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Cuban representation and resulted in a legally acknowledged Kennedy-Khrushchev pact which strengthened
the security of the communist satellite in Latin America; after 12 years of an exile futile in terms of dealing honorably with a nation always cordially ready to purchase our national dignity; after 12 years of being generally ignored by the American news media, persecuted and stifled at every attempt to liberate our nation, silenced by indifference to our cause, and purposely dispersed and disunited; after 12 years of suffering a campaign to degrade us spiritually and intellectually, psychologically and politically cripple us as a people, those conditions that would have enabled us to be the U.S.'s Venceremos Brigade present themselves as rather unfavorable.
We come here not to seek sympathy, but to establish a relationship of mutual respect. The times call for stale tactics to undergo revisions, one of which should be-elementarily--the legal recognition by this great Nation of the struggle of the smaller one against a common enemy. That is all we ask.
On behalf of ABDALA, a Cuban students' movement organized on January 28, nationally organized and formed by Cuban university students actively participating in the struggle against Castroism, inside Cuba and within the United States, we are here to express our opinion also of certain positions taken by Castro groups in the United States.
Mr. SCHULTZ. Would you describe for us what ABDALA is first?
Mr. Marin. Yes. ABDALA is a group of Cuban students, as I said before, has a number of 500 active participants nowadays throughout the United States, in Spain, in Latin America also. ÅBDALA has been very active in confrontations with the Venceremos Brigade, with pro-Castro spokesmen in the United States, has been active also in the defense of Cuban political prisoners in front of world organizations.
ABDALA, last March 13 of this year, took over the United Nations Security Council—16 members of our organization took over the Security Council, protesting, as we did before for 12 years by peaceful means, by letters, by picket signs, by personal talks with foreign diplomats, protesting against the deplorable conditions that our political prisoners suffer in Cuba, and not only protesting for our political prisoners; that happened to some 40.000 of them; we were also and we also will protest always against the totalitarian regime of Fidel Castro. Sixteen members were arrested that day and later were sentenced and fined.
Our activities have been concentrated in American universities. They began as early as 1968. We have debated publicly with members of the Communist Party, members of the Venceremos Brigade, members of the SDS, and we have successfully, in the majority of occasions been able to get the Cuban points of view, a view that still has hope in the future of Cuba and the people of Cuba and in the regime that will come into Cuba in the future. We spoke against these people because of our position against them.
I would like to read right now: ABDALA, having no affiliation with or connection to the United States Government or any of its agencies, deplores the mercenary tactics of the Venceremos Brigade as part of the subversive effort to distort the truth about Cuba.
As Cubans, we view the Venceremos Brigade as a mouthpiece not of the Cuban people but of the police state that oppresses it. Considering that one Venceremos Brigade has cost Cuba up to $80,540 while her people suffer scarcity and deprivation, we deem it too high a price to pay for the oppressor's mouthpiece.
Having experienced the dire results of communist practice, we believe the enslavement it entails to be the wrong answer to any nation's problems. Those who seek to establish inhumanity as a way of life—be it the Venceremos Brigade. or any communist or totalitarian-oriented group—have our heart-felt disgust and condemnation.
We represent, as Cubans, the new generation of Cubans, and it is because of that fact, the fact that a substantial number of the people of Cuba happen to be below the age of 35, because a substantial number of Cubans in the United States, young Cuban students and workers, have given up much of their time, have given up even their personal liberties, to engage in the struggle against the totalitarian dictatorship of Premier Castro.
Mr. Schultz. You mention you fight Cuban propaganda on the college campuses. Could you name for us what some of these papers or pamphlets might be that come to the college campuses?
Mr. Marin. At every encounter with the mercenary forces of the Castroites on campuses, we have encountered propaganda, we encounter a film produced in Cuba, and we encounter orators that come to the campuses after spending a month in Cuba, of which 2 weeks they become isolated from the rest of the nation and the other 2 weeks they are toured around the country by the communist cadres. Some are bringing a distorted outlook of the Cuban situation.
One of the things that now are distributed in the United States are records made in Cuba and sold by these organizations. Also I believe that the Cuban mission to the United Nations has given films to these groups for free, and they, in turn, charge a contribution to be used by their organizations. I have seen collections of students trying to get the sufficient monetary facilities to travel to Cuba. I have also known of a number of cases—for instance, at the State University of Rutgers at Livingston—an immense degree of propaganda is distributed, and at the same time there is a program in the workings in which 16 credits will be given to a student who spends a semester in Cuba.
Mr. SCHILTZ. Are you familiar with the Cuban paper Granma? Mr. MARIN. Yes.
Mr. Scuoltz. Would you characterize that for us if you have had an opportunity to read it?
Mr. Marix. The international edition? It is directed mainly toand very psychologically done so-to the aspirations, hopes, of young people in the United States and Europe, people who never had the opportunity to consider the history and the traditions of the Cuban national past and the present.
Mr. Schultz. Has ABDALA, the organization which you founded, taken steps or prepared materials to combat the propaganda ?
Mr. MARIN. Yes.
Mr. Marin. We do; we publish a paper called ABDALA and we have a distribution of 10,000 issues sent to universities. Also our members write and participate in their university newspapers also. And throughout the number of Cuban committees and throughout the number of Cuban organizations, both in cities or at campuses, we have a chance to bring our side of the story.
Mr. Schultz. Do you have occasion, either personally or your organization, to interview people who have recently left Cuba so that you can put out the current information and write the facts, as you determine them, in your paper ABDALA?
Mr. MARIN. Yes. At the city of Miami right now, our delegation is conducting interviews with people who were coming until the liberty flights were stopped. I myself have interviewed, when I was in Miami, a number of Cubans.
