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Cuba's Transition

by Dr. Geoff Demarest,
Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Military Review Logo This article appeared in

Military Review

May-June 2001


The Castro Revolution is a survivor. A decade ago history had seemingly caught up with perennial predictions of the regime's imminent collapse. Its hero was long in the tooth, and its geostrategic godfather was dead. Nevertheless, Fidel Castro and Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) chief Raul Castro remained in power. The Castro brothers' role as impudent David to Uncle Sam's ambiguous Goliath subdued the kind of international rejection that might have rendered communist Cuba a pariah state. Solidarity with the dictatorship has been as great, if not greater, than solidarity among those who wish to see it fall. Analysts who had relegated any Cuban contingency to a back burner among national strategic concerns were correct. Castro was not going to be overthrown from within and, therefore, not at all. Still, someday Cuba's opening will occur, and the possibility of violence keeps it worthy of our military attention.1

US policy objectives and events on the island will define Cuban-related US military missions once Fidel Castro is no longer dictator. The US Army role, if any, could center around stability and support operations on behalf of law enforcement and aid agencies. Current scholarship regarding the probable face of post-Castro Cuba lends hope that changes there will be peaceful. However, even a peaceful transition could include dysfunction and unrest—a Cuban Sturm und Drang marked by corruption, street crime, economic tumult and the potential for even more serious instability. There are too many ingredients that promote civil violence to expect trouble-free transition to a free society. Whatever the level of unrest, however, and almost regardless of the objectives pursued, rational transition in Cuba will involve three centers of gravity: property rights, the FAR and the Internet.

These three things, if not mastered, can threaten the achievement of US policy objectives. Each resides on a distinct conceptual plane. One, property is the key to realizing long-term social and economic goals. The FAR, on the other hand, is an institutional, political center of gravity. Finally, the Internet (as shorthand for new information technologies generally) is the linchpin to argument and perception. Only in light of these three central subjects can the US military determine its optimal role in what may be one of the most broadly engaging interagency campaigns ever undertaken. The Army may be called upon to reach out to its Cuban counterpart with an open hand rather than a closed fist.

Center of Gravity I: Property Rights

Real estate is not the only kind of property that will be hotly contested in Cuba. Utility concessions, contracts, bandwidth, overflight and regulatory controls—all property interests—will be disputed. In addition to these tangible slices of property, another property rights question clearly ties property to ideology and describes why the possibility of gradual reform is slight and why changes in Cuban society will be rapid.

Property is quickly becoming the key word in international-development theory. In 2000, Hernando deSoto's The Mystery of Capital exposed a lost fact of economic development.2 DeSoto concluded that widespread material well-being occurs only if a formal property system defines and protects ownership. A stable property regime properly identifies and titles property, has a credible system of peaceably quitting titles, makes title insurance available, and has a transparent and responsive market.3 Unless the poor can generate the intangible quantity called capital, their economic progress will be stunted.4

The deSoto theory is an important milestone paralleled by other works that identify property at the base of most conflicts.5 For many decades, US developmental and stability efforts have emphasized forming political parties, unions and cooperatives or introducing new methods of production and marketing. The United States has spent enormously on building political identities but almost nothing on solidifying how property is owned. Bilateral relationships with developing countries have not emphasized improvements in property law or records. This relative indifference to property rights is rapidly changing. As a response to the Summit of the Americas, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is experimenting with the Inter-Summit Property Systems Initiative. Part of that initiative, the USAID Property Registration Project, is now active in several countries.6 International organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are likewise adopting the formalization of property rights as a central strategy for sustainable development.
If nothing else, the dollar will outlive the dictator.
If nothing else, the dollar will outlive the dictator.

