Friday, May 1, 2009

Cuba on Obama's terrorism list

The Obama Administration designated Cuba a “state sponsor of terrorism” yesterday, and Cuba responded by calling the United States an “international criminal.”

So we’re even. (AFP stories here and here.)

The description of Cuba and the three other “sponsors” in the State Department’s annual terrorism report continues the longstanding practice of using action verbs about current terrorist operations to describe all but Cuba.

The three others – Syria, Iran, and Sudan – are described as engaging in “planning and financial support of terrorist attacks,” having “Al-Qa’ida (AQ)-inspired terrorist elements, and elements of both Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and HAMAS” operating in their territory, providing “political and material support to Hizballah,” and the like. The accusation against Cuba is that people who committed terrorism and other crimes some years ago enjoy safe haven in Cuba.

The 12,000-word “Western Hemisphere Overview” contains one mention of Cuba, this perfunctory sentence: “Cuba remained a state sponsor of terrorism.” The overview’s entry on Venezuela presents more troubling information than is provided about Cuba. But Cuba is on the “sponsor” list, Venezuela is not.

But these are old issues; there are some new elements in the Obama Administration’s Cuba entry. There’s the statement that “Cuba no longer actively supports armed struggle in Latin America and other parts of the world.” There’s the acknowledgement that “some” Spanish ETA members and Colombian guerrillas in Cuba “arrived in Cuba in connection with peace negotiations with the governments of Spain and Colombia.” There’s a citation that “former Cuban President Fidel Castro called on the FARC to release the hostages they were holding without preconditions… [and] also condemned the FARC’s mistreatment of captives and of their abduction of civilian politicians who had no role in the armed conflict.” There’s a statement that the U.S. government “has no evidence of terrorist-related money laundering or terrorist financing activities in Cuba.” There’s acknowledgement that “In keeping with its public declaration, the [Cuban] government has not provided safe haven to any new U.S. fugitives wanted for terrorism since 2006.”

One wonders if the door is opening to Cuba’s removal from the “sponsor” list, with this issue being the sticking point: “The Cuban government continued to permit some U.S. fugitives – including members of U.S. militant groups such as the Boricua Popular, or Macheteros, and the Black Liberation Army to live legally in Cuba.”

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is an extremely sensitive point with the cuban govt. the united states has been involved in terrorist attacks against cuba for many years, including state sponsored terrorism under Operation Mongoose.

there is no proof that the cuban govt has ever conducted any terrorist acts against the United States.

Cuba was put on the state department's list of terrorist states in the early 1980s, replacing a country that was removed from the list -- Iraq.

the Americans convoluted attempt to justify it keeping Cuba on the list simply highlights the continued hypocrisy of their treatment of cuba. this one is particularly onerous because of the thousands of people killed in cuba from acts of terror based in the united states.

spain asked cuba to accept a number of those they considered terrorists, cuba agreed. there is no extradition treaty between US and Cuba -- if there was the situation with those terrorists living in cuba could be addressed. But then so would those terrorists like Posada and Bosch would be included, and the US does not want that.

maybe the report will lead to an addressing of this situation. cuba does not belong on this arbitrary american lists of "states that sponsor terror" they have no proof that cuba 'sponsored terror', but twist their own definitions to try and include cuba. it is despicable.

Anonymous said...

I would refer everyone to google Gerardo Morales (the Puerto Rican Arocena). I believe he is living in Cuba.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.. give me a f'ing break!>?

This is an outrage and result of the right wing fox news know nothings, who think they know russia, b/c I 'can see it'.

I am no fan of cuba's system, but to call them a state sponsor of terrorism demeans our langauge, us and is an affront on soverign nation.

the neo cons continue to infiltrate our government

Anonymous said...

Sorry I need to correct myself. The individual I mentioned is Guillermo Morales not Gerardo Morales.See http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/us-cuba/protector.htm.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

vecino; i will try and attempt to distinguish your post from the others. i honestly hope you will respond directly.

