenings. For Guantanamo, it was Sunday morning between 11 am and 3 pm, before the arrival of the train at 4 pm.
Numerous fights, injuries, break-ins, rapes and even deaths related to the presence of US Navy personnel on leave are recorded in legal documents and newspapers reports from Guantanamo. As a rule of thumb, if any Cuban would confront and respond to any of these vandals, he and not the perpetrator, would be incarcerated.
On the other hand, no matter how serious the offense that was committed by a US military personnel in Cuba, he was beyond the reach of the Cuban authorities and the Navy would take these individuals into custody promising they would be prosecuted in Virginia Beach or Quantico. No Cuban was ever allowed to be part of these proceedings, if there ever were any.
Although there are no hard facts or irrefutable scientific research to support a widely held circumstantial evidence, Guantanamo had the highest prevalence of sexually transmitted disease, congenital malformation, and leprosy in the country.
And yet, while all of the above was taking place in Guantanamo, unemployment and hunger was rampant, the public educational system was a disaster, healthcare facilities were literally non-existent, running water was available to 35% of the population, there were no highway connecting this city of 100,000 inhabitants with any surrounding community except the US naval base, but the Batista regime at the request of the United States government, was still willing to build outside the naval base perimeter, the longest runway in Cuba, as an alternate landing strip for navy fliers, even though, there were only TWO airline flights on Wednesday and ONE the rest of the week.
In the rarefied and corrupt environment that pervaded every social strata in Guantanamo, cops on the beat demanded their daily kick-back from every business owner, the Mayor used prisoners, earning $0.50 per day to construct the main square on another public entity, pocketing the rest of the salary that would have gone to civilian workers, while a senator bought six blocks of homes and lots on an unpaved road that he knew had been funded to be paved months later, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in this scam.
On March 10, 1952, we were rushed out of school because General Batista led a coup d'etat against the democratically elected government. When I got home, my aunt was unable to explain clearly the consequence of this development, except to say, "this is very bad, very bad."
Because of the generalized poverty, public schools had instituted a mid-morning breakfast program, since most kids went to school on an empty stomach. At the beginning of the school year, each student received and aluminum cup. At breakfast break, we lined-up for our hot chocolate/milk and buttered crackers. Friday's were great, you also got a slice of cheese.
Shortly after the coup d'etat, the cheese disappeared, then it was butter, then the chocolate and one day, they passed by collecting our aluminum cups. Some may remember the spectacle on January 1, 1959 after the triumph of the Revolution, when in the darkness of night, hundreds of high ranking Batista's government officials landed at Miami International Airport, with tens of pieces of luggage, stuffed with millions of dollars, stolen from our breakfast, healthcare, public works and others yet they were received, protected, and treated as gentlemen by the US government.
Mr. President, may these irrefutable facts serve to unmask your hypocritical concerns with the well being of the Cuban people which you have shamelessly attempted to use to energize your aging and dwindling ultra-right-wing Cuban-American support base in Florida.
Irrespective of any political differences that many Cuban-Americans may have with their government, your attempt to demoralize the Cuban people, your obsession to inflict hunger, disease, divide families and death, corrode their unity and lay the groundwork for an eventual military incursion, are bound to fail, as they did before at the Bay of Pigs!
|As a direct result of the 500
pages of recommendations of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba
which was promptly accepted in full by President George W. Bush, a very
dangerous and unpredictable situation have been created around Cuba,
that could spiral out of control and exert a permanent adverse impact on
the future of that country and its people.
Because the world have seen the bizarre behavior of the President, whose decisions seems to be guided more by religious zealots and fundamentalists views rather than reason or logic, is why, he went against the advise of friends and foe, and dragged our nation into one of its worst military disaster, from which no ones knows how to extricate ourselves.
By living in the state of Florida and having seen to the extent that his handlers were willing to go to secure his election in the year 2000, it would be naive for anyone not conceive that these individuals would not be capable of creating another USS Maine incident, in order to neutralize the Iraq fiasco, that will inevitable become the centerpiece of the upcoming election.
