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Campaign for Regime Change: Bush Tightens Cuba Embargo

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President Bush agreed to give Cuban dissidents seeking to get rid of President Fidel Castro $36 million more in funding and plans to launch psychological operations using EC-130 aircraft. He also announced new measures against Cuba in an effort to decrease the number of Americans traveling to the island. [includes rush transcript]

President Bush on Thursday announced new measures against Cuba in an effort to decrease the number of Americans traveling to the island and to limit how much they can spend when they do go there. In addition, he agreed to a plan to begin flying military aircraft near Cuba to broadcast U.S.-funded programs onto the island nation, to prevent the Cuban government from jamming the broadcasts.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. has used the EC-130 aircraft to carry out psychological operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti and Panama. Bush also agreed to give Cuban dissidents seeking to get rid of President Fidel Castro $36 million more in funding.

  • Jane Franklin, historian and author of Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined by Jane Franklin, who is a historian and author of “Cuba and the United States: a chronological history.” Can you talk about the latest development?

JANE FRANKLIN: Well, it’s just like what Noam Chomsky was just describing Amy. It’s bringing U.S.-style democracy, in quotes, to Cuba. That is the aim of this latest campaign by the Bush administration. Last October when it was first set up, the commission for assistance for a free Cuba, he said, quote, “Clearly, the Castro regime will not change by its own choice, but Cuba must change”. So, this is a campaign for a regime change in Cuba. The report was just handed to him yesterday by this commission, almost 500 pages. $59 million dollars over the next two years, $59 million, to foment rebellion against the current Cuban government. $36 million for paying off so-called dissidents, and helping them foment whatever opposition they can muster in Cuba. $18 million for this program you just mentioned having military planes fly up and down the coast of Cuba in, quote, “international waters”, let’s hope, broadcasting to Cuba Radio Marti and TV Marti the pet projects of the Cuban-American National Foundation.

Cuba has been jamming the television broadcasts ever since 1990 when it began, and this C-130 would be broadcasting directly to Cuba from offshore. Now, this EC-130 is the electronically equipped C-130. The AC-130 looks just like it; it is the same plane. It has guns. It was the plane that was just used to attack Fallujah in Iraq. It has tremendous fire power. Cuba cannot tell from just a few miles away whether it’s an EC-130, with the electronic equipment, or an AC-130 with the armor. So, Cuba is going to have to be ready constantly because some of these people do talk about invading Cuba all the time. There is always -

AMY GOODMAN: Jane Franklin on that note, you made the comparison between Iraq and Cuba. We have 30 seconds. We’re going to end with Burt Sachs, talk to him more next week. Burt Sachs is a local Seattle activist who has been fined, like many, not for going to Cuba to bring medicine, but for going to Iraq and he has sued by the government. 30 second synopsis about that. You just got a response last night.

BURT SACHS: There’s a story that’s very important to get out. It’s part of the lawsuit that the firm in Seattle has given their free time to bring against the government, and it deals with the consequences of our effort to have regime change in Iraq by inflicting immense civilian suffering, by bombing their infrastructure and re-imposing sanctions.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you have sued the government?

BURT SACHS: That’s right.

AMY GOODMAN: For fining you for trying to help the people of Iraq during the period of the sanctions?

BURT SACHS: Exactly.

AMY GOODMAN: Also calling for the U.S. Government to be — to call for the U.S. media to be more responsible in covering Iraq.

BURT SACHS: That’s correct. That’s the second project I’m working on.

AMY GOODMAN: And we’ll be talking about that next week. Thank you very much for joining us here in Seattle, Burt Sachs.

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