Cuba’s Raul Castro meets with North Korean diplomat in bid to ease nuclear worries

CUBABRIEF/ Correction

In some of the copies of CUBABRIEF distributed yesterday some photographs and text were missing. We resend today the corrected copy.

According to Fox News, “as the nuclear threat from North Korea continues, [Raul Castro] “met with the rogue nation’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in a bid to diffuse tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.”  In the same article by Benjamin Brown, it says that Cuba’s foreign minister met with the North Korean envoy and that “by engaging in talks, the ministers sought… the peaceful settlement of disputes,  a [Cuban] ministry statement said.”  

  • While it is significant that the two countries have “been allies since the 1960’s,” it is hard to believe that they were seeking “peaceful settlement of disputes”  when on July 2013 Havana attempted to smuggle war planes, missiles technology and war materiel to Pyongyang in violation of UN sanctions. Cuba was at the time engaged in negotiations to normalize diplomatic relations with Washington. When caught by the Panamanian navy, Cuba’s foreign ministry said the ship carried only a donation of tons of sugar for the North Korean people. Under the sugar, the Panamanians found its deadly cargo.
  • Raul Castro was not promoting “a peaceful settlement of disputes” when his intelligence services stole an American Hellfire missile Washington had sent to a NATO exercise in Europe. The American people, and presumably the US Congress learned about it when On January 7, 2016 the Wall Street Journal reported that “an inert U.S. Hellfire missile sent to Europe for training purposes was wrongly shipped from there to Cuba in 2014, said people familiar with the matter, a loss of sensitive military technology that ranks among the worst-known incidents of its kind.”  The missile “showed up” in Cuba and the regime had over a year to share its technology with its allies: North Korea, Iran, China and Russia.  
  • Havana said earlier this week that it “opposes nuclear weapons,”  But the Cuban regime of which Raul Castro was at the time Minister of the Armed Forces remains in power. It was that regime  that brought the world to the edge of Armageddon in 1962 when Fidel Castro agreed to the deployment of nuclear missiles targeting the United States. The matter was diffused by the missiles removal after John Kennedy established a naval blockade of the island.The Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev, in his memoirs, wrote that in the middle of the crisis Fidel Castro urged him to launch the missiles to kill millions of Americans.  According to Khrushchev’s memoirs, Fidel told him that Cuba was willing to sacrifice itself to defend the Soviet Union and “socialism.”   The Fox News article follows.

 Cuba’s Raul Castro meets with North Korean diplomat in bid to ease nuclear worries

By Benjamin Brown | Fox News (four days ago)

As the nuclear threat from North Korea continues, Cuban President Raul Castro met Friday with the rogue nation’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in a bid to diffuse tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

Although Cuba has been an ally of North Korea since the 1960s, the communist nation opposes nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.

The longtime partnership was evident after a meeting earlier this week, when Ri and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez jointly denounced the U.S. for “unilateral and arbitrary lists and designations” that led to “coercive measures contrary to international law,” Reuters reported, citing Cuba’s foreign ministry.

By engaging in talks, the ministers sought “respect for peoples’ sovereignty” and the “peaceful settlement of disputes,” a ministry statement said.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said that earlier this year he discussed the possibility of working with Cuba to help solve the ongoing conflict in North Korea.

Ri Yong Ho is North Korea’s foreign minister.  (Associated Press)

Reacting to provocative rhetoric and actions from North Korea — including tests of ballsitic missiles and what Pyongyang called a hydrogen bomb — President Trump has taken a hard-line stance against the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump’s actions have included a record number of sanctions by the U.S. and its allies against the Kim regime, in hopes of changing its behavior.

The president also has clamped down on Cuba, enacting stricter policies than President Barack Obama, who sought to ease a half-century of strained relations with Havana.

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In July 2013, Panama called for UN inspections of missile parts found on board a North Korea-flagged vessel as it approached the Panama Canal, weapons later claimed as its own. The shipment, according to the BBC, “could constitute a violation of strict UN arms sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear program and further sours relations between the United States and Cuba.”  The United Nations published a report denouncing the shipment which was loaded in the Port of Mariel, Cuba. Panama returned the war planes and missile technology to Cuba.

The Obama Administration expressed concern, but took no actions to punish Cuba or North Korea. Cuba’s relations  with North Korea include a dangerous military, strategic and diplomatic alliance.