The Guardian September 5, 2001


Intensification of the Cold War:
Terrorists and fundamentalists under Bush's wing

The selection of ultra-right winger Cuban-American Otto Reich as Under-
Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs forms one more link in a chain of 
political appointments that has intensified Washington's Cold War policy 
towards Latin America.

The selection of Reich points to a larger strategy aimed at politically 
driving American state administrative institutions to the extreme right. 
These include foreign policy organs and the Departments of Justice and 
Defence.

During the formative years of the Reagan administration, Reich was director 
of the Agency for International Development (AID).

In a declassified report, former Attorney General and ex-general advisor to 
the Agency, John Bolton, admitted that AID "is a subsidiary of the CIA 
which serves to promote the political and economic interests of the federal 
government through financial assistance programs abroad."

Between 1983 and 1986 Reich was Chief of the Office of Public Diplomacy 
(OPD) which was a covert psychological operations department whose primary 
task was to discredit progressive governments and social movements 
throughout the hemisphere.

Through this office, a full-scale anti-Sandinista propaganda campaign was 
waged [portraying] revolutionary Nicaragua as a gulag and Soviet beachhead. 
At the same time the Contra narco-insurgents were presented as "freedom 
fighters".

The objective was to maintain the flow of money and arms to the mercenaries 
at all costs.

One document, declassified in 1998, by the then CIA Director Robert Gates, 
spells out the narcotics connection: "It was a question of preservation not 
only of the Contras, but also of the Agency's project ...

"During periods of aid suspension, the Contras continued to receive food, 
medicine, munitions and other forms of assistance  the narcotics paid for 
it all".

According to The New York Times, terrorist Luis Carriles, presently 
in a Panamanian prison for having organised an armed attempt on the life of 
Cuban President Fidel Castro last year, was employed by the CIA during that 
period as second-in-command of arms and narcotics re-supply.

Thanks to the repugnant commerce in arms and drugs, the mercenaries were 
able to continue their war against the Nicaraguan people.

Reich's personal vendetta against the Cuban Revolution is very well known. 
His intimate relation with the Miami mafia and reactionary paramilitary 
groups based in Florida date back three decades.

According to the Boston Globe, Reich was the "architect of the 1996 
Helms-Burton Act". The legislation penalises US subsidiaries and the 
companies of other countries that attempt to conduct business with Cuba.

But Reich merely represents one domino. Bush has recently announced the 
nomination of Mauricio Tamargo as president of the Federal Legal Committee 
of the US Justice Department. Tamargo is yet another extremist Cuban-
American.

According to The Washington Post, the European Union is in an uproar 
over the nomination, given the number of lawsuits by European companies in 
US courts due to the extraterritorial nature of the Torricelli and Helms-
Burton Acts.

The selection of former Contra political officer, Roger Maurer, as 
Secretary of Defence for Inter-American Issues, has produced even more 
controversy.

In an interview with The Washington Post, one Defence Department 
functionary, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the "new 
administration simply has failed to take note as to how fragile US-Latin 
American relations are these days".

Another rightwing appointment is that of John Negroponte as US 
representative to the United Nations.

Negroponte was formerly US ambassador to Honduras where he collaborated 
with both the CIA and the Honduran Armed Forces in the creation and 
training of Battalion 316.

According to Human Rights Watch and the Honduran authorities, this 
paramilitary group was responsible for numerous acts of sabotage and 
torture, homicide and no less than 184 disappearances of political 
opponents.

Editorials published in the most widely read US dailies, The New York 
Times and The Los Angeles Times, expressed their opposition to 
Bush's "chosen ones", labelling them as "cold war relics of Reagan's United 
States of America".

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Abridged from Granma International Digital

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