FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Castro, Bioterrorism and the State Department

by Nelson P. Valdes

Last May 6, John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, gave a presentation at the conservative Heritage Foundation entitled “Beyond the Axis of Evil: Additional Threats from Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Bolton’s thesis was based on two basic points: First, that Cuba had the capacity to produce bio-products that could be used for terrorist against the U.S. And secondly, that the Cuban government had announced its commitment to do precisely so. The scientific community throughout the world, as well as newspapers and former President Jimmy Carter from Cuba, had challenged the Bush administration to show the evidence. The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, even had to downplay Bolton’ s charges.

However, no one has questioned Bolton’s accusation that the Cuban government actually wants to bring harm to the United States. The Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security said that last year, Fidel Castro visited Iran, Syria and Libya and that “at Tehran University, these were his words: ‘Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees. The U.S. regime is very weak, and we are witnessing this weakness from close up.'”

One would assume that the United States government with all of its monitoring capabilities would be able to produce those words. Well, Fidel Castro never said those words either in Teheran or anywhere else. I have secured all the transcripts of all the public statments made by the Cuban leader while visiting Iran, and there is nothing that midly resembles the alleged quote. Mr. Bolton, nonetheless, has recycled an invented and false quote that has been used by rightwing Cuban exiles in the last 12 months.

I have been particularly interested in that quote because I have studied Cuba in general and Fidel Castro in particular since 1969. The so-called quote simply did not fit with his political style nor his syntax. Moreover, I am the director at the University of New Mexico of the Program of Academic research on Cuba, and I also preside over the non-profit organization Cuba research & Analysis Group. Both institutions produce a daily service that monitors information on Cuba. Thus, when Fidel Castro went to the Middle East we monitored the media from there as well as from Cuba.

Neither the Iranian news service (IRNA), nor the Cuban media carried the alleged Castro statement. Nor could it be found in files of the BBC Monitoring Service or the U.S. government’s Foreign Broadcasts Information Service.

The Nuevo Herald in Miami published the AFP version (attributing it to AP) with the title “CASTRO PRONOSTICA EN IRAN LA CAIDA DE EU” (Castro Forecasts the Downfall of the US). It then made the rightwing press circuit. And by October 10, 2001 Nancy San Martin in the Miami herald cited the quote. I wrote to her at the time to secure a source. She replied, “You may be interested in the UM paper, which also was included in the article and can easily be obtained from the Institute for Cuban & Cuban American Studies.” Thus, I contacted the University of Miami and the above mentioned “Institute” (which just received one million dollars from the Bush administration). From the Institute I received the paper Castro and Terrorism – A Chronology written by by Eugene Pons with a foreword by Jaime Suchlicki (director of the Institute). On the front page the famous quote appeared. The source provided was Agence France Presse, May 10, 2001.

Actually AFP had two different cables with the quote one sent on May 9th and another on the 10th. When I asked the Institute to provide me with an original Spanish version, I received a note that stated that “As you are probably aware, many news sources from Cuba have modified their original publications to meet current anti-terrorism/violence issues, therefore making it much harder to track down” – which is, to say the least a very odd explanation. After all, print materials do not disappear from libraries and the Google in the Internet has a nifty procedure called “cache” that allows you to see pages that have been deleted. Obviously the story was getting ever more interesting.

With the exception of the two cables from AFP, none of the wire services represented in Iran at the time carried such a statement from Fidel Castro. Although I have contacted AFP they have not provided evidence that the quote was accurate, nor do we know yet the identity of the person who wrote the story. Did he/she understand Spanish while stationed in Teheran?

On May 10, 2002 from Havana President Fidel Castro, went on record to deny that he ever made the statement attributed to him. Who is historically accurate? John Bolton or Fidel Castro? Tne answer is clear: Fidel castro is accurate. But the question then is, how come the Under Secretary of State used a quote that obviously the intelliegnce service knew Fidel castro did not make?

Jimmy Carter asked the Under Secretary to offer evidence of the charge that Cuba was involved in bio-terrorism, perhaps we could add our humble request that he also provide us with the original recording that shows Fidel Castro stating that he wants to bring the United States to its knees. The evidence does not exist.

Nelson P Valdes is a professor of Sociology University of New Mexico. He can be reached at: nvaldes@unm.edu

 

Nelson P. Valdes is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail