Crime, Global Issues, War

U.S. officials note growth of Cuban-backed violence

Click to see original imageA warning by two United States officials
of the activities of Soviet-backed Cuba in
supporting violence and insurgencies in
the Caribbean and latin America should
not go unneeded.
‘ Addressing the Subcommittee on
westem Hemisphere Affairs of the Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations in Mid-
Decmeber. Assistant Secretary of State
Thomas Enders said Cuba is most active
in Central America “where ia immediate
goals are to exploit and control the
Nicaragua revolution and induce
overthrow of govemments of E1 Salvador
and Guatemala.”
Under-Secretary of Defense Fred lkle
wamed of Cuba’s role in a “new
lmperialism” which has “expanded in the
East and is expanding still, stretching
from ttre center of Europe to Afghanistan
and Mongolia. with outlying colonies and
military outposts across the globe,
including Vietnam, South Yemen and
He called Cuba the New 1mperiaIism’s
”crown colony in the Caribbean,” a direct
military threat to the region, and an arms
depot and logistics base for annexations in
Africa and Central America.”
Soviet Union arms shipments to Cuba
since 1960 have totaled about $2.5 billion.
llde sard, and 1981 imports were the
highest since 1962, year of the missile
Enders testified that four developments
combine to create a “state of danger” in
the Caribbean Basin:
lll New Cuban strategy to unite, arm
and train the “left” in countries of the
region: ll) severe economic crisis: 131
the developing role of Nicaragua as a
platform for intervention throughout
Central America; and m me struggle in
El Salvador.
“If after Nicaragua, I-11 Salvador is
captured bv a vrolent muon-itv what emot-.
tu Central America will be able to resist?”
Enders asked ”l-low long would it be,
before the major strategic U.S. interuts
7 the canal, sea lanes, oil suppliu- were
at risk?”
Enders gave a country-by-country
report on what he called Cuba’: renewed
efforts to “stimulate violence and
destabilize its neighbors, tuming away
from its earlier policy of normal
diplomatic relations.
Included were E1 Salvador, Guatemala,
Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua in
Central America; Jamaica. Grenada and
the Dominion Republic in the Caribbean:
and Columbia, Chile. Argentina and
Uruguay in South America.
lkle said Cuban military capability is
“far in excess of any actual or imaginary
defensive needs,” with an army of over
225,000, a navy of about 11,000, and air
defense forces of 18,000.
“Fidel Castro maintairu about a 10-to-20
times larger military effort than any
other major nation in this hemispbse,”
lkle declared.
Cuba’s neighbors in Central America,
except Nicaragua, have small defense
forces which vary from almm none for
Costa Rica to about 8,000 to 10.000 for
Panama and 15,000 to 1u,000 for Honduras
and Guatemala. E1 Salvador has about
20,000 under arms. an expansion forced
“because of totalitarian aggression
against rL”
lkle said Cuba’s military arsenal
includes over 200 MIG fighter aincraft and
650 tanks. Soviet Union influence is
pervasive, with a brigade of 2,600 to 3,000
near Havana, 6,000 to 8,000 civilian
advisers, and 2,000 military advisers on
such sophisticated weapons as the MlGs
and surfaceto-air missiles.
Enders said Cuba’s campaign of
violence has caused deteriorating
relations with several neighboring
countries. But mis doesn’t necusarily
ease the military threat. ‘
Concem extends to critical sea Lani
es-pee-ra’ lly with Soviet naval vese
increasing their presence in the South
Atlantic Lilrfold in the last decade. ln
peacetime, 44 percent of all foreign trade
the U.S. pass through the Caribbean.
it is obvioru from reading the Enders
mistake if the U.S. and other Western
Hemisphere nations played down ttre
military threat the Soviet-Cuban arserul
represents only 00 miles from Florida
lt’; encouraging that U.S. officials are
addrusing the problem; ako that a
favorable consensus toward a more
cooperative mutrral security effort was
developed at the llttr conference of
American armies in November and the
more recent Organization of Ar-ner-ican
States meeting in St. Lucia.
‘1’he whole question deserves high
priority. Besidu keeping the peace, it is
vital that the American nations pruerve
the right to control their own destiniea
without manipulation from Havana and
other outside interests.