Is there no end to fidel's cruelty? While looking for news about Cuba, I found a listing for a story that, unfortunately, is available to subscribers only of arabicnews.com. The tease said that NGOs were calling for the release of Moroccan children who had been shipped off to Cuba for indoctrination. I did further research and found this article from 2001.
The Moroccan Committee for the Reunion of Sahrawi families, called over the weekend on the international community to act for the return to the homeland of Sahrawi children deported to Cuba and liberation of those sequestered in the Tindouf camps (south-western Algeria).
The call was made by Ms. Yasni Samira, who is in charge of the committee international relations, at a meeting held by African Non-Governmental organizations in Dakar part of preparations for an international conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, to be staged next August in South Africa.
Ms. Yasni decried the inhuman conditions of the 10,000 Sahrawis in three Cuban Islands. She called for the implementation of all mechanisms on persons protection, especially the convention on the suppression of human trafficking and the convention on the protection of women and children in difficult situations and in armed conflicts.
She argued that deporting Sahrawi children is part of a the Polisario strategy to dismember Sahrawi families and hold them hostages.
What's going on, here? Sahrawi is the former Spanish colony of Rio de Oro, and lies on the Atlantic between Mauritania and Morocco. When Spain withdrew in 1976, both countries annexed Sahrawi. Morocco took over sole administration in 1979. The Polisario Front liberation movement continued to fight for an independent state. By 1991, the U.N. had negotiated a peace settlement in which the people will vote on whether to integrate with Morocco or have their own independent country. In typical U.N. fashion, the election has been postponed repeatedly.
There doesn't seem to be much current information on the Polisario, but there is one web entry on the organization's history that shows up on several sites.
The name 'Polisario' was a short form of Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia El-Hamra y Rio de Oro.
Polisario has since 1975 been stationed in Tindouf, the westernmost town in Algeria. While the exact numbers of the troops are not known, most estimates set it at around 10,000, but this number is probably declining.
The Moroccans built a sand wall to keep the Polisario troops out. That and the Moroccan soldiers appear to have settled the armed conflict. But as globalsecurity.org reports, there are still plenty of stories to tell:
Meanwhile on both sides of the 2000 km wall of sand and landmines that runs the length of the border with Algeria, families are divided and allegations of disappearances, unlawful detentions and torture persist.
The Polisario wants a referendum, but the sides argue over just who votes. Morocco has moved many Moroccans into the area and the Polisario says those folks shouldn't vote. The U.S. and U.N. brokered a plan in 2002 that has upset the Polisario.
The US proposal, which Morocco supports, gives Rabat ultimate sovereignty over the Western Sahara, although the territory would have wide-ranging autonomy. The brainchild of James Baker, the former US Secretary of State, the plan has angered the Sahrawi independence movement. Not only does it quash any hopes of independence, it all but abandons a long-standing UN commitment to allow the Western Sahara people to determine their future in a referendum.
"Self-determination is sacred for the Sahrawi people,'' said Dahaa Ramouni, a member of a Sahrawi human rights group. "If that is denied us, although we don't want it, the danger is the Polisario will resume hostilities.''
Sidi Mohammed Dadesh, a veteran of the Polisario campaign, said: "We want a referendum and anyone who wants another solution wants a return to war.''
Algeria's reaction is crucial. Rivalry between the neighbouring states for the Western Sahara's phosphate reserves, its offshore oil potential and its strategic location on the Atlantic, is at the route of the conflict. Hamid Chabar, the king's appointee to the territory, suggested yesterday that Morocco would be ready to grant Algeria access to the Atlantic as part of a settlement.
Despite the Polisario's rhetoric, the diplomatic battle is not going their way. Morocco has worked effectively to undermine the movement's claims to nationhood by bringing thousands of people into the territory who claim to be Sahrawi. More than 20,000 nomads have been camped in Laayoune since 1991 waiting for a referendum. A mother in a breeze-block hut decorated with artificial flowers and a television set said yesterday: "We came here as a show of loyalty to Morocco. If there is no vote, that is God's will.''
But what about fidel's involvement? According to Carta de Cuba, fidel has supported Polisario from the beginning - since Arafat visited fidel in 1974 and convinced him to join the Arab side against Israel.
Cuba joined with Algeria and Libya on a diplomatic/political offensive in support of Frente POLISARIO (People's Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara and Rio del Oro); later on provided military cooperation , medical services, and other forms of assistance.
fidel himself spoke of Sahrawi at a 1979 address to the U.N. just after Mauritania had pulled out:
Mr. President: The sixth summit had to deplore again that Resolution 1514 of the UN General Assembly on the granting of independence to the colonial countries and peoples has not been applied to Western Sahara. We must recall that the decisions of the nonaligned countries and the UN resolutions, especially 3331 of the General Assembly, have reaffirmed the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence. Concerning this issue, Cuba feels special responsibility because it was a member of the UN committee which carried out the investigations on Western Sahara which allowed our representatives to confirm the wholehearted decision of the Saharan people for self-determination and independence. We reiterate here that the position the nonaligned countries is not one of antagonism toward any country. In hailing the agreement between the Republic of Mauritania and the POLISARIO Front and of Western Sahara and in deploring the spread of Morocco's armed occupation in the southern part of Western Sahara previously administered by Mauritania, one should one read into it the application of our principles and the UN agreements. That is why the conference expressed its hope that the ad hoc committee of the OAU established at the 16th OAU summit meeting will insure that the Saharan people may exercise their right to self-determination and independence as soon as possible.
This year, the American Council for Moroccan POWs (ACMP) called for Polisario to close its camps in Algeria, to stop what it calls the murder of Moroccans, and it also pointed out what fidel may be up to.
The communique added the ACMP sent a letter to the Cuban interest section in Washington to denounce the deportation of thousands of Moroccan children from the camps to Cuba to force their parents to stay in the camps of Tindouf. The council also asked president Fidel Castro to put an end to the practice and to allow the children go back to their families.
So fidel is aiding his communist brothers by kidnapping children.