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Posted July 05, 2005 by publisher in US Embargo

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Publisher note: Original title was Cason Defends Advocacy of Cuban Dissidents and my apologies to Anita Snow for changing it but can’t help seeing how stupid Cason is every time he makes the press.

By ANITA SNOW | Associated Press Writer

James C. Cason, the head of the American mission in Cuba, defended his outspoken advocacy of dissidents during a July 4 celebration Monday night, marking the last public address of his three-year tour on the island.

Responding to criticism he has continuously provoked Fidel Castro’s government since arriving here in 2002, Cason took issue with “those who think it’s more dignified to protest the Cuban regime’s repression behind closed doors.”

“Is it provocative to point out that Cubans live under one of the most repressive regimes in the world?” Cason asked several hundred people at an American Independence Day celebration at his official residence.

The garden party ó Cason’s last major event before he leaves in the fall ó featured a cookout, a live zydeco band from Louisiana, white and blue bunting and a U.S. Marine Corps color guard.

After Cason’s speech, workers unveiled a three-story-high metal sculpture of the Statue of Liberty, its silhouette traced in blue electrical lights and holding a torch traced in yellow bulbs forming the number “75” ó the number of dissidents rounded up Cuba’s crackdown on opponents in March 2003.

“Is it provocative to remind western journalists of Cuba’s 300 political prisoners?” Cason asked. “Is it outside the scope of normal diplomatic activity to provide uncensored information to Cubans?”

“Nothing will come ó indeed, in almost 47 years nothing has come ó from being polite to a dictator,” he said of Castro, who has repeatedly referred to the top American diplomat in Cuba as a “bully with diplomatic immunity.”

Some of Cason’s detractors say quiet diplomacy could help encourage an opening in this still closed society. They also say easing more than four decades of U.S. trade and travel sanctions against the island ó rather than further isolating it ó could help provoke political and economic change.

Castro launched the crackdown on the opposition several weeks after he was enraged by Cason meeting openly with dissidents at one of their homes. At the time, Cason declared that “the Cuban government is afraid: afraid of freedom of conscience, afraid of freedom of expression, afraid of human rights.”

Cuba later accused the U.S. government of bankrolling the opposition ó a charge American officials have vigorously denied. The dissidents rounded up were accused of being mercenaries, charges they denied.

“If we thought that keeping quiet would bring about political reforms, we would be quiet,” Cason said Monday. “If we thought that lifting the U.S. embargo would result in a democratic Cuba, we would have 747s full of Americans on the tarmac tomorrow.”

Castro, who turns 79 next month, has been in power 46 years, making him the world’s longest ruling head of government, and leader of one of only five remaining communist states. The others are in Asia: China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos.

Repeating a tradition begun two years ago, the Cuban government on Monday held its own July 4 event, a concert paying homage to the American people. Havana emphasizes that it respects the American people even while it disdains their government’s policies.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on July 05, 2005 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    When you repeatedly poke someone with a stick and tell them that they should be more like you, do you really think that they will listen?

    Open letter to Mr. Cason,

    Thanks for nothing. Thanks for waving the flag for Plan A and giving us hope that Plan A will work…some day. Do you really believe that you have done any good in Cuba? Relations are at their worst level in years and “75” people have been arrested, probably for being associated with you.

    Shame on you for using the Statue of Liberty for a publicity stunt to draw attention to your party.

    Congratulations on being useless and possibly even harmful for three years. Maybe you will stop playing the role of a diplomat and actually learn how to be one. Good luck to the next country where you “represent” the United States.

    Publisher



    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on July 06, 2005 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    Some other quotes from the same Carson speech:

    ‘‘My initial dealings with the Cuban regime quickly brought home to me that in Cuba, appearances are fundamentally deceiving,’’ said Cason, who has been highly outspoken in criticism of the Castro government. Havana has attacked him for supporting dissidents whom the government there considers to be U.S.-paid mercenaries.

    ‘‘If you go more than three blocks behind the main tourist thoroughfares, you will see the shabbiness and decay of the real Cuba,’’ he said at the Monday ceremony. The State Department distributed a copy of his speech Tuesday.

    Cason called Cuba ‘‘one of the most repressive regimes in the world’’ and said one of his frustrations was his inability to get some foreign visitors ``to see that behind Castro’ Potemkin village is a cynical, ruthless totalitarian system.’‘

    ‘’ymbols are important; they are powerful in closed societies,’’ he said, adding that the speech could be ``my last opportunity to address you.’‘

    Cason also told the crowd—which included members of virtually all dissident movements on the island—Castro was ``literally on his last legs.’‘

    ‘’tay and be ready for when the personality withers away. . . . When that time comes, the United States and others will be at your side to help you build a democratic, prosperous Cuba,’’ he said.

