Cuba solidarity still needed

As you may know, I am no longer at the Cuban Interests Section (CIS) in Washington, D.C. I was in Cuba on my holidays when the U.S. government decided last week to expel several CIS officials, including myself. So, I was not able to say a proper farewell. This must not mean the end of our contact. I appreciated very much having been in friendship with you and I intend to keep in touch.

This arbitrary decision is yet further evidence of a plan against Cuba aimed at sabotaging agreements, creating a crisis and confrontation between the two countries.

It is a sign of the growing desperation of extremist sectors demanding a hardening of the blockade and fresh aggressions on a people they have been unable to sway after more than 44 years. Part of the purpose is to curry favor with the Cuban American constituency in South Florida. Just today President Bush is due to address them.

I hope you will be able to keep an eye on these developments because they are also part of what appears to be aggressive intent toward Cuba by the fascist-like current U.S. rulers.

In friendship and solidarity, for peace and justice anywhere,

Fernando García Bielsa

First Secretary

Cuban Interests Section

Bortz never wavered

The following is a letter printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Thank you for your story about the McCarthy-era persecution of Louis Bortz (“How a Snitch Led McCarthy to Louis Bortz,” 5/11). I had the honor of knowing Lou for most of the last 30 years. He was a kind and gentle man, yet exceptionally strong-willed and deeply principled. It takes nothing away from the many fine people I have met while living in Western Pennsylvania to say that he was the best, most honest and the most profoundly human.

The article captures some of the ugliness of that period, but it does not fully convey the tragedy of lost employment, betrayed friendships and broken families that struck many ordinary Pittsburghers in that shameful time. Nor does it present a complete picture of the role of prominent local political, judicial and media leaders who enthusiastically joined McCarthy’s campaign against political dissent. As David Caute in his book, “The Great Fear,” states: “The violent epicenter of the anti-Communist eruption in postwar America was the steel city of Pittsburgh, in Western Pennsylvania.”

In the face of these powerful forces, Lou Bortz never wavered in his commitment to peace, justice and a vision of a better world, a vision he found in the cause of Communism.

Greg Godels

Pittsburgh PA

I’ve got a hammer

Thanks for continuing to hammer at what really terrifies Americans today. It was so enraging to see fake disaster drills right at the time thousands were suffering from real tornado disasters. To see hospital workers forced to deal with fake injuries at the expense of real patients. (Not to mention all those who don’t even have access to health care.) To see libraries all over the country forced to cut hours and services while our tax dollars go to fund fake “libraries” set up to undermine socialism in Cuba.

Barbara Russum

Chicago IL

Haddad update

Many of you are familiar with the story of Rabih Haddad – a local Muslim teacher, fundraiser, and father of four young children who has been jailed since Dec. 14, 2001, on a technical visa violation. The AAACP has advocated for due process and the civil liberties of Haddad since the beginning. While government-created innuendos and rumors about Haddad and his charity, Global Relief, have been widely circulated, no criminal charges have ever been filed.

Haddad remains an INS prisoner in the Monroe County Jail. About a month ago, jail officials confiscated his property – including his personal correspondence, address book, and books that friends had sent him. Lately they have been denying his children the right to visit. And earlier this week, Haddad’s appeal to be released on bond was denied. He is, essentially, in INS limbo.

Letters from community members would go a long way toward lifting Rabih’s spirits. His address is:

Rabih Haddad
100 E. 2nd St.
Monroe MI 48161

Include articles, too, so he’ll have more things to read. And if you wish to send books, you can do so through an online bookseller or a publisher.

Phillis Engelbert

Via e-mail