Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

January 15, 1999, Cuba Free Press

CUBANS HEAR REJECTION OF U.S. OVERTURES WITH DISMAY By Ariel Tapia, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - Cubans heard with dismay that after Havana rejected U.S. proposals to provide major new financial help to Cubans, the White House media spokesman said, there "is nothing to do" about it.

In a television interview, Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba's National Assembly, described the U.S. proposals as "a public relations maneuver that was designed to win acclaim while doing absolutely nothing."

Alarcón showed great indignation over one U.S. proposal concerning the direct sales of agriculture products to farmers and private business people in Cuba. He said, "This is an attack on the ideological plane, on the political plane…as if we had institutions that would allow themselves to be tricked into the slippery business of buying or renting our consciences so as to serve the very imperialism that seeks to destroy us."

HOPES ARE LOST

Earlier, the U.S. announcement of plans to ease the U.S. embargo raised hopes among the Cuban people. But these hopes were dashed when the assembly president, with the caginess of an aggressive lawyer, explained why the Castro regime was "correct." Besides severely attacking the "frivolity" of the North Americans, Alarcon denounced what he called the anti-humanitarian "blockade," emphasizing that the proposal's "supposed flexibility" is really intended to subvert and divide the Cuban society."

The high official also referred to the term, "transference to Cuba," as something of a "conspiratorial nature."

The fear of the authorities was obvious, according to opinions among the people on the streets of Havana. For example, Ricardo Almeida, 37, said, "Castro does not want to risk that some groups of Cubans would have the possibilty of receiving a bonanza from the north without the government being in the middle."

But the analysis of the Cuban communist officials went more to the core, interpreting the North American strategy as being a follow-up of the idea of backing dissidents, as proposed in the Toricelli and Helms-Burton laws. They reached that simple conclusion so as to reject it. It would offer no security to Cuba's monolithic system but rather the opposite.

According to the Castro government, the nongovernmental organizations (ONGs) are those that are recognized by Cuba's constitution and which shout to the four winds their adherence to the official ideology.

All the rest of the groups - such as opposition organizations and independent journalists' agencies - are nothing more than "proteges of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)."

The phobia is easily perceptible in the declarations of those ONGs authorized by the Communist Party. As has always happened before in such instances, the docile spokesmen for such groups "condemn the Yankee tricks," while declaring themselves as expressing the opinion of the "workers, the women and the farmers."

But Luis, a Havana builder of clandestine parabolic antennae, commented, "If they are so sure of the 'unity of the Cubans,' why do they have such fear of the dollars."

And not only is there fear of dollars, it would seem. Since December, the UHF signals that can be picked up on the island with the special antennae are being interfered with by the latest technology of the Cuban state. Whereas before the authorities only blockaded the Cubans from hearing broadcasts from other governments, now the people also are barred from receiving commercial telecasts, which speak little about poltics; they provide an image of capitalism contrary to that spread by the communists' propaganda.

However, in the hotels, the foreign guests may enjoy movies broadcast from the HBO as well as the native tourist broadcasts by "The Channel of the Sun."

Ariel Tapia, Cuba Free Press.


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