A leader of protests against America’s war against terrorism is an avid supporter of the Cuban communist revolution and its architect, Fidel Castro, according to official Cuban sources.
Gloria La Riva, identified as a “leading organizer” of the anti-war movement and key member of the International Action Center, is rallying support around a “common theme” already used by leftists “throughout the country,” using the slogan, “War and racism are not the answer” as her anti-war motto.
“The response from people has been amazing … [from] over a hundred campuses,” La Riva boasted.
La Riva made the statements during an interview conducted and broadcast by Radio Habana Cuba, the official broadcasting service of the Cuban government.
Included in La Riva’s arsenal of tactics are “teach-ins,” frequently used in 1960s protests, and as yet undefined “new, creative” strategies intended “to try to keep the energy going, to educate the people.”
Despite a response La Riva described as “great,” she also stated that politicians who would usually support her organization were remaining silent “because of great fear – and intimidation by the government.”
Other observers note that President George W. Bush’s extreme popularity, which ranges somewhere over 90 percent, may more readily account for the reluctance of some politicians to oppose a popular president, rather than “government intimidation.”
La Riva urged Radio Habana’s listeners to “contact us to find out how to get involved and begin the work in your community” and provided a website and e-mail address.
La Riva and her group are fully engaged in organization and propaganda activities. “Regional actions” are planned for Oct. 27, “to build the visibility and voice of this new anti-war movement,” according to the website of the International Action Center.
The International Action Center has also established a separate group tagged “ANSWER” – an acronym for “act now to stop war and end racism.”
Founded and headed by long-time leftist guru and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the International Action Center has opposed U.S. military activity in Iraq and Yugoslavia, as well as U.S. foreign policy in the Near and Middle East in general.
La Riva herself has made no secret of her socialist/communist politics and is effusive in her praise of Cuban President Fidel Castro.
In her interview with Radio Habana, La Riva quoted Castro as stating that leftists’ anti-war activities involve a struggle in which “the very survival of humanity is at stake.”
In a 1999 speech to the socialist/communist Workers World Party commemorating the 40th anniversary of the communist Cuban revolution, La Riva described Castro’s Cuba as “a revolutionary society created by workers in industry and agriculture and by students” having “mass organizations in every workplace, school and neighborhood.”
La Riva ended her speech with the exhortation: “Long live the Cuban Revolution!”
Observers note that the most eloquent refutation to La Riva’s laudatory description of communist Cuba is given by refugees from the island risking death in shark-infested waters in hope of gaining freedom in the United States.
Those familiar with the communist system on the island recognize the ubiquitous “mass organizations” as tools to control the behavior of possible dissidents.
In a moment of historical irony, Cuban/communist support for the anti-war movement is occurring at the same time Havana is commemorating the 1967 death in the Bolivian jungle of Castro’s revolutionary associate and guerrilla leader, Che Guevara.
Bolivian troops ambushed Che’s rebel band, capturing and executing the leader soon after the skirmish ended.
The Castro government still reveres the memory of Che, and holds in high esteem his activities as a guerrilla fighter. Havana still pays for periodic expeditions into the Bolivian jungle to relocate and bring back to Cuba the remains of Che’s defeated communist band, where they are placed in a special memorial.