Guillermo Morales is living in Cuba. He is a fugitive from United States justice. If Cuba and the United States had an extradition treaty this situation may be resolved. Cuba is interested in having people like Bosch and Posada, terrorists living in Miami, sent to Cuba. There are many others on both sides. But there is a difference. None of those living in Cuba have been accused by anyone of conducting terrorist acts against American citizens under Cuban state sponsorship. None that I know of, if you have evidence to the contrary please provide.

Your post appears to want to link situations that have no comparison. I understand you want to support your position but I don't believe you are right.

America claims Cuba is a 'state sponsor' of terror. Cuba was not involved in Morales actions. They allowed him to live in Cuba after the fact. If you have proof otherwise please provide. The story only claimed that Cuba has allowed he and others to live in Cuba, not that the Cuban government financed or aided those acts. If you have any proof of 'state sponsored terrorism" as defined by the US, let us know.

Now, on the other hand the American government has admitted it was involved in state sponsored terrorism against Cuba, most notably Operation Mongoose. The documentation from the CIA is indisputable. There is also ample documentation that the American government aided and supported counter-revolutionary groups that have committed hundreds of terrorist acts against Cuba. That is state sponsored terrorism.

Bosch and Posada committed terrorist acts and have direct connections to the American govt, and there is proof the American govt was aware of their activities.

Arocena was a terrorist who admitted he introduced germs into cuba to start a biowar. He was involved in an organization operating on American soil. America didn't allow him to live in the States AFTER the fact, they allowed him to conduct his activities while living in the US. as they did so many others who conducted terrorist acts against Cuba. the members of Alpha 66 conducted a terrorist attack against Boca De Sama. They all lived in FLorida. They attacked Cuba from Florida. They returned to Florida and bragged about it on their website. All under American soil and under US authority. Understand the difference?

There is no comparison. I'm not sure if you know that and don't want to admit it; or are trying to make a connection simply in order to attempt to support your view. You often say you try to find common ground. All it appears you are doing is desperately trying to show that the Cuban government has been involved in 'state sponsored terrorism' by using the facts of the MOrales situation and equating it with the absolute reality of American government terrorist activities against Cuba. It is Orwellian.

Please respond directly to the challenge and not spin it off in another direction

anonimo

Anonymous said...

Through the 60s to the 80s the Castro regime was up to its eyeballs in promoting subversion and armed acts of terrorism throughout the Americas and other places like Africa -- aka, what you jackasses call "wars of national liberation." Hell, Carlos the Jackal received training in Cuba!!! As far as I know, there is no statute of limitations for terrorism. Now, does the regime still support armed subversion (i.e., terrorism)? If not, did it ever publicly renounce its past activities and seek to indemnify victims? I think not. Just because Castro can no longer afford to support terrorism abroad does not mean they get a get out of jail card free.

chingon

Anonymous said...

chingon -- so the action in Angola was a terrorist war? or their action in Ethiopia was a terrorist war as well. please define the term then.


the cubans were certainly involved in organizations involved in armed struggle against right wing dictatorships. The United States was more involved in what you term terrorism, ever heard of the School of the Americas? Under your term Batista was a terrorist regime then.

can you provide proof re Carlos jackal

and that's for responding to the post,

try and be a little more rational; the post is talking about Cuban-American relations and how Americans have conducted state sponsored terrorism against Cuba. Has the Cuban government every conducted terrorist activities against American civilians. Has there been a Cuban operation mongoose?


it's not a tough question. can you respond to that?

anonimo

Anonymous said...

there is a difference between revolution movements and terrorism. those who try to conflate the two are simply trying to blur reality.
it's no wonder the US-Cuba relationship is so difficult, the counter-revolutionaries can't even accept the most basic standards for discussion

Anonymous said...

"there is a difference between revolution movements and terrorism."

...not to the victims.

Anonymous said...

jackass, the post is about the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list. It is NOT the state sponsors of terrorism AGAINST THE U.S. list.

