BY CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER
Granma, the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, has stepped up its old and tired campaign of slander against me.
On Aug. 2, in its Internet edition and later in its printed weekly version of Aug. 8, in an article that uses some material from Agence France-Presse in Havana, Granma accuses me of terrorist acts allegedly committed in 1960, when I was 17. It also claims that I was recruited by the CIA and later trained at Fort Benning, Ga., which it describes as “the U.S. academy of terror.’‘
Not satisfied with this bizarre biography, the paper contends that the CIA transferred me first to Puerto Rico and later to Spain. In Spain, according to these imaginative gumshoes, I established contact with Francisco Franco’s repressive forces (which, naturally, were trained in other sinister U.S. centers) and made some sort of weird contact with a person who died in France when a bomb he was fabricating blew up. Granma also suggests that I had some relation with the crimes that Gen. Augusto Pinochet committed abroad.
All that is false.
In December 1960, three other students and I were arrested in Cuba for ‘‘conspiring against the powers of the state’’ and sentenced to the then-benign term of 20 years’ imprisonment. If the authorities had accused us of terrorism or of killing someone, they would have lined us up before the firing squad, which was the custom at the time.
Actually, they couldn’t even accuse us of a specific act, because we were arrested almost at the moment we started to help the peasant guerrillas in the Escambray mountains, who fought heroically to prevent the consolidation of communist dictatorship in Cuba.
I managed to escape from prison a few weeks after I was sentenced and found asylum in a Latin American embassy, but my brave companions—Jorge V�ctor Fern�ndez, Nestor Pi�ango and Alfredo Carrion—went through a horrendous prison experience that destroyed their lives. Carrion was murdered by a guard.
I have never been a CIA agent or collaborator and, of course, I have never stepped into Fort Benning.
The indefatigable CIA did not move me to Puerto Rico. I went to that beautiful island as a literature professor hired by the Inter-American University, an institution that four years later facilitated my transfer to Spain so I could obtain my doctoral degree.
Once in Madrid, in addition to studying, I launched, along with my wife, a publishing house of an academic nature that, in 30 years of relative success, has published more than 500 titles, almost all of them dealing with the teaching of language and literature. I had nothing to do with Franco’s police.
There are several explanations as to why Granma engages in this type of slanderous campaign. It’s the old technique of character assassination, typical of the methods of information manipulation used by totalitarian dictatorships.
This time, however, there is another ingredient: The Cuban dictatorship is worried by the irreparable damage done to the image of Castroism by the growing accusations of repression, such as the murder of dozens of people (including 10 children) who tried to flee Cuba aboard a tugboat called the 13 de Marzo.
Add to this the release of the sensational book The Big Lie by Uruguayan-German author Jose A. Frieldl Zapata, which demonstrates unerringly the old and intense connection between the Castro brothers, Fidel and Ra�l, drug trafficking and terrorism committed by the violent and fanatical Left.
These new attacks from Granma are nothing but a smoke screen to try to draw the world’s attention from the topic that really worries the Cuban leadership.