For that reason, I wrote a letter to Mr. Kevin M. Whitaker, Head of the Cuba Desk at the State Department, on May 11, which he responded to, through Boyd V. A. on 6/30 with a form letter, detailing the same rules that motivated my letter in the first place:
Dear Mr. Whitaker,
How tragic is it to establish humans propensity to make the same mistake over and over. A brief review of US-CUBA's history of the past 150 years, is just that; a blatant attempt by a powerful nation, bent on imposing their will on a small, courageous and unyielding nation.
History have proven that these policies do not work. Spartacus, David and many others, are just an expression of this widely accepted human trait.
You should know, that in 1896, long before you were assigned the degrading responsibility of subjugating 11 million people through hunger, disease and death, General Valeriano Weyler, then head of the occupying forces in Cuba, tried the exact recipe and failed, as others will.
Cuba lost one fifth of its population and prevailed.
Again, in the mid sixties and in an action that reminds us of our early childhood, your department decided unilaterally to freeze the retirement payments of its loyal civil service employees on the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo, who had fulfilled every possible responsibility before, during and after every war your country have been involved in.
Forty years after and having contributed 20,000 years of labor to your government, these employees are bitter, hungry, sick or dead, but are for the most part, not a friend of their former employer. Why is it that we are so prone and willing to create animosity and ill feelings?
One thing I wish to assure you before taking much more of your time. Cuba will not give-up, cave-in or surrender. Sadly, your action against Cuba will become an integral part of world history, that you will avoid reading.
Thanks for allowing me to share this critical issue with you. The reputation and views that generations to come will have of this country, lies squarely on the shoulders of this and previous administrations.
Alberto N. Jones DVM
|In response to a host of
political demands from the ultra-right-wing Cuban-American community in
South Florida that should lead to 'Regime Change' in Cuba, President
George W. Bush enacted today a set of mean spirited, vengeful and
inhumane rules, that redefine the concept of family member, limit to
once every three years our visit to Cuba, allows us to spend no more
than $50.00 per day and have effectively created an army of 3/4 million
Cuban-American hostage of his macabre delusion.
Hoping to inflict pain, suffering, disease and death on people who have done us no harm, bring them to their knees and hear them cry uncle, is just the prelude of their master plan that would lead to a general insurrection, civil war and a man-made crisis that would justify another US military intervention in Cuba.
In 1896, General Valeriano Weyler then head of the Spanish occupying forces in Cuba, foresaw the defeat of his forces, which led him to concentrate the entire peasantry into a few cities, in hopes of depriving the Cuban army of independence of its support base. Hunger and disease caused the death of 1/5 of the Cuban population, while most of the world watched in complicit silence.
Now, as it was thence, the Cuban people are prepared to pay the ultimate price in defense of their dignity, independence and sovereignty. Another difference in today's world, is that millions around the world will speak out against this brutal aggression against 11 million innocent people and historians will have new names to add to their endless list of infamous individuals that have plagued this world.
In what can be described as the most shameful and aberrant behavior of any human being, I just received a Post Card that has been sent to Cuban Mothers in Cuba, by no one else than the infamous Cuban American National Foundation.
Two days ago, Miami was at its peak, celebrating the promulgation of 500 pages of recommendations put forth by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba under Secretary of State Colin Powell, which were accepted immediately in full by President George W. Bush.
This murderous document was conceived, fertilized and hatched in one of the Cuban American National Foundation burrows and is destined to become another stillborn in the endless war of attrition against the people of Cuba, who have proven to the world that they will not surrender to these mean-spirited specimens or to their masters.
These so called leaders of CANF and tens of similar, semi-defunct, ultra-right-wing Cuban American organizations in south Florida have shamelessly preyed on and suctioned off every drop of blood from an aging community to whom they have lied and which they have saturated with false promises of a triumphal return to their homeland by resorting to gimmicks like this and worse. These leaders must be despised by everyone who has a nanogram of decency in their body.