I also was present at interviews done at the House of Liberty, which is called--and these people, by the way, I would like to mention that the people who have been coming from Cuba for a long time, contrary to what the propaganda insists, happen to be poor people, happen to be peasants, happen to be workers, happen to be the people who perhaps originally supported the regime but, after seeing the realities of how the communist system works and how a universal dictatorship operates, they became disenchanted.
Mr. Schultz. Do you have personal knowledge that Castro sends agents to this country for the purpose of joining with those who would advocate violence or revolution in this country?
Mr. MARIN. Are you referring to Cuban agents?
Mr. Marin. I cannot prove it. However, it has been rumored a number of times by a number of people that Castro has sent people. In one instance I heard about a man who came from Cuba 2 years ago, entered the United States on a waiver refugee visa from Spain, and trained some people in the city of New York in urban guerrilla warfare and later defected to Cuba, hijacking a plane.
Mr. Schultz. What do you see as the purpose of the propaganda coming to the college campuses and universities? What does it encourage them to do? What is the threat of this propaganda ?
Mr. MARIN. It has to be measured according to the individual students. In many cases, I feel, a great majority of American students happen to believe that the Castroite regime does not truly represent the Cuban people. And they have seen the trials of writers and intellectuals, the purges among the party members; they have witnessed the persecution; they have heard our side of the story, also; they have seen our confrontations with the pro-Marxist elements that exist on campuses.
However, there is always a minority, a minority that some of them could be well inspired and others not so well inspired that contribute to the agitation on campuses, and eventually, if the thing continues, they could contribute to a more or a bigger type of subversive activity within campuses.
Mr. Schultz. Mr. Marin, you have told us that you have membership of approximately 500, and ABDALA has, as one of its purposes, the combating of propaganda material coming to the United States. What is your ultimate goal in ABDALA?
Mr. Marin. I think the ultimate goal of not only ABDALA but the ultimate hope and ideal of every Cuban is to return back to a free Cuba, and toward that goal we work among students, among young workers, among writers and intellectuals and university professors, and we are trying to create and establish the Cuban national consciousness strong enough so we can face whatever the future will give us.
Mr. Schultz. In view of the late hour, I will not pursue further questions. Do you have any other statement that you would like to make in summary prior to the chairman asking questions?
Mr. MARIN. I would like to emphasize the statement that I mentioned before in regards to the mutual respect that should exist among the forces that are fighting the regime of Castro and the people that are conducting the affairs of the Federal Government of the United States.
In that atmosphere of mutual respect and since we are both struggling against a common enemy, we feel that the activities of Cubans within the area of the United States and outside of the United States should be respected.
Mr. SCHULTZ. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.
Mr. PEPPER. Mr. Marin, was this Venceremos Brigade organized in Cuba or in the United States ?
Mr. MARIN. The Venceremos Brigade was organized in the United States. It was organized primarily from forces of the SDS people and other so-called radical forces in the United States and invited later on to Cuba for the affairs of sugarcane cutting.
Mr. PEPPER. It was organized ostensibly to fight the communism in Cuba and to reestablish the freedom and independence of the island ?
Mr. MARIN. Do you mean our organization !
Mr. MARIN. No; on the contrary. I read an editorial which appeared in Granma on the 24th of August of this year, in which they have an open letter to the people of Cuba in which they declare that their only intention for visiting Cuba happens to be to help with the agricultural process and the farming of sugarcane in Cuba.
However, after these people have come back to the United States, they have engaged in representing not the people of Cuba, who happen not to share the wealth that the government now has; they are representing the side of the Cuban regime.
Mr. PEPPER. Are the members of this brigade young Cuban students in the United States, or who are they?
Mr. MARIN. The majority of these members happen to be American students. I think on the whole, with very few exceptions, they are American students. Of Cuban origin, there are a very slight percentage; however, they are of Mexican-American origin and Puerto RicanAmerican origin also within the brigade.
Mr. PEPPER. Have some of the members of this brigade gone down to Cuba?
Mr. MARIN. Yes.
Mr. MARIN. I cannot actually tell the figures; a thousand members of the brigade have traveled to Cuba.
Mr. PEPPER. How many members do you think the brigade has in the United States?
Mr. MARIN. Well, there have been a number of defections, and our reports indicate that in many cases many of the members of the brigade become disenchanted and refuse to participate in the pro-C'astro activities in the United States. But I would indicate only a minority is actively participating in the pro-Castro propaganda and activities within the United States.
Mr. PEPPER. How many Cuban students in the United States, in your opinion, are supporting the Castro regime?
Mr. MARIX. Cuban exiles in the United States?
Mr. PEPPER. Any Cuban students who happen to be in the United States. What percentage of them support the Castro regime?
Mr. MARIx. A very slight minority, and from that it is due perhaps to their own ignorance and their experience of having been removed from areas where news about Cuba comes daily. That is very few people.
Mr. PEPPER. You are the founder and the present president of the organization ABDALA. On page 2 of your report you give, as I understand it, something of the character and the objectives of ABDALA. You say:
Young, committed only to the task of freedom for our enslaved nation and a Cuban future that we hope to make better, we named the new movement after our José Martí's youthful epic hero: ABDALA.
If those are the objectives of your organization, I commend you for it and wish you all success in your endeavors.
Mr. Marin. Thank you very much.
Mr. SCHMITZ. I think, in view of the time, I will pass up the questioning: just to thank Mr. Marin for his fine testimony here and wish him luck in his fight.
Mr. MARIx. Thank you very much.
Mr. PEPPER. Thank you very much, Mr. Marin. We appreciate your coming and giving us your testimony today.
The committee will recess until October 14.
(Whereupon, at 12:25 p.m., Thursday, October 7, 1971, the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene on Thursday, October 14, 1971.)