To argue that Cuba has had no involvement in supporting international terrorism over the decades is to be simply delusional.

On Carlos the Jackal and his ties to Cuba, here's a suggestion: look it up yourself and learn something that anyone who knows anything about Cuba has known for years.

chingon

Anonymous said...

Anonimo,

I would refer you to the book written by Masetti junior. There he details a Cuban intelligence operation ran out of Mexico against US interests. I recall that it had to do with the Wells Fargo heist.

Do we agree that Guillermo Morales is/was a terrorist bomb maker?

BTW what's the title of your book or was the book tour quip just that?

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

chingo, thanks for the clarification

revolutionary movements are classified differently than terrorist organizations. saying cuba supported international terrorist organizations is the same as saying the americans did as well, re contras.

it's different than something like operation mongoose. im sure you can distinguish the difference.

im sorry, i didn't realize now you are the moderator of this blog. typical right wingnuts wanting to control the dialogue. as my friend vecino says 'take a pill man'

and when the hell are you going to respond to my post on the other thread re the treaty? coward
anonimo

Anonymous said...

vecino, i have agreed that morales was a terrorist, under the terms that he was targeting civilian targets (as opposed to non military targets which resulted in civilian losses)

do you agree Posada,, Bosch, Omega 7, Alpha 66, Comandos L, are all terrorists or terrorist organizations operating out of American territory. that the US knew of these actions beforehand, and not simply accepted these terrorists afterwards.


And did the cuban government support Morales actions PRIOR, did they train him and was this part of a concerted government program to target civilian targets in the United States.

anonimo

Anonymous said...

Anonimo,

I can accept that Bosch is a convicted terrorist. Posada Carriles has been accused of being a terrorist and at times has spoken like one but he has never been convicted for any terrorism act (even the Venezuelan accusations ended in mistrial). Omega 7 was a terrorist organization that was disbanded by very aggressive US prosecutions of its members. Are Alpha 66 and Comandos L still active? I don't know much about Comandos L but I recall that Alpha 66 was so thoroughly infiltrated by both Cuban government and FBI informers that nothing they did was a secret to anyone, and all they did was run some quasimilitary camp in the Everglades. Also wasn't Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo the founder of Alpha 66? He is living in Havana right now so that question might be better answered by his Cuban government handlers.

I have no knowledge whether the Cuban government supported Morales actions prior to his actions but they have become accesories after the fact by providing him with asylum in Cuba. I read an interview he gave awhile back, and it became pretty clear that he doesn't know that he is just a tradable item for the Havana government. The Masetti book goes into some detail about the training and material support given by Cuban intelligence to anti-US groups. I'll post the bibliographic note once I get it.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Anonimo,

The Jorge Masetti book is titled in English "In the Pirate's Den: My Life as a Secret Agent for Castro". Although anecdotal it can be a good source for understanding the connections between Cuban intelligence and what have been classified terrorist organizations by the US and others. Masetti details hows Cuban intelligence has been a protagonist in these situations.

He is a second generation revolutionary. His dad was the founder of Prensa Latina and proceeded to die as part of a guerrilla cell. Eventually his links to the de la Guardia twins distanced from the Cuban government.

Vecino de NF

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

yes, compaῆero, you're robotic Party-line postings have me absolutely flummoxed.

Btw, what is your opinion of Phil Peters' unwillingness to tell us about his relationship with Sherritt and who funds his trips to Cuba?

chingon

Anonymous said...

Anonimo,

Curious about your interest on Alpha 66 I perused its website, and it struck me that some of their plans are very similar to those used by the 26th of July movement in its uprising against the Batista government: infiltration from abroad, sabotage of economic objectives, etc. Do you consider the the 26th of July movement a terrorist organization?

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

yes chingon and your spewing of american and gusano propaganda is just as infuriating. there is never, and never will be any common ground with you.

re phil peters? is your point he is being compromised? that's for him to answer,

anonimo

Anonymous said...

your comments on alpha 66 reveal exactly your mindset that has been consistent all along. you try to appear balanced or reasonable, making seemingly innocent comments "some of their plans are very similar" leads one to think well that's reasonable. all it is is extreme. there is no equivilancy
you are entitled to your opinion, not to your own facts

tell me specifically what economic objective did boca de sama have?

