Interview with Ricardo Alarcon
During his recent visit to Havana, Cuba, Saul Landau had the opportunity to interview Cuba's vice president and president of its National Assembly Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada. We bring the whole interview, originaly published in three parts in Progreso Weekly.
Landau: Elections in Iraq?
Alarcon: "Much ado about nothing," as Shakespeare said. Elections were a pretext to extend US control. I don't believe the US will withdraw. They can't give a sense they may abandon Iraq without giving the impression of having suffered a big defeat. I don't think elections solve political problems in Iraq. The US occupation remains an issue.
Prior to the elections, CNN international had vast coverage of voting elsewhere, Iraqis in the US, Australia and Europe. And the turnout wasn't that big. It may have been a very big fraud. One commentator committed a Freudian slip referring to women voting, saying that Iraq was a secular society and women were accustomed to exercising rights. In the future, women may be deprived of rights in a religious society. But before the occupation, women had rights.
Secondly, Iraqis may have been Shiite, Sunni or Christian. I was there. Some of them wanted me to know what religion they belonged to. Catholic or Muslim, not Shiite or Sunni. Now everyone refers to different ethnic groups. Imagine American Protestants forming hostile groups of Presbyterians versus Episcopalians. It's stupid. Those Iraqi religious divisions may lead to war. Remember the religious wars in Europe.
These religious conflicts may infect the next administration in Iraq as a supposed consequence of the elections, but in fact the invaders provoked the religious conflicts. The news talks about pressure from the Arab world. What about pressure from the occupier? The Iraqi who chose not to vote made a statement, especially when under the guns of the occupier, with CNN filming and soldiers distributing leaflets on the streets - electoral propaganda. Imagine, a machine gun in one hand and leaflets in the other. This image symbolized the nature of those elections. And some people even in those circumstances refused the leaflets. They said: "I don't care." That's a difficult thing to tell a patrolling group on the street.
Landau: And the US media?
Alarcon: American propaganda machinery excels at manipulating elections. I remember a group of US legislators trying to play a role in guaranteeing fair elections in the Ukraine. Remember the recent contested elections there? At the same time groups in the US were demanding the right to review votes in Ohio, or trying to get recounts because of claims that there were voting violations there. I don't remember a single US senator going from Washington to Cleveland or Cincinnati to see what was happening, but they went all the way to Iraq. Remember the 2004 referendum and elections in Venezuela. A number of US politicians and the US media got very concerned with fair voting in Venezuela but not in their own states. If they were to apply to US elections similar standards to those they applied to Venezuela, my god, in Venezuela even the opposition accepted the result of the plebiscite as did international groups. Later, opponents of Chavez accepted them. People from the opposition were elected. The possibility of questioning election results in the US is vanishing. And recounting - that word that will disappear from the English language dictionary.
Landau: Anything positive about the US election?
Alarcon: The most beautiful thing, somewhat missed in the media, happened in Puerto Rico. A US territory under US administration had the old fashioned vote, where you mark what you want to mark. It's possible to count and recount once, twice endlessly and assure that whoever gets more votes wins. In the US, you cannot do that in many places. So, while the US media focused on Iraqi elections and ignored voting complaints by African Americans, the Puerto Ricans were recounting their ballots, one by one. They get exact results in polling station by polling station, municipality by municipality. They saw who won and who lost. In the US a kind of monarchial principal reigns, as if the candidate was the owner of the people's will. Supposedly, one candidate concedes to demonstrate that his opponent won. Recall how Mr. Gore conceded in 2000? So what? Was he the owner of the people's votes? In the US it's a far cry from one man one vote. And the winner is not necessarily the one who gets more votes as the 2000 election showed.
Landau: How would fair elections in Iraq look?
Alarcon: Why don't US soldiers vote? Hold a referendum for American soldiers to choose between staying there for the rest of their lives for democracy and freedom, American style, or returning home. It's a relevant issue.
But in Iraq, one group of exiles backed by the CIA ran against another group. Some people that may have favored resistance did not take part. Much was said about how the resistance movement, or terrorists, pressured people not to vote, but not a word about pressure by the occupying forces. Aside from distributing leaflets, the army imposed a curfew, restricted movement, sealed off the country and called it a free election. If anything like that happened in another country imagine the amount of US criticism that would fall on that country. I've heard about this election as a historic development. Well, let's wait another 100 years and we'll find out its historic implications.