This approach to property was made possible, in part, by the collapse of the Soviet socialist model and a new academic willingness to use the word property without apology. It will affect Cuba's transition in two ways. First, the economic development model that will be applied in Cuba, whether by domestic actors, the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations or by some yet undefined amalgam including civil society participants, will embrace the deSoto theory as the surviving truth of economic history. New land reform will be capital-oriented. Responsible quarters will try to give Cuba high-technology surveying; computerized, transparent land registry; impartial property courts; and Internet-based market exposure. Second, property rights that fuel the engine of capital formation cannot exist within a socialist legal framework. A movement that promotes systems of law and bureaucracy designed to protect property and attract capital will be immediately at odds with the Cuban socialist experiment. Among other things, the existing Constitución de la República de Cuba (Cuban constitution) specifically prohibits mortgages on small landholdings.7

New recognition of the nature of property and capital bodes well for Cuba's accelerated return to material prosperity. The existence of capital evokes sources of capital, and an abundant flow of capital to the island will come from the United States. Cuban-American money will be a powerful, unspoken argument in favor of a market-oriented econ-omy. Among the forces standing in the way is Cuban law. Although the current Constitución contains a set of paragraphs designed to reassure foreign investors, it fundamentally rejects capitalism. It explicitly denies peasants the possibility of capital accumulation or attraction and is anathema to the deSoto model.8

The Constitución is also a road map for corruption. Article 23 allows foreign investors to acquire and hold rights, pursuant to Article 15, to assets forming part of the "socialist state patrimony" but in each case only upon prior and specific approval of the council of ministers or its executive committee. Article 15 broadly defines "socialist state patrimony" to include "all lands not owned by small agricultural producers or cooperatives formed by small agricultural producers, the subsoil, mines, living and nonliving natural resources located within the economic maritime zone of the Republic, forests, waters, roads, sugar mills, factories, fundamental means of transportation, and all enterprises, banks and installations which have been nationalized and expropriated from the imperialists, large landowners and bourgeois, as well as the factories, enterprises and economic installations and scientific, social, cultural and sports centers constructed, developed or acquired by the State, and those which it may construct, develop or acquire in the future."9

As long as the current constitution remains in effect, the council of ministers or its executive committee will be the most important purchase that foreign investors can make. The peasant, meanwhile, stays on the farm, gains no equity and at death may pass the property only to a relative who also intends to farm it.

US policy and new developmental theory are diametrically at odds with existing Cuban property law. For Cuba to liberalize the economy and give broad economic meaning to the eventual lifting of the US embargo, the Constitución and the revolution it codifies will have to go. Meanwhile, many Cuban insiders will resist that radical change, at least until they are positioned to succeed in free-market capitalism.10

Critics of free-market capitalism complain that the market undervalues externalities or public goods such as the environment. According to this view, the environment inevitably suffers under pure capitalism because the demand for a rich and healthy environment is not expressed in market activities. The market mechanism, according to this view, prefers exchanges that destroy nature. One of the supposed advantages of socialism was greater ease in recognizing and valuing the environment, and in making economic decisions accordingly. Now, after inventory was taken of abysmal socialist environmental performance in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, few voices risk suggesting environmental responsibility as a validator of the Castro regime. Exactly what we will find on the island is unknown, but there are some hints.

A 1998 report by the Center for a Free Cuba lists a variety of environmental concerns: "[T]he intensive deforestation carried out in the Sierra Maestra (63 percent since 1992) has caused the Cauto River, the country's largest, to shrink to nothing more than a trickle during the dry season. This impoverishment of the river flow reduces the water going into the wetlands where salinization has begun to increase alarmingly. Thus, the nutrients upon which many microorganisms, crustaceans, fishes and birds depend have all but disappeared. The inert necks of the DoubleCrested Cormorant chicks that have starved to death can be found hanging over the rims of their nests. During 1991 the lakeshore was covered with dead fish. These are only a few of the innumerable symptoms, albeit ignored, indicative of serious dysfunction in the ecological equilibrium of the Leonero biotope."11

Some of the decline in agricultural production in Cuba during the 1990s appears related to broad-scale environmental degradation, including soil erosion, compaction and salinity. The value and economic performance of agricultural holdings may depend on strategic-level environmental fixes and land-use planning. The actual extent of alleged environmental degradations will only be known when foreign scientists are free to travel inside Cuba. If the damage is as great as feared, interest groups will translate concern into both direct action and international lobbying for governmental and multilateral remedial action. The number of international environmental protection treaties is growing, and while Cuba currently is party to only a few, a transition government's reaction to these international agreements may be of some consequence to the United States. Any sympathies that the activist environmental protection community might have harbored for the socialist regime will, in any event, be weakened.12