July 26 movement did not target civilians -- as fidel noted their attack against the mocada was a military objective. their fight in the mountainside was against batista's military forces, not the farmers. why do you try to conflate the two, it is disingenuous.


alpha 66 et al were terrorists who targeted civilians or tourists. that's the difference. they were based in the US and operated from there. an internationalist terrorist organization. what specific military target did they attack?

was July 26th movement based in the United States? did july 26th attack civilians in america?

im trying to show the obvious differences. lets see if you agree or not and your justification

why do you try to equate two entirely different things? i'm really beginning to wonder if you can distinguish between terrorism and revolutionary movements. I guess it's just your attempts to find "common ground" yeah, right.

and your comments about POsada are ridiculous. Is Osama a terrorist or not based on whether he has been convicted? dont be so pedantic.

anonimo

Anonymous said...

Anonimo,

I am happy that at least one person knows my mindset because many times not even I know my own mindset.

Curious about the Boca de Sama reference, I looked it up and I found a reference to it in a speech given by Fidel Castro in 1971 (see http://lanic.utexas.edu/project/castro/db/1971/19711223.html). I extracted the following quote:
"As a result of the
action, Livio Rivaflecha Galano, 32, a member of the Communist Party of
Cuba and officer of the Ministry of Interior, was killed. When he noted the
presence of mercenaries, he went to the place accompanied by the chief of
the boarder guard post, Carlos Escalante Gome, who was seriously wounded,
and also by militiaman Ramon Siam Porteles, 24, who was killed in action
when the three confronted the raiders. Also seriously wounded were Jesus
(Sigarzo) Osorio, 25, a worker who lives in the hamlet, and minors Angela
and Nancy Pavon Pavon, 13 and 15 years of age, respectively. It became
painfully necessary to amputate the foot of the latter minor." I have no idea if there was a military objective in Boca de Sama but what is clear that the fatalities included military personnel (MININT, and Militias), and a Border Guard was also wounded. But I think that you were referring to the minors that were wounded, one of whom lost a leg. I am pointing this out not in a futile exercise to convince you that who ever carried this attack was part of a "liberation movement" rather than a "terrorist organization", but to point out that you were wrong in affirming that this attack was directed solely at civilians. There were military personnel in Boca de Sama that engaged the infiltrators.

The July 26th Movement did target civilians and civilian economic activities as evidenced by the 100 bombs night in Havana, the April 1958 general strike, the Fangio kidnapping, the hijacking of the plane that crashed in Nipe bay, and the summary executions of peasants suspected of being informers. Are those the actions of a "liberation movement" or a "terrorist organization"? I would say those are the actions of a liberation movement that used terrorist tactics. What do you say?

Reserving judgment on Posada Carriles' alleged terrorism ahead of any judicial conviction is not a sign of being pedantic but rather a sign of reserving judgment in the face of allegations and counterallegations. It may be uncomfortable to wait for justice but the presumption of innocence is a right that only a fool is willing to forego for others in the belief that it would never be needed by him. You should know since you signed all your posts anonimo. Both you and I cherish the freedom that preserving our privacy affords us.

Contrary to your allegations, I do not make an effort to be neutral as a rhetorical foil against the Cuban government. On the contrary like I said before, the Cuban government makes me a counterrevolutionary because it doesn't like neutrality ("Inside the Revolution everything, outside nothing"). When I am drawn into this historical discussions, my only point is that the past does not show the way to a better future. It actually kills it before is born.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

vecino

boca de sama; you are spinning the facts in an attempt to justify a purely terrorist attack.

a group of counter-revolutionary terrorists attacked Boca de Sama (which prior to the revolution was part of the United Fruit Company operations). It happened at night. Boca de Sama is a small village at the mouth of the Sama river on the north east coast of Cuba. It has no military installation, no strategic value, at the time of the attack 14 wooden homes and one schoolhouse. Population of approximately 50 people.