Landau: You had mentioned before that the US is declining.
Alarcon: Comparatively speaking.
Landau: Specifically, vis a vis Europe. Initially, when Cuba jailed the dissidents in 2003, the European Union responded very critically, going along with the US position, and now the EU is about to resume friendly relations.
Alarcon: Formally, we always had economic and diplomatic relations with European countries. It was rather childish what the EU did. Unfortunately, following Spanish government advice, the EU followed the American line on Cuba. Even on the Helms-Burton law. Europe at first complained to the WTO about Helms-Burton and then negotiated and reached what they called an understanding with Washington. They withdrew their complaint.
And on May 2004, in the US plan for Cuba, Bush announced that the US will examine on a case by case basis, country by country, in terms of implementing Chapters 3 and 4 [punishing countries and companies trading with Cuba] of Helms Burton more efficiently.
They forgot their commitment to Europe to eliminate or change those chapters and instead declare they will implement them more thoroughly. No complaints, no protests from Europe in what is tantamount to a US slap in Europe's face. With news of the dissidents' arrest [Cuba arrested 75 anti-government activists and charged them with working for the US government against Cuba in March 2003], the Europeans had an opportunity to protest against the illegal arrest of people not only in Cuba, but throughout the western world. I refer to widespread torture and the violation of habeas corpus and other legal principles. Europeans behaved as accomplices to these policies as did on US policy toward Cuba. Then they took some childish steps like refusing high level contacts with Cuba. Some countries ignored that decision. Another step: eliminate cultural exchanges. Last year, the Havana book fair was dedicated to Germany. At the last moment, the German government, following the European position, withdrew from the fair. In spite of that, many writers, publishers and artists from Germany came to Cuba.
And they added another step. They would invite the so-called dissidents to their official, diplomatic functions like national holidays and so-on. In other words, they tried to insult us. Not to have high level or important contacts with the Cuban government and to put those people [dissidents], those American agents, at the same level as legitimate Cuban authority.
Our answer was simple. We cut off contacts with the embassies here. We said we are prepared to wait the necessary time. On a personal basis, I enjoyed this period. It's a burden to attend these diplomatic functions like receptions and diplomatic dinners if you have work to do. Of course, we continued as before normal functions with African, Asian and Latin American embassies in Havana. But now the Europeans realize it was nonsense and are changing. But more important, I said that Europe had followed Spanish advice. That was when Mr. Aznar headed the conservative government in Spain. In March, Spaniards elected a new government, which withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq, and proposed other progressive steps on women's rights, etc. And regarding Cuba, the new government openly said it wanted to change the Aznar policy. The socialists have a more respectful and friendly approach. That was the source of Europe's new position. Let's hope the EU will follow the new Spanish counsel. By the way, it's as if we're still a Spanish colony, which we're not. But I think we've turned the page. I hope the Europeans have matured and will not repeat that nonsense.
Landau: How do you compare Bush’s discourse with that of past presidents? And how do you compare them with his deeds?
Alarcon: Words are not his strongest quality. I think that there are discrepancies in his second inaugural address. He talked about carrying the fire of freedom throughout the world. Without sounding rude, I’d say this is, at the very least, an overstatement. He isn’t going to carry anything much further. He’s already having difficulty in maintaining this fire in Iraq. If he wants to do that around the world he will not succeed. Indeed, he’s not succeeding in Iraq.
Cuba is one of the places mentioned, not by him but by [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice the day before. I advise them not to try. It will cost a lot of lives if the Americans would attack us, more than those dying in Iraq, because this is not a divided country or society that has been suffering under a dictatorial regime. The opposite is true. You will find here a free society, finally emancipated from half a century of oppression and corruption imposed by the US We attainted our independence in 1959 – from US domination. That is a fact of history. From an ethnic or cultural point of view we are a unified country, an island on which a common culture and common identity has evolved. We are prepared to make life impossible for an invader.
But more important, what is the meaning of this policy? It is not just irrational, a product of arrogance or impulse, not just the product of a person that doesn’t read many books. That explains only his strange selection of words.
Consider Bush’s simplistic view of the world; or better, take the more analytical and conscious way the CIA views it. A CIA document published a couple months ago and another in December 2000, forecasts based on research and analysis, consider scenarios of war, peace, turmoil and catastrophes. But there is a common denominator expressed in one sentence: "US influence will continue to decline." By the way, the CIA does not call for a change of policy, but simply states as a fact that US influence is less today than 20 or 40 years ago.
