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CubaNews Notes from Los Angeles, May 21, 2004

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  • Walter Lippmann
    CUBANEWS NOTES FROM LOS ANGELES by Walter Lippmann, May 21, 2004 MAY 20th EVENTS May 20th has been an occasion when US politicians have issued statements about
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      CUBANEWS NOTES FROM LOS ANGELES
      by Walter Lippmann, May 21, 2004


      MAY 20th EVENTS

      May 20th has been an occasion when US politicians have issued
      statements about Cuba. In 1902 it was the date when the Cuban
      national legislature adopted a constitution which limited the
      island's sovereignty by including the PLATT AMENDMENT, which
      authorized the United States to militarily intervene in Cuba
      at any time it saw fit. Washington exercised this "right" on
      three occasions between 1902 and 1934 when Platt was formally
      abrogated by the United States. Washington has continued its
      intervention in the island's politics by other methods, of
      course...Read the text of the Platt Amendment:
      http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/platt.htm


      TORTUREGATE IMAGES

      While the world witnesses the growing Torturegate scandal with
      graphic depictions of how Washington imposes "freedom" on the
      people of Iraq, the Bush administration scrambles to try to
      keep a lid in the scandal and to prevent still further images
      from coming to light. Check these horrible accounts out:

      NEW DETAILS OF PRISON ABUSE EMERGE
      published in today's Washington Post
      http://makeashorterlink.com/?X12632C58

      SWORN STATEMENTS BY TORTURE VICTIMS
      published in today's Washington Post
      tp://makeashorterlink.com/?N20612C58

      These horrible exposes are likely to have contributed to Bush's
      decision not to go to Florida, as he had done two years ago for
      a public media opportunity together with his rightist militant
      exile associates. In fact, Bush himself didn't even bother to
      read the one-paragraph statement he issues. It was read by his
      press secretary, Scott McClellan.

      ---------------------------------------------------------------

      STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ON CUBA May 20, 2004:

      On behalf of the people of the United States, I send greetings
      to all people of Cuban heritage who celebrate the anniversary
      of the birth of the Republic of Cuba. We stand firmly with the
      11 million Cubans who still suffer under the repressive Castro
      dictatorship and who dream of a prosperous and free future.
      The United States is working for the day when a free Cuba will
      rejoin the community of democracies in America. We will
      vigorously implement the recommendations of the Commission For
      Assistance to a Free Cuba, so that Cuba will reflect the vision
      of the great Cuban patriot, Jose Marti: Con todos y para el
      bien de todos -- With all the people, and for the good of
      all the people. May God bless the Cuban people."
      http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040520-11.html
      ----------------------------------------------------------------


      CORPORATE AND OTHER LEADERS OPPOSING THE EMBARGO:

      A group of prominent corporate and other leaders lead by financier
      David Rockefeller issued a strong statement against the travel ban
      and restrictions on US investment on the island. These individuals,
      who include some of the most prominent figures in the US political
      establishment have met with Cuba's Fidel Castro in the past and
      issued statements along these lines previously as well. They frame
      their arguments in terms of what they see as a better strategy for
      bringing about political change on the island. Nevertheless, it's
      important that these figures continue their efforts.


      CONGRESSIONAL MEASURES PROPOSED AGAINST THE EMBARGO:

      In Congress, Senator Max Baucus and others introduced legislation
      to end the travel ban and [what they refer to as the] "embargo",
      continuing the struggle by a majority of the members of Congress
      to reorient US policy toward Cuba. Activists around the nation
      called congressional representatives asking them to oppose the
      newest Bush policy decisions. We'll receive reports in time of
      how these were received.


      LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY LEADERS SPEAK AGAINST THE BLOCKADE:

      Concerned community leaders in Los Angeles and Miami took the
      initiative to organize public events in opposition to the new
      Bush administration moves against Cubans and Cuban Americans.
      So while Bush himself didn't come out in public to speak on
      Cuba, critics and opponents of US policy took strong steps all
      over the place.

      Yesterday's news conferences held in Miami and Los Angeles were
      very pleasing. Media reports on the Miami conference have come
      out nationally. Francisco Aruca is likely to discuss the Miami
      event on his radio programs there today. You can listen to his
      programs via www.progresoweekly.com

      Four Spanish-language television stations came to our news
      conference in Los Angeles, as did our main Spanish-language
      daily newspaper, LA OPINION. Their report can be seen:
      http://www.laopinion.com/ciudad/?rkey=00040520200001179355

      Six local leaders participated, all speaking eloquently about the
      impact of the Bush Commission recommendations on Cuban-Americans,
      Cubans and everyone from the United States. The speakers were:

      Alberto Valdivia, Treasurer of United Teachers of Los Angeles*
      Carlos Ugalde, Latin American Studies Professor, Glendale College*
      Jose Estevez, Cuban-American attorney affected by the restrictions
      Juan Jose Gutierrez, Latino Movement USA
      Robert Farrell, representing State Senator Mervyn M. Dymally
      Ian Thompson, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
      *organizations for identification only

      --------------------------------------------------------------

      STATEMENT BY CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBER MERVYN DYMALLY
      "Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally Statement Concerning Anti-Cuba
      Program Funding"

      "By announcing the financing of a program to destabilize the
      government of Cuba, President George Bush may be putting this
      country into a more difficult position with the international
      community which has for almost 40 years accepted and believed
      the American policy that it would not invade Cuba.

