Opposition to Fidel Castro

Opposition to Fidel Castro

The opposition to Fidel Castro's Marxist government is largely unofficial and illegal within Cuba itself. Outside the country groups in the United States and elsewhere have pursued various means, both peaceful and violent, to challenge the Cuban government since the Cuban revolution in 1959. The most concentrated focus of opposition is amongst the Cuban-American exile community in the US, particularly in Miami, Florida, where historical ties to Cuba are strongest.

Opposition groups and parties in Cuba

There are a number of opposition parties and groups that campaign for political change in Cuba. Though amendments to the Cuban Constitution of 1992 decriminalized the right to form political parties other than the Communist Party of Cuba, these parties are not permitted to engage in public political activities on the island. Whilst most of the opposition parties campaign for some form of democratic change in Cuba, the Christian Democratic Party of Cuba and several Social Democratic parties have been critical of the United States embargo against Cuba.

Other groups which attempt to bring change through the socialist political process include the "Proyecto Varela", led by Oswaldo Payá. The organization reported having collected more than 10,000 signatures for a referendum requesting freedom of the press, freedom to form political parties, and freedom to create private business. According to Amnesty International their methods were non-violent, and their philosophy was democratic. [cite web
month=August 28
title=Cuba - Massive crackdown on dissent
publisher=Amnesty International
] The government responded with its own petition drive to make the socialist system "untouchable", for which the government claimed 99% voter approval. [cite web
mont=June 27
title=Cuba backs permanent socialism
publisher=BBC News

Oppositional Political Parties within Cuba

*List of political parties in Cuba

Groups within Cuba

*Christian Liberation Movement--is a group of Catholics that was founded by Oswaldo Payá
*Ladies in White
*Lawton Foundation- An organization to promote the "study, defense and denunciation of human rights inside Cuba". The group was formed by Oscar Elías Biscet.
*The Assembly to Promote Civil Society--An organization headed by Marta Beatriz Roque that coordinates the efforts of numerous other opposition groups.

Opposition outside of Cuba

There is a large exiled Cuban-American population residing in the United States, especially in and around Miami, FL. Those who oppose Castro are represented in part by the Cuban-American lobby, which campaigns for the U.S. government to maintain the U.S. embargo against Cuba and to press the Cuban government for political change. Other Cuban-American groups, many of them also opposed to Castro, advocate different policies, opposing the embargo and favoring more cultural and economic engagement. The Cuban government alleges Miami-based exiles of organizing over 700 armed incursions against Cuba over the past 40 years such as Alpha 66's 1994 and 1995 machine-gun attacks on the Guitart Cayo Coco Hotel.

On September 8, 2006, it was revealed that at least ten South Florida journalists received regular payments from the U.S. government for programs on Radio Martí and TV Martí, two broadcasters aimed at undermining the brutal Cuban police state. The payments totaled thousands of dollars over several years. Those who were paid the most were veteran reporters and a freelance contributor for El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language newspaper published by the corporate parent of The Miami Herald. The Cuban dictatorship has long contended that some South Florida Spanish-language journalists were on the federal payroll. [ [http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/15466239.htm 10 Miami journalists take U.S. pay] Miami Herald September 8 2006]

In November 2006, U.S. Congressional auditors accused the development agency USAID of failing properly to administer its program to promote democracy in Cuba. They said that USAID had channelled tens of millions of dollars through exile groups in Miami, which were sometimes wasteful or kept questionable accounts. The report said the organisations had sent items such as chocolate and cashmere jerseys to Cuba. Their report concludes that 30% of the exile groups who received USAID grants showed questionable expenditures. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6153848.stm Cuba aid money 'wasted' by exiles] , BBC News, 16 November 2006. Accessed online 18 November 2006.]

Incidents of violence in Cuba

Groups opposing the Cuban government have been linked with numerous acts of violence outside Cuba, many of which occurred in South Florida. Acts have also occurred in other U.S. regions and at least sixteen other countries. [http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2000-04-20/mullin.html The Burden of a Violent History] Miami New Times. Apr 20, 2000.] A series of bombings in Miami in the mid 1970s led to hearings before a U.S. Subcommittee to investigate internal security. [ [http://digital.library.miami.edu/gov/Terror.html Terroristic Activity] : Terrorism in the Miami Area Miami Public pages. ] Notable cases of violence targeting individuals include that of Luciano Nieves, who was murdered after advocating peaceful coexistence with Cuba, and WQBA-AM news director Emilio Milian who survived a car bomb but lost his legs after he publicly condemned Cuban exile violence.

Bomb attacks continued into the 1990s, targets have included the Mexican Consulate in Miami, the Venezuelan Consulate, an American Airways Charter company which arranges flights to Cuba, and the Miami Cuban Museum of Art and Culture which was targeted after an auction of paintings by Cuban artists. In 1992 Human Rights Watch released a report stating that hard-line Miami exiles have created an environment in which "moderation can be a dangerous position." The report also found significant responsibility by the U.S. government at all levels. [ [http://hrw.org/doc/?t=americas_pub&c=cuba Cuba Human rights watch report] ]

Incidents of volence in the United States

Below is a non-comprehensive list of terrorist attacks credited to Cuban oppositional groups in the United States. Most attacks are against government agencies or businesses that have advocated greater cooperation with the Cuban government. Business targets were generally those that have offered to arrange travel between the two countries. International targets such as British or Polish ships are targeted whilst carrying freight to Cuba. Despite the activity in the early 1960s and 1970s, there has virtually been no terrorist attack linked to Cuban opposition groups in the United States reported in the last three decades.

* 1967 April 3: New York City. The Cuban Mission to the United Nations is bombed; U.N. acting chief suffers non-fatal burns in the bombing. [http://cuban-exile.com/doc_176-200/doc0180.html Cuban Political Violence in the United States] ]
* 1967 October 16: New York City. Explosions across from the Cuban, Yugoslav, and Finnish missions to the United Nations.
* 1968 January 25 : Miami. Package en route to Cuba explodes.
* 1968 April 18 : New York City. The Mexican mission to the U.S. is bombed.
* 1968 April 18 : Miami. The Mexican consul general's residence is damaged by a bomb.
* 1968 June 21 : New York City. Spanish Nationalist Tourist office is bombed.
* 1968 July 4 : New York City. The Canadian consulate and the tourist office are bombed. The Australian National Tourist Office is bombed.
* 1968 July 7 : New York City. The Japanese National Tourist Office is bombed.
* 1968 July 9 : New York City. The Yugoslav and Cuban missions to the United States are bombed.
* 1968 July 14 : Chicago. The Mexican National Tourist Office is bombed.
* 1968 July 16 : New Jersey. A bomb is found and removed from the Mexican consulate by police.
* 1968 July 19 : Los Angeles. An Air France ticket office is damaged by a bomb. A Mexican National Tourist Office is bombed. A Shell Oil building is bombed. A Japan Air Lines office is bombed.
* 1968 July 30 : Los Angeles. The British consulate is bombed.
* 1968 August 3 : New York City. The Bank of Tokyo Trust Company is bombed.
* 1968 August 5 : Los Angeles. The British consulate is bombed for a second time.
* 1968 August 8 : Miami. An underwater explosion damages a British vessel near Miami.
* 1968 August 17 : Miami. A Mexican airline office is bombed.
*1968 September 16 : Miami. Terrorist fire on a Polish vessel with rifiles.
*1972 March: A group calling themselves "the Secret Cuban Government" bombs a theater in New York and two drug stores in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
*1972 December : A travel agency in Queens, New York is bombed; the incident is attributed to FIN, a Cuban exile group.
*1972 December 11 : New York City. The VA-Cuba Forwarding Company is bombed.
*1973 March 28: The Center for the Cuban Studies is bombed.
* 1973 July 24: New York City. The Martin Luther King, Jr., Labor Center is bombed during exhibition of pro-Fidel Castro material.
* 1973 December: A business office in the New York City area is bombed.
* 1973 December 30: Miami. A British freighter is bombed;
* 1974 November 9 : Washington, D.C. Organization of American States building bombed.
* 1975 February 1: New York City. The Venezuelan Consulate is bombed.
* 1975 February 6: Los Angeles. Unidos, a socialist bookstore run by the October League, is bombed;
* 1975 February 26: Los Angeles. KCET, a radio station, is bombed. Cuban exile group suspected because the station had just announced the showing of a Cuban film, "Lucia."
* 1975 March 27: Los Angeles. Panama Government Tourist Bureau and Costa Rican Consulate are damaged slightly by separate bomb blast. Panama and Costa Rica had supported Cuba's readmission to the Organization of American States.
* 1975 April 3: Los Angeles. An attempted bombing of the Communist Party office misfires;
* 1975 April 13: Los Angeles. A bomb is dropped through the roof of the Unidos book store.
* 1975 May 2: Santa Monica. A Socialist Workers Party bookstore is bombed.
* 1975 May 7: Los Angeles. The leftist-oriented Midnight Special Bookstore is bombed.
* 1975 July 15: Los Angeles. The Mexican consulate is bombed; four people are injured; $35,000 damage is done; it is suspected that the bombing was a joint action of the Hungarian Peace and Freedom Fighters, the Cuban Action Commandos, and the Nazi Group.
* 1975 July 18: Washington, D.C. A bomb placed outside the Costa Rican embassy does not completely detonate.
* 1975 October 6: Miami. The Dominican Republic consulate is bombed.
* 1975 October 10: Ft. Lauderdale. The Broward County courthouse is bombed.
* 1975 October 17: Miami. A bomb explodes in a luggage locker at Miami International Airport.
* 1975 October 31: Miami. Bombing-assassination of Rolando Masferrer. The bomb is triggered by the car ignition
* 1975 November 27: Miami. A time bomb in the restroom of a Bahamas Airlines jet is set to go off as passengers are loading for Nassau; a call indicates the bombing is anti-Castro and that a group called Cuban Power ‘76 is responsible.
* 1975 December 3: Miami. Identical bombs explode on the eve of a visit by William D. Rogers, U.S. Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, at the Social Security building, the Florida State Employment Service office, two Post Office buildings, and the FBI headquarters building.
* 1975 December 4: Miami. The Miami Police Department and State Attorney's Office are bombed.

Anti-Castro Resistances groups

*Alpha 66 - A paramilitary group formed in 1961. Have attempted several dozen unauthorized military infiltrations against Cuba. [http://www.alpha66.org/english/our%20history.htm] .
*Anti-Castro Commando
*Anti-Communist Commandos
*Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU - includes Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles)
*Cuba Action
*Cuba Action Commandos
*Cuban Anti-Communist League
*Cuban C-4
*Movement Cuban Liberation Front
*Cuban National Liberation Front (FLNC)
*Cuban Power (el Poder Cubano)
*Cuban Power
*Cuban Representation in Exile
*Cuban Revolutionary Directorate
*Cuban Revolutionary Organization
*Cuban Youth Group International
*Secret Revolutionary United Cells
*JCN (expansion unknown)
*Latin American Anti-Communist Army
*Movement of Cuban Justice Movement of the Seventh (M-7)
*National Integration Front (FIN; Cuban Nationalist Front)
*Omega 7
*Pedro Luis Boitel
*Command Pedro Ruiz Botero
*Commandos Pragmatistas
*Scorpion (el Alacran)
*Second Front of Escambray
*Secret Anti-Castro Cuban Army
*Secret Cuban Government
*Secret Hand Organization
*Secret Organization Zero
*Secret Sneakys
*Young Cubans
*Youths of the Star

Other groups

*Cuba Democracy Caucus - A bicameral and bi-partisan congressional group that was created with the stated purpose of "promoting discussion and proactive policies designed to hasten Cuba's transition towards a free and democratic society."

*Brothers to the Rescue - A group of Cuban-American activists whose primary objective is to aid Cuban refugees and immigration seekers. The group have also attempted to distribute oppositional literature in Cuba via airdrops over Cuban territory.

*US-Cuba Democracy Pac - A special interest group that lobbies the United States Congress and White House with the stated goal of "promoting an unconditional transition in Cuba to democracy, the rule of law, and the free market." [http://www.uscubapac.com/]

*Cuban Liberty Council - Lobbying group for Cuban-Americans in the United States. [http://www.canf.org/2004/principal-ingles.htm]

*Cuban American National Foundation - Lobbying group for Cuban-Americans in the United States. [http://www.canf.org/2004/principal-ingles.htm]

*International Committee for Democracy in Cuba Group headed by former Czech president Vaclav Havel aimed to coordinate the approach of European and western hemisphere countries towards Castro’s government. [http://www.icdcprague.org/]

*Cuban Libertarian Movement - a loose network of collectives and individuals comprising the Cuban anarchist movement, which is anti-capitalist, anti-Castro, and seeks change along libertarian socialist/libertarian communist or similar lines.

*Vigilia Mambisa - A group of Cuban-American demonstrators headed by Miguel Saavedra and known for their street-theater tactics and their rapid response to calls for protest aired on Miami Spanish-language stations such as WAQI AM-710 (Radio Mambi) and WWFE 670-AM (La Poderosa). [http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2000-12-07/news/have-bullhorn-will-travel/ Have Bullhorn, Will Travel] Miami New Times Dec. 7, 2000.]

Historical events

*The Escambray Rebellion (1959 - 1965) - groups of Cubans that had fought side by side with Castro against Batista's government and many who did not want Cuban falling to a Communist Regime, began to take up arms against the new Communist regime, particularly in the Escambray Mountains region of Cuba. The Cuban government labeled them as bandits. By July 26, 1965 Fidel Castro claimed to have abolished "all the Bandits in Cuba."

*Bay of Pigs Invasion (April 17, 1961) - The Brigade 2506, a military force of about 1,300 Cuban expatriates, with support of the US government, invaded the Giron beaches ("Ataque a La Playa Girón"). This is known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion. This attempt to depose the Revolutionary Government ended in failure. After the Brigade had already engaged in battle, John F. Kennedy cancelled the order for air support, and despite fighting against superior numbers for three days, they surrendered only after their ammo was spent. Thousands of prisoners were taken by the Cuban government.

*The Cuban Project (1961 - 1962) - US President John F. Kennedy initiated a CIA operation on November 30, 1961 to "help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime" aiming "for a revolt which can take place in Cuba by October 1962." The covert plan was intended to fuel anti-Castro sentiments provoking an overthrow of the government or assassination attempts on Castro. The Cuban Project played a significant role in the events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The operation was suspended on October 30, 1962, but three six-man sabotage teams had already been deployed to Cuba, and on November 8, 1962, one six-man CIA team blew up a Cuban industrial facility without permission.

*Bombing of Cubana Flight 455. On October 6, 1976 two time bombs variously described as dynamite or C-4 planted on the Douglas DC-8 aircraft exploded, killing all 73 people on board. Evidence implicated several CIA-linked anti-Castro Cuban Exiles and members of the Venezuelan secret police DISIP.

*Ibero-American Summit Dissidents (1999) - About a dozen opposition groups claiming peaceful opposition to Castro's one-party state urged Ibero-American leaders to back their cause. 40 dissidents planning the gathering were arrested in Havana before the Ibero-American Summit. [http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/americas/9911/11/castro.summit/]

ee also

*Cuba and democracy
*Human rights in Cuba
*Censorship in Cuba


External links

General links

* [http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/1033/ International Freedom of Expression Exchange] - Monitoring freedom of expression in Cuba.
* [http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/cuba/Cuba996-04.htm#P1000_177749 Human Rights Watch] - Report from Human Rights Watch about Cuba.
* [http://www.cartadecuba.org/eng2.htm Letter from Cuba (Independent Press from Inside and Outside Cuba)] Web site in Spanish and English with articles by Cubans inside of Cuba and outside. From San Juan, Puerto Rico.
* [http://www.cartercenter.org/documents/584.pdf PDF document from the Carter Center] - President Jimmy Carter announcing publicly in the Aula Magna the resting place of Félix Varela in University of Havana to the Cuban people about the existence of Proyecto Varela transmitted by the government's own TV station.
* [http://www.vitral.org Vitral] - Vitral magazine published in English and Spanish from Cuba by Cubans independent of Castro's government; published by the Service of the Civic and Religious Education Center of Pinar del Río.
* [http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bright/dolgoff/cubanrevolution/toc.html The Cuban Revolution - A Critical Perspective by Sam Dolgoff] Covers Cuba's long history of anarchist movements and the nature of the current Cuban system as seen from the radical left.
* [http://www.illegalvoices.org/bookshelf/cuban_anarchism/ Cuban Anarchism - The History of A Movement by Frank Fernandez] Frank Fernandez's 2001 book on anarchism in Cuba. He writes extensively on many trends and schools of thought related to Cuba and its history, from colonial times to the present.

Opposition Groups

* [http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/ Free Cuba Foundation] - Official Web Site for the Free Cuba Foundation
* [http://www.cubanlibertycouncil.org/ Cuban Liberty Council] - Official Web Site for the Cuban Liberty Council
* [http://www.uscubapac.com/ US-Cuba Democracy Pac] - Official Web Site for the US-Cuba Democracy Pac.
* [http://www.canf.org/ Cuban American National Foundation (CANF)] - Official Web Site for the CANF.
* [http://www.proyectovarela.org/ Proyecto Varela] - Official Web Site for Proyecto Varela.
* [http://cubonet.org/mlc/ Movimiento Libertario Cubano] - Official Web Site of the MLC (Cuban anarchist movement)

Escambray war

* [http://www.neoliberalismo.com/escambray.htm The forgotten war] - Fighting Against Castro in Cuba.

Bay of Pigs invasion

* [http://www.parascope.com/articles/1296/bayofpigs.htm ParaScope: The Bay of Pigs Invasion]
* [http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/baypigs/pigs.htm History of Cuba] - Bay of Pigs Invasion.
* [http://www.brigada2506.com/ Brigada 2506] - Bay of Pigs Invasion; includes pictures of the fallen.

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