The US is not going to rise above the rest of the world. It is the sole superpower in cold war terms. But the US cannot exercise complete power over the rest of the world. Russia continues to have nuclear weapons. Economically, for example, China has emerged as a power. Recently the Chinese president toured Latin America and discussed granting Argentina a credit line of $20 billion. Forty years ago, at time of the Alliance for Progress, Kennedy offered the entire continent $20 billion – over a ten year period. Cuba criticized this modest offer at the time because it was too little. Remember, at that time this little island had established relations with that big country China. The other countries in Latin America followed the US line and refused to recognize the existence of China. Now, 40 years later, that once non-recognized country’s head of state travels throughout the region and offers much more than the US could when it was at its peak. And the US must accept that China plays that role in the world. The Vice President of China was doing a similar thing in Africa.
Although the US remains the biggest military power, it has trouble controlling a rather small country like Iraq, which it almost destroyed by bombing and an economic embargo before the war. The reality is that US is only the most powerful entity in one area: information and communication.
It was the only dominant force at end of the Second World War, the only nuclear power. Nagasaki and Hiroshima, by the way, are the only cases in which nuclear power has been used destructively. They were not employed by a terrorist state, but by the US democracy – allegedly to defeat Japan. At that time and later, during the Marshall Plan, the US was at the top. Since then it has been declining. That does not mean it is a country in disarray, but it is going downward.
To answer this downhill slide, in my opinion, came the neo-cons who believe that by using the United States’ comparatively limited economic and large military resources, but especially by exploiting their advantage in terms of communication technology and near monopoly of information media, they can reverse the trend. That is impossible. The US cannot turn the world back to 1945 and reappear as the only power in the world. The US needs to learn to live in a diverse world with different players, different ideologies and interests and not to pretend to be the owner of the planet.
Those times are gone forever. That is the way history moves. But the new conservative trend departs form traditional conservatism and tries to reverse the world’s movement by being interventionist, by sending troops here and there. It is an irrational approach. It’s obvious that they will not succeed but their missionary and mythological approach could lead to mistakes even more grave than Iraq.
Landau: In 1945, the US wrote the Nuremburg laws prohibiting aggressive war and also drafted the UN and OAS charters that prohibit intervention. How do you explain US behavior, initiating those laws and then violating them?
Alarcon: The US wrote all those important documents that became the foundation of the international order when it was the most important power in the world. Now that the world has been undergoing change those documents have become obstacles to US interests. At the same time, US officials try to manipulate these documents, like the Human Rights Covenants. If you listen to US officials, they are fulfilling a mission of spreading human rights throughout the world. The ideas of freedom and democracy are in the UN charter, but together with the principle of nonintervention, prohibition of war. The only thing the UN Charter recognizes as a legitimate reason for war is self defense, a nation subjected to external aggression. Even in those circumstances, you have to ask the UN to intervene. Nobody else can intervene. It’s a peaceful ideal. The Charter lacks some important points. It doesn’t mention colonialism, nor recognize the right of colonial people to self-determination and independence. But the UN was transformed because after WW II, no one could stop the emancipation of those countries. People became independent and then UN members. It was one of the factors that helped transform the world. How to explain how the US changed its mind after essentially drafting these documents?
Those exercising power were not happy with what happened. The reality problem is a serious one. Psychiatrists help those who have trouble dealing with reality. If you do not acknowledge reality you may be suffering from a serious disturbance. I sometimes feel that some American politicians need professional help to remember that they conceived the UN and its structure. Some American politicians now refer to the UN as something to ignore or despise. Do they forget that it was a US creation? To weaken or break this organization, which is what Bush did, was a terrible thing. The UN does not exist any more because of what happened in Iraq. This is a very serious problem. It is not true that it will reconstruct itself on new bases.
I don’t want to sound rude, but that is exactly what Hitler did. He was angry with the League of Nations, with reality, after WWI. During the period between the two world wars, Germany became the European superpower, economically, technologically, militarily.