Center of Gravity II: The FAR

Cuba's communist party will not be out front in a post-Castro race to control Cuba's most important property holdings and the revenues that flow from them. The Cuban Revolution was not won by the communist party but, rather, by the Ejército Rebelde (Rebel Army) that threw out the Batista government in 1959.13 The party was created later within the armed forces. The descendant of the Rebel Army, today's FAR has a tradition of civic soldiering, and the population considers it an efficient, productive, organized and qualified landlord.14

The FAR has participated in little direct repression, is not associated with the collapse of communism and is considered less corrupt than other institutions. Moreover, the FAR's noncombat strength is reflected in the portfolio of state institutions it effectively controls: the Ministry of Sugar Industry; National State Reserve Institute; Ministry of Fisheries and Merchant Marine; Ministry of Transport and Ports; Cuban Civil Aviation Corporation Inc.; National Institute of State Reserves; Ministry of Information Technology and Communications; Grupo Electrónica de Cuba, which includes COPEXTEL telecoms; Cuban Civil Aviation Corporation; Habanos, S.A. (tobacco products); Gaviota Inc. (tourist enterprise); Metropolitan Bank; GeoCuba Entrepreneurial Group (land concessions and leases); TECNOTEC (high-tech importer/exporter); Industrial Military Union (12 major industries, 16 factories, 230 facilities); Plan-Turquino-Manati (a funded developmental plan covering 20 municipalities); Plan for Entrepreneurial Redesign; CIMEX (import/export, free-trade zones, tourism, transportation, digital communications equipment, car rentals and audiovisual publicity); CUBANA-CAN (similar to CIMEX); Citrus (agricultural and industrial processing); State Commission for Entrepreneurial Perfection; and Ideological Department of the Central Committee.15

Domingo Amuchastegui notes that the FAR is "much more than a simple institution of the state, isolated as a segment, confined to certain quarters and under `civilian' control. The FAR were, and remain, the backbone of the existing power structure."16 The power implied in controlling most property and all major weapon systems is obvious. It is difficult to tell what kind of organizational integrity the FAR will keep or what kind of reception the FAR will give to deSoto's view of poverty and wealth, but there may be some positive surprises. The Cuban military does not appear to be especially ideological and has already steered the Cuban economy through substantial changes. As Amuch-astegui suggests, the FAR is the protector of the "Revolution," which is not the same as the typical army mission to protect national sovereignty. Is socialism the revolution to be defended or just the advantage of the established elite, which includes FAR leaders? The FAR, or parts of it, may purposefully demonstrate an ability and willingness to use force to preserve elite power or some of its remnants. It may, in so doing, assert its mythical, socialist revolutionary identity. Preferably, given its popular respect, advantage over other state institutions and experience with capitalism, the FAR will drift from its socialist heritage and allow radical changes in land tenure and property ownership.

John P. Powelson, in an exhaustive survey of the history of land ownership and reform, concluded that formalized practices of land ownership are a central determinant of social peace.17 He pointed out, however, that "The most disheartening conclusion [regarding changes in property regimes] . . . may be that whenever a reformer (such as a king, a government or a revolutionary junta) has changed the land tenure system by fiat, he, she or it has retained a substantial portion of the rights instead of yielding them to the peasant."18 This generalization applies to the 1959 Castro revolution, to the Cuban government's 1990s market-oriented changes and will likely apply to changes during a post-Castro transition. The FAR, as Cuba's principal landlord, appears less strident and more receptive than Castro to radical transformation.19 As a corporate body, it may be able to steer the decisions of remnant senior leadership. Of the existing Cuban institutions, the FAR appears to be the likely catalyst and steward of change. Powelson's warning must be heeded. Still, with few alternatives, the FAR rises above other organs of the Cuban state as a target, not for destruction, but for interaction.

