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Date: Sat, 12 Sep 98 12:04:57 CDT
From: "Workers World" <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Arrests reveal splits in U.S. Cuba policy
Article: 43047
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.19346.19980913181556@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Sept. 10, 1998 issue of Workers World newspaper

Arrests reveal splits in U.S. Cuba policy

By Scott Scheffer, in Workers World,
10 September 1998

Seven people were indicted in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aug. 25 on charges that they had tried to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro when he was on an official visit to Venezuela in October 1997.

One of the seven, Jose Antonio Llama, is a member of the 28-person directorate of the Cuban American National Foundation, a right-wing Cuban organization based in Miami. Since its 1981 founding, CANF, posing as a peaceful political group, has been an instrument of U.S. hostility toward revolutionary Cuba.

Four of the indicted were arrested in October on a boat owned by Llama, in international waters off Puerto Rico. They had called the U.S. Coast Guard for help. When two 50- caliber rifles were discovered, one of the four blurted out that they were planning to kill Castro--almost as if they weren't expecting harsh punishment.

After the indictments, CANF issued a statement of denial, saying "violence is not the answer to the Cuban crisis."

CANF defending itself from a U.S. legal attack is a new twist. The indictment is such a departure from the usual U.S. tactics toward Cuba that the headline of an August 26 Time article read, "Wasn't he [Fidel Castro] supposed to be the enemy?"

It is widely known that the U.S. government itself has tried to kill Castro many times. The Associated Press pointed out on Aug. 25: "In the mid 1970s, a Senate committee documented eight instances in which U.S. agencies attempted to assassinate Castro. The Cuban leader has said the figure is closer to 25."

Armed Cuban counter-revolutionaries have had "secret" camps in Florida for decades while U.S. law enforcement agencies ignored their presence.

The pressure U.S. authorities are putting on CANF and other Cuban right-wing elements does not mean the U.S. ruling class feels different about trying to destroy socialism in Cuba. It means there are disagreements within the U.S. ruling class--and between the U.S. government and reactionary Cuban organizations--over tactics.

Also, many big U.S. businesses feel the continuing U.S. blockade against Cuba has run its course, and that they're missing out on profit opportunities.

The media tout CANF as the "powerful Cuba lobby that influences U.S. policy." Indeed, Jorge Mas Canosa, the organization's founder who died last year, visited the White House often during the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton presidencies.

As candidates, all three presidents courted his support, ratcheting up their anti-communist rhetoric in Florida speeches.

The current developments, however, puts the relationship in its proper perspective. It is the U.S. ruling class that calls the shots--just as the U.S. government began and bankrolled the terrorist assassination tactics in the first place.

(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww@workers.org. For subscription info send message to: info@workers.org. Web: http://www.workers.org)