When Hitler set the goal of conquering Europe in the mid 1930s, his dream matched the reality of Europe more than who Bush seeks to conquer the entire world with the current level of US power. Hitler’s irrational dream was more rational than the discourse you hear now from American leaders. Hitler made a very big mistake, trying to conquer the USSR. Stalin committed many crimes. He was a dictator, but the Soviet people stopped Hitler. It was the same mistake that Napoleon made, to try to conquer the East. If he had remained the master of western and central Europe maybe he would have continued to hold power. But he overextended himself.
But fascism was rejected by most people. And resistance to Nazism arose in many places. Our Yugoslav brothers and sisters offered heroic resistance in that period. The Nazis never conquered that country. Later on it was made to explode, not by the Nazis, but by western democracies.
Landau: You use history as a guide.
Alarcon: History is important. Those who believe they can turn history back should remember the origin of previous wars. The Germans didn’t accept Versailles and that was the origin of Fascism.
Landau: While the 75 dissidents received wide support, did the five Cubans in US prisons also get much support from Europe? How do you see the case of five convicted of espionage?
Alarcon: There has been some support. The US detained 5 Cubans, 2 of them US citizens, in September, 1998. They were tried, convicted and sentenced essentially for the crime of having penetrated terrorist groups of Cuban origin openly operating from Miami. These groups carried out bombings and killings in Cuba and in the US That’s what happened. In the original indictments you’ll see they were also accused, as additional minor accusations, of being undocumented, having forged documents. If they’d said that their mission was to fight US-backed terrorism against Cuba – they’d have to be crazy.
The US Attorney Generals office of Southern Florida insisted that it didn’t want to discuss the five’s motivations. Read the indictment. It’s in the court documents. "We know their motivations," the prosecutors said. "They came here to penetrate terrorist groups and we don’t want that to be the substance of the trial. We want to focus on the violations of US law that they committed in order to perform their goals. They didn’t register as foreign agents and changed their identity. Those were the big crimes."
The defense lawyers called that the "necessity principle." Under certain circumstances an individual may violate a law to stop a greater threat or danger – the lesser evil philosophy. To save a life, a defendant may allege in court that he had to ignore some law because he had a more important purpose. That was the issue here. To protect lives from terrorists, the five had to violate laws.
You can’t do that openly. Ironically, those five Cubans were condemned for doing what the FBI was supposed to do and didn’t. Instead of investigating terrorism, the FBI investigated them.
Miami is a special place where terrorists have links to local business people and politicians. It’s mafia style. So, to protect itself, save lives and reduce damages, Cuba had no option but to send individuals, real heroes, to perform that infiltration duty in that area. That was the issue.
Before doing that we informed the US government about the terrorists’ activities. I remember speaking privately with US officials, asking them to please try and stop this. They knew we had our own sources inside those groups. We never denied that. And no one complained. They knew that we were gathering information to defend ourselves.
Once in court, however, the context of Cuba-US relations was ignored. Indeed, most importantly, in written and verbal form during the trial, the US even admitted to condemning these people precisely because they were trying to act against the terrorists. You’ll find it written in Rene Gonazalez’ sentencing, December 14, 2001, three months after the twin towers attack. The government asked the judge to do something special in Rene’s case because he was born in Chicago, he’s a US citizen.
The government asked for the maximum sentence for all five. For Rene that meant 15 years. But read the transcript of the court session. The Miami Assistant Attorney General called him a man with such strong convictions and motivations that he would emerge from prison still young and attempt to again penetrate the terrorists to learn their plans and inform the Cuban government.
"You have to do something to put him out of action, judge." Page 46 of the transcript!
So the court added that when this man gains his freedom, he will be barred from visiting places where individual or terrorist groups are known to frequent. What does it mean? That the US government knows the identity of Miami crime figures and terrorists and which places they frequent.
The sentencing took place in December 2001, 3 months after the terrible attacks against New York. The government didn’t arrest organized crime figures, violent people or terrorists. Rather, they punished a US citizen and prohibited him from "bothering our terrorists, our organized crime figures."
Antonio Guerrero was about to be sentenced on December 27, 2001, to a maximum of life plus ten years. But that didn’t satisfy the Attorney General. He asked for more. If Guerrero has two lives he will not be allowed to visit places that terrorists frequent. Americans should know about this. They have the right to know. It’s an insult to those who died on Sept. 11 to have a government so connected, so engaged, with terrorists, that they protect them. That’s the substance of the case against the five Cubans.
