Castro slams US terrorism charge
Washington Post, United States -By Esteban IsraelReuters
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban President Fidel Castro charged on Monday
that the U.S. characterization of his country as a terrorist nation was
cynical and shameless as Washington had harbored violence-prone Cuban
exiles for decades.
The State Department, in its annual terrorism
report released last week, once more included Cuba as one of six
terrorist nations, along with North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria and Sudan. "The Department of State has in a...
...cynical and shameless
fashion accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of friendliness toward
terrorism and Cuba of being a terrorist country," Castro said during a
more than four-hour May Day speech.
Washington accused Cuba of
harboring and aiding terrorists from Spain and Colombia, as well as
fugitive Black Panthers and Puerto Rican independence militants from
the United States.
Venezuela, Cuba's closest ally, was fingered
for allowing Colombian guerrillas in its territory, being too friendly
with Iran and Cuba, and not supporting the U.S. led war on terrorism.
charged the United States had organized terrorist attacks on Cuba, from
the 1976 bombing of Cuban commercial airliner to dozens of bombings and
shootings over the years.
"Will this report
conclude the endless chain of gross lies by the president of the United
States about terrorism? No!" Castro told hundreds of thousands gathered
in Havana's Revolution Square on Monday.
Castro accused the Bush
administration of being behind Panama's 2004 pardon of former CIA agent
Luis Posada Carriles and three others found guilty of planning to
assassinate him during a 2000 Latin American Summit.
pardon all the men but Carriles received a hero's welcome in Florida.
Carriles dropped from sight, only to appear in Miami last year where he
was eventually imprisoned on immigration charges and is currently
trying to obtain his freedom.
Carriles is widely believed to have
masterminded the 1976 plane bombing in which 73 people died. A
suspected co-conspirator in the terrorist attack and many other
bombings, Orlando Bosch, lives in Miami.
Castro also spoke of the
recent arrests in Florida and California of Cuban-Americans with large
stores of arms and explosives. He said the arrests proved Cuba's long
standing charge that the U.S. war on terrorism is a sham as it sponsors
Castro also announced the economy was
growing at a 12.5 percent clip despite Bush administration efforts to
strengthen further the trade embargo slapped on the Caribbean island
soon after the 1959 revolution.
The Bush administration has
established a special blue-ribbon Commission for a Free Cuba, which in
2004 recommended new financial, trade and travel restrictions on the
Caribbean island which were quickly implemented.
The commission plan to hasten a democratic transition in Cuba and control the process was also adopted.
President Bush recently reactivated the commission and asked for more recommendations which are due on his desk this month.
see what they are planning for May," Castro said, gloating that so far
the Bush administration had proved unable to slow Cuba's economic