Cuban Dissidence and Terrorism

Translated by Barbara and David Forbes

Cuban “dissidence” is presented in the international press as consisting of a brave group of “human rights activists” whose sole concern is to work for a “democratisation” of Cuban society. Entirely invented by the Section of North American Interests in Havana, Cuban “dissidence” enjoys an international media halo only because through financial motives it declares itself opposed to the revolutionary process backed by the vast majority of the island’s population. With no political project other than that of joining in the destabilisation of the nation, of which Washington is a vigorous proponent, Cuban “civil society” has not taken long to show its true face. (1)

Several dissident “stars” such as Vladimiro Roca, Raúl Rivero, Oswaldo Payá and Martha Beatriz Roque have taken part in a ceremony organised by the Cuban-American National Foundation, a terrorist group which has organised several attacks against Cuba and which is in favour with the US authorities. These people have expressed their support and gratitude to the fascist radical right-wing Cuban exiles. (2)

Oswaldo Payá, one of the most prestigious figures in the world of Cuban “dissidence” and director of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación), has shown on several occasions the importance he gives to democratic values. For example, in April 2002 he did not hesitate, in an open letter, to give his support to members of the fascist junta behind the coup against President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. In the afore-mentioned letter, Paya was profuse in his congratulations to the authors of the armed coup. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for democracy, a massive popular movement made it possible for Chavez to return to his presidential post 48 hours after the coup, which had been organised by the USA and the extremist Venezuelan opposition. (3) A few months later, the European Parliament granted the Sakharov Prize to Payá in gratitude for his stand ”for democracy and human rights”.

Payá also had an opportunity to let the international community judge his commitment to democracy when he launched a newly created “National Dialogue Committee”, whose goal is to organise a transitional programme perfectly in line with the plan President Bush has put in place for snuffing out the Cuban nation. The said committee is made up of around 110 members of the Cuban extreme right, several of whom have a broad experience in international terrorism against the Cuban people. (4)

Among these is Carlos Alberto Montaner, a former CIA agent who received a military training at Fort Benning, and currently president of the Cuban Liberal Union whose headquarters is in Madrid. The organisation he directs is financed by the CIA and has the aim of promoting US foreign policy against Cuba within European and Latin-American administrations. (5)

Payá has also sought the collaboration of José Basulto León, one of the directors of the terrorist organisation Hermanos al Rescate, which has, on many occasions, violated Cuban airspace and, on 24th February 1996, almost triggered an armed conflict between Havana and Washington after the Cuban authorities shot down two of the self-same organisation’s planes which were breaching the country’s security. Basulto also displays a long criminal record: he was trained by the CIA, took part in the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs in April 1961 and, amongst other things, made a bazooka attack on the Blanquita Theatre in Havana on 24th August 1962 when it was full of people. (6)

Far from being satisfied with the presence of these two individuals, the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement has called on such members of the Cuban-American National Foundation as Joe García and Ramón Humberto Colas. (7) Payá has openly expressed his delight at gathering together such “illustrious” personalities: “It is the first time that Cubans from inside and outside are working together as a single people with a single aim”. The declared “aim” is set out clearly in detail in the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, prepared by the former Secretary of State Colin Powell: the elimination of the Cuban revolution. (8)

Oswaldo Payá is too perceptive an individual to overlook the smallest detail of the past history of the members of his committee with their links to terrorist activities, but he has deliberately chosen to align himself with the most backward-looking section of the Cuban exiles. He has formally declared his goal of establishing “a market economy” in Cuba, as outlined in his Varela Project, falsely claimed in the media as being a Cuban initiative when in fact it was created in Washington. (10)

Payá, who is very voluble before the microphones of the international press, has “launched a challenge to the regime” by demanding fifteen minutes on Cuban national television in order to explain his political project. “I am challenging them yet again – to give me just fifteen minutes on the television which we, the Cuban people, pay for through our work”, he said. (11) At the same time, this opposition figure from the Christian Liberation Movement announced that he would refuse to stand at the municipal elections. The reason for this avoidance, by someone who claims to represent a broad segment of the Cuban population, is simple: he has absolutely no local support. In fact Payá, like every “dissident”, can stand and be elected, as Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban National Assembly, has emphasised. (12) However, this type of election, where there is no need for an election campaign or for astronomical finances, but where the candidates are directly elected by those who live in the same district, interests the “human right activists” only minimally. They know full well that they are totally unknown by the Cubans and that the only support they enjoy on the island is within the US Interests Section.

Payá prefers to launch diatribes against the government, pamphlets which are cheerfully taken up by the international press, even the most absurd such as the one which consists of accusing the Cuban authorities of causing people to disappear: “In Cuba, people have disappeared…. More than twenty children have been assassinated”, it stated with a completely straight face. Here the pupil has surpassed the teacher, as not even the government of the USA has ever accused Cuba of being responsible for disappearances or assassinations. (13)

