FIDEL CASTRO'S TYRANNY (House of Representatives - March 14, 1990)

[Page: H807]

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Burton] is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I read an article in the Indianapolis Star on Monday of this week by a Ms. Mona Charen regarding Cuba, and I think it needs to be read to the entire American people. It goes like this, Mr. Speaker:

The progressive isolation of Castro's Cuba entered a new stage last week when former communist allies Hungary and Bulgaria, with Poland and Czechoslovakia joining as non-voting members, supported a United Nations resolution condemning Cuba's human rights record.

The balding Fidel Castro was splenetic, hurling curses at Moscow and the Eastern Europeans `traitors' who are `slandering socialism, destroying its values, discrediting the party and liquidating its leading role, doing away with social discipline and sowing chaos and anarchy everywhere.'

Those in the smart set tend to regard the falling out between Fidel Castro and Mikhail Gorbachev as amusing. Castro is seen as the quaint embodiment of a bygone era. That's not the way it seems to Cubans.

And I will bet right now that when Cuba blows--as she will within 12 months--the stories that emerge from our close neighbor will chill us to the bone. The model will be Romania, not Czechoslovakia. Those who never quite overcame their romantic image of the bearded tyrant will fall silent at the stench that will rise from those ashes.

In 1986, an eon ago, the human rights group Resistance International convened a `Tribunal on Cuba' in Paris, Survivors of Castro's prisons came forward to tell their stories.

Teresa Mayans was a star of Cuban television and radio. After attempting to leave the country she was arrested. `I was put in a cell with a criminal who had murdered her own mother with an ax. * * * This murderer had been instructed by the Political Police to terrorize me. I thought I would go mad with fear. Of the 32 prisoners where I was, many had syphilis, tuberculosis and parasites. * * * It was useless to ask for medical assistance. Suicide was constant. The poisonous liquid for killing the lice was used.'

The use of mad prisoners to terrorize the sane is a trademark Castro technique. In 1980, when thousands fled to the United States in the Mariel boatlift, it was Castro's idea to send criminals and the insane along too.

Another survivor, Tony Bryant, had an ironic tale to tell. He is an American, a former member of the Black Panthers. In 1969, no doubt furthering the revolution, he hijacked a plane to Cuba. But once there, he was arrested and charged with espionage. `I was put in a cell built to hold about 80 men. We were 230 prisoners heaped together there. A hole in the floor in which to defecate was the only sanitary installation. The water was rationed to such an extent that we often spent up to two days in appalling thirst. We were harassed by plagues of lice, cockroaches and mice.

`We spent 23 hours a day shut up, only going out to eat a little rice, bread and soup. They moved me to a hard labor camp called Aguica * * * I shall never forget the night when the guards came in with dogs which they let bite the prisoners while beating them savagely.'

Other choice tortures included biological experimentation--prisoners were denied certain nutrients to test the effects on the human body--electric shock, rape, sexual multilation, starvation and machete attacks. Dr. Ana Lazara Rodriguez recalled that the women prisoners would be beaten in front of their mothers on visiting day.

But the world is seeming Alice in Wonderland-like now. On the Soviet evening news program Vremya, Castro is all but labeled a Stalinist. Moscow News, another official organ, mocks his claims to socialist orthodoxy. `Such categorical attitudes coexist with a system of rationing coupons on all merchandise. Cuban women are in no danger of replacing revolutionary consciousness with mercenary spirit as long as they are allowed a choice of one bra or two pairs of underwear (but not both, and only the size available at the moment).'

The clock is ticking. More than 15 dissident groups--that we know of--have formed in Cuba. The Soviet subsidies are draining away. The only question now is: When the inevitable day comes that Castro orders his troops to fire on his people, will the soldiers, remembering Ceausescu, obey?

Mr. Speaker, I hope every American reads editorials like this and realizes what a horrible tyrant Fidel Castro is, and we ought to do everything in our power to liberate that island, to make sure those tyrannies end.

[TIME: 1720]