There were citizens of the village part of the Cuban border patrol and others part of the Cuban militia. They act as the police there.

When the terrorists attacked of course these people went to defend their homes -- that's a hell of a lot different than Boca being targeted because there were military forces or border guards there. You'd rather they not fight back, THEN under your term it'd be terrorism. that's just sick.

Every home was shot up; the schoolhouse still has the bullet holes.
Many were injured, two died.

Carlos Escalante suffered eight bullet wounds. Nancy Pavon was shot and had her foot amputated, he sister wounded in the attack as well.

How do you define mercenaries? As opposed to terrorists?
Did these 'mercenaries' take away loot or captives or destroy a military installation. No.

Vecino, you are on very weak ground here, you try and compromise a terrorist attack and try and justify it as an action against Cuban military targets.

That's like saying 9/11 was an action against the non-civilian targets because the terrorists knew there would be security guards, policemen etc involved.

July 26 was not an international terrorist organization, convenient you did not comment on that.

Your justification of terrorism is terrible, under your terms there is no such thing as terrorism if a government official is there.

BOca de Sama was an act of terrorism and for you to try and spin it any other way with your convoluted logic, your self-serving superficial examination is a pathological symptom. And that's exactly how uncompromising opponents of the regime react -- nothing they do is right, every wrong that has been done to them is justified or compromised.
But to try and justify terrorism, to attempt to justify the terrorist attack against Boca de Sama in the way you have done is so wrong.

So much for common ground.


you have 0 cred.

anonimo

Anonymous said...

July 26 movement did not target civilians -- as fidel noted their attack against the mocada was a military objective. their fight in the mountainside was against batista's military forces, not the farmers. why do you try to conflate the two, it is disingenuous.

EXCUSE ME!? Did I read that correctly? Are you asserting that the 26th of July Movement did not target civilians?

Sir, I would advise you to carry about a bit of research before spouting such complete and utter nonsense. It was the 26th of July movement that carried out the wave of terrorist bombings throughout Havana in in 57 and 58 - one of my own uncles having been a victim as an innocent bystander. It was also the 26th of July movement that threatened any citizens taking part in the 1958 elections with violence.

How on Earth could someone possibly get the idea that the 26-7 movement didn't employ terrorist acts on civilians????? How is that possible???!!! Are people really that blind?

Anonymous said...

vecino --

so answer -- was Boca de Sama an act of terrorism or not?

just yes or no

anonimo

Anonymous said...

the point for all you morons out there is that the United States ahs conducted thousands of terrorist acts against Cuba, directly or through their surrogates in Florida.
what was Operation Mongoose about?

how many acts of terrorism did the Cuban government commit against American civilians.

geese, it is so hard to get through to these people.

batista regime killed 20,000 from 56 to 59 all acts of terrorism -- one side and then the other.

the wave of havana bombings were not july 26 movement; they were based in the mountainside. it was conducted by other anti Batista groups. the july 26 movement opposed targeting civilians.


BUT we're talking about American terrorist acts against Cuba -- thousands -- verses Cuban terrorist attacks against AMerica -- zero.

it aint brain surgery.

but it does seem beyond the grasp of these gusanos.

Anonymous said...

vecino --

please spin the bombing of Cubana Airlines.

There were cuban military officials on board, one of the coaches was a member of the Ministry of Interior. One was a guard.

I guess that wasn't a terrorist act as well.

please continue to explain

anonimo

Anonymous said...

posada carriles said 'there were no innocents on that plane' in regards to cubana airlines bombing

vecino do you agree with that.

based on your previous post i can't see how you can not.

anomino

Anonymous said...

Anonimo,

Do you want to limit yourself to the arguments or to goad me into giving you life directions? I am going to assume (against my own advice and better judgment) that you want the former so here are my answers to your last three posts:

A:"was Boca de Sama an act of terrorism or not?"