Any future FAR role in repression and human rights abuse will be critical during the transition. Human rights questions are embedded everywhere, and the human rights situation, as reported by rights advocacy groups, defines the potential for violence in a post-Castro Cuba.20

A 1999 Human Rights Watch World Report states that the Cuban government has legally silenced opponents, rejecting "pleas to repeal offensive provisions such as the crime of enemy propaganda and spreading false news, which criminalized dissent and independent reporting. Cuban law broadly defined sedition as including nonviolent opposition that `perturb[ed] the socialist order.'"21

This assessment reflects widespread frustration and disappointment regarding the Castro regime's human rights practices. Some had hoped that Fidel Castro would loosen repressive controls after Pope John Paul's 1998 visit to the island. It did not happen, and any post-Castro transition government will face a human rights dilemma. Clamping down further on free expression risks turning off international support when it is most needed. On the other hand, releasing hundreds of political prisoners to express their views publicly or allowing international human rights organizations to operate on the island invites civil conflict. Many of the newly expressed views will kindle violence. For example, Dr. Oscar Biscet was convicted, in part, for protests outside an abortion clinic that led to a spontaneous near-riot. In Cuba, abortion is violently controversial—free speech should not, in the short run, be thought of as a peacemaker.
There could be more traffic in this policeman's future.
Picture of Motorcycle Police

Furthermore, decades of repression will undoubtedly lead to lawsuits and indictments. Members of the current regime will be dragged into court, if not in the first moments of political and social loosening, then as soon as sufficient discovery is accomplished. The FAR has been able to keep its distance, or the perception of distance, from repressive activities. This would seem to promise a critical competitive advantage when institutional denunciations are finally given voice. Incidents in the towns of Cojíma and Regla in 1993 are emblematic.22 Cubans attempting to escape in rafts were shot in one instance and beaten to death by border police in another. Major riots ensued. FAR leaders, including Raul Castro, noted the potential for mass uprising and determined that the FAR would not become involved in any Tienamen-type situation.23 FAR leaders understand that its health as an institution depends on the people's positive perception.

External influences, such as the new reach of international law, will influence the FAR's relationship with the Cuban people. Pursuing and prosecuting perpetrators of gross human rights violations have been important dimensions of the global movement to extend the reach of humanitarian law. Recent results are startling. Public and private international law are commingling, and private claims are finding new avenues for litigation. In Latin America, the most vocal plaintiffs have been decidedly leftist and the defendants overwhelmingly on the right. Whether Guatemalan Generals Rios Montt or Alejandro Gramajo, Paraguay's General Alfredo Stroesner or Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, it is government military figures who have suffered the effects of newly accepted extraterritoriality. Expansion of international law and enthusiastic application of private legal strategies have given the political far left great traction during the 1990s. Now communist leaders in Cuba might be prosecuted under the same international system. As that possibility becomes reality, promoters of international criminal law who have been sympathetic toward the Cuban revolution may push less forcefully.
The militarized proletariat listens to Party functionary.
The militarized proletariat listens to Party functionary.

In the face of new legal consequences of human rights abuse, Cuban leaders will probably remain adamant in their totalitarianism to postpone judgment day. Meanwhile, the combination of fact and law may force governments like those in Canada and Spain to cease giving the Cuban leadership a pass on human rights. Paradoxically, the growth of international law may not help make the Cuban transition more peaceful. It may instead encourage abuse as the regime seeks ways to resist historical review. The FAR will prefer that targets of indictment and litigation come out of its institutional competitors, and it could prove slow in coming to their defense. Having the option to choose in favor of proletariat support and against tainted parts of the vanguard could turn out to be a major consequence of the FAR's entrepreneurial strength.

Center of Gravity III: The Internet

While existence of the Internet might affect the ways a contingency operation would be mounted in response to a Cuban crisis, its real significance lies in the promise to help avoid such a contingency. A 1996 RAND study on Cuba and information technology made the following recommendations:


Four years later, mainstream advice had not changed. The US Association of Former Members of Congress sent a seven-member delegation to Cuba in 1999 to assess political, economic and social conditions. The delegation recommended that "breakthroughs in the telecommunications industry should be explored to increase information links to Cuba. Internet, e-mail, cell phones and other state-of-the-art communications slowly are bringing information and ideas to the country. It is recommended that the US government and Congress consider authorizing US telecommunications companies to explore possibilities for establishing more open and diverse communications between the United States and Cuba."25

From bicycles and Studebakers to the Internet.
From bicycles and Studebakers to the Internet.

