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Year 2001 No. 205, November 30, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

More than 300,000 Cubans Protest against the Adjustment Act:

For the Innocent Children Dragged to Such an Unjust and Unwarranted Death, We are Truly in Mourning

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

More than 300,000 Cubans Protest against the Adjustment Act:
For the Innocent Children Dragged to Such an Unjust and Unwarranted Death, We are Truly in Mourning

At the United Nations:
167 Countries Vote against the US Blockade of Cuba

Germany and France Stake Out Opposition

Teacher Shortages in Wales

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More than 300,000 Cubans Protest against the Adjustment Act:

For the Innocent Children Dragged to Such an Unjust and Unwarranted Death, We are Truly in Mourning

THE death of 30 persons en route to the United States in a vessel trafficking emigrants prompted a mass protest by 300,000-plus Cubans at the José Martí Anti-Imperialist Tribunal facing that country’s Interest Section, where President Fidel Castro affirmed that the Cuban Adjustment Act not only constitutes a murderous piece of legislation, but one that is also terrorist in nature.

WDIE is reproducing below the key address by Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, at a mass rally in the "José Martí" Anti-imperialist Square, on November 27, 2001.

Compatriots:

It was through the American TV networks and press agencies that we first learned that 30 Cubans, 13 of them children, had perished in a human traffic operation on a speedboat registered in the United States, coming from that country and funded by people living there.

It was not the first time, since similar events have occurred a thousand times before as a sinister consequence of the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act.

Whenever something like this happens, the US authorities fail to provide us with information on the names, places of residence, age, sex or any other data on the victims they identify through information offered by survivors or by other means. The Cuban authorities are thus forced to look for a needle in a haystack, that is, going through lengthy and complicated procedures to find the relevant data to inform families, schools, health and social security centres and other institutions on the situation of people who suddenly vanished without previous notice.

It is through close contacts made easier by personal and family visits, to and from the United States authorised by our country, that unscrupulous merchants arrange costly and risky illegal journeys for groups of people from different towns who endanger the lives of many children by irresponsibly taking them along.

This time, our own authorities have already identified almost half of the 13 children mentioned in the press dispatches, who were taken from their classrooms and schools where they were studying, completely unaware of the horrible death they would encounter out in the sea where their remains could not even be found.

For many years we have been advising the US Administrations that the Cuban Adjustment Act, in force since November 2, 1966, and the incentives to illegal migration are the cause of great hazards and take a high toll in human lives.

From day one of the revolutionary victory our country has never set obstacles to the legal emigration of Cuban citizens to the United States or to any other country. At the time of the triumph of the Revolution many people in Cuba, like in the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America, who endured poverty and underdevelopment, wanted to migrate to seek for better paid jobs and better living conditions than they could find in their countries subjected to centuries of exploitation and plundering. Until 1959, an extremely limited number of visas were issued to Cubans. After that, for obvious reasons, the gates were opened wide and that is how an important number of Cubans began settling in the United States.

The overwhelming majority of those made the necessary arrangements and travelled legally. Despite the increasing conflicts, on several occasions the two countries have signed agreements, which for over four decades have made possible the safe and orderly transportation of hundreds of thousands of Cubans to the United States without any loss of life of either children or adults.

Currently, thanks to the Revolution’s programmes, the Cuban emigrants are generally people with a high technical or professional training.

In compliance with the most recent agreements signed on September 1994 and May 1995, a total of 132,586 Cubans had travelled to the United States until November 9, 2001, with the corresponding visas and through absolutely safe means.

The politicisation of the migratory issue by the United States, particularly as it relates to Cuba, is at the source of this and many other similar tragedies. It is in their Interests Section that they choose the prospective travellers, demanding health and education certificates and personal life records, as well as other documents, which are often used to select highly trained professionals or people particularly relevant in their communities, thus depriving our country of medical doctors, engineers, architects and other university graduates who have been educated here, absolutely free of charge. This way, the United States does not need to invest the tens and hundreds of thousands that it would take to train any of them over there while Cuba has been forced to set a number of restrictions as to the time of departure of people in some technical categories in order to avoid the damage caused to important services.

It is a tradition with Cuba to abide by the agreements it signs, but the same cannot be said of our counterpart. It is a known fact that due to pressures and issues associated with domestic politics, the United States repeatedly and systematically fails to meet its obligations – or meets them only half-way – regarding the measures it should take with those who break the law to emigrate to that country or are intercepted at sea, or they reduce to a minimum the efforts made to accomplish that interception.

To make things worse, those who set foot on their coasts are automatically welcomed and not asked to meet any requirements. Individuals with tainted personal records, who would never receive a visa if they applied, then get the right to immediately start working and living in that country. Thus, the spirit and letter of the Migratory Agreements are breached and the assets and safety of Americans are placed in jeopardy.

