Shades of April Glaspie {1}: Was Castro Told 
He Could Shoot Down U.S. Craft? What Did the 
CFR Prez Tell Castro in January?
[Spotlight, 03/11/96]
Exclusive To The Spotlight
By Martin Mann
The four unarmed search-and-rescue pilots who met their death 
over the Florida Straits on February 24, and the Cuban MIG 
fighters that downed them, may have been pawns in a larger game 
plan set up by strategists of the Council on Foreign Relations 
At first glance the attack appears to have been a "reckless, 
mindless mid-air murder," noted Dr. Alvarado Tarquin, a former 
Cuban foreign service officer who is now a research fellow at 
George Mason University.
The Cessnas of "Brothers to the Rescue," a Cuban exile group of 
volunteer pilots, have been flying up and down the Cuban 
coastline for almost 10 years, spotting -- and trying to save -- 
refugees adrift on rafts or inner tubes.
"Why fire on them now?" Tarquin asked.
News reports sounded similarly stymied by the savagery and timing 
of the incident. "The Question: Why Did Castro Do It?" asked the 
headline of the Wall Street Journal.
The Washington Post, noting the Cuban government's recent 
breakthrough successes in ending its diplomatic isolation, 
obtaining foreign financing and lifting its fallen economy, 
called the timing of the attack "perplexing."
One of the last significant American visitors to arrive in Havana 
for private meetings with Fidel Castro, the island's communist 
dictator, in recent weeks was Leslie Gelb, the president of the 
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and their policy aides at the 
CFR have maintained a secret diplomatic back-channel to communist 
Cuba for almost a year, well-placed sources say.
"Since 1993, Castro has become a problem, and then a threat to 
Wall Street," explained Casimir Menges, a veteran New York trader 
in Caribbean securities. "He gradually abandoned his Marxist 
restrictions on foreign capital, inviting European and Latin 
American money moguls to acquire controlling stakes in Cuba's 
tourism business, industrial infrastructure and even the island's 
natural resources, such as mining sugar and oil exploration."
Rockefeller, and his principal international affairs adviser, 
Kissinger, did not take this threat lightly, Wall Street sources 
A small but potentially wealthy nation in Latin America, where 
the Rockefellers have played a dominant behind-the-scenes role 
since World War II, was being invaded by foreign competitors.
To counteract this challenge, the Rockefeller consortium set out 
to develop an intense relationship of its own with Cuba's 
communist rulers.
When Castro landed in New York City last fall to attend the UN's 
50th anniversary assembly, Rockefeller assumed the role of his 
unofficial host.
The last communist dictator in the West found himself closeted in 
high-level meetings with top executives of Chase Manhattan Bank 
and other Rockefeller fiefdoms at the tightly guarded CFR 
headquarters on Park Avenue.
But the bearded strongman was not to be dissuaded from inviting 
European and Latin American corporations to take over such key 
Cuban assets as the hotel industry, the national telephone 
company, the rich mineral deposits in Cuba's eastern mountains, 
and even the newly privatized sector of banking services, says a 
New York economist who served as one of the CFR's advisors last 
The only remaining threat to this rolling takeover of Cuba's 
economy by giant competitors of Rockefeller's own conglomerate 
remained a proposed congressional measure named after its 
Republican sponsors (Sen. Jesse Helms [R-N.C.] and Rep. Dan 
Burton [R-Ind.]) as the Helms-Burton bill.
Helms-Burton was designed to penalize any foreign corporation 
that tried to muscle in on Cuba.
"In effect, this bill is a declaration that anyone who did 
business with Cuba would be cut off by the United States, and 
suffer legal sanctions," explained Menges.
President Bill Clinton, however, engaged in his own attempts to 
improve relations with Cuba, threatened to veto Helms-Burton if 
adopted by Congress this year.
The only way to get around that hurdle was to lure Castro into 
some abrupt and explosive action -- something so violent and 
outrageous that it made U.S. reprisals inevitable.
"Castro has been complaining about the flights of the 'Brothers 
to the Rescue' group for years, but fear of American retaliation 
kept him from doing anything about them," Tarquin said.
But this year, the visit of the CFR president to Havana seems to 
have put the Cuban dictator's fears to rest, sources say.
"Castro learned, from this authoritative contact, that the U.S. 
government no longer supports -- does not even condone -- exile 
incursions across the Florida Straits," said Robert Maldonado, a 
former U.S. wire service correspondent in Havana. Castro "was 
persuaded the time had come to get rid of the bothersome refugee 
rescue patrols."
Now events followed each other in quick succession. Castro 
ordered the planes of "Brothers to the Rescue" blasted from the 
Clinton, confronting a crisis, announced that he would cut off 
charter flights to Cuba, restrict the movements of Castro's 
envoys in New York, and, most importantly, throw his support 
behind the passage of the Helms-Burton bill.
---------------------------<< Notes >>---------------------------
{1} April Glaspie: "On July 25, 1990... U.S. Ambassador April 
Glaspie assured Iraq's Saddam Hussein that the United States had 
no interest in its conflict with Kuwait. These assurances were 
interpreted by Saddam Hussein as clearance to invade Kuwait, 
which he did several days later. This sequence of events almost 
suggests that Saddam Hussein was encouraged to attack Kuwait 
while the United States waited to retaliate." (*Defrauding 
America* by Rodney Stich. Book may not be available in stores; 
phone 1-800-247-7389 to order.)
   The claim that April Glaspie gave Saddam Hussein a "green 
light" to invade Kuwait is corroborated in Robert Parry's book, 
*Fooling America*. (New York: William Morrow & Co., Inc., 1992.)
   So "Shades of April Glaspie" in the sub-header for the 
Spotlight article (above) suggests that Castro was subtly led to 
believe that any attacks by him on Brothers to the Rescue 
aircraft would *not* cause a notable U.S. government reaction.
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