The man responsible for what happened in Monterrey is Jorge Castañeda
The history of Monterrey is very recent. There is a devilish and cynical
mastermind behind the extremely weird Mexican policy regarding the
incident: his name is Jorge Castañeda Gutman.
It was he who thought up and, in connivance with the U.S. State
Department, concocted the plan that Mexico, Argentina and some
other Latin American Foreign Ministries would present a draft
resolution to condemn Cuba at the Human Rights Commission in
Geneva. This is something so discredited that even the Czech
Government was unwilling to go along with it. As for the Monterrey
Summit, his idea was that during the visit to Cuba last February 3,
Comrade Fidel be asked the “favor” of not attending the conference
in Mexico. No one dared, however, to raise this thorny issue. The
first meeting between the two delegations took on a serious and
intense character. President Fox respectfully listened to our
Commander-in-Chief’s frank and irrefutable words concerning the
outrageous U.S. machinations against Cuba in Geneva. They
doubtlessly influenced the way the contacts and exchanges of
opinions between the Presidents of Cuba and Mexico unfolded.
In the first meeting, Comrade Fidel, as if he guessed the visitors’
intentions and knowing that the U.S. President had warned that he
would not go to the meeting “if Castro attended,” took the initiative
and reminded President Fox that he had received an invitation from
the United Nations to participate in the Monterrey Summit. What was
said in that meeting held in the Palace of the Revolution between
11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. was fully recorded by the stenographers
Later, during President Fox’s intense but short visit to Cuba, nobody
even dared to raise the subject of the Monterrey meeting nor ask
that our Commander-in-Chief not take part.
At four in the afternoon of that first and almost only day of the visit,
a meeting was scheduled between Felipe Pérez Roque, our Minister
of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Castañeda where Felipe planned to tackle,
very strongly and seriously, the issue of Castañeda’s conspiracy
against Cuba in connivance with the head of the U.S. State
Department. It was not necessary. Castañeda, completely
demoralized by the exchanges of opinion in and development of the
previous meeting between the two delegations, gave his assurance
that Mexico would not promote a draft resolution against Cuba.
Likewise, President Fox communicated Mexico’s stance to the Cuban
President in a tête-à-tête meeting that night, just before the dinner
offered to the Mexican delegation.
Castañeda had concocted yet more Machiavellian plans: a breakfast
meeting in the Mexican Embassy in Cuba between President Fox and
a group of notorious counterrevolutionary ringleaders, before his
return to Mexico. Not a word about this had been said while the
program for the visit was being worked out. President Fox
mentioned it to Comrade Fidel in their meeting the night before,
minutes before dinner. “There will be no problem whatsoever
between us over this meeting,” our Commander-in-Chief told him,
“but I am afraid that it might disappoint our people who are very
sensitive about this subject and tarnish your image in their eyes”.
Fox’s reply was that he would only greet them, not meet with them.
Castañeda, however, would not abandon his maneuvers and
provocation. He gave President Fox a list of the so-called “prisoners
of conscience” who were serving jail sentences for their
counterrevolutionary activities. This is an old U.S. Government trick,
which they pull on any important Western politician who visits Cuba,
its aim being to upset and disturb any meeting between friends we
have in common and the Cuban leadership. This practice has been
rejected by Cuba, which long ago decided not even to read the
insidious lists. Fox did not say a single word to our
Commander-in-Chief on this matter on the many occasions they
spoke in private or traveled together. He handed over the list to the
Cuban Foreign Minister who accompanied him to the airport. Later, it
was said that President Fox had given that list to the
But Castañeda had it his way: the next day, the wire services
commented more on the infamous breakfast with the
counterrevolutionaries and the alleged delivery to Fidel of the
aforementioned list than on the excellent visit and fruitful and sincere
exchanges of opinion between the two delegations.
Apparently not satisfied, on his return to Mexico the unpredictable
Foreign Minister made some enigmatic and bizarre statements:
“Mexico’s relations with the Cuban Revolution have ceased to exist
and relations with the Republic of Cuba have begun.”
A few days later, on Tuesday, February 26, he was back on the
attack when he opened the Mexican Cultural Institute in Miami and
said: “This cultural institute is for all Mexicans, for all Latin Americans
and of course, for all Cuban-Americans”. And he added: “The doors
of the Mexican Embassy in Havana are open to all Cuban citizens, as
The next day, February 27, the official U.S. government radio
station, closely associated with the Miami terrorist mob, and which,
in a manner both insulting and hurtful to our people, bears the name
of the Apostle of our independence, took the Mexican Foreign
Minister’s truly strange words and from 7:31 in the morning until
8:01 at night, broadcast his statements eight times, placing extra
emphasis on the lie that diplomatilc relations between the two
countries had been severed, and in Castañeda’s words: “The doors
of the Mexican embassy are open to all Cubans”. That is what
caused the incident at that embassy. During the night, hundreds of
antisocial and lumpen people tried to break into that embassy. A bus
crashed at full speed into the gates. Policemen were hurt, and it was
only the heroic efforts of a small group of guards that prevented
several hundred people from getting into the embassy. Only 21
managed to do so. None of them was a professional, an intellectual,
or a university student. More than 50 percent had a criminal record
or had received police warnings for criminal activities.
At the Mexican Government’s request, unarmed Special Forces
removed the invaders without harming them in the slightest. All the
foreign press agencies witnessed what happened.
There were a lot of people at that ceremony in Miami who have
nothing to do with culture. Jorge Mas Santos and other ringleaders of
the so-called Cuban American National Foundation, as well as many
other terrorists, were there as guests of honor.
