Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 10:35:22 -0500
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Subject: Cuba Wins US Hearts and Minds
To: Multiple recipients of list PNEWS-L <PNEWS-L@SJUVM.STJOHNS.EDU>


Cuba Wins US Hearts and Minds

By Ulises Lescaille, Granma staff reporter, 20 November 1995

Fidel's stay in New York included many more unreported details. Arriving in a hurricane-like storm he began a five day schedule with immediate support from a march in the rain of 3000 people, along the route from 42nd St to the UN bldg. Throngs of people waved banners shouting End the Blockade, End the Economic War against Cuba, Cuba si, blockade No, and Long live Fidel Castro!. Congress members Charles Rangel and Nydia Velazquez and human rights activist Angela Davis, Rev.Lucius Walker and former Attorney Ramsey Clark spoke at the event.

That night at the Cuban UN Mission, Fidel had a friendly meeting with leaders and prominent members of the N.York Casa de las Americas, most of whom were Cuban emigrants to the US the 50's.

N York Mayor Guiliani's non-invitation for Fidel was offset by numbers of other Heads of State therefore cancelling their invitations. While that dinner was in progress Fidel was conversing with important US business people. Fidel accepted and attended a 'dinner at home' arranged by David Rockefeller with a selected group of US financiers and politicians. Fidel described the evening as a very happy beginning for his New York trip.

On Oct 22 the Foreign Affairs Council, a prestigious political and international Studies Centre gave 400 business people and academics a chance to participate in a dialogue with Fidel. Robert MacNamara ex-World Bank President/ Secretary of Defense, other leaders and ex-Cuban lawyer Mario Baeza attended this meeting. The US Cuban Economic and Commercial Council also organised a meeting with business people and received a flood of applications.

On Oct 23 Spanish-speaking congresspeople and politicians met with the Cuban President in the Cuban UN Mission. Then, while host Pres.Clinton ignored the most elemental rules of courtesy by leaving Cuba off the invited list, Fidel visited his old favorite Hotel Theresa, Harlem. There around 1200 guests received him with shouts of Viva Fidel, Cuba si Blockade no, and Fidel, our friend the people are with you.

From there the invitation was to the Abysinnia Baptist Church where the speakers were Rev Calvin Butts, Charles Rangel, Nydia Velazquez and Jose Serrano. Jose invited him to a susequent meeting with the Puerto Rican community regresentatives. At the Church Fidel condemned the fascist groups in the USA who wanted to wipe out all the social gains achieved there by African-Americans, Latinos even aged pensioners. He recalled having met Martin L King and Malcolm X in Harlem and praised their concern for civil rights.

He questioned the same fascists decisions to prepare assaults on the Cuban economy and on the lives of Cuban leaders, then focused on the blockade injustices which he likened to the lethal effects of an atomic bomb. This weapon has no justification. No blockade has ever been so vicious or so illogical against people. Others may change but we cannot, will not change, because we are Right!

At the meeting with the Puerto Ricans, Congressman Serrano indicated his support for Cuba and, referring to the Miami mafia, said, We will not allow them to influence our behaviour, whether in Miami or in New Jersey. Bill Clinton prefers this mafia. Why?

Other events included a mass media lunch honoring the Cuban Leader; TV chains CNN, CBS, and NBC conducted interviews broadcast coast to coast. Main print media gave Fidel and his words a lot of space. Listeners at the UN heard Clinton/Yeltsin but Fidel was applauded intensely. Perhaps Pnews critics will get this message?