If the thinking was to speed Cuba's transition to liberty, it did not work. The electronic revolution has so far proven no threat to the Cuban Revolution. The Cuban regime approached the web as a neutral environment that it could control internally and simultaneously apply for propagandistic advantage. Cuban leaders confounded arguments that greater access to cell phones and the Internet would subvert the dictatorship. Public Internet use is closely monitored, service providers few. Since the Cold War, the United States has tried to advance Cuban democracy "by technological means. Since the passage of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, international telecommunications have been strategically exempted from the US embargo, and the US policy has attempted to engage the Cuban people through greater information flow. . . . the Internet has brought no political change to Cuba, and it is unlikely to do so anytime soon."26 Cuban Law 88, enacted in March 2000, provides a penalty of up to 20 years' imprisonment for offenses, including providing information to the US government; owning, distributing or reproducing material produced by the US government or any other foreign entity; and collaborating, by any means, with foreign radio, television, press or other media, to destabilize the country and destroy the socialist state.27 The Cuban government gladly accepted extensive foreign aid to improve infrastructure but has tightened information access and expression.

The electronic-engagement strategy does not seem to have had the desired effect. Nevertheless, a strong information-technology base may ultimately favor transition toward a free society. There are apparently only six Internet service providers. Access is tightly controlled and only made available to approved government employees and academics.28 Even so, computer literacy is widespread, and given a loosening of repression, the pace of participation in Internet communication will accelerate.

Law 209 of Cuba's Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers regulates use and development of information networks and Internet service in Cuba. The distribution of competencies follows:

Cuba and its leader play unique roles. Many people admire Castro's boisterous defiance of the United States. Others willingly overlook realities of Cuban life to satisfy an idealistic desire for a successful socialist experiment. Together these conceptual quantities—Castro as American headache and Cuba as ideological pet—constitute a reservoir on which the Cuban regime draws to deflect scrutiny. A countervailing body invokes globalized law and imperatives of capital creation. The Cubans' struggle will feature a titanic war of ideas, and the Internet is its major battlefield. Of the institutions on the island, the FAR has the dominant position for information operations, wielding veto power over any development in the information field and having a FAR officer as MINCONS head.

A US Army Role?

Cuba's challenge is complex. Migration to and from the island, arsenals of weapons (including hundreds of thousands of small arms with ammunition), the enormous electronic intelligence-gathering site at Lourdes, allegations of drug trading by members of the Castro regime and an alleged Cuban biological warfare research and development program are just a few issues likely to complicate a transition.30 Regional issues present another dimension. Populist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez styles himself as the next Castro. Chavez has energetically courted Castro and helps the Cuban regime through favorable petroleum agreements.31 Meanwhile, both Venezuela and Cuba have been flirting with Colombia's communist insurgents.32 The mix is troubling. It would be disheartening to see another anemic socialist-styled dictatorship emerge in Venezuela just as Cuba began its recovery. None of these problems alters the point that favorable outcomes from Cuba's transition depend on co ntrol of three things: property, the Internet and the FAR. Of these three, the flesh-and-bone FAR holds the greatest degree of practical control over the other two.33

For the US Army the message is clear. At the core of the Cuban conundrum is a national army, the FAR. It is landowner and landlord and has the physical potential to be a dangerous military foe. Short of that it holds the keys to a favorable transition. Whatever the mix of interagency responsibilities and subobjectives in a campaign to influence Cuba's future, the US Army could be as useful for its potential to interact with the Cuban military as for its ability to threaten the Cuban military.34

The FAR's role as landlord and potential steward of change has a caveat. Property discussions have assumed the power of academic theory turned policy. Another academic theory turned policy has guided US thinking and counseling toward Latin America for decades—that civilians must control the military. In Cuba the United States might decide to cultivate the FAR as the most advantageous institutional vehicle for limiting violence while achieving liberation, a decision that would have to be weighed against our long-standing commitment to civilian control.


