A Silent Variant of Terrorism
By Angel Rodriguez Alvarez / AIN
The denunciations issued these past weeks by President Fidel Castro on the presence of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in the United States and the protection he has received from President George W. Bush, have exposed to the international community who the real terrorists are.
The subject is making the headlines in the US mainstream media and in many other countries.
Bombs placed in airplanes and vehicles, in embassies, airline companies and tourist bureaus; kidnappings, disappearances of Cuban diplomatic officials and the gunning down of people in broad daylight, are now well documented and linked to the CIA, to the Miami-based Cuban American extreme right, and to some dictatorships like the Chilean Junta, led by Augusto Pinochet.
This is undoubtedly a much talked about story, which has led to the death of hundreds of people, among them militant revolutionaries and also many innocent citizens, a logical result of blind and indiscriminate violence.
At the current juncture, however, it would be opportune to mention one of the variants of terrorism used for decades against Cuba, in which the roar of explosions and the sound of gunfire gave way to more soundless methods.
Biological warfare has been used against Cuba since the summer of 1971, with the introduction in the island of a container of African swine fever virus.
Investigations revealed that the sabotage was readied at Fort Gullick, a US military base located in the Panama Canal Zone. The economic damage caused by the spread of the disease was enormous, since most of the pig population on the island had to be slaughtered.
In December of 1977, an outbreak of sugarcane smut disease was spotted in Pilon municipality, in the Eastern province of Granma. Weeks later, a sugarcane rust was also spotted. This led to the destruction of 30 percent of the Barbados 4342 variety of sugar cane plants, costing Cuba some 1,355,000 tons of sugar.
Almost simultaneously, tobacco plantations were affected by the blue mold fungus. This caused the loss of nearly 343 million pesos.
On June 30, 1981, the US’s and the Cuban American extremists’ silent terrorism against the island reached a new height. The country was caught out by a surprise outbreak of hemorrhagic dengue fever which, in a matter of a weeks, affected some 350,000 people, mostly children, causing the death of 158, among them 101 children.
Investigations conducted then revealed that this variant of dengue, belonged to the New Guinea 1924 strain, serotype 02, the only one of its type in the world at that time, which had been developed in a laboratory. Years later, a member of the Cuban American ultra right indiscreetly bragged about the introduction of the epidemic, thus confirming its Miami link.
Four years later an infectious bronchitis that affected poultry appeared on the island. It caused a huge loss in egg production, a high mortality rate and the curbing of the poultry development.
In April of 1989, the appearance of mysterious ulcerated lesions in milk cows’ udders was reported, with 80% morbidity and a 25% decrease in milk production.
The epidemic rapidly spread in the Eastern provinces of the island, and it was later reported in Havana and Pinar del Rio provinces, in the West. It was identified as milk cow Ulcerated Mamilitis.
Like many of the previously mentioned cases, a new disease had come by surprise and was simultaneously spread all over the island. The next disease was Black Sigatoka and it affected banana plantations in the East and the West. This pest had been reported nowhere else in the Caribbean. The citrus orchards also had their turn in the silent terrorism practiced against Cuba.
Between 1992 and 1993 they were attacked by the black citrus aphid and the Citrus Leafminer. In 1994, the latter ravagedproduction from the Western province of Pinar del Rio through Camaguey Province in Central Cuba.
All of the suspicions the country had about the deliberate introduction of those pests were confirmed on February 10, 1995 when security in the Jose Marti International Airport detected four test tubes containing the Citrus Tristeza virus in the luggage of a US scientist.
Varroasis, the parasite Varroa Jacobsoni is an external mite of honey bees that attacks adult bees and their developing larvae, or brood. It causes a decreased hatch, with deformed bees, and a general weakening of the entire colony. It was spotted then in three honey bee colonies in the municipality of Limonar, in Matanzas.
Several weeks later, when the potato harvest was reaching record high yields, the tubercles were attacked by the pest Thrips Palmi which destroyed the plantations in a matter of days.
As was denounced then, there was plenty of evidence indicating that the pest was sprayed over the island by a North-bound plane which used one of the air corridors crossing the island, and was seen by other aircraft as it sprayed a substance over Cuban territory.
Although it is not all, this should be enough to demonstrate that because of the silent nature of this type of terrorism, it is no less criminal than the more classic form, above all because they have one thing in common: masterminds and perpetrators.