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    The Specter of Castro Haunts Panama Summit

    The Specter of Castro Haunts Panama Summit / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
    Posted on April 8, 2015

    PanAm Post, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, 8 April 2015 — A ghost ship haunts
    the halls of this week’s Summit of the Americas in Panama: the Chong
    Chon Gang.

    The vessel, seized in the Panama Canal in July 2013, contained a deadly
    cargo hidden under 250,000 bags of sugar. The contraband ammunition and
    weapons on board, bound for North Korea, mocked the whole world and put
    half of Panama’s population at risk.

    It also served as an epitaph for the Castro brothers, who have stirred
    up all civil wars in the region, and served as a lighthouse of populism
    that has lured many nations and individuals onto the rocks.

    The same drifting-but-dangerous tyranny washes upon on Panama’s shores
    again this week, as the region’s (un)elected officials arrive to
    promenade in front of the world’s press for the Summit of the Americas.

    Raúl Castro’s arrogance after his arms trafficking deal with Pyongyang
    became public is now rewarded with an invitation to attend the Summit in
    Panama. The military general and head of state — never elected by the
    Cubans — merely shrugged at the time, claiming that they were “obsolete
    weapons,” and few cared about the humiliation of the Panamanian people.
    No one cared either about the embarrassment we Cubans of integrity felt
    at the aggression the regime committed against our brothers.

    Since the end of the Soviet era, the Caribbean island’s socialist elite
    have always used used Panama as its financial headquarters to launder
    drug trafficking money. Let the four military officers executed by
    firing squad in 1989 be a witness to that, plus the hundreds of people
    kicked out in Cuba weeks prior and during the US invasion of Panama in
    the same year.

    US President Barack Obama and his cheerleaders in the press corps come
    to the region not to reprimand countries that shoot students and curtail
    freedom of speech. Rather, reporters can’t wait to be the first to snap
    the photo between the civilian leader and the despot in army uniform,
    even while both their days as leaders are numbered.

    Only through observing this atmosphere of state-sponsored omerta can we
    understand how Rosa María Payá, daughter of Cuban pro-democracy martyr
    Oswaldo Payá — threatened and then killed on the orders of Raúl Castro
    on July 22, 2012 — was humiliated by anonymous National Security agents
    at the very door of her plane on Sunday in Panama City.

    Neither Cuba nor Panama’s Foreign Ministry have owned up to the blunder,
    so who leaked the name of Rosa María before she landed and who ordered
    her detention and intimidation, as if she were an international fugitive?

    Unfortunately, the cause of liberty is unlikely to sound at the official
    Summit of the elites, where the Castro regime calls the shots and the
    region’s governments duly obey.

    The Panamanian thugs acted, it seems, at the behest of Cuba’s
    intelligence agency — or perhaps they just enjoyed illegally
    intimidating a free Cuban, going through her underwear, photocopying her
    private documents (faxed to Havana for sure), and even threatening to
    deport her to the island where the Castro regime murdered her father and
    her best friend, Harold Cepero.

    They should have asked themselves: after all she has been through, how
    could she be afraid? They’d sooner be able to kill Rosa María, and more
    than a generation of young people at home and exiled abroad who proudly
    see themselves as Cuban (myself included), than scare us.

    The apartheid the Cuban military imposed on our people, leaving
    thousands dead and expelling hundreds of thousands decade after decade,
    never had any real prestige in the continent. That’s the international
    left’s doing. That’s why we Cubans distrust so much the backing of Latin
    American governments of whatever stripe.

    Unfortunately, the cause of liberty is unlikely to sound at the official
    Summit of the elites, where the Castro regime calls the shots and the
    region’s governments duly obey. They quake before the Cuban tyrant; the
    presidents of the Americas know that Castro can spoil their party with
    an eruption of Bolivarian diatribe, protests, and diplomatic boycotts.

    That’s why secret agents in Panama target Cuban activists, and why the
    press release in which the Foreign Ministry formally apologizes to Rosa
    María is not only disingenuous but pathetic.

    Panamanians, you should ask forgiveness, from Cubans and the whole
    region. Having once allowed a ship of war to enter national territory,
    you’ve once again permitted the forces of destruction and death to
    befoul Panama’s waters.

    Translated for PanAm Post by Daniel Duarte. Edited by Laurie Blair

    Source: The Specter of Castro Haunts Panama Summit / Orlando Luis Pardo
    Lazo | Translating Cuba –
    http://translatingcuba.com/the-specter-of-castro-haunts-panama-summit-orlando-luis-pardo-lazo/

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