The events behind Cuban President Fidel Castro’s abrupt departure from the U.N. Conference on International Financing for Development at Monterrey, Mexico, last month were dramatically revealed by Castro himself this week, after a narrow 23-21 vote, with nine abstentions, against Cuba in the U.N. Human Rights Commission (HRC) at Geneva.

In both developments, the hand of the Bush administration shows through just as clearly as it did in last week’s right-wing coup attempt thwarted by popular uprising in Venezuela.

The Cuban leader abruptly left the Monterrey conference shortly after speaking, saying a “special situation created by my participation” obligated him “to immediately return to my country.”

Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda and the Bush administration categorically denied that he had been pressed to do so.

However, the hypocritical nature of the denials was revealed when Cuban Assembly Speaker Ricardo Alarcon, tapped by Castro to head the delegation in his place, was denied access to the rest of the sessions.

But as Castro said this week, Mexican President Vicente Fox had put pressure in a lengthy late-night phone conversation on the eve of Castro’s departure for Monterrey, during which the Cuban president agreed to remain in Mexico only a short time. Castro said he revealed the transcript of the conversation only after the Mexican government violated its earlier commitment not to support any motion against Cuba in Geneva.

Early this year, on Mexican initiative, President Fox and a high-level delegation visited Cuba. “We were perfectly aware,” said Castro, “that one of the purposes was to request that we not participate in the [Monterrey] conference,” because President Bush had threatened not to attend if Cuba participated.

“I started by reminding them of the invitation extended to our country by the United Nations to take part in that summit and went on to analyze in depth the perfidious and hypocritical maneuvers against Cuba in Geneva.”

As a result, Castro said, neither Fox nor Castaneda raised the issue of the Monterrey summit. “[Castaneda] did promise, however, that Mexico would neither sponsor, promote nor support any motion against Cuba in Geneva.”

Last week Mexico was one of the 23 countries voting in the HRC for an anti-Cuba resolution drafted by Washington and presented by Peru and other Latin American countries. Despite intense U.S. pressures, 30 of the 53 HRC member countries either voted against the resolution or abstained.

As Castro concluded, “The aftermath of telling these truths could be that diplomatic relations are severed. However, the fraternal and historical bonds between the peoples of Mexico and Cuba will last forever.”a

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