Many of these rough individuals with the worst criminal records, who are admitted into the United States when they travel illegally, later show up as part of drug and human traffic networks.

The US authorities possess information on those involved in person trafficking. In the last four years we have seized in our country more than 110 of those smugglers who live in the United States. They travel by sea on speedboats to fetch their human cargo, but the US authorities do not accept their return to arraign them since it is from there that they come, where they live, where they have their boats, and it is also from there that they make the arrangements and get paid for their operations.

Our country makes great efforts to fight this grave international crime; in the United States they do nothing about it.

If it were all the way around, if American children were dying almost constantly due to human traffic on boats coming from Cuba, registered in Cuba, with crews made up by people living in Cuba, if this were the case, the American people would react with deep and legitimate indignation. Why, then, can this be done to Cuba?

Due to pressures by the Cuban terrorist Mafia in Miami, and the erratic behaviour and arbitrary interpretations of US officials and authorities, every year, every month, every week, almost every day during four decades, ever since that ill-fated and insane Cuban Adjustment Act was passed in 1966, that is, 35 years ago, it has never been restricted or abrogated but rather more and more privileges are granted to those who submit to it.

The latest of such privileges is travelling to American territory, on any airline, with false documents. They only need to identify themselves as Cubans upon arrival and they are accepted with impunity and granted the benefit of residence in the United States. How can anyone speak of protecting the security of the United States and then accept such violations and practices which break their own laws and foster chaos, anarchy and disorder? How can a battle be waged against organised crime, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, and other forms of international crime?

Why is it that the Cuban children, whose infant mortality rate in the first year of life has been reduced to less than 7 per one thousand live-births – which is even lower than that of the United States – must suffer that horrible death due to that act? Why must the deep sea swallow the Cuban children, none of whom dies due to hurricanes or natural disasters that take the lives of thousands elsewhere for lack protection?

If Cuban children – everyone of them – receive prenatal care, are born in hospitals, are provided intensive postnatal care and free medical services all throughout their lives, are given vaccines for 13 preventable diseases and adequate nutrition, have access to day-care centres, kindergarten and elementary schools – even special education schools for those who might need it – junior high schools from which almost one hundred percent graduate, senior-high and technical schools for those who apply and scores of universities and colleges; if the most prestigious international institutions concede that health services, education, physical and sports training accorded to our children rank among the best in the world, and are provided free of charge; if the highest share of the country’s net revenues and national budget are allocated to children’s programmes; if it is for the children, teenagers and youth that over half a million of mostly highly trained workers labour strenuously; if Cuban children end up among the first in international knowledge competitions; if Cuban children are not familiar with drug-abuse and do not die in schools victims of firearms and violence; if it is for them that we are involved in an irrepressible movement towards a comprehensive general culture that is called to place our people among the most educated world-wide; then, why must they be devoured by sharks off the coasts of Florida?

Why is Cuba the only country on Earth whose children and people can expect such a fate due to a law that fails to have any ethical justification, explanation or excuse?

Whatever the number, be it thirteen, six or only one who dies in the dramatic wreckage of a speedboat during a human traffic operation with thirty or more Cubans on board, it is a discredit to the United States in the eyes of the world.

This is not the first or the only group victim of such a tragedy. An incalculable number of people have had a similar fate, but that has not led the US authorities to fight the hateful and repugnant human traffic. We have offered our sincere co-operation in the struggle against drug trafficking, human trafficking and any other form of international crime. It is simply due to political arrogance that such co-operation has been either refused or limited to a minimum.

Cuba was the first country to voice its support for the American people after the atrocious crime of September 11, advancing the idea of building a universal awareness against terrorism and carrying forward an active international policy of struggle to efficiently and adequately end with the scourge of terrorism, which has caused so much damage to our country throughout more than 40 years.

Cuba was also the first country that, in response to an appeal by the United Nations Secretary General to all member states of that world organisation, adhered to the twelve international agreements on terrorism.

Now, it is Cuba that is dealt a hard blow with the death of a number of children swallowed by the sea in the fatal wreckage of the early hours of November 17, the result of a repugnant human trafficking operation with Cuban emigrants.

For the dead adults, some of them at fault for having been lured to the adventure that took their children’s lives, we feel grief and sorrow, and to their relatives we express our sympathy. For the innocent children dragged to such an unjust and unwarranted death, we are truly in mourning. These were little ones snatched from the Homeland that gives them all so much love and care.

We are not blaming the present government for a phenomenon that is the result of scores of years of aggression, hostility and crimes against Cuba, perpetrated by successive US administrations throughout many years. However, we have every right to claim that an end be put to a barbarian and uncivilised policy.

