Saturday, August 05, 2006

Calming Cuba’s Fears (With War Ships)

First, we heard on August 2 that for two weeks the Bush administration had been planning to prevent “a mass migration or mass boat traffic in either direction of the Florida straits.” What did the US State Department know and when did it know it? The world was told August 1 that Cuba’s President Fidel Castro had been hospitalized and was operated on for intestinal bleeding. But the US had been planning to intervene in Cuba for at least two weeks before Castro’s health problems were made known. Florida’s Republican Senator Mel Martinez reported on August 2nd that he had been briefed two weeks prior by military officials. He said the US would send “special monitors and advisers to Cuba in the weeks after a full transition”. Martinez said he had confidence in the Navy and Coast Guard to “interdict vessels in the open waters between the countries” in order to “prevent Cuban-Americans from entering Cuban waters while the changes were taking shape in Havana”. That means that all this planning and briefing was being done around July 18th. What did our State Department know on July 18th? On August 2, Senator Martinez said he was certain Castro was already dead but he offered no details. In 2003 the US established a Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. Last year the State Department created the Office of Cuban Transition. The US has long been planning for the day when Castro would step down or die. Apparently, the Bush administration received word on July 18th that the day had finally arrived. And as is the wont of the US State Department, the Bush administration immediately started making plans for a pre-emptive strike on Cuba. So yesterday the image of our neo-con, war-mongering, saber rattling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was beamed onto the TV’s of the Cuban people. She said, “The United States respects your aspirations as sovereign citizens and we will stand with you to secure your rights — to speak as you choose, to think as you please, to worship as you wish and to choose your leaders, freely and fairly, in democratic elections.” You have to give the official Cuban newspaper Granma credit for seeing through Rice’s statement of support. Granma called Rice’s hogwash “tin pot rhetoric”. While the Bush administration is busily planning to free Cuba with war ships, monitors (read, illegal surveillance) and advisors (read, military intervention) the Bush administration also said that it views “any attempts by Venezuela or other countries to influence the transition in Cuba as unwarranted intervention.” Be advised: Only unwarranted intervention from the United States is warranted. Rice called for Cuba to "release political prisoners, restore fundamental rights and effect a transition that would quickly lead to multiparty elections". Sound familiar? It looks like the US tin pots with the tinfoil hats are going to invade Cuba. But be of good cheer, Cuban people, the Bush administration respects your aspirations and will help you think as the White House thinks, worship as the White House worships and to choose leaders that the White House chooses in fraudulent and corrupt elections. The Bush administration aspires for Cuba to be exactly like the United States.

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