For those of us old enough to have known first hand what these monsters did and are hoping to repeat in Cuba, we cannot afford to ignore or denounce the intent of this message, geared to soften or corrode the unity of the Cuban people - just as their "contractors" are doing in Iraq - and not speak out for fear of retribution from their very long and murderous arm.
Let it be known, I have no fear. Too many of us died at their hands in tens of sugar plantations in Cuba, where we were brought under the guise of the promised land. Abuse, ignorance, segregation, lack of education, healthcare or jobs were the norm and the only things available to us.
Most of us still remember that the most frequent neighborhood gathering for us was going to Wakes and Funerals of those who did not make it to age 5, and today some of the same perpetrators of these horrors, disguised as Human Rights Advocates, travel every year to Geneva or send their descendants to denounce Cuba's brutal Human Rights Violations.
Hypocrites, liars, or worse are only a few of the descriptions that applies to these individuals, who hope that most of their readers will never visit Cuba, are unaware of our tragic history, or may innocently buy into their religious/moral stunt, and thereby allow them to constantly litter the environment with macabre fairy tales that are concocted by their pens-for-hire in Little Havana.
These statements are not coming from an academic exercise in a vacuum or from someone bent on character assassination of anyone. Rather, they come from our horrendous life experience in Banes, a typical sugar plantation community in Cuba, the hometown of our very illustrious US Congressman Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, which was at the same time for myself and thousands of others, our Cuban Soweto or Bantustan.
Weren't the ancestors of these gentlemen, and so many others dispersed throughout the United States, the enforcers of the most brutal and inhumane policies of the United Fruit Co., Manati Sugar Co., and others?
Why is it so difficult for Mr. Diaz-Balart et al., to admit that children do not die anymore in Banes or in any other place in Cuba because of preventable diseases as they did when we had Freedom of Speech, Democracy, Free Election and Free Enterprise, under their beloved General Antonio Machado or Fulgencio Batista?
Could this be what they are asking the Cuban people to exchange?
It is clear these individuals know nothing about Cuba's history, the character of its people, or the fiber of which they are made. If they did, they would have chosen their friends differently or they would have made a serious effort to change their views, values and principles.
No one who reads this article is asked to believe what I have said. Banes, Naranjo Dulce, Marti, Chaparra, Marcane, Baragua and tens of other communities in Cuba, are mute witnesses to their criminal behavior, in which the railroad tracks that divided the have from the have-nots are still there, as are the vestiges of the gully with its putrid drainage winding through our neighborhood spreading diseases, now just another landmark.
But we may not have to travel to Cuba and risk being fined by the US Treasury Department, thanks to their recent proposal to the executive by which Cubans residing in the United States will now be allowed to visit only their closest relatives (parents, spouses, children) in Cuba, ONCE every Three Years. Talk about Family Values!!!
Fortunately, to corroborate everything that was said before, a quick trip to Overtown, Coconut Grove, or any other predominantly Black community in Miami will provide ample documentation of what these individuals stands for.A few questions to immigrants from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, or Honduras in Miami or in Rio Piedras and other neighborhoods in Puerto Rico may provide a radiological picture of their pathological perception of others.
And yet, with such a despicable past and present, these individuals are assisted by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who, with complete disregard of the wellbeing of 60% of the people living in Cuba that share with him race, slavery, segregation, hunger and death, has become our prime tormentor and is now actively engaged in infusing large sums of money into Cuba to target, enlist and pervert young Afro-Cubans that he hopes will rise up against the Cuban government. Powell hopes they will do the dirty job that so many of these perpetrators from the past have proven to be genetically unfit to do, while they choose to enjoy the golf or tennis courts and their air-cooled mansions in South Florida.
Cuba will not be another Iraq, in which those maimed, injured or dead, are predominantly Blacks, poor Whites from the hinterland, or Hispanics in need of a Green Card.
