Congressional Committee Accuses Castro

Congressional Committee Accuses Castro
Posted by FoM on January 04, 2000 at 09:04:05 PT
By Maya Bell, Sun-Sentinel
Source: Sun-Sentinel    
Broadcasting live to Cuba, members of a congressional committee meeting in South Florida on Monday accused the Clinton administration of ignoring evidence that Fidel Castro is "neck-high" in drug trafficking. Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, played a grainy and barely audible surveillance tape on which a pilot brags about faking an air emergency near Cuba so he could land on the island and drop off a load of dope.
Burton said the pilot, who was unwittingly recorded by agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, not only received fake receipts for "repairs" to his aircraft but "royal treatment" from the Cuban government.  Burton and his committee were in Sweetwater, a predominantly Hispanic city in southwest Miami-Dade County, for a two-day hearing to answer this question: Do traffickers use Cuba and Puerto Rico as major transit points for U.S.-bound narcotics? But even before the first witness testified, Burton and other participants, including Miami's two Cuban-American representatives in Congress, answered their own query with a resounding yes -- at least as far as Cuba is concerned.  They repeatedly skewered the Clinton administration for failing to put Cuba on its "majors list" of drug-transiting countries that have a significant impact on the United States.  "The Clinton Administration has turned its back on American children in order to normalize relations with Fidel Castro -- a brutal dictator who is helping flood American streets and school yards with deadly drugs -- all the while lining his pocket with illicit drug money," Burton said. Added Miami Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart: "There are two possible causes or explanations for the Clinton administration's drug policy toward Cuba. One is a policy of naivete to the point of ridiculousness. The second is that of a purposeful cover-up. I can't believe that the administration could be so inept as to be responsible for a policy rooted in the first possible cause."  A spokesman with the Clinton administraiton could not be reached for comment.  Burton, Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who Castro recently described as a "ferocious wolf in woman's clothing," highlighted a litany of incidents which they said showed Cuba's longstanding involvement in drug-trafficking and the Clinton Administration's chosen course of blind denial. They included:  A 7.2-ton shipment of drugs worth $1.5 billion seized in Colombia by Colombia's national police in 1998. Burton said a yearlong investigation by committee staffers revealed that the drugs were being shipped to Cuba by a Cuban-owned company in six containers belonging to the Cuban government. Burton said the White House chose to accept Castro's word -- "without a shred of evidence" -- that two minority partners in the shipping company were Spanish and they alone were responsible for the shipment, which was actually bound for Spain.  An April 1993 leak to The Miami Herald that the in South Florida had drafted an indictment against the Cuban government, Castro's brother Raul, and 14 other Cuban officials for drug trafficking and rackeetering. Burton, Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen said the indictment was shelved under pressure from the Clinton Administration.  "Why?" Burton asked. "Is it because the Clinton administration is so tilted toward normalizing relations with Cuba that it does not want to deal with allegations of drug-trafficking by Castro's Cuba? Unfortunately, this seems like the logical conclusion."  The committee also heard from Jorge Masetti, who formerly worked for Cuba's Communist Party to broaden subversive activities in Latin America, and his wife, Ileana de la Guardia. Her father, Cuban Col. Anthony de la Guardia, was executed in 1989 on charges of drug trafficking in Cuba.  The couple, who live in exile in Spain, said they had no doubt that Castro has knowledge of any drugs shipped through Cuba.  "In his own words, (Castro) knew how many cookies were shipped to Cuban soldiers in Angola. How could he not know?" Masetti said. "The level of control and repression makes it impossible."  Unless the radio signal was jammed in Cuba, Cubans there could have tuned into the hearing via Radio Marti.   Maya Bell can be reached at mbell or 305-810-5003.Published: January 3, 2000Copyright 1999, Sun-Sentinel Co. & South Florida Interactive, Inc.Related Articles:House Committee Looks into Cuban Role in Drugs - 1/03/2000 Leaves Cuba Off of Drug Problem List - 11/19/99 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by Chris Campbell on January 04, 2000 at 20:09:10 PT:
Prohibitionist propaganda.
The US war on drugs creates amazing money making opportunities for people who would normally live in poverty. This is just an example of impoverished cubans taking hand outs from drug dealers in return for their silence. In your drug war, silence really is golden.How convenient for your government to assign all the blame to someone who also happens to be a communist. How can the USA go further than the Helms-Burton act anyway? In my opinion the Helms-Burton act is already a violation of international law.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: