Viewpoint — Radio Havana Cuba — 13 September 2001
A call for reflection, restraint, responsibility
There is no joy here in Cuba at the events of Tuesday (September 11). No one is cheering or holding impromptu block parties to celebrate the most astonishing act of terrorism in history against what has been for Cuba an implacable enemy for 40 years. There is, instead, a profound feeling of shock, revulsion and compassion and very real apprehension about the cries for vengeance that emanate from every corner of the White House and the US Congress. The most powerful nation on earth has been put on a war footing and history has taught us all what to expect when Washington starts waving the cudgel self-righteously. The families of almost a million Japanese, four million Koreans, three million Vietnamese, and thousands of Iraqis and Yugoslavians can all attest to what occurs when the Oval Office scrambles its bombers. It is hard to avoid the obvious accusation that an editorial such as this will be viewed as a cheap shot against a weakened United States, but there is an urgent need to respond to staggering and inconceivable statements from US politicians and people calling for the use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in an almost triumphal assertion that this is their first war of the 21st century. The sabre rattling is deafening and very frightening to us all. US mainstream media is stirring the hatred by airing statements from people "on the street" calling for an immediate strike, an immediate all-out war against the "enemy". But who is the "enemy"? The enemy are successive Washington administrations that have for more than five decades promoted terrorism on an enormous scale across the globe. Administrations that have trained international military personnel in techniques of torture and terrorism in its meek-sounding School of the Americas. Administrations that have for 40 years permitted and supported terrorist attacks against its island neighbour whose only crime was to advocate a different socio-political system. Administrations that introduced the world to nuclear holocaust, to carpet bombing, to horrendous use of phosphorous and napalm bombs. Administrations that maintain an economic blockade that is directly responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children's lives. Administrations that support one of the most repressive, brutal and racist regimes on earth with massive flows of money and weapons to use against the Palestinian people. Administrations that financed the Latin American dictatorships of the '80s and then later "apologised" for some of the unspeakable crimes they committed in the name of "democracy". Tuesday was the anniversary of the US sponsored coup in Chile in which a legitimately elected government was brought down with extreme violence. The man behind this event and the covert wars within Cambodia and Argentina, Henry Kissinger, is one of those that today clamour for a "tough and decisive" response to the attacks in New York and Washington, who clamours for a blind war against an invisible enemy. Few doubt that Washington has just suffered the consequences of its actions across the globe. Even if Osama Bin Laden is found to be responsible, the people of the US should know that he was previously trained and used by the CIA in its war against the former government of Afghanistan. George W. Bush will seek to take the war to another part of the globe where more civilians can pay for the death of US civilians without their blood and disfigured bodies being shown on CNN. No solution will be forthcoming in the destruction of those deemed responsible. The enemy will still be there because the enemy comes from within. The CIA supported Noriega, Marcos, Sukarno, the Shah, Idi Amin, Mobuto, the Contra, Pinochet, the Argentinian generals, d'Aubuison, Somoza, Batista, Stroessner et al — the list is long and represents the obliteration of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives. In Panama 2,000, in Nicaragua 30,000, in El Salvador 75,000, in Guatemala over 150,000, in Indonesia 300,000. The people of the US can surely no longer remain immune from the terrorism their governments provoke, promote and tolerate in their name. After the rage, the hatred, and the clamouring for vengeance have subsided, the time for reflection must come. War should be declared on the real threats to humanity: AIDS, racism, neo- colonialism, ruthless free market profiteering and Washington's "democracy" of domination. That way the poverty and desperation that creates the kind of hatred of the US that leads to such unspeakable acts of terrorism will be avoided. The security and welfare of the United States clearly depends on social justice for all. There must be a change in this US psyche of isolation and pre-eminence or we shall all be brought to the brink of disaster once more. The people of Cuba indeed share in the pain and distress of their neighbours, but at the same time they are reminded of the fact that five of their own were recently found guilty in a Florida court for combating this very same kind of despicable terrorism that has so stupefied the world after its use against the US. The chickens have come home to roost and there is no smugness or satisfaction in saying it — just very sincere anxiety for what may follow.