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Posted December 22, 2005 by I-taoist in Cuba Human Rights

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By Marc Frank | Reuters

Cuba branded the country’s best-known dissidents on Wednesday as U.S. agents, using taped phone conversations, secret video footage and guilt by association during a televised broadcast to portray them as traitors.

Longtime activists Osvaldo Paya, Martha Beatriz Roque and female relatives of already imprisoned government opponents, known as “the Ladies in White,” bore the brunt of a 90-minute state-run television show during which official journalists used what appeared to be intelligence service materials in an attempt to discredit them.

“They are a mix of parasites, habitual vagabonds, chameleons and ruffians, lacking charisma and mass support, that serve as an instrument of the empire,” show moderator Randy Alonso said of the dissidents.

The show, called the round table, features local journalists and officials presenting the government’s positions on various topics.

“This could be setting the stage for more imprisonments and repression but at the same time Cubans learned who we are,” Roque told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Cuba’s small opposition movement is rarely mentioned by the official and only media in the country and regularly branded by officials as in the hire of the United States.

Wednesday’s broadcast was unusually virulent and followed a Tuesday broadcast that accused U.S. mission chief Michael Parmly of using the dissidents to carry out the Bush administration’s declared goal of ousting President Fidel Castro from power.

The United States and Cuba, bitter foes since Castro led a revolution to power in 1959, do not have diplomatic relations but maintain lower-level Interests Sections in each others’ capitals.

Parmly succeeded James Cason, now U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, whose confrontational style and open support for dissidents was given as the reason for the imprisonment of 75 dissidents two years ago on charges of working with Washington to overthrow the government.


“Look, if this costs the government a Yankee invasion its all the same to me,” Roque was heard saying in an apparently taped phone conversation on Wednesday’s show, after which video was shown of her purchasing goods in exclusive hard-currency stores.

Roque, who leads the Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society, an umbrella group that held an unprecedented opposition gathering on May 20 in Havana, was portrayed as strongly supporting U.S. President George W. Bush and receiving money from Cuban exiles in the United States, which the show branded “Miami terrorists,” and squandering it on herself.

Paya, whose Varela Project petition drive garnered thousands of signatures for a referendum on Communist rule a few years ago, was branded “an impudent conspirator” as photos were shown of him meeting in an apparently clandestine way with persons linked to the U.S. Agency for International Development masquerading as tourists.

“This man has participated in clandestine activities promoted by Parmly and the Interests Section,” said journalist Arlene Rodriguez, charging Paya was paid to coordinate courses to train future Cuban leaders.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 24, 2005 by Chen

    When someone feels threatened they attack.  If Castro was so secure and sure of the “support of the people” he wouldn’t be performing actions like this - pointing fingers and condemning people.  Me thinketh the man (if you can call his “in-hu-man” acts and barbarianism “man”) doth protest too much - AND - points fingers of accusation, either diretly or indirectly - through his “puppets on a string” - accusations of the very acts of his own betrayal to what he originally set out to be and do for the peoples of Cuba!  He is the traitor and those on his payroll.  I have to laugh to the point of choking (a deriding and sorrowful laugh, certainly not joyful) when I read posts where this person gets on the t.v. and speaks and praises himself in all he is doing for the people - free rice cookers - get real!  How about selling off some of your offshore investments Fidel - emptying out one of your many “hidden” back accounts in who knows how many other countries - just one of them - and you could probably refit the whole of Cuba with a new power supply system yourself!  What happened to the “man” who went to university (a RC one at that) and studied law?  Is not “law” - at least God’ intent for law - one of justice?  I’ve been to your country many times - and I see poverty…you provide housing and medical - I’ve seen your shacks and I’ve seen the treatment your countrymen get - none existent - reserved for the “tourists” so that they/we might bring good tidings back to our countries of your wonderful health care system!  Lies and cover-ups - your own countrymen are dying for lack of basic healthcare, access to food and other basic necessities of live. Their diets are terrible - mainly starchy goods - very little nutritional; mostly just to fill the “empty holes in their stomachs - to stop the pains of hunger.” You’re quick to send off your trained medical doctors to other countries to help them; why?  I’ll tell you why - for good press and to try and “buy the favour of those countries.” 

  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 26, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    This is mild treatment of Spies and Terrorists, what would Caesar done on similar situation? Bomb them no doubt.

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