STATEMENT BY GLORIA LA RIVA, PEACE AND FREEDOM PARTY CANDIDATE
FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA.
For immediate release: August 20, 1994
Contact: Brenda Sandburg
LA RIVA IS CO-COORDINATOR OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE FOR CUBA APPEAL AND HAS VISITED CUBA MANY TIMES.
President Clinton has responded to the Cuban refugee crisis by stepping up the 35-year assault on the Cuban people that brought about the crisis in the first place. The U.S. economic blockade is aimed at strangling Cuba until its people rise up against the government, overthrow the revolution, and allow a Cuban Yeltsin to come to power. If that were to happen, the Cuban people would be faced with the same disaster that has befallen the people of the ex-Soviet Union--a collapsed medical system, closed schools, a rising crime syndicate, corruption, mass unemployment, homelessness, starvation... and "dollar democracy."
Despite the grave problems imposed on Cuba by the "Special Period," no one is starving, not one hospital or school has closed, everyone has a roof over their heads, the notorious prerevolution crime syndicate hasn't made a comeback, and candidates for elections are nominated for their social contributions rather than the funding of wealthy backers.
The 600,000 Cubans who came into the streets of Havana August 7 to pay homage to a 19-year-old policeman murdered by ferry boat hijackers showed that the majority of Cubans understand what is at stake and support the government. Yet Clinton persists in his deadend policy and even raises the ante. The U.S. blockade's infringement of Cuban sovereignty is blatantly compounded by Clinton's new policy of detaining Cubans on the high seas and placing them in the refugee prison now
holding more than 15,000 Haitians at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba. This shift by Clinton caves in to, and further fuels, the right-wing, anti-immigrant hysteria that is sweeping Florida and California.
As a further means to destabilize Cuba, Clinton proposes new U.S. psychological warfare measures via radio and TV broadcasts, including use of a specially equipped C130 transport plane. Clinton proposes to tighten the U.S. economic stranglehold by slashing the dollar amounts that Cuban-Americans can send to their relatives in Cuba and the number of charter flights they can take to visit their relatives. These measures will only exacerbate the present crisis by making life more difficult for the Cuban people.
And to top everything, Clinton talks about getting the UN Security Council to pass judgment on Cuba's human rights record--the same Security Council that approved the assault on Iraq by the U.S. and its allies that took hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.
I urge the progressive-minded people of California to join in the growing worldwide movement that demands a halt to the 35-year U.S. war against a small neighboring country, and that calls for the United States to normalize relations with Cuba. In the words of an editorial in the August 19 San Jose Mercury News, "Let Americans travel to and trade freely with Cuba...."
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