1. Geoffrey Demarest, "The Cuba Contingency," Military Review (January 1994).

2. Hernando deSoto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (New York: Perseus Books Group, 2000).

3. In a dispute over real property ownership, the lawsuit is called a "quiet title" case, reflecting one of the earliest functions of formal law.

4. The problem of capital formation is a problem of the poor. "Today, the difference between advanced nations and the rest of the world is that between countries where formal property is widespread and countries where classes are divided into those who can fix property rights and produce capital and those who cannot." DeSoto, Ibid., 212.

5. See, for instance, John P. Powelson, The Story of Land: A World History of Land Tenure and Agrarian Reform (Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1988); Geoffrey Demarest, Geoproperty: Foreign Affairs, National Security and Property Rights (London: Frank Cass: 1998).

6. The Summit initiative on property registry also calls for the governments of the Americas to incorporate alternative property dispute resolution mechanisms into their plans. See Virtual Office for the Inter-Summit Property Systems Initiative, www.propertyregistration.org/Landlinks.htm; Land Tenure section of Sustainable Development Dimensions, a service of the Sustainable Development Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, www.fao.org/sd/ltdirect/default.htm; Land and Real Estate Initiative of the World Bank, www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/privatesector/landre.htm; The Report of the United Nations Meeting of Cadastral Experts, sponsored by the International Federation of Surveyors www.fig7.org.uk/publications/Bogor/BogorReport.html; Brian Trackman, William Fisher and Luis Salas, The Reform of Property Registration Systems in Guatemala: A Status Report, 11 June 1999, http://cyber. law.harvard.edu/prs/Guate.html.

7. Constitución de la República de Cuba, Article 19, www.georgetown.edu/LatAmerPolitical/Constitutions/Cuba/cuba1992.html.

8. Ibid., Articles 14-25.

9. Ibid., Article 15.

10. One of the key findings of the 1998 RAND Forum on Cuba was that Cuban leaders are not committed to fundamental system change, even though concessions have been made to attract foreign investment. See Edward Gonzalez and Richard A. Nuccio, "The Cuban Conundrum," Conference Proceedings, The RAND Forum on Cuba (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1999), 31-53.

11. Carlos Wotzkow, "S.O.S. for Cuba's natural environment," www. amigospais-guaracabuya.org/oagcw032.html, originally published in Cuba Brief, Report of the Center for a Free Cuba (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, Winter 1998), 19-24; Eudel Eduardo Cepero, "La Situacion Ambiental de Cuba al Finalizar El Siglo CC," Cuba in Transition: Volume 10, Papers and Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), 162-169.

12. On the subject of socialist environmental performance, see Sergio Diaz-Briquets and Jorge Perez-Lopez, "Socialism and Environmental Disruption: Implications for Cuba," Proceedings of the 8th Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) (Miami, FL: 6-8 August 1998), http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/asce/cuba8/.

13. Domingo Amuchastegui, "Cuba's Armed Forces: Power and Reforms," in Cuba in Transition: Volume 9, Papers and Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), 109, http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/asce/cuba9/; "FAR: Mastering Reforms," Cuba in Transition: Volume 10, Papers and Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), 433-44.

14. For general information on the Cuban armed forces, see The Cuban Armed Forces Review, http://www.cubapolidata.com/cafr/cafr.htmlinformation ; Defensa Nacional de Cuba (official website of the Cuban armed forces), www.cubagob.cu/otras_info/minfar/default.htm.

15. Amuchastegui, "Cuba's Armed Forces: Power and Reform,"110.

16. Ibid., 111.

17. Powelson, The Story of Land.

18. Ibid., x.

19. In this vein of FAR as landlord, it is interesting to note that there are apparently numerous property registries in Cuba, most designed to allow orderly inspection and census. One of them, the national "Cadastre," registers parcel plans that predate the revolutionary government and has been under the control of the FAR's Institute of Cartography and Geodesy since 1977 (an informative detail regarding the FAR's administrative advantage when it comes time to argue the claims of Cuban exiles whose properties were expropriated). See Oscar A. Salas, Esq., "The Registry of [Real] Property in the Castro Regime," http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/asce/cuba3/salas.html.

20. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2000, Cuba, www.web.amnesty.org/web/ar2000web.nsf/.

21. Human Rights Watch World Report/Americas/Cuba, www.hrw.org/hrw/worldreport99/americas/cuba.html . The repression laws are being applied. According to Freedom House, another major rights advocacy organization, the Cuban government recently arrested two prominent Czechs after they met with Cuban democratic activists. See http://www.freedomhouse.org/.

22. US Department of State, "Cuba Human Rights Practices, 1993" (31 January 1994), www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/privacy_international/country_reports /1993_us_state_dept_human_rights_guide/cuba.txt.

23. Amuchastegui, "Cuba's Armed Forces: Power and Reform," 113.

24. Larry Press, Cuban Telecommunications, Computer Networking, and US Policy Implications, DRU-1330-1-OSD, Abstract (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1999).

25. Congressional Record: 13 May 1999 (House DOCID: cr13may99-28), H3091-H3109, wais.acess.gpo.gov.

26. Taylor C. Boas, "The Dictator's Dilemma? The Internet and US Policy Toward Cuba," Washington Quarterly (Summer 2000), 58, 59; Andrew Cawthorne, "CIA Whistle-Blower Launches Cuba Internet Service," Reuters (Havana), www.infomanage.com/caribbean/cuba/cia_cuba_1.html.

27. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2000, Cuba.

28. Andy Williamson, "The Impact of the Internet on the Politics of Cuba," Wairu Consulting, www.wairu.com/pubs/cuba.html.

29. Nelson Valdes, "Cuba, the Internet and US Policy," www.georgetown.edu/sfs/programs/clas/Caribe/bp13.html. According to this article, there are now thousands of individual e-mail accounts on 32 domestic computer networks in Cuba.

30. On the intelligence facility at Lourdes, see Federation of American Scientists, Project on Intelligence Reform, "Lourdes [Cuba], Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) facility, 23°00'01"N 82°28'56"W," www.fas.org/index.html; Pablo Alfonso, "China Installs Communication Bases in Cuba," El Nuevo Herald (24 June 1999), www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3772adce31bc.htm . On regime drug trafficking, see Jeff Leen, "Traffickers tie Castro to Drug Ring," Miami Herald (5 July 1996), www.hermanos.org/docs/tmh2725.html; Juan O. Tamayo, "US Reexamines Cuban Connections to Illegal Drug Smugglers," Miami Herald (23 July 1999), republished on Cubanet/Cubanews, www.64.21.33.164/CNews/y99/jul99/23e10.htm. On biological warfare labs, see Martin Arostegui, "Fidel Castro's Deadly Secret," Washington Times Insight Magazine (20 July 1998), www. insightmag.com.

31. Alexandra Olson, "Cuba, Venezuela Sign Oil Deal," Associated Press (30 October 2000), www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/cuba/USCuba/ap103000.html.

32. Diario Las Américas, "Alianza entre Castro, Chávez y las FARC según la prensa colombiana" ("Alliance Among Castro, Chavez and the FARC According to Colombian Press") (26 August 1999), http://64.21.33.164/CNews/y99/ago99/27o5.htm ; Diario Las Americas, "Gobierno niega alianza CubaVenezuela FARC" ("Government Denies Cuba-Venezuela-FARC Alliance") (30 August 1999), http://64.21.33.164/CNews/y99/ago99/31o5.htm.

33. For strategy purists uncomfortable with three centers of gravity, the FAR is the center of gravity.

34. Section 201 (11) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (Libertad) of 1996, P.L. 104-114 states, "it is the policy of the United States 'To assist a transition government in Cuba and a democratically elected government in Cuba to prepare the Cuban military for an appropriate role in a democracy.'"


Photos:
Piet den Blanken
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