Contrary to those who dragged our nation into the present quagmire from which no one knows how to extricate us, and the moral decay of many involved in this deranged operation that has provided the world with shocking visual documentation; these individuals were careful enough to retain their loved ones safely on our shores.
And to those like Mr. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who have repeatedly called for an invasion of Cuba, installation of an Iraq-type puppet Governing Council, I encourage him and his peers, not to stay behind; to be consequent with his beliefs and be part of that expeditionary force that will face the wrath of theCuban people..
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, Mariana Grajales, Antonio Maceo, Jose Marti, Quintin Banderas, Guiteras, Chibas, Camilo, are just a few heroes that traced the irreversible path on which Cuba have embarked for the past 150 years.
No modern General Arsenio Martinez Campos, Pola Vieja or Valeriano Weyler, can ever dream of imposing on the Cuban people anything other than what they have decided on their own, for themselves!
|A concerted, full fledge,
multi-prong effort of the administration of President George W. Bush is
clearly visible in the activities of the commission that is chaired by
Secretary of State Colin Powell and Mr. Mel Martinez, who were charged
with developing a strategy for "Regime Change" in Cuba. To
achieve such a goal, enormous funds have been channeled from USAID to
front foundations, who in turn have recruited, trained, organized,
directed and paid a number of so-called dissidents in Cuba. These
mercenaries - or contractors as they are now known in Iraq - were given
specific destabilization activities to develop in the country and when
they were rounded up and jailed, then Ms Karen G. Schneider et al shed
tons of crocodile tears for them, but not a single tear for those kept
by the US in cages like beast in Guantanamo.
Let me begin by providing some facts to Ms. Schneider and other "paid mourners." I was incarcerated for four and half year - 1974-79 - in Boniato, in the province of Santiago de Cuba, and nothing that has been said or written by her and other hired pens has anything to do with the Cuban Penitentiary System.
In fact, after speaking with others that I met in jail in Cuba who came to the United States and for one reason or another have been incarcerated here, we have unanimously concluded that except for the food, air conditioning and color TV, for every year in prison in the United States, they would gladly exchange it for three years in a Cuban jail.
The lack of re-education programs, institutional violence, sexual perversion, stigma, drug infestation, human degradation, recidivism etc., are just some of social ills that have turned the prison system in the United States into Crime Academies. Those responsible for these activities in the United States would be well advised to visit Cuba, learn from them, and humanize our decrepit prison system.
Ms. Schneider and others have never raised their voices in defense of tens of thousands of men, women and children who are hopelessly rotting in our human warehouses, many of whom for crimes they did not commit or as victims of a historically unfair judicial system that is ready to railroad the poor, minorities or the voiceless. They are nevertheless ready to take to task the government of another country with which she has no relations while turning a blind eye to so many that have died at the hand of the brutal police department of her state.
This disgraceful creation of a sick mind is only part of the arm twisting, bribing, and occasional overthrowing of a democratically elected government in the region at the hands of henchmen like Mr. Noriega, Otto Reich, and other enforcers, desperately searching for real or perceived reasons to unleash their deadly Panzer, Luftwaffe and U-Boats, in their Shock and Awe against Cuba.
|March 23, 2004
A despicable procedure of mostly unfit, self appointed, neophyte politicians in the State of Florida hoping to run for national office, consists of taking their well rehearsed pilgrimage to Little Havana in Miami, where they shamefully promise to their octogenarian audience, a prompt return to Cuba if he/she is elected.
This near criminal scheme, that deceitfully instills hopes in the hearts of people at the end of their lives, speaks volumes of the moral values and principles of the perpetrators, who are solely interested in keeping this very vulnerable social group together in a cohesive, solid Republican voting block for the past 40 years.
In the upcoming senatorial race, the first one in this bunch of opportunists to take a forward leap to Miami, was Mr. Mel Martinez, who because of his Cuban background, knows better than anyone else, that there is no such forceful return to Cuba. General Antonio Maceo warned specimens like him 100 years ago, that they must be willing to gather the dust of the land saturated in their blood, if they did not perish in such adventure!
