Granma International
March 27, 2002

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
                   is Mexico”.

                   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
                   Monterrey Summit.

                   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
                   really happened.

                   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
                   friendly people?

                   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!