Never mind that these men are mercenaries and terrorists, never
mind that their Foundation for Crime has for years paid for terrorist
attacks against hotels in Cuba and sea-based attacks against other
tourist facilities. In Castañeda’s opinion, they are very imptant: after
all, they were the ones who, by perpetrating a scandalous fraud,
decided the presidential elections in Florida.
Why did such a provocation take place?
Why did the Mexican Foreign Minister make a speech like that at the
opening of a Mexican cultural institute in Miami?
Why did he address his slimy and sycophantic words to “the select
group” of mobsters and terrorists invited to the ceremony?
Why does Cuba have to put up with it?
Why does the Mexican government not put an end to this
gentleman’s continuous insults and provocation?
These shameful events took place before the incident related to the
All that was the result of Mr. Castañeda’s Machiavellian and
provocative policy. The Cuban President was asked not to attend the
Summit 24 hours before his departure for Monterrey. After
strenuous exchanges of opinion and with great difficulty, the Mexican
Government consented to an agreement accepted by Cuba -- with
no other possible alternative -- that the head of our delegation would
leave in the afternoon of the 21st. The Commander-in-Chief kept his
word, but could not leave without giving a brief explanation, as much
for the Cuban people as for international public opinion: “I ask for
your indulgence, since I will not be able to accompany you any
longer. A special situation created by my participation in this Summit
obliges me to immediately return to my country.”
It was the shortest possible explanation he could offer on such
strange behavior, which could have been interpreted as a cowardly
act over the fear of crossing paths with or finding himself face to face
with the master of the world. This had happened once before in June
1992, with President George H. Bush, without causing the slightest
incident and with mutual respect. He explained that Ricardo Alarcón
de Quesada, president of the Cuban National Assembly, our supreme
body of state power, would take over for him. He asked that Alarcón
not be prevented from attending any of the Summit’s functions.
Complying with this simple, minimal and logical request would have
brought the incident to a close. Nevertheless, the arrogance,
haughtiness and sinister influence of Mr. Castañeda were able to
accomplish yet more. There was not only a desire to trample on
Cuba’s rights, but also to humiliate it. It was necessary to protest
and denounce what had happened. The Mexican Foreign Minister
swore and forswore that nobody, absolutely nobody had asked that
obstacles be placed in the way of, or limitations placed on the Cuban
President’s participation. He shamefully lied about events he knew
only too well. He has even left doubts floating around about what
There has been a deluge of official statements sowing doubts about
the truth of the statements made by Felipe Pérez Roque, the Cuban
Foreign Minister, and by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, President of the
National Assembly of People’s Power.
How long are they going to try the patience of our kindhearted and
Cuba has irrefutable proof of everything that happened which would
sweep away any doubts. However, it has preferred not to use it,
because it does not want to hurt Mexico, to damage its prestige, or
to cause any political instability in that sister country. Nobody needed
to ask our Government to support Mexico’s election as a
non-permanent member of the UN Security Council; we simply did it,
Castañeda notwithstanding. But, we did not wish to communicate
this to President Fox through his dishonest and scheming Foreign
Minister. We did so in a direct message to the President.
This was the second time that the Mexican Government had tried to
prevent Cuba’s presence at a summit. The first time was in 1981,
when our country chaired the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.
Ronald Reagan was the U.S. president at the time and he threatened
not to attend, just like the current U.S. president. But back then,
President López Portillo -- on the advice of his Foreign Minister, Jorge
Castañeda de la Rosa, a friendly and honorable man -- showed great
class and invited Fidel to Cozumel, where they had a long
conversation and he explained the true reason why he had asked him
to decline his right to attend. Cuba replied in its unwavering spirit of
friendship toward Mexico. That could be understood and tolerated.
Times are different now. The empire is more powerful and aggressive
than ever; it threatens our homeland, steps up its hostility,
perseveres with its intention of maintaining its almost
half-a-century-old blockade and of keeping Cuba on its arbitrary and
unfair list of countries which sponsor terrorism. It appoints to the
position of Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs a
well-known gangster, a participant in loathsome acts of terror and
crime in Central America, an intimate friend of Posada Carriles and
Orlando Bosch. These two were responsible for the explosion that
blew up a Cubana airliner in mid-flight with 73 people on board,
including the youth fencing team with all of the gold medals won in a
Central American and Caribbean tournament. They all perished
without a trace. There have been dozens of terrorist attacks on
Cuba and plans to assassinate Comrade Fidel organized by the first
of these two sinister characters, funded by that Foundation with
whose top men Mr. Castañeda is now on such intimate terms.
There could not be a greater accumulation of events than those
perpetuated by this renegade. In his youth he requested and even
received military training, so he could support the guerrilla movement
in Central America. Today, however, he has become an instrument
of the imperialist plans against Cuba, more out of ambition and
vanity than due to hatred or an ideology, which he has never had nor
will ever have.
For the honor of Mexico, somehow such insults and aggressions
against the Cuban people must come to an end. Cuba should not be
forced to show the evidence it possesses. We are aware that
governments come and go but peoples remain. Still, we wish to
maintain normal relations with the Mexican Government and not to
cause even the slightest damage to President Fox’s authority and
prestige at a time when serious human and economic problems are
awaiting a solution, on which depends the fate of millions of Mexicans
who live illegally in lands snatched from their country. Hundreds of
these people die every year crossing and re-crossing borders, or
they must refrain from seeing their loved ones, and suffer
discrimination and the violation of their most basic human rights.
All we are asking for is an end to Mr. Castañeda’s provocation,
insults, lies and evil plans against Cuba. Otherwise we shall have no
alternative but to make public that which we have not wished to
make public and tear to pieces his false and cynical statements, no
matter what the cost. And let no one doubt it!