Landau: How have the Five been treated in prison?
Alarcon: Serious violation of the people’s most fundamental rights occurred. The US did not allow the wives of two of the five to visit. Rene’s six year old daughter was born in the US, a citizen, hasn’t been able to see her father. She saw him twice when she was four months old. Rene’s a poster father; she’s seen his poster after she was deprived of paternal protection. The US Government did that because the American people didn’t know about it. If the people knew I’m sure they’d ask questions like: "How come the government is so friendly with well known terrorists? Why does the government treat so harshly those who fight against terrorism? Is the US government for or against the terrorists? Mr. Bush."
Landau: George Bush has made freedom, democracy and human rights his issues. Simultaneously, we read of reports of torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. In light of this, how do you see the US criticism of Cuba for being a human rights violator, because it locked up 75 "dissidents?" How does Cuba’s view of human rights coincide with the arrest of those 75?
Alarcon: US Interest Section Chief Vicky Huddlestone sat where you are when the US decided to send prisoners to Guantanamo. As a courtesy, they informed me they would treat those prisoners in accord with the Geneva conventions. They recognized Cuba’s sovereignty over Guantanamo and its right to demand that they not use our territory to violate human rights. They didn’t have to tell us, by the way, because we can’t do anything about Guantanamo. Yet, people who acknowledged atrocities at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo criticized Cuba for having detained and tried individuals accused under a pre-existing law. Cuban defense lawyers had contact with their families while, simultaneously, the US denied thousands of people their most fundamental rights. The "dissidents" were tried in a court of law.
That was March 2003. In Bush’s State of the Union address, he had referred to thousands of individuals accused of involvement in terrorism, detained by the US and its allies. And he added: "Others had suffered a different fate." In other words, the "others" are no longer a problem. Big applause from both houses! I read in The New Yorker that since Hitler, no Western leader had publicly suggested extrajudicial execution. Those in Guantanamo – at least someone knows they are there. The "others" – nobody knew where they were captured or taken.
Non-accountability is now in fashion. The principle of habeas corpus dates from the Magna Carta, not the Human Rights Declaration. Habeas corpus has now disappeared. In this context, Cuba was criticized for having detained 75 "dissidents."
Some facts: March 1996, Clinton signed Helms Burton [designed to punish foreign companies trading with or investing in Cuba]. December 1996, Cuba’s National Assembly countered that law. We used legal examples from Canada, Argentina, and Britain, who had also adopted laws countering Helms Burton. Our law said that Helms Burton is unlawful and we may prosecute those in Cuba who act to implement it. Nothing more! In February 1998, we adopted another law establishing sanctions for those Cubans who try to implement Helms-Burton [receiving US funds, goods and services to publicly support the law]. But there’s a principle in the law that lawyers refer to as the principle of opportunity. There are two ways to implement a law. If you don’t stop at a red light, police fine you. You ran the light. That’s the automatic application of the law. But the opportunity principle means that the prosecutor doesn’t automatically prosecute violators of the law. Rather, he requires political instructions.
So, although we passed the law in February 1998, nobody was arrested. It was a message: don’t work with a foreign power against your country. We waited five years – February ‘98 to March 2003 – to arrest those individuals. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Cuba by taking the arrests out of context, as if they happened on another planet.
In March 2003, the US established a new doctrine: war without UN authorization; unilateral war; disproportionate war – in Iraq.
At the time, Cuba sentenced three individuals to death. Like most leaders of the Cuban Revolution, I disagree with the death penalty. We haven’t used it often. It goes against our morality. In this case, however, hijackers seized a boat to move people to the States. But a few days before, US Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega said, following other cases of planes and boats hijacked to the US, that they would consider repetitions of such actions as acts against its national security! Code words for bombing! Recall, Iraq was accused of threatening US national security by having WMD’s.
The boat hijacking occurred because the US promoted it by welcoming Cuban hijackers, establishing hijacking as a way to enter your society. At the same time, US officials suggested that such incidents could serve as an excuse for war. Also, John Bolton, another undersecretary of State, claimed that Cuba actually had WMDs, had developed a bio-weapons producing program and shared it with other rogue states. My god, you never found WMD’s in Iraq, but there you are in Iraq! The US accused us of planning an attack and having the capability of attacking – just 90 miles from your shore.
Landau: The "dissidents?"
