(Jamaica Observer) Cuban ambassador to Jamaica Yuri Gala yesterday dismissed the WikiLeaks cables in which the Communist island appeared last year to be bad-mouthing the Bruce Golding administration over its indecision in the fight against transnational drug trafficking, calling the cables “clear manipulation” and evil.
At the same time, Ambassador Gala said that Cuba did not have a problem with Jamaica, as the cables asserted, but that his country’s grouse was with the United States, where demand for illicit drugs and money laundering were threats to regional security.Jamaica’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Kenneth Baugh (centre) raises a toast with Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (left) during a reception in Kingston on Monday. Sharing in the moment is Cuba’s Ambassador to Jamaica Yuri Gala Lopez. The Cuban foreign minister was in the island from December 12 to 14 on an official visit. (Photo: JIS)
“…Let me share with you my position and that of the Cuban Embassy in Kingston, that position at this point is, first of all, [that the cable] is a clear manipulation and evilness. Cuba’s dissatisfaction is with the United States, which is the world’s largest drug consumer and an important centre for money laundering, stemming from drug trafficking,” Gala told the Observer.
However, he declined to say whether it was the United States that was behind this alleged plot to manipulate the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, which has in recent weeks created a stir with the release of a fraction of the over 250,000 caustic secret cables — between Washington and its embassies across the globe, concerning world leaders and administrations — that it obtained.
Ambassador Gala’s comment comes two days after the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom published the August 2009 cables in which Cuban officials are purported to have complained to Washington about Jamaica’s lack of co-operation and failure to share or act on information relating to illicit drug trafficking through Cuban waters and airspace.
The story was picked up by news organisations in Jamaica and drew criticism and denial from Security Minister Dwight Nelson.
But as the controversy churned, an official response to the cables came yesterday in the form of a release from the Office of the Prime Minister. In that statement, Golding said that his administration was last year made aware of the concerns by Cuban officials and responded by replacing the head of the unit responsible within the Jamaica Constabulary Force and reorganising it into the Transnational Crime Narcotics Division.
“Since then, there has been full and active co-operation between Jamaica and Cuba on counter-narcotics surveillance and interdiction and no concern has been expressed by officials of the Cuban Government,” Golding said. “This co-operation has since assisted in the conviction of a number of persons on charges of drug trafficking.”
The publication of the cables comes just days after the Cuban foreign affairs minister H E Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla arrived in the island on Sunday on an official one-day visit, aimed at deepening bilateral relations between both countries.
Striking a tone of conspiracy, Gala yesterday said it was far from coincidence that the cables were published within days of the visit.
“It is not by chance that this cable has been made public immediately after the official visit to Jamaica of the Cuban foreign minister,” said Gala. “And I think what they should do is to publish the entire documents, including those related to Iraq and Afghanistan.”