Cuba urges cooperation to fight drugs

The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week again proposed agreements for U.S.-Cuban cooperation in fighting drug trafficking, illegal immigration and terrorism.

Noting that proposals for cooperation in the first two areas date from 1999, and that last November the Cuban government also formally proposed bilateral cooperation to fight terrorism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again said it is willing to discuss and sign such agreements with the U.S. government.

“The possibility now exists for the U.S. administration to show that it is truly willing to seriously undertake the fight against those grave scourges of humanity, while avoiding a double-standard approach,” the March 17 statement said.

“It is in the hands of the United States government to prove, both to the American and the international public opinion, that it is capable of sidestepping the mean interests of small anti-Cuban groups and defend the real interests of the American people,” the Ministry added.

As an example of why such cooperation is needed, the statement cited the case of Rafael Miguel Bustamante Bolanos, a Colombian arrested in Cuba earlier this month on the basis of numerous drug trafficking charges in the region. Bustamante Bolanos, a fugitive from a U.S. federal prison in Atlanta, is also wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in connection with a major case currently under investigation. Bustamante Bolanos and the Bahamian citizen arrested with him, Robert Lewis, are being held on charges of drug trafficking and use of false documents, the Foreign Ministry said.

“In view of the seriousness of the case, the investigation proceeds with great rigor,” the Ministry said. “Our people are well aware that the crimes of which these two men are accused have been very clearly defined in the Cuban Penal code that provides the most severe penalties for drug-traffic related crimes.”

The statement also noted that in January, Cuba turned over to U.S. authorities Jesse James Bell, a U.S. citizen accused of 15 charges associated with drug traffic in the U.S.

Bell had been held in Cuba since last October when he was detected, as a passenger in transit, leaving the country with a false identity. Cuban authorities immediately informed the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. They then acceded to the U.S. request that Bell be handed over to them, after it was determined he had not taken part in any illegal acts in Cuba.

“An exception was made in this case ... since despite the expressed willingness of Cuba and the proposals it has submitted, there is not a cooperation agreement between the governments of Cuba and the USA on drug interdiction,” the Ministry said. “Therefore our country was under no obligation to relinquish the aforementioned outlaw to the U.S. authorities.”



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Congressional Call-In Days

April 1-5

* Oppose Star Wars research & development

* Support the Kucinich Space Preservation Act

This is the time of year that Congress makes decisions about how they will spend taxpayer dollars in the next fiscal year.

While some in Congress are calling for a delay in deployment of National Missile Defense (NMD), they support moving toward deployment of Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) as soon as possible and a “robust” research and development program for Star Wars.

In order to increase pressure on Congress, the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Speace is urging you to contact your Senators and Representative during the week of April 1-5. The Global Network is also encouraging people to write letters to the editor as well. Demand an end to Star Wars and the waste of our tax dollars! Fund human needs not space weapons!

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