Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-152 Daily Report 6 Aug 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Tours Malecon, Comments

FL0608030794 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks in Spanish 0000 GMT 6 Aug 94 FL0608030794 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks Spanish BFN [Report by Lisbet Barrera; from the "NTV" newscast]

[Text] Today the people of Havana confronted the acts of vandalism by antisocial and counterrevolutionary individuals in areas of Centro Habana municipality.

These people were provoked by the U.S. policy of denying visas to the United States and by counterrevolutionary radio stations located in the United States, which constantly instigate actions of this kind.

Local workers, rapid action brigades from several work centers, and the people in general, confronted the provocation. [Crowd chants: Send them away! Send them away!]

[Begin recording] [Barrera] How did the workers here react?

[Unidentified man] The workers here reacted as you can see. They all came out with clubs, stones, and everything available. As you can see, they cannot pass through here. [end recording]

A while later, the commander in chief toured the area where the acts of vandalism were taking place. [Crowd chants: Fidel! Fidel!]

[Begin recording] [Castro] I heard that there have been certain acts of violence. It was an essential duty to come here. [Words indistinct] I had to see what was happening, and above all, to promote composure, calm. You must report on everything happening.

Of course, this does not surprise me. These provocations have been organized in advance. I believe one of the most infamous acts is what the United States did regarding the tugboat accident. They organized an evil, cynical, smear campaign. Everyone knows that the event actually occured. It was not the border guard. The border guard did not intervene. It was actually the tugboat workers who did not want to let them take their boats away. They did everything possible to prevent the hijacking. Unfortunately, an accident tragically took place as part of the workers' efforts, but the border guard were not present. They did not even tell the border guard because the commmunication equipment had been damaged. The border guard arrived later. All this took place in a little over an hour.

The wicked U.S. Government was saying that it was a [Cuban] Government vessel. Every means of transportation, every vessel in Cuba belongs to the state. However, what they wanted to hint at with the phrase, government vessel, was to blame the [Cuban] Government for the sinking of the tugboat and to blame the [Cuban] authorities. What the authorities actually did was save over 30 lives. When they arrived there, they saved many people. Despite this, they tried to portray the authorities as murderers. They invented the theory of hidden bodies. What they did in connection with the tugboat incident was one of the most wicked, repugnant things the U.S. Government has ever done.

Of course, this encouraged other hijacking attempts. Thus, two other vessels were hijacked. The border guard took special measures to avoid accidents. We are not the ones opposed to the departure of those who want to leave. The United States is opposed. They deny visas to these people. Yet, they welcome them with open arms. [Words indistinct] everytime they commit a crime. They committed a crime, hijacked a vessel. Two others have been hijacked recently, with women and children aboard. They put their lives at risk. If there had been a rough sea, the vessels could have sunken. Yet, over there, they are welcomed as heroes. All of this encourages, of course, the lumpen who think they have impunity. They know that we are not going to use violence to prevent deaths, to prevent the deaths of women and children. We take special measures. We are truly guarding the U.S. coasts, and in exchange, when there is an incident, any accident, they accuse us of cruelty, murder, and all that.

All of this is a deliberate thing. This was a deliberate provocation. This is what the United States is seeking. The hijackings of these vessels have been acts of piracy. They have thrown comrades overboard. I have been told that today two policemen were beaten, killed, and thrown into the sea. One body has been found already. Since they know the policy of the Revolution, which does not permit shooting at a vessel carrying women and children, they commit monstrosities. Yet, they are welcome over there. The U.S. Government is responsible for this. They have fostered all of this.

[Unidentified reporter] Is there any possibility that another Mariel boatlift might take place?

[Castro] We are not opposed to anything, to letting those who want to leave, leave. They either set things in order, or we will stop guarding the U.S. coasts.

[Unidentified reporter] Will there be another Mariel?

[Castro] I do not want to say another Mariel. But I am saying that they either put things in order and end these provocations, or we will stop guarding the U.S. coasts. This is what I wanted to say for now. If they do not take measures, we cannot continue guarding their borders anymore. We are taking measure upon measure to prevent them from coming to take people away and taking measures so that vessels are no stolen. We do not have the obligation to continue doing this forever. The problems are either solved, or we will not block departures, nor will we block the arrival of those who might want to come. This is what I have to say.