Stewart Stogel is a veteran print/broadcast journalist whose work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, the Miami Herald, Washington Times, ABC News and NBC News. Major stories broken include the death of legendary Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Iraq (Operation Desert Storm, 1991), and the failure of the U.S./UK military to find WMD in Iraq (March 2003).More ↓Less ↑
UNITED NATIONS – A representative of the Castro regime in Havana took the podium at the 2012 General Assembly today to accuse the Obama administration of “state terrorism” and warned it to steer clear of interfering in the upcoming Venezuelan elections.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla used the annual U.N. gathering to list a whole host of grievances against the White House.
Ranging from elections in Venezuela to war in Syria to independence for Puerto Rico, according to the Cuban, all of these problems have their source in Washington.
“Republican or Democrats, it makes no difference,” Rodriguez told the U.N. assembly as he took potshots at the upcoming U.S presidential elections
The Cuban lamented that promises made by Barack Obama when he took office in 2009 remain unfulfilled.
“The voracity for our wealth; the imposition of models, cultures, ideas and the interference in our internal affairs have never ceased,” he said.
The annual diatribe takes on added importance this year since the Cuban communities in both Florida and New Jersey, both having critical Electoral College votes, will follow the address closely to look for any changes in foreign policy.
Washington’s reaction often influences voting trends, and with U.S. elections just weeks away, the Hispanic-Cuban vote could prove critical for both the Obama and Romney campaigns.
While the Hispanic-Cuban community traditionally is Democratic, the Romney campaign has been making a concerted effort to forge inroads.
On the upcoming elections in Venezuela, where incumbent President Hugo Chavez remains in a close race, Rodriguez warned the White House to keep hands off: “President Chavez has our full solidarity in light of the destabilizing attempts that loom in the horizon.”
He warned: “The governing powers in the United States will make a very serious mistake of unpredictable consequences if they attempt to reverse by force the social achievements of our people.”
Then Rodriguez turned his sight toward Puerto Rico: “Our America will continue to be mutilated as long as Puerto Rico, a Latin American and Caribbean nation, is not independent, a cause that we fully support.”
On Syria, Rodriguez reiterated Havana’s support for the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad, which he insisted was a target of a “war of conquest” being waged by NATO: “Change of regime is being imposed by Washington and other NATO countries’ capitals, and conquest wars are being waged for control of natural resources and strategically important areas.”
Rodriguez insisted that the “fix” is in and that Washington and some European nations will not accept anything less than the overthrow of the Syrian government.
Turning to Palestine, the foreign minister proclaimed that Havana supports a completely independent state, within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
He also complained that the U.S. State Department once again included Havana on its list of countries that sponsor “international terrorism.”
“The United States does not have the slightest moral or political authority to judge Cuba,” Rodriguez said. “The true purpose with the inclusion of Cuba in that spurious list is to fabricate pretexts to increase the persecution of Cuba’s financial transactions and justify the blockade policy which has caused invaluable human and economic damage that is worth more than $1 trillion.”
The Cuban characterized U.S. policy towards Havana as tantamount to “state terrorism.”
“It is known that the U.S. government has resorted to state terrorism as a weapon of policy against Cuba [that] has caused the deaths of 3,478 and maimed 2,099 of our compatriots at the same time it harbors terrorists, some of whom are living in freedom.”
No explanation of the numbers was offered.
Speaking of the upcoming U.S. elections, Rodriguez did an about face and challenged Washington: “We reiterate to the United States, on the days prior to its elections, our irrevocable vocation for peace and our interest to move on to the normalization of relations on an equal footing with absolute respect for our independence.”
The U.S. delegation remained seated throughout the Cuban address but offered no immediate reply.
Cuba also earlier prodded the U.N. General Assembly to call an annual special session on the U.S. embargo against Cuba, where a non-binding resolution usually is approved by more than 95 percent of the GA members.
It is little more than a public relations stunt, with Washington sitting in opposition joined by a small group of nations such as Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Israel.