Alarcon: We waited five years. We couldn’t afford to be patient anymore, if the US planned to attack, and their threats were real. In late February 2003, millions demonstrated around the world against the impending war. The biggest demonstrations ever in Spanish history occurred in Madrid and European and US cities. In Miami, Florida, however, a pro-war demonstration occurred with a four word, big banner: "Iraq now, Cuba later!"
Cuban American Congresspeople and state officials held that banner. A committee headed by well-known terrorist Orlando Bosch called the demonstration. Bosch promoted it on local radio and published an ad in a Miami paper. So that’s the context. Noriega saying hijacking would be tantamount to Cuba attacking the US, others referring to Cuba as being like Saddam Hussein with WMD’s.
Landau: So you’re connecting the Iraq situation with the "dissidents?"
Alarcon: A paid agent of another government trying to overthrow your government receives a severe sentence in many countries. But only in Cuba does the US have an open policy of promoting that behavior – paying, organizing, supporting groups inside our country for the interest of the most powerful country – also our neighbor.
Cuba faced a national security threat from the US, as it has since the 19th century. The US’ Cuba program [Plan for Assistance to a Free Cuba], includes secret ops of the CIA, going on for years, and the new policy of promoting and fabricating an opposition inside Cuba – working openly through AID. Do you expect to have all that without a legal reaction from Cuba?
We acted legally and we did not precipitate these arrests. We waited patiently, like Job, the biblical figure. And we had to act at a very serious moment for us and the world. Nobody was tortured or had their rights violated, although the press has claimed it. Raul Rivera, the most famous of the so-called "dissidents" recently came out of prison. Many people, including his wife, had accused us of torturing him. He said as he left prison: "I was never tortured, nor ill treated physically or psychologically."
Nor did any of the 75 suffer torture. I suspect that we were a scapegoat to distract attention away from the real violations still going on in Guantanamo. Nobody in Congress asked Bush about the fact that torture and disappearing people had become a normal practice; nor did European parliaments question it. Instead, people discussed Cuba’s jailing of poets, journalists, intellectuals. They exaggerated. Only Rivera was a poet. Some of the others are poorly educated. We took criticism for doing what was our right, our obligation. Any country does what’s necessary according to law to protect yourself. We did that when you were torturing hundreds in Guantanamo; without lawyers, without charges – still without defense lawyers, incommunicado.
Landau: What is Bush’s Cuba policy?
Alarcon: In May 2004, President Bush presented the Program for Assistance for a free Cuba to "accelerate the end of the Castro regime," to force regime change. First, increase "our support to our people inside Cuba." That was not exactly the wording, but its aim was to augment support to US-backed groups inside Cuba. At the White House website you’ll find his words. They increased support from $7 to $59 million. Those who receive funds are part of a foreign design to bring regime change. That means overthrowing our government and imposing another one. But not just another one! They want to end the Revolution quickly, to do what? Establish a new regime in Cuba, based on two principles: restitution of property to former owners and complete privatization. The US government will guarantee the expeditious restitution of property and establish a US, not a Cuban, Commission on Restitution of Property rights. And that’s the end of Cuba. Restitution and privatization, controlled by a foreign government! The new plan lists even minor details on transportation, environment, agriculture, with advisors sent by Washington to supervise.
Of course, by privatizing education and health care, retired persons will no longer get pensions. When the Cuban Revolution ends, retirees will no longer be paid. Washington will organize them into an old people’s corps and put to work as long as their health permits. Americans should read that. It’s on the US government website. We’re quoting from it. The US has two experiences in remaking regimes, Afghanistan and Iraq. It will be difficult to implement such plans here. That’s why in the institutional reforms section, their first priority is creating a new police force, trained and equipped by the US and under the control and leadership of guess who?
And what would remain of Cuba? After property has been privatized and returned to its former owners, after older Cubans have died laboring in public works, without health care or education, the US holds elections for the new authorities. After the Revolutionary regime is dismantled, the US will substantially expand the Cuban budget to promote new political parties be based on current "dissident" groups in Cuba.
This shows the "dissidents’ are instruments of a foreign government. Can we be accused of being harsh in dealing with them? Or have we been patient Jobians waiting for them to rethink? Cuba is the only country facing such a plan. How would another country react if a big power dared to do that against them? Imposing the will of a foreign power over the legitimate wills of the people themselves. That’s a democracy?