Moorehead and La Riva say Cuba's response to plane incursion was justified act of self-defense; Denounce Clinton's escalation of U.S. hostilities against Cuba.
Workers World Party 1996 presidential candidate Monica Moorehead and vice-presidential candidate Gloria La Riva, denounced President Clinton's escalation today of hostilities against Cuba for its shooting down of two aircraft which violated Cuban airspace on February 24.
Moorehead, presidential candidate for the socialist WWP ticket, said, "We denounce in the strongest terms the measures which President Clinton announced today, including the freezing of Cuban assets, his support for the Helms-Burton bill, and the cancellation of charter flights from Miami to Cuba. She characterized the plane incident as a series of provocations by the Cuban right-wing in collaboration with the C.I.A., in order to create a crisis that would thwart the growing trend within certain U.S. circles towards normalization of relations with Cuba.
"We also oppose the U.S. government's attempts to bring the weight of the UN Security Council against Cuba, especially in light of the UN General Assembly's vote last fall, condemning the U.S. blockade by a vote of 103 to 2.
Moorehead continued, "Cuba was acting in self-defense when it shot down the planes that invaded the country's airspace. The Cuban civil aviation authorities gave full warning to the planes' pilots, but they ignored the communications and continued on their course towards Havana. The State Department was solicited numerous times by the Cuban Foreign Ministry for their assistance in stopping the illegal incursions into Cuban airspace by Florida-based Cuban organizations, to no avail. Thus, after stern warnings to the pilots, Cuba was obligated to protect the population and respond as it did. We fully support Cuba's right to defend her national security."
"These attacks must be seen in light of the history of U.S. military actions against Cuba. There have also been numerous plane incursions into Cuban airspace from Florida, including two planes in January 1996 which flew directly over Havana to drop anti-government propaganda," said Moorehead who has visited the island in previous years.
According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, since May 1994 there have been 10 separate incidents involving 29 planes that flew from Florida (one flight from U.S. base in Guantanamo) and violated Cuba's. Each time a statement of protest was directed to the U.S. State Department.
La Riva, who just returned from Cuba early this month, disagreed with the attempt to portray "Brothers to the Rescue" as a humanitarian mission. She said, "The organization 'Brothers to the Rescue', far from being humanitarian, is linked with other counter-revolutionary groups in Miami, who have carried out numerous acts of sabotage, murder, and bombings against Cuba and those who oppose the U.S. blockade. They are closely linked to fascist groups like Alpha 66, who in turn receive funding and training from the U.S. government, particularly from the CIA."
La Riva said, "The Clinton administration is shedding crocodile tears for the pilots who were downed, but we hold the U.S. government responsible for their deaths. The Federal Aviation Agency granted the group its flight plan to Bahamas, knowing full well that these Cuban right-wingers had flown twice over Cuban airspace in January 1996, to drop anti-government propaganda. The FAA even issued a statement three weeks ago to notify transgressors of Cuban airspace of the risks they were undertaking."
"These right-wing terrorists in Miami were given a boost by President Clinton's policy decision of October 2, 1995 giving aid and encouragement to groups and individuals who oppose the Cuban government. For example, he granted $500,000 to the notorious right-wing group Freedom House to distribute counter-revolutionary literature in Cuba.
"The U.S. corporations and former Cuban capitalists who now reside in Miami have never reconciled themselves to the fact that Cuba's people carried out a socialist revolution. They will go to any lengths to return Cuba to its colonial status before 1959. Therefore, we fully understand and support Cuba's determination to act firmly to defend the gains of the Cuban Revolution in free healthcare, education, and a society of equality and social peace."
Moorehead added, "We consider the U.S. government and Pentagon by far the biggest threat to Cuba's sovereignty and security. The 1992 Torricelli law openly states the law's aim is to overthrow the Cuban government. And now the Helms-Burton bill, which President Clinton now promises to support, threatens to tighten the blockade further.
"The bellicose statements by Clinton and the State Department are clearly an attempt to absolve the U.S. government of its criminal blockade, condemned by the international community. Eleven million Cubans have been under the gun of the 30-year economic blockade and the unceasing U.S. violations of international law regarding Cuba's sovereignty. We call for the immediate end of U.S. hostilities and the lifting of the blockade."
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