December 23, 2002
Statement to the Media on the U.S. Treasury Department Harassment of Cuba Solidarity Activists
1984 is here, just sixteen years later than George Orwell predicted. Citizens of Arab descent are rounded-up and questioned. Immigrants are detained indefinitely. The FBI watches library records to monitor what people read. The U.S. Government sends threatening letters to individuals who post things on the internet that don’t have Bush’s approval. Big Brother is watching.
While the Bush administration desperately tries to muster support for war, they look for “enemies” everywhere. The police state snooping into Mr. Warner’s political activities because he put an announcement on the web is outrageous! Despite Ashcroft and his buddies’ attempts to shred the constitution, we do still have a bill of rights, and freedom of speech, and we will fight to defend them.
Alice Woldt and Dwight Peltz attended a fully licensed conference on the island. Yet they still received letters demanding that they turn over detailed information about their trip and people they met. That sort of fishing expedition is simply an attempt to intimidate those who disagree with foreign policy.
Thousands of Americans journey to Cuba each year. I went there on an International Feminist Brigade that openly challenged the immoral travel ban. The brigade was co-sponsored by Radical Women and the Federation of Cuban Women. Afterwards, one of the brigadistas received a letter from the Treasury Department. The crime? The subversive act of seeing a country that maintains a literacy rate of over 90%; visiting a place with an impressively low infant mortality rate of 7 per 1,000; and witnessing a system that provides housing, healthcare and education to all their people.
Just 90 miles off our coast, Cuba provides an example of a society that refuses to be under corporate domination, a society based on people’s needs rather than profit margins. It seems that is something the U.S. regime does not wants it’s own citizens to experience.
Part of why the government is attacking Mr. Warner and the Seattle-Cuba Friendship Committee’s website is that they have supported group who defy the illegal travel ban, like Pastors for Peace and Radical Women’s International Feminist Brigade.
Some people who brought humanitarian aid to Iraq have also received threatening letters from the Treasury Department. One has to wonder what truths are in that country that U. S. officials don’t want us to see, like they don’t want us to see Cuba. Perhaps the Middle Eastern nation that Bush labeled an axis of evil has citizens simply trying desperately to survive despite the vicious U.S. embargo on food and medicine.
Those of us organizing to stop the U.S. government madness at home and abroad will not be asking Ashcroft or the Bush Administration for permission to protest, post information on the internet, or maintain solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world. We will exercise our constitutional rights. We will speak out and have our voices heard. Now – more than ever – is the time to fight back!