I don't know. Military personnel was killed or injured and civilian personnel were injured. There is an article by Alexi Rojas that sort of gives the chronology of the attack that would indicate that the military personnel was ambushed and that the civilians were hurt in the resulting firefight. I was not there. I don't know anybody that was there. The third hand accounts appear to indicate that this was not just a strafing run from a fast boat. The initial firefight may have occurred on land. The only published investigation is a Cuban government one and both of you and I know that politics trumps facts whenever the Cuban government is involved. I read your description of the events, and although I do not dispute them I am not convinced that they tell the whole story.

A:"please spin the bombing of Cubana Airlines"

I don't have anything to spin. You sent me on an Internet research expedition on the Cubana Airlines bombing, and I came across Posada Carriles' version of the events. He blames a fellow named Morales Navarrete aka "el Mono". (This guy is no longer around. He angered a lot of people by testifying against them, and somebody killed him. Scuttlebut is that he worked for everybody: US intelligence, Cuban intelligence, drug traffickers, Venezuelan intelligence, etc). Posada Carriles is a guy has probably done lots of things against the Cuban government but the way that he was tried in Venezuela gives me the impression that on the Cubana Airlines he was a fall guy not the mastermind. (BTW he claims that the Cuban government paid operational monies to Morales for this operation.) My only point about your question whether he was a terrorist or not, is that there is no direct evidence proven in court about that question. I am not willing to convict a person of a criminal accusation without a trial. Also I am not satisfied with the Cubana Airlines inquiries. Are you?

"posada carriles said 'there were no innocents on that plane' in regards to cubana airlines bombing

vecino do you agree with that.

based on your previous post i can't see how you can not."

Once again, I ask you not to put words in my mouth. The question of whether there were innocents aboard the Cubana Airlines plane that blew up after taking off from Barbados is an interesting one. I would pose that question to the Cuban Government because in all its public pronouncements about the Cuban people there are either militant revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries. There is no middle ground. At the time only highly trusted (in the political sense)Cubans were allowed to travel abroad on a roundtrip basis. Sports personnel were routinely given amateur status by making them either MININT or MINFAR employees. It was a very manichean time. Were all the passengers on the flight aware that they were part of a war between two very determined enemies? Who knows! If your question is whether the passengers on that Cubana Airlines flight deserved to be blown to smithereens to advance a political "causa"? My anwswer is an unequivocal "HELL NO"!

BTW if I have 0 (is that the letter or the number) cred, why do you even bother adressing me? Just state your facts and let it go at that!

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Anonimo,

You asked "was July 26th movement based in the United States? did july 26th attack civilians in america?"

The answer to the first question is yes. The M-26-J had cells in the USA that engaged in agit-prop. One of them was ran by Vilma Espín's brother while at MIT studying Architecture. The M-26-J representative in Washington took over the Cuban embassy in January 1959 from the Batista designated ambassador. Lots of monies were raised in the USA for the M-26-J in Cuba and elsewhere.

My answer to the second question is I do not know of any attacks on civilians in the USA (I think that's what you meant by "america") by the M-26-J but I recall the kidnapping of US citizens in Cuba that were employed by US companies in Cuba. This tactic was later imitated by the FARC in Colombia.

I apologize for sometimes not seeing your questions. They are usually buried in your provocative statements.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

More than 50 percent of the Cuban electorate participated in 1958 elections. Such a turnout would have been the norm in any U.S. election. Of course, the elections of 1958 were not held under normal conditions in Cuba but in the midst of a civil war. The rebels called for a boycott of the elections and warned that anyone who voted in the morning would be dead by noon. Having carried out indiscriminate bombings against the civilian population for three years, the rebels' threats were taken very seriously. Nevertheless, 50% of voters were not cowed by their threats and exercised their right of suffrage in what amounted to a public repudiation of Castro and his barbudos.

