I've written before that we need to see an Orange Revolution in Cuba. While some of my buddies think an armed invasion is the only way to get rid of the bearded billionaire bastard, it seems to me that hasn't been practical since President Kennedy shut down the bases in 1963. There must be a way.
I wrote back in December that we need, somehow, an Orange Revolution in Cuba. Something similar to the Ukraine, where the people there, with the help of us and other outsiders, brought down a corrupt government. I complained then that the U.S. government policy - the embargo - kept us from helping our friends still on the island. Maybe the Bush Administration is smarter than I had thought. (And let's give the Clinton Administration credit, too. The program was begun in 1996.)
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the U.S. Government has raised funding for anti-castro activities by $14-million dollars. The money is going to non-profit groups in the U.S. that are working to end castro's regime.
"We've sent medicines. We've sent clothing. We've sent cameras. We've sent office supplies," said Frank Hernandez Trujillo, 63, executive director of Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia, a Coral Gables-based group that since 2000 has received $4.7 million from the U.S. government's Cuba program.
Hernandez said he began shipping supplies to Castro opponents in Cuba 10 years ago, working out of his living room with six friends. He financed the operation himself. But when U.S. funds became available in the mid-1990s, Hernandez began writing grant proposals and by 2003 had an annual budget of $1.3 million.
This kind of aid exactly what unions, non-profit groups and governments sent to the Ukrainians.
Hernandez says he and his people are keeping many dissidents and their families alive with the materials. He also says the aid is important in psychological terms - the dissidents fell that someone cares - that they are not abandoned.
Hernandez says he is producing DVDs to counter fidel's propaganda and smuggling them into Cuba. That's even though folks there don't have many DVD players.
"We see the Cuban government as a piece of furniture that has been eaten away by termites," he said. "If you put any kind of pressure on it, it will crumble. We are the termites."
Little Local Support
Juan Carlos Acosta runs another aid group called Accion Democratica Cubana. He says he turned to the federal government for help because he got little help in South Florida.
"We don't have the support of our own community," Acosta said. "We have powerful radio stations, and most of them have a hard-line vision based on the ideas of the 1950s and 1960s, namely that Cuba can only be free through arms."
Acosta says he understands why. He was formerly a member of Alpha 66 and trained in the Everglades for a planned invasion of the island. He says by the mid-80s he heard of opposition groups on the island, and he thought that was a better route to end fidel's tyranny.
Acosta says in the first three months of last year, his group sent almost 1500 pounds of supplies to Cuba, including short wave radios, cameras, tripods, and portable hard drives. His greatest expenditure for the telephone, which he says is the best way to communicate with dissidents on the island. The cost is several dollars a minute. He also has to pay professional smugglers $15 a pound to carry supplies to Cuba.
The article also tells how Cubanet's web site is blocked on the island. Founder Rosa Berre emails articles to the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, which prints them and hands them out by the thousands. Unfortunately the distribution is to visitors, not the Cubans themselves.
Perhaps this method will work to bring down fidel. The methods of the past 46-years have not worked. Check out the links and see what you may be able to do to help free the Cuban people. Or maybe blogs, such as Val's, will do the dirty work.