Cuba-Mexico deteriorating relations-Why?

May 5th 2004


Adrian Boutureira

CIS-DC Zapatistas


Brief analysis of the recent developments involving the unilateral decision by Mexico to expel Cuba's ambassador and withdraw its own from Havana.


In a press conference held today in Havana, Cuba's Foreign minister Felipe Roque pointed out that in the recent statements made by Mexico's Secretary of Government, Santiago Creel, he failed to identify or mention any specific evidence to prove the accusations made by the Mexican government against Cuban diplomats of "intervention" into Mexico's internal affairs and "clandestine meetings" with members of the opposition. These were the reasons presented by Creel as to why Mexico withdrew its Ambassador from Havana and gave the Cuban Ambassador 48 hours to leave Mexico. At this press conference, Roque effectively contested these unfounded claims and openly described every meeting attended by the Cuban diplomats in question between the 3rd and 22nd of April (the dates when the diplomats were in Mexico) and challenged the Mexican government to disclose any information pertaining to the alleged "clandestine meetings" with "interventionist objectives".


What led to this extraordinary press conference by Roque and the unprecedented diplomatic crisis between these two historically friendly nations?


A bit of recent history...


On April 15th, the Mexican government of Vicente Fox casts a decisive vote (a vote that was known in Washington before it was even submitted in Geneva!!!) against Cuba in the United Nations Human Rights Commission supporting a US sponsored resolution condemning Cuba's human rights record (pertaining mainly to last year's crack down on the so called "dissidents"). During his May 1st celebration speech in Havana, Fidel accuses Fox's government of alignment with US imperialism and of betraying Mexico's revolutionary history and independent foreign policy.


Enter the excuse for Fox to further deteriorate Mexico-Cuba relations: Carlos Ahumada Kurtz, an Argentine businessman who was wanted by Interpol for fraud and money laundering in Mexico, and arrested while in Cuba.


It would seem that officials in Vicente Fox's party (PAN) have found themselves involved up to their necks in a corruption scandal concerning the "timely" manipulation of videos and information about electoral corruption and money laundering by the main opposition party. Carlos Ahumada made these statements involving Fox's administration while in detention in Cuba, and Cuba made them public. Carlos Ahumada is now back in Mexico after extradition from Cuba to face fraud charges against him and as a potential key witness against the administration's video scheme to cause the highest possible damage to the opposition. Interestingly enough, he is now claiming he made no such statements in Cuba (after being afraid for his life enough that he requested protection from the Mexican Human Rights Commission!!)


Mexico's ruling party has turned Cuba's unilateral extradition of Ahumada (Cuba extradited Ahumada under Interpol law after waiting in vain for a month for the Mexican authorities to request it themselves) and their making public some of his statements about the case implicating the ruling Mexican party in criminal acts, into an act of intervention by Cuba in the internal affairs of Mexico as retaliation for its vote "of conscience" at the UNHRC.


In doing this, Fox aims to kill two birds with one shot:


1.         To make it easy for his government to not oppose US policies against Cuba by presenting Cuba to the Mexican people as an "enemy state" just as the US gears to launch a new wave of aggressive policies towards that nation* and in anticipation of the US elections this November.

2.         To shifts attention from his party's involvement in a truly scandalous national affair and complete failure to outroot corruption and economic strife, by creating an international intrigue of fabricated Cuban intervention in the affairs of Mexico via the leftist opposition party (PRD). De facto discrediting and presenting, in the eyes of the Mexicans, his main leftist opposition in the elections of 2006 as nothing more than Cuban agents.


Meanwhile, the Mexican People have taken to the streets in large numbers over the last few days to express their opposition to Fox's policies towards Cuba, and to call for immediate restoration of diplomatic relations with that country. Many are presently camped on the grounds of the Cuban embassy in a sign of support and solidarity.


 Please write to the Mexican embassy and tell them what you think of Fox and his US puppet policies towards Cuba, and do continue to organize to defend Cuba sovereignty!



* A 500-page report that President Bush is expected to release Thursday, calls for creating a top-level US government post to oversee Cuba's expected transition "to democracy”. The report also recommends that the U.S. step up efforts to get around the Cuban government's largely successful measures to jam Radio and TV Marti, U.S. government-funded broadcasters designed to spread US propaganda against the Cuban government. The United States also hopes to fabricate Cuba's dissident movement by providing computers and other equipment along with organizational training, books, literature and other information to anyone willing to be on their payroll. One U.S. State Department official said the recommendations - which can be approved or amended by the president - are designed to bring about a "rapid, peaceful change to democracy" and to support an internal opposition that is "increasingly under siege."