The US has launched a frenzied slander campaign against Cuba and Venezuela under the pretext of “narco-terrorism,” which is uncontested by Ottawa. This is a matter of concern. Canada itself is playing an ignominious role in the Lima Group against Venezuela. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Trudeau government had two Canadian warships – HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse – operating in the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific Ocean unbeknownst to the Canadian people as part of the US Southern Command’s Operation Martillo and its “war on drugs”. Initiated in 2006 by the Harper government, the Canadian deployment is called Op Caribbe. We are posting an article by Francisco Arias Fernández which explains who has been behind the drug trafficking in the region over the past 50 years
(April 17 ) – The cyclical slander campaigns of U.S. governments and their special services against Cuba have been a regular weapon in the arsenal used in attempts to discredit – and eliminate – the Revolution, as evident in secret files on efforts to fabricate a pretext to invade the island, during the events that gave rise to Case no.1 of 1989, in which Cuban military officers were convicted of drug-related offenses.
It is no coincidence that the principal cocaine traffickers and gangsters of the era were the first to leave the country for Miami in 1959 or immediately thereafter. Leaving with corrupt politicians, embezzlers and the rich were their allies in the drug trade and underworld, who served Washington’s interests on the island for decades.
The intention and reason behind totally eliminating drugs, was made manifest October 7, 1958, in Provision no.6 issued by the civil administration in the Sierra Maestra’s liberated territory and began to emerge as a reality when U.S. and Cuban mafias fled to the States. A tooth and nail war was declared against this vice, as brothels were closed and neighborhoods cleaned up. Control of hotels, cabarets and entertainment centres was wrested from the drug lords who had run them since the 1930s, as the cultural level of society rose and policies of equality and social justice, with employment opportunities for all, were implemented and land granted to those who worked it. A battle to form generations of physically and spiritually healthy women and men began.
This reality, which advanced despite blockades, state terrorism, covert wars and invasions, also confronted, from the very beginning, smear campaigns orchestrated by the White House.
Drugs as a historical pretext
Not only did Washington employ drug traffickers in attempts to assassinate Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. In 1966, a U.S. Senate report accused the Cuban leader of “smuggling” heroin from China into U.S. territory “to finance guerrilla activities in Latin America,” a thesis that was manipulated in one way or another over the following years.
An investigation by the Cuban Center for Studies on the United States reveals that, throughout the decade of the 1970s, administrations in the country repeatedly accused the island of drug trafficking, without ever producing a single piece of evidence, but the thinly-veiled intention of sullying Cuba’s image was clear: if the lies were repeated often enough, the world would associate its leaders with drug-running.
It was 1989 when the U.S. Southern Command, the same one that today threatens to invade Venezuela, at that time headquartered in Panama, was preparing for “new missions” as part of the George Bush administration’s “anti-drug program.” Washington was considering its options for intervention in the “high probability conflicts” it saw close at hand in Latin America, and the fight against drug trafficking was a good pretext for action.
A campaign to discredit Panamanian authorities had been underway for two years – much like today’s media attacks on Venezuela – and coming soon was the bloody dawn of December 20, 1989, when the U.S. invasion of the country took place.
Cuba was not exempt from threats. The White House and its specialized agencies maintained silence as Cuban military personnel were prosecuted in what was subsequently known as Case no. 1 of 1989 – despite assembling a secret file of information very dangerous for the security of our country. Instead of informing or warning us in time of what was happening, the U.S. was gathering evidence to justify political and military action.
While Cuba was meticulously clarifying that facts with the utmost rigour, The New York Times published an article by ultra-conservative Under Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Elliot Abrams – the current special envoy for Venezuela – who once again accused the Cuban government of injustice and hailed the individuals sanctioned in Case no. 1 as heroes.
Today, double standards and manipulation of the drug issue have once again reappeared, revived by a cabinet of the worst kind, even taking advantage of individuals exposed in the infamous Iran-Contra scandal (1985-1986), including Abrams himself, who revealed the deep involvement of the Pentagon, the CIA and the White House in one of the most notorious cases of corruption and violation of the law in U.S. history.
The Iran-Contra scandal exposed the financing of Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries, led by the National Security Council. It had three main sources of income: the CIA, the arms trade and drug trafficking. In all of these, “Cuban exiles in Miami” were once again the protagonists.
Not a single year during the 1990s transpired without a U.S. campaign or threat against Cuba, related to the country’s infamous failure to adequately combat drug trafficking or even its own complicity in certain events.
Lies, omissions, suspicions flowed endlessly from the White House, the Capitol, the Department of State, despite abundant evidence of the effectiveness of Cuba’s enforcement and prevention efforts, along with broad international collaboration, both bilateral and multilateral, which brought recognized prestige.
The laughable note of the moment was supplied by President William Clinton himself in 1998 when he stated: Cuba is a “logical candidate” for the blacklist of principal participants in the production and transportation of drugs to the U.S. The irony is that his country was the only one in the world that had consistently refused to cooperate with the island’s authorities in the battle, when it is the planet’s largest consumer and the fundamental destination of drugs intercepted and confiscated by Cuba. Between 1994 and 1998 alone, Cuban law enforcement forces prevented the arrival to the United States and Europe of more than 31 tons of these substances.
Recycling an old argument
The recent falsehood, published by Newsweek magazine, confirms that the issue remains among those, like “human rights,” that are unscrupulously manipulated and distorted to justify the country’s hostile policy toward Cuba, depending on the interests, tactics and strategies concocted in the National Security Council – where joining Donald Trump are former military chiefs from the CIA and the Miami mafia, from whom we can expect nothing good, coming and going from bad to worse. This is where the Iran-Contra scandal was cooked up, and where those to come in times of coronavirus are being hatched.
The formula is the same. They are again playing with fire, at a time when the pandemic has Trump in check, desperately seeking a smokescreen, which he has in fact deployed off the coast of Venezuelan, led by the same Southern Command responsible for the invasion of Panama, with the support of oil and power-hungry hawks.
The Cuban government, with more than six decades of experience exposing lies and foiling aggression of all kinds, has denounced this latest claim as unfounded slander, with dangerous implications.
Granma. Photo by Constantino Arias