Then it was the obscure attorney Larry Klayman, desperately searching for name recognition, advocating an invasion by the US Marines and "regime change" in Cuba.
And today, it was Mr. Bill McCollum, suggesting to send undercover agents into Cuba to destabilize that government. When these infiltrators are caught, brought to justice and sentenced in the Cuban courts, these teary-eyed hypocrites, wants to run to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, to denounce the barbaric Cuban government.
But, what really makes Mr. Bill McCollum so pitiful, is that this very inept US Congressman, during his tenure, was incapable of improving school safety, reducing the rampant drug/prostitution plague or improving the living conditions of marginal neighborhoods in is Congressional District. Yet, in his typical arrogance and that of his cohorts, he is ready to provide solutions to a country that have not solicited nor will it accept his condescending views.
Unfortunately, for all three of them and their friends, Cuba is not Haiti! Rather than running around prescribing their failed policies, they would be very well advised to spend some time dealing with many of our intractable social ills -healthcare, crumbling schools, drugs, AIDS, unemployment, etc.-
As peace loving people, concerned with the future of the world and the brutal degradation of its most vital resources and environment, I can only hope, that none of the dreams of these imposters may become a reality. However, if they were to decide to invade Cuba once again, they should at least, have the dignity and the courage to go with and share the plight of the sons and daughters of others, who will have to bear the brunt of this tragedy, that would make today's Iraq look like a Sunday outing.
|Although a great effort have
been made by the Bush administration and others in the media to blame
President Aristide for all of Haiti's ills, the root cause of this
intractable malady goes back to 1791, when Haitians slaves inspired by
the French Revolution, rose up under the leadership of Toussaint
L'Ouverture against the crown in a bloody rebellion that freed the
slaves. Napoleon sent in his troops, restored French rule and hauled off
L'Ouverture to jail in France where he died.
In 1804, Jean Jacques Dessalines, another former slave restarted the struggle, defeated Napoleon expeditionary forces, declared Haiti an Independent nation and since have being paying and endless debt for having dared to be free.
Most would be inclined to believe that the heroic action of freeing hundred of thousands of slaves and creating an independent nation, would be greeted with cheers by England, the United States, Spain and others. Instead, all of these nations refused to recognize diplomatically the new Republic. The United States and Spain, both large slave owners in the region, were terrified by these developments and the United States imposed on Haiti an embargo that lasted until 1862.
France in turn demanded one hundred and fifty million dollars -an equivalent of 20 billion dollars in today's exchange- to indemnify the former slave owners. Yet today, all former slave owners refuse to discuss any potential reparations with descendents of 300 years of free, forced labor.
On the other hand, six or seven invasions and occupations led by the United States government that was followed by putting in place corrupt, repressive dictators and demoralized governments willing to sell the country's sovereignty to the highest bidder, that were inexorably supported by an army of para-military murderers known as ton-ton macoutes, fraph or any other despicable name.
Notwithstanding any political mistakes that the government of President Aristide may have made, it is simply disgraceful that the Bush administration may have denied and frozen 500 million dollars that were earmarked by the World Bank for this cash-strapped nation, for alleged election fraud in the year 2000.
Why is it, that Haiti has been so severely punished for supposedly committing the same electoral fraud, in the same year as President George W. Bush; although that government did not preemptively invade any country, killed thousands of innocent people and spread havoc around the world?
By the time I get to the end of these sad notes, hundreds may have already spilled their blood or lost their lives in Port au Prince at the hands of thugs and murderers that our State and Defense departments, have equipped with military fatigue, M-16s, protective body gear, intelligence etc., to be used against a defenseless population that is now at the mercy of these butcher?
May Dr. Condoleezza Rice and General Colin Powell, both of whom could well have been sons and daughters of that beleaguered nation, be very proud of themselves, for compounding the misery of that nation and for betraying their ancestors.
|A large number of
Cuban-Americans living in the United States are increasingly concerned
with new threats and decrees that President George W. Bush have promised
to a radical, fringe sector of our community in South Florida, that is
determined to reek havoc on the people of Cuba.
