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Jane Franklin, Historian 

SHOOTDOWN: SOME REFLECTIONS
by Jane Franklin 10/18/01

After barely one month since the September 11 terrorist attack, the U.S. government seems to have already exceeded Cuba -a country that has experienced ongoing sabotage and terrorism for over 40 years- in adopting Draconian measures of internal security. Yet the same voices that regularly describe Cuba as a police state are strangely silent.

Consider, for instance, the two Czech officials who travelled with tourist visas to deliver money and computers to counterrevolutionaries in Cuba, from groups in the U.S. that promote subversion on the island. Remember the uproar in the U.S. and Europe because they were arrested by Cuban security? They "were not doing anything wrong". Supposedly, they had a right to plot against Cuba and should not have been detained. Now imagine a similar exchange involving visitors from the Middle East in the U.S.

The arrogance of self righteousness is no less reckless and blind than religious fanaticism. In 1996, even Liberals denounced Cuba's shooting down of two pirate planes that posed a serious danger to civilians and air traffic in Havana. Despite Cuba's long struggle against sabotage by such planes and the fact that the violators were repeatedly warned to stop the flights, many insisted that Clinton was justified in punishing Cuba with the Helms Burton Act. Those brutal Cubans, they said. Yet, can any one seriously doubt that the U.S. military would shoot down an aircraft if the incident over Havana were to be repeated over Washington, DC?

The events that we are seeing unfold in the U.S. vindicate the actions that the Cuban government has been forced to take over 40 years of ongoing terrorism against the island. While Cuba can not capitulate to terrorism in her struggle for social justice, the U.S. has much to gain in changing its foreign policy in order to prevent terrorism. In this regard, I offer the advise of John Quincy Adams:

"America should be the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all, but the champion and vindicator only of her own."

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