      "It is another step that will clearly damage the credibility
      of our nation and its traditional policies.

      "This is another example of the neoconservatives resurrecting
      policy that has been rejected by enlightened American Presidential
      leadership -- even former President George Herbert Walker Bush --
      in the conduct of Cuba affairs.

      "President George Bush is sadly mistaken if he believes that
      harassing President Fidel Castro and Cuba will distract the
      American people from the failures and cruelties of his Iraq
      policy.

      "Let's all remember that it is election season.

      "Attacking President Castro and the Cuban people makes for good
      Republican politics in Florida, but this strategy will not work.
      Not in Florida, across the United States, or in the eyes of the
      international Community."
      -----------------------------------------------------------------

      Assemblyman Dymally has a long and distinguished career in
      California politics, having been a state Senator, Lieutenant
      Governor and member of the Unite States House of Representative.
      He also co-edited, with Jeffrey M. Elliot, the book FIDEL BY FIDEL,
      an extended book-length interview with the Cuban leader which was
      first published as NOTHING CAN STOP THE COURSE OF HISTORY by
      Pathfinder Press in 1986.
      =================================================================


      VIETNAMESE-AMERICAN TERRORISM AND INTIMIDATION IN ORANGE COUNTY

      In recent weeks we've seen a new outburst of rightist militancy in
      Orange County, California, where Vietnamese exiles activists, who
      are every bit the kith and kin of their Cuban cousins in Miami,
      have acted to prevent public visits by diplomatic and political
      leaders from their home country. The United States maintains full
      and normal diplomatic and economic relations with Vietnam, yet it
      is obvious that the encouragement Washington has long given to the
      rightist exiles in Miami has also been extended to the Vietnamese
      in Orange County. This story has not been publicized outside of
      the Southern California area. I've been meaning to send material
      out about this in hopes that some national and international light
      can be shed on this festering situation.

      This situation does, however, help us to see two possible future
      scenarios for the United States. First, normalization of relations
      is possible between the US and Vietnam, even though the Vietnamese
      succeeded in defeating the United States militarily after a long
      and bitterly-fought war in 1975. And productive economic relations
      are possible in this context.

      At the same time, intractable opponents of the Cuban Revolution in
      the United States have long succeeded, with encouragement they've
      received from Washington, in creating an atmosphere of fear and
      intimidation in Miami. Vietnamese militants have done the same in
      Orange County, though they've received far less media attention.
      Long-time Southern California residents will recall Professor
      Ed Cooperman, who headed the United States Committee for Scientific
      Cooperation with Vietnam. He was murdered in 1984 by a 21-year old
      Vietnamese student. I haven't followed up on that, but here's one
      article gleaned via Google:
      http://www.salemstate.edu/imc/vietnam/ladinsky.html

      The Bush administration and Washington are fully responsible for
      these problems due to their passivity and encouragement in Florida
      and elsewhere through the past 45 years. Imagine, if you will, the
      situation when a country with which the United States maintains as
      normal a diplomatic relationship as is possible, with a country,
      and there are parts of the United States where diplomats from that
      country are unable to publicly enter the area!

      ==================================================================

      EMIGRATION AND NATION CONFERENCE OPENS IN HAVANA TODAY

      Cubans resident on the island and off will begin meeting in the third
      EMIGRATION AND NATION CONFERENCE which kicks off in Havana later today.
      There will be reports in the Cuban and US media. With luck, we may get
      some updates from participants, though none have been arranged to date.

      Part of the timing of the Bush Administration's latest moves against
      travel to the island by Cuban-Americans was aimed at cutting down on
      attendance at this event. This conference was cancelled last year in
      the wake of the US invasion of Iraq and the trials and executions in
      Cuba. Keep in mind as well that Washington's effort to close doors to
      Cuba have kept pace with Cuba's efforts open doors to the island.

      ====================================================================

      PASTORS FOR PEACE 15th ANNUAL FRIENDSHIPMENT CARAVAN
      Please be advised that I will be joining the 15th Annual Friendship
      Caravan organized by Pastors for Peace next month. This will result
      in some change in my ability to keep up the work here, but the work
      will be done. I'm very excited at the prospect of being able to get
      out and meet people along the route of the Caravan, telling everyone
      about the many gains of the Cuban Revolution and why we all have a
      strong moral and political obligation to participate in the defense
      of the Cuban Revolution.

      Those of you who have the time and ability are strongly encouraged
      to apply to participate in the Caravan. We'll be collecting medical
      supplies to donate to the Cuban people, and educating as many people
      as we can reach about the Cuban process and how we can make positive
      contributions to the normalization of relations between our nations.

      READ ABOUT PASTORS FOR PEACE AND THE CARAVAN:
      http://www.ifconews.org

      ===================================================================

      FOR MORE NEWS, VIEW AND INFORMATION ON CUBA:
      http://www.walterlippmann.com
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews
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