Six months earlier, in March 1958, Cubans had ignored Castro's call for a general strike, which was also phrased in the same menacing terms. Less than 10 percent of Cuba's workers succumbed to Castro's intimidation on that occasion, which Castro called the greatest defeat of the Cuban Revolution. Clearly, between March and November 1958, the rebels had succeeded in increasing their popular support from 10 percent to just under 50 percent. Their terrorist campaigns, however, were not solely responsible for this increment. In the interim, the U.S. had switched its allegiance from Batista to Castro and instituted an embargo on arms sales to the Cuban government. Never before had the U.S. undertaken such an action against a friendly government and its implications were not lost on anyone, least of all the Cuban people. Still, 50 percent of Cuban voters cast their ballots on November 3, 1958 in what was not only a repudiation of the rebels but of U.S. meddling in Cuban affairs, which, more than anything else, had brought us to such a juncture.

There were three main candidates running for president: former prime minister Andrés Rivero Agüero, who had the backing of Batista; ex-president Ramón Grau San Martín, who had run against Batista's candidate in 1944 and won; and Carlos Márquez Sterling, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and president of the constitutional convention of 1940. It was expected that Grau and Márquez Sterling would split the anti-Batista vote between them. Castro's call for a boycott of the election was also expected to diminish the vote for the opposition. In fact, the U.S. ambassador, Earl T. Smith, in another flagrant violation of Cuban sovereignty, met with both opposition candidates in a failed attempt to convince them to form a unitary ticket that could guarantee the defeat of Batista's candidate. Still, Batista was thought to be so unpopular in Cuba that even with the opposition divided it was far from certain that Rivero Agüero would prevail. Batista was not sure that his candidate could win, either; but was determined that the election of 1958 would not be a repeat of that of 1944, when he had allowed his handpicked successor, Carlos Saladrigas, to be defeated by his perennial rival Grau San Martín.*

Batista believed, and not without good cause, that a victory for Grau or Márquez Sterling amounted to a victory for Castro. Neither of the opposition candidates had agreed to continue fighting Castro's rebels and both had insinuated that they would ask them to join the government if elected. This would have been tantamount, of course, to handing power over to them. As president (1944-48) Grau had in fact granted complete freedom to gangsters like Castro, deputized them and had them compete for his favor. His administration had incubated all the nefarious personalities that took center stage in the Cuban Revolution. Marquéz Sterling, although an honest man, also believed that he could institutionalize the Cuban Revolution. [The rebels had such contempt for this member of the loyal opposition that they put him under house arrest when they seized power and would have had him shot except that they were too busy dispatching Batista's supporters to tackle (quite yet) his democratic opponents].

My maternal grandfather, Alberto García Valdés, was minister of communications at the time of the 1958 elections, which portfolio he had assumed after serving for one-week as minister of labor during Castro's failed general strike. As communications minister he was in charge of the railroads, motorized traffic and civil aviation; the postal and telegraph offices and radio and television. He controlled the distribution and collection of the ballots, the transmission of the results by telegraph lines and their release to the media. In short, he had it in his power to assure a victory for the government candidate had that been necessary and was disposed to do so to save the country from a Communist takeover.

Except that it wasn't necessary.

It was the Cuban people who made Andrés Rivero Agüero Cuba's last constitutional president in the last democratic election held on the island.

The election of 1958 was their last public repudiation of Fidel Castro.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:13AM,

Thank you for your post! But any student of Cuban history will find your description of 1958 Cuba highly sanitized. President Batista had broken the constitutional order in Cuba with his "golpe" on March 10, 1952. His main motivation was the fact that he was going to be shut out of power in the 1952 elections probably for good. During 1958 he kept power by extra-judicial killings of political opponents, and a brutal repression of anyone who opposed him. I have no reason to doubt your characterization of Mr.Alberto García Valdés' integrity but he was an enabler of a dictator that chose to rewrite the Cuban constitution unilaterally for his own sake. There is no need to sanitize Cuban history. We have enough problems with clarifying current positions and motives.

Vecino de NF

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