By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Since 1982, the US State Department has listed Cuba as one of the “state sponsors of terrorism” for allegedly “having repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”
Cuba denies this and in turn, hurls the same accusation to the US government.
In an interview, Juan Carlos Arencibia Corrales, Cuban ambassador to the Philippines, said that since 1959, the US has been promoting terrorist actions against Cuba.
That year, the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro toppled the dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista that had been supported by the US government. Before the victory of the Cuban revolution, US companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands, 90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions, 80 percent of the utilities, practically all of the oil industry and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports, according to former US president John F. Kennedy. The revolution nationalized the industries, undermining US economic interests in Cuba.
History of aggressions
The past eleven US administrations had been implementing aggressive policies against Cuba, Arencibia said.
These include, he said, economic and financial blockade, military aggression, sabotage against the Cuban economy and terrorist actions to create panic among the populace.
“All these are for the purpose of destroying the revolution,” Arencibia said.
Arencibia said there have been more than 600 assassination plots against Fidel Castro, Cuba’s commander in chief, perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Of late, Arencibia said, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been involved in promoting and financing actions by counterrevolutionary and reactionary groups in Cuba, which, Arencibia said, comprise a small fraction in Cuban society.
The US has called Cuba as a terrorist but it is the US that is the biggest terrorist in the world,” Arencibia said, adding that the US has been using the Guantanamo Bay to attack Cuban soldiers.
“They sponsored terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosche,” Arencibia said. The two, accused of undertaking bomb attacks against Cuba including the Cubana Flight 455 in October 1976, took refuge in the US.
A U.S. government document released through freedom of information petition reveals that Posada is receiving approximately $300 per month from the CIA. Posada is involved with right-wing groups, in particular the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF) and the Coordinadora de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations – CORU), led at the time by Bosch.
Recently, a US court acquitted Carriles, a former CIA agent, of immigration charges. “Instead of being charged with terrorism, the US government accused him of violating immigration rules,” Arencibia said.
The US government, Arencibia added, also recruits mercenaries from Latin America and send these terrorists to Havana.
Arencibia said 90 percent of the employees of the US diplomatic office in Havana are CIA agents, peddling lies that there is a strong opposition in Cuba. He said however that the opposition is a small group of mercenaries who do not have any political program.
“It’s a fallacy that Cuba is accused of terrorism when it has long been suffering from US’s aggression,” Arencibia said.
“We don’t promote wars as the US did in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya. We don’t send soldiers, we send doctors, teachers, health personnel,” Arencibia said. “We do not take resources from other countries.”
Obama, no different
Arencibia said current US President Barack Obama is no different.
“Obama only changed the image. While Bush promoted the track of military aggression, Obama has been promoting the ideological track,” he said.
Arencibia pointed out that while restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba have been eased, the economic, financial and trade blockades remain intact. Travels and remittances to Cuba were restricted substantially under former president George W. Bush.
In an article, Fidel Castro described the blockade as the harshest of measures against Cuba. “This is the way a truly genocidal measure is piously called, one whose damage cannot be calculated only on the basis of its economic effects, for it constantly takes human lives and brings painful suffering to our people,” he said.
On September 2, 2010, Obama extended the embargo through September 14, 2011, saying that the blockade “is in the national interest of the United States.” Washington reiterates that the Cuban government is “still a risk for US national security.”
“Behind the face, inside the heart, is more reactionary than Bush,” Arencibia said.
Defending the revolution
Arencibia said the Cuban people are determined to defend the revolution.
“Before the revolution, under the Batista regime, there was massive corruption, poverty, illiteracy and all those problems. After victory, in three months, we eradicated illiteracy with the support of young people,” Arencibia said.
Cuba has a public health care system that is universal and free of charge, education, a program for culture and sports. “These are the achievements of the revolution. The revolution changed the situation totally.”