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Those who praise President Obama for his current rhetoric on Cuba seem unaware of U.S.-backed atrocities under cooperative dictators like Pinochet, Somoza and the Duvaliers in Latin America. Of special note was Panama’s Manuel Noriega: paid by the CIA until he became too independent for their liking. In the eyes of U.S. power brokers who viewed Cuba as American property, excessive independence was Cuba’s greatest sin.

Would Canada or America accept a foreign prison like Guantanamo Bay on their soil? After ejecting U.S. organized crime from Cuba, Castro made the mistake of defying the Monroe Doctrine and pursuing an independent course. The Monroe Doctrine, for those unfamiliar with it, was a turn of the century understanding that North and South America were U.S. territory and therefore off-limits to the European powers, with the exception of the existing colonies that doted the Caribbean.

While Castro’s regime was undoubtedly guilty of human rights abuses, a little perspective is necessary before passing judgement upon him. It is reasonable to assume that the Cuban government, like any other, found it necessary to pursue and prosecute foreign-backed agents working to destabilize it from within. Since protection of state institutions is the rationale behind our own Bill C51, it shouldn’t be too difficult for us to empathize with the Cuban situation.

The CIA waged a covert terrorism campaign against Cuba from 1959 until the late 1990s and possibly beyond. Yet, a Republican Congressmen criticized Canada for failing to, “…denounce human rights abuses in Cuba.” According to leaked internal U.S. documents, “…the United States [also] accuses other countries, including China, Russia and those in Latin America and Africa, as taking a ‘best friends forever’ approach in Cuba, which avoids raising human rights abuses in private or in public.” We may trace Cuban engagement with these States, specifically Soviet Russia, to the early 1960s, when the suffocating U.S. trade embargo forced the Cubans to seek assistance.

The state of Florida is home to any number of anti-Castro militants recruited, trained and shielded by the CIA. In Cuba, they stand accused of various crimes of terror that occurred between the years 1960 through to the late 1990s. People like Orlando Bosch, who lives free in Miami after being pardoned by George H.W. Bush for his role in the 1976 destruction of a Cubana airliner that killed 76 people.

In 1998, the Cuban government invited the FBI to Havana, providing them with extensive evidence of anti-Castro terrorism and the identities of several Cuban agents who had infiltrated the anti-Castro terrorist cells in Miami. Ironically it was the infiltrators, not the terrorists, who were arrested and sent to U.S. prisons. I doubt if these facts will appear on the pages of our mainstream press.

–Morgan Duchesney writes political essays and short fiction.

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