I fully agree with the writer that suggests, a Lot Of Noise Must Be Made!!! The suggestion is great, the procedure may not work, because, writing articles to the Miami Herald or El Nuevo Herald and others for that matter, will always be subjected to the paper's management decision to edit, delete or reject our views.
40 years of intimidation, aggression and terrorism must be left behind! Calle 8, Flagler or Bayside, is not an exclusive, private property of the ultra-right-wing Cuban-Americans living in Miami!
I strongly suggest, that any one of the many organizations in the United States that strives to develop a respectful US-CUBA relation and is concerned with the preservation of Cuba's Independence and Sovereignty, should convene a massive one day gathering and Conference in Miami, -the belly of the beast-, for all of us to denounce and express our outrage against any intent to inflict pain, hunger and suffering on our families in Cuba.
We must make our position clear to President George W. Bush, his Secretary of State, the Treasury and the Cuban-American enforcers in Miami, that we will not betray our families, our nation or our dignity and that NONE of them speaks for us.
The Time is Now!............. or Never!
|IGNORING REALITIES AND
COMPROMISING THE FUTURE
Alberto N. Jones
During the fall of 2001, two hurricanes landed on Cuba, devastating 1/3 of that country. This tragedy created a worldwide solidarity outreach to the people of Cuba and pressuring the United States government to partially relax the 40 year old embargo on Cuba, by allowing for the first time, the sale of food and medicine since 1960. These sales however, could be completed only on a cash basis.
Since, approximately 500 million dollars in foodstuff have been purchased in the states of Illinois, Washington, Carolinas, Dakotas, Mississippi, Iowa, Florida and others. Had the onerous COD precondition that was imposed by the ultra-right-wing Cuban-American community in south Florida not be in place, it could be anticipated that greater purchases would have been achieved, by the inclusion of medicines and other commodities.
Because of the absurd stranglehold that reactionary groups like the Cuban-American National Foundation and similar groups have on the local, state and federal governments, rather than shipping these goods through ports in the state of Florida which are the closest to Cuba, either through fear, threats or coercion, these shipments and income have been diverted to seaports outside of our state.
On December 13, 2003, over 250 executives from the United States largest agribusiness, agriculture commissioners from various states, producers, comercial and export executives, shipping, insurance and port authority, celebrated with their Cuban counterparts, the successes and failures of the past two years.
Although the US Congressional Black Caucus secured a few years ago a preferential negotiation agreement for Afro-American entities hoping to do business in Cuba, only a nominal representation was present at this event. Whether this was due to a lack of information or to the omnipresent scare tactics, the end result will be, a negative impact on the future of the Afro community in the United States and Cuba.
Like it or not, since the late 80's, the Cuban government have embarked on an irreversible path of a mix economy. Spain, Canada, Germany, Japan, England, Italy, Israel, Holland, China, Mexico, Jamaica, Malaysia and France, are some that have secured very lucrative investments.
Therefore, sooner rather than later, the United States government will look at this issue from a realistic and pragmatic analysis, rescind this archaic and mutually destructive 40 year old confrontation, that have serve only to inflict pain and suffering on the innocent in both countries.
Thus, it is imperative for the Afro-American and Afro-Cuban communities to develop and foster closer relations, learn more about their strenght and weakness, establish areas of potential cooperation and position themselves, -as others have already done- for the future normalization of relations between our neighboring countries.
Failing to do so, will mean for our people missing the boat once again, condemn both groups to servitude and stagnation and then, in an attempt to correct our shortcomings, we may try to create a number of institutions charged with demanding "equal rights", "set aside" or "supreme courts" rulings.
We should not have to play catch-up in the future. The time is now. We must expand our awareness, research the issues and be ready for "D" day. We owe it to our children!
Email: albertoj_AT_afrocubaweb.com [replace _AT_ with @]
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