Events like this affect the credibility and morale of the United States as well as its interests while it is involved in a complex and difficult struggle against terrorism in which, one way or another, the whole international community is involved after the tragic and painful events of September 11. No one would understand why that immoral and unjust law stands which cruelly and unjustifiably takes the lives of so many innocent Cuban children.

Millions of people from the Caribbean nations, from Mexico and from the rest of Latin America have every right to ask why they are persecuted and expelled when they travel to the United States illegally while the Cubans receive incentives to do the same thing and are later rewarded. The same question could also be asked by hundreds of millions of Asians, Africans and people from other regions of the world.

The extensive economic crisis and poverty will make migratory pressures on the United States mount and for those determined to emigrate the Cuban Adjustment Act will become a major irrefutable moral argument.

There will always be people everywhere willing to risk their lives to emigrate illegally, but there will never be any justification to encourage them to do it. That is a crime against humanity and an expression of hateful contempt for human life.

We would not propose an Adjustment Act for the rest of the countries, for it is a murderous law, but we would certainly propose to undertake the development of the Third World in order to prevent that the region’s exceeding population overwhelm the wealthy societies at the expense of the lives of those emigrants who will try to get there by every possible means.

We would propose justice for the world and some light for the blind politicians who are today the leaders of the most developed and rich nations on Earth.

The Cuban Adjustment Act is not only a murderous law but it is also a terrorist law, one that fosters the worst kind of terrorism since it deliberately and remorselessly kills innocent children.

Patria o Muerte!

We shall overcome!

• Translated by ESTI

Article Index



At the United Nations:

167 Countries Vote against the US Blockade of Cuba

FOR the 10th consecutive time, the blockade has been condemned. The UN General Assembly approved Resolution 56/9 entitled: "The need to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States". The resolution was passed by 167 votes in favour, representing 88.35% of the total of 170 nations entitled to vote in the General Assembly, taking into account that 10 countries were denied their right to vote given that their debts exceed their corresponding dues for the last two years.

COUNTRIES THAT SUPPORTED THE CUBAN RESOLUTION

(167)

Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, The Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of Korea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam.

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldavia, Poland, Rumania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Yugoslavia.

COUNTRIES THAT VOTED AGAINST (3)

United States, Israel, and the Marshall Islands

ABSTENTIONS (3)

Latvia, Micronesia and Nicaragua.

COUNTRIES ABSENT DURING VOTING (16)

Guinea-Bissau (a), Niger (a), Central African Republic (a), Kyrgystan (a), Somalia (a), Liberia (a), Iraq (a) and sanctions, São Tomé and Principe (a), Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, El Salvador, Kiribati, Morocco, Palau and the Solomon Islands.

(a) arrears

It should be noted that this year Estonia and Tuvalu voted in favour for the first time, while six of the states with financial arrears traditionally vote with Cuba against the US blockade.

Article Index



Germany and France Stake Out Opposition

In what appears to be a co-ordinated stand to signal their differences with the US on how the so-called "war on terrorism" is to be taken into its next phase, political leaders in both Germany and France have issued statements in recent days. Speaking in the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder declared, "We will do what is necessary, but reserve ourselves the right to decide what is necessary." Further on, referring to rumours circulating that the US and Britain intend to launch further aggression against Iraq and other states in the Middle East, he declared, "We should be particularly careful about a discussion about new targets in the Middle East – more could blow up in our faces there than any of us realise."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer also declared that all European nations would view a broadening of the conflict to include Iraq, highly sceptically and he added that this was "putting it diplomatically". At the same time, the French Defence Minister Alain Richard on a visit to Bulgaria said, "There is no other nation whose leaders have been active accomplices of terrorist actions. So we do not believe that it is necessary to take military action against other sites."

These comments need to be seen in the context of the threats issued against Iraq by George W. Bush earlier in the week when he declared that Iraq "will find out what will happen" if it does not agree to allow "international weapons inspectors" back into the country. They are a sign of the growing contradictions between the US and the EU in the new struggle to re-divide up the world, which is taking place under the signboard of the "war on terrorism".

Article Index



Teacher Shortages in Wales

The General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW), which regulates teaching standards, has published a survey of secondary school heads highlighting the severe teaching shortages in Wales.

The survey found that headteachers are finding difficulty recruiting, with adverts for vacant posts attracting on average 6.5 applicants. In particular subject areas and in Welsh language medium schools, the situation is even worse. Maths, Physics and Welsh as a second language are the most difficult posts to fill, with an average of 3.8 applicants per vacancy and this number drops to 1.3 for Physics vacancies in Welsh language medium schools.

Gary Brace, Chief Executive of the GTCW, said, "Headteachers are telling us directly that there is a straight recruitment problem." The GTCW is recommending more extensive research into the recruitment situation in primary schools.

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