Prepared and edited by the HOSEA HUDSON CLUB
The "cold-blooded act" of downing two "civilian" aircraft, Georgie Anne Geyer recently wrote, "called... attention to the failure [Fidel Castro] has made of Cuba." This statement was part of her "critique" of the Helms-Burton bullshit. Like most of her mainstream press colleagues, even as she admits that Helms-Burton makes our government appear somewhat looney (as if Mr. Helms doesn't consistently maintain this appearance), she can't resist a little ride on the Castro-bashing bandwagon. No mention of the history of provocation by the "civilian" group who repeatedly violated Cuban airspace and international law; of thirty-seven years of US-led economic isolation; of the Bay of Pigs; of CIA assassination plots; of pre-Castro Cuba, where abject poverty was maintained alongside an opulent US sponsored Mafia elite; of the CIA introduction of biological warfare to Cuba resulting in the slaughter of half a million head of swine; of who the revolution ousted, or Castro's nefarious first government programs-universal education, universal housing, universal health care, and redistribution of land expropriated by US corporations years earlier from Cuban peasants.
Georgie Anne Geyer, faux biographer of Fidel Castro and purveyor of fashionable distortions, passed over these many inconvenient facts. But then, everyone else in the corporate press is inclined to do the same. While the likes of Yeltsin and Netanyahu are trotted out as representative of democracy, and while Israel, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and formerly Zaire can enjoy a thoroughgoing human rights myopia with regard to their status as US trading partners, Fidel Castro is maligned as a bloodthirsty despot, and Cuba is economically strangled.
Let's think about something. The Cuban people are suffering from severe shortages because of the embargo, food, school supplies, medicines. Wake County, North Carolina is supposedly booming. In Wake County there are calculated to be almost 1800 homeless people. In the entire nation of Cuba, there are zero. It is against Cuban law to allow anyone to go homeless, to starve, or to be denied medical treatment. Sounds like a real human rights crisis to me. People before profits?!
Why, it's an affront to our way of life! Thank God we have the OAS trade ban, the Torricelli Act to restrict shipping to Cuba, and the Helms-Burton Act, whose stated purpose (besides scoffing at international law) is to "impede economic recovery under the present Cuban government by deterring foreign investment."
This leads us to a situation that has developed in the continuing saga of official US antipathy toward Cuba, a situation right here in North Carolina. Thirteen times before, young people from all over the world have converged on Havana for The World Festival of Youth and Students. Young people from the US have attended every single one, and everyone I have talked to who went said it was a useful and enjoyable experience. Youth for Social Change is a non-profit working with youngsters from some of Durham's toughest neighborhoods.
They committed to send a delegation of at least 15 youth and two adults to the Youth Festival. They will be leaving July 27 and returning August 6. Through group and individual fundraising they raised all but about $1500 of the funds needed to send all 17, as of July 2. They need a little last minute help from the community to help make scholarships possible, but that's not the BIG rub. The US Treasury Department is withholding delegation licenses to these youth, and every other young person in the US who wishes to attend the Festival. Alas, the same capitalist instinct to bully, that had San Diego PD wrestling preachers and priests into paddy wagons last year to prevent them from entering Mexico to deliver used 286 computers (real threats to national security) to Cuban doctors, is now being aimed at youngsters.
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