    These are from an article in the Miami Herald.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on July 06, 2005 by yumaguy with 176 total posts

    Sigh.  grin

    People have been saying that Castro is “on his last legs” for decades now. EVERYONE thought “this is it” when the Special Period really kicked in hard and there was even rioting in the streets of Havana.

    Maybe, THIS TIME it’ true? wink  But I’ll bet it’ just the usual rhetoric and hype.

    This might even be a case of “be careful what you wish for or you just might get it.”  Some Cubans who I’ve spoken with who were able to leave the island in recent years tell me, the succession years could be even worse. . .!


  4. Follow up post #4 added on July 06, 2005 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    Cason said.

    ‘’tay and be ready for when the personality withers away. . . . When that time comes, the United States and others will be at your side to help you build a democratic, prosperous Cuba,’‘

    What he means is.

    ‘’tay and be ready for when the personality withers away. . . . When that time comes, the United States and others will be at your side to help you build a Starbucks and McDonald on every block of Havana”


  5. Follow up post #5 added on July 07, 2005 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    More Carson quotes:

    ``There is no reason to believe there will be any loosening of anything we do,’’ Cason told The Associated Press at his home in a Havana suburb. ``Fidel said there couldn’t be anyone worse than me - he may be sorry.’’

    ``We just threw a rock in to the bush, and out came the true nature of the beast that had been trying to hide, because he overreacts,’’ Cason said of Castro.(when talking about when the U.S. Interests Section displayed a prominent sign among its Christmas decorations reading ``75’’ - a reference to 75 activists imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown)

    What Cuban officials call provocative and divisive, the 60-year-old Cason calls creative and thought-provoking. He proudly recalls his idea to build a replica of a political prisoner’ jail cell in his backyard.

    Cason said his staff has suffered because of the mission’ activities, with state security agents repeatedly entering their homes and doing everything from urinating in their mouthwash to erasing the family members’ faces from photographs saved on computers.

    But he says morale remains high, and comic relief came with the Cuban government’ creation of the television cartoon character ``Cachan,’’ which depicts Cason as a wand-wielding fairy trying to impose a new order on Cubans who chase him off before he turns into a rat.

    ``I love it,’’ said Cason, who had a fairy costume made to make light of the character. ``I think (Castro’) idea backfired. I’ve become like an icon.’’

    On the grand piano in the home’ entryway sits a picture of Cason dressed in the pink costume, next to a poem he wrote, in Spanish, called ``The Magic Wand.’’

    ``Totally dedicated is this fairy to exposing the stupidity and lies of this dictatorship, which is so tiresome, retrograde and failed,’’ the poem says.

    Cason calls Castro a ``power-hungry egomaniac’’ who cares little about his own people. He said he believes most Cubans are counting the days until the 78-year-old leader’ death.

    Cason, who will later serve as ambassador to an unnamed Latin American country, defends the long-standing U.S. embargo against Cuba with the same zeal used to criticize Castro’ government.

    ``Right now, (lifting the embargo) would be like throwing a lifeline to a drowning regime,’’ he said.


  6. Follow up post #6 added on July 07, 2005 by yumaguy with 176 total posts

    The regime’ LOWEST point was in ‘94, OVER TEN YEARS AGO. The Special Period was at its worst, there was rioting in Havana, and then the tugboat incident of course.

    I personally think they are relying too much on these China and Venezuela deals, but it remains to be seen how that plays out. They really need to figure out a way to stop or reduce the decaying infrastructure, otherwise, they really will get into trouble!

    I wonder if Cason wanted to stay more than 3 years but was denied by State dept. That would be interesting to know. grin  Not that the Europeans are doing any better with Castro! There’ no way to change the guy, you have to kill him. But that’ already been tried hundreds of times!!

    What about giving the 10-11 million people on the island a chance of living a little better until the crazy one finally dies. . . ?


  7. Follow up post #7 added on July 07, 2005 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    1. “...with state security agents repeatedly entering their homes and doing everything from urinating in their mouthwash to erasing the family members’ faces from photographs saved on computers.”

    2. “``I love it,’’ said Cason, who had a fairy costume made to make light of the character. ``I think (Castro’) idea backfired. I’ve become like an icon.’’”

    3. “Cason calls Castro a ``power-hungry egomaniac’’ who cares little about his own people.”

    Add one, two and three together and it seems that perhaps Cason is the “power hungry egomaniac”.

    Like a bull in a china shop, no reason to be there expect to be distructive AND you expect the china shop owner to invite you back.



    Cuba consulting services

  8. Follow up post #8 added on July 08, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    CARSON, GO HOME!


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