It would be very difficult for Payá to be elected by the Cuban people as, even within the world of the “dissidents”, he lacks universal backing. The opposition market is a very competitive world where blows below the belt abound because of the financial interests at stake. Facing competition from the group of Martha Beatriz Roque, president of the Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society (Asamblea para Promover la Sociedad Civil), Payá has decided to go on the offensive by violently attacking his work-mate and accusing her of stirring up “calumny and confusion”. “ Groups and individuals who do not represent the majority are developing a systematic campaign of public attacks and provocation in order to discredit the National Dialogue,” he claimed, referring to Beatriz Roque’s Assembly. (14) Unhappy at being put in the shade by this competition, Payá has called publicly for a boycott of Beatriz Roque’s organisation while, for her part, she openly claims to be benefiting from the support of the US government and has no hesitation in expressing her admiration for President Bush. (15)

For her part, Beatriz Roque set the date of 20th May 2005 for a “dissidence” congress in Havana in order to discuss the resources required for “speeding up Cuba’s transition”. Many well-known personalities who have shown their hostility to the Cuban revolution, such has Messrs Havel and Walesa, agreed to attend. In calling this meeting, the organiser of the Assembly was only following the orders she receives daily from the US authorities present in Cuba. (16)

Beatriz Roque even went so far as to report on her activities to the US Congress by telephone from the US Interests Section in the company of René Gómez Manzano and Félix Bonne, two other “dissidence specialists”. When they spoke, they confirmed their unconditional support for the policies of George W. Bush, including the restrictions which strongly affect families who will now only be able to visit their relatives in Cuba once every three years. Beatriz Roque praised James Cason, head of the Section for North American Interests : “He is a great man, with a great heart.”  She also claimed to be “the scapegoat for the hatred which the leadership of this country feels towards the USA”. Gómez Manzana emphasised that the Cuban people need “the firm hand of the US government”. As for Bonne, he explained that his only goal was “to defend the interests of the Cuban people” and that he was “a simple soldier for freedom and democracy”. “Defend the interest of the Cuban people” from the US Interest Section by supporting President Bush’s extremist policies? Obscenity and intellectual prostitution know no bounds. (18)

The alliance between Cuban “dissidence” and the fascistic component of the Cuban exile is not surprising once one takes a closer look at their real objectives. Their avowed aim is the destruction of the Cuban revolution, and all alliances, whatever they may be, are welcome. Nor is it remarkable that a Miami television channel, Canal 22, has publicly and openly called for the assassination of Hugo Chávez. In fact, during the programme “Maria Elvira Confronta”, Félix Rodríguez, the Cuban-origin guest, the former CIA agent notorious for carrying out assassination of Ernesto Che Guevara in Bolivia in October 1967, declared that Washington had a plan to get rid of Chávez. “At a particular moment, [President Bush] can order a military air strike” against the president of Venezuela.” (19) The Cuban “dissidence” cannot but rejoice at this.




1 Martha Beatriz Roque, « Mensaje de Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello », Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana, 5 March 2005. www.canf.org/2005/principal.htm (site consulted 21 March 2005).

2 Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana, « Mensaje de Vladimiro Roca », « Mensaje de Raúl Rivero », « Mensaje de Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas”, « Mensaje de Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello », www.canfnet.org (site consulted 10 March 2005).

3 Pascual Serrano, « El líder anticastrista Osvaldo Payá apoyó el golpe de Estado de Venezuela en abril del 2002”, Rebelión, 16 February 2005. www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=11455 (site consulted le 21 mars 2005).

4 El Nuevo Herald, « La isla y el exilio unidas en un plan para la transición », 18 February 2005.

5 El Nuevo Herald, “Conciliados exiliados se unen al paln de Payá”, 18 February 2005, p. 21A.

6 Rosa Miriam Elizalde, Los “disidentes” (Havana: Editora Política, 2003), p. 79.

7 Salim Lamrani, Cuba face à l’Empire: Propagande, guerre économique et terrorisme d’Etat (Outremont: Lanctôt, 2005), chapter III.

8 El Nuevo Herald, « La isla y el exilio unidas en un plan para la transición », op.cit.

9 Colin L. Powell, Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, (Washington: United States Department of State, mai 2004). www.state.gov/documents/organization/32334.pdf (site consulted 7 May 2004).

10 Vanessa Arrington, “Payá: ‘Cultura al miedo’ obstáculo más importante para cubanos”, Associated Press, 8 March 2005.

11 El Nuevo Herald, « Payá lanza un nuevo reto al régimen », 11 March 2005, p. 17A.

12 El Nuevo Herald, “Alarcón afirma que ‘los disidentes pueden votar’”, 7 March 2005, p. 25A.

13 El Nuevo Herald, “Mensaje de Payá destaca que en la isla hay desaparecidos”, 18 March 2005, p. 23A.

14 El Nuevo Herald, “Fustiga Payá a líderes disidentes”, 3 March 2005, p. 21A.

15 Vanessa Arrigton, “Cuba: disidentes sufren rivalidades internas al recuperar impulso”, El Nuevo Herald, 17 March 2005.

16 Ernesto F. Betancourt, “Hay que apoyar la convocatoria del 20 de mayo”, El Nuevo Herald, 5 March 2005, p. 15A.

16 El Nuevo Herald, “Los opositores firmes en sus reclamos”, 13 March 2005, p. 21A.

17 Pablo Bachelet, “Castro Foes Testify, Support the US”, The Miami Herald, 4 March 2005, p.1A.

18 Canal 22, “Maria Elvira Confronta”, 10 mars 2005. www.vive.ve/paginas/documentos/tvmiami.htm (site consulted 17 March 2005).


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