During his annual July 26th speech, Cuban President Fidel Castro slammed George W. Bush’s unfounded charge that Cuba promotes “sex tourism.”
At the national celebration commemorating the 51st anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Garrison, Castro said a recent campaign speech by Bush in Tampa, Fla., was full of deceitful “accusations and insults” that were “clearly aimed at slandering Cuba and justifying the threats of aggression and the brutal measures that they had just taken against our people.”
Bush charged that Castro promotes “sex tourism.” Bush then quoted Castro as saying, “Cuba has the cleanest and most educated prostitutes in the world.”
When the White House was asked for the quote’s source, it provided a link to a research paper written in 2001 by a Dartmouth undergraduate student named Charles Trumbull. Trumbull, who is now in law school, said the quote Bush used was distorted and taken out of context. “It shows that they didn’t read much of the article,” Trumbull said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Trumbull, who won an award from the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy for his paper, said it would be inaccurate to say the Cuban government promotes prostitution.
Prostitution was widespread during the reign of Batista and American-run casinos. It was outlawed after the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Cuban officials have discouraged prostitution, but have acknowledged that it hasn’t yet been eradicated.
“Many people in the world who know very little about the Cuban Revolution might fall victim to the lies and tricks the U.S. government spreads through the huge media available to it,” Castro said.
“But there are many others, especially in poor countries, who are aware of what the Cuban Revolution is about,” Castro told the July 26 Santa Clara crowd in nationally televised remarks. From the very beginning, the Cuban Revolution sought to provide education and health care services to all its children and the whole population, Castro said.
Cuba’s “spirit of solidarity that has led it to cooperate selflessly with dozens of Third World countries,” and “its strict adherence to the highest moral values” and “lofty concept of the dignity and honor of its homeland and its people” are hallmarks for which “Cuban revolutionaries have always been willing to give up their lives,” he said.
Cuba is world-renowned for its education and health care, all of which is provided free of charge. Infant mortality is lower in Cuba than in the U.S. The Cuban Revolution placed the people’s physical, mental and moral health as a number one priority.
“Has no one told him [Bush],” Castro asked, that Cuban children are protected by law and that they “all attend school, including more than 50,000 who suffer from disabilities?”
Searching for other reasons why Bush would “conjure up” such falsehoods, Castro referred to Bush’s 20-year bout with drinking and substance abuse as a possible reason.
Castro extensively quoted from the newly released book, “Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of a President,” by Dr. Justin Frank. Frank argues that Bush may have stopped drinking but shows signs of being a “dry drunk.” Frank says “dry drunk” isn’t a clinical term but Bush shows “traits that the recovery literature associates with the condition, including grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance, detachment, denial of responsibility, a tendency toward over-reaction and an aversion to introspection.”
Castro said Bush’s recent speech is an attack on Cuba’s tourist industry, a key source of income for the struggling country. “Mr. Bush does not hesitate either in tarring Canadian tourists,” he said. For the most part, according to Castro, they are senior citizens. They “come to enjoy the exceptional safety and calm, the politeness, culture and hospitality that they find in our country.
“What would Mr. Bush call the tens of millions of tourists who visit the United States every year where casinos, gambling dens, areas of male and female prostitution, pornography and sex abound?” Castro asked.
The 1953 attack on the Moncada army garrison in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second largest city, by Castro and 160 other opponents of the Batista dictatorship, is widely regarded as the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, which triumphed in 1959.
The author can be reached at
Talbano @ pww.org.