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Jewish World Review Dec. 24, 2001 /9 Teves 5762

Don Feder

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As a trading partner, Castro bombs -- ON a solidarity trip to Cuba last week, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams urged America to end its trade embargo on the island. To do so would be a retreat in the war on terrorism.

Adams, whose party is allied with the Irish Republican Army, called for a "dialogue between the people of Cuba and the people of the U.S.A.," as if the Cuban people have anything to do with their government -- other than being beaten, starved and repressed by it.

Castro and the IRA have been partners in crime going back to the days when the latter was planting bombs in Ulster. Now, at Cuba's behest, the IRA is sharing its expertise.

In August, the Colombian military arrested three IRA explosives experts who were training the nation's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) in remote detonation of car bombs. Adams has admitted one of them, Niall Connolly, represented Sinn Fein in Havana, while denying that Connolly was involved with Colombian terrorists.

Coinciding with Adams trip, the first food shipment from America in nearly 40 years arrived in Cuba. Last year, Congress modified the embargo to authorize the sale of food and medicine to the Stalinist basket case -- for cash only.

Although the proud tyrant swore he'd never accept trade on this basis (he wants sales on credit), Castro decided to buy $30 million of meat and grain to make up for the losses of Hurricane Michelle and, he hopes, to weaken the embargo and travel ban. He dreams of American tourists flocking to the island, bringing precious dollars to float his shipwrecked economy.

Although U.S. agribusiness continues to lobby for a total end to the embargo, anything that bolsters Castro's regime compromises our national security.

Castro has nothing we want and nothing to pay for what he wants from us. Thanks to the diligent application of Marxist economic principles, his nation is hopelessly insolvent. Cuba owes foreign creditors $12 billion. Each year, it struggles to borrow enough to service part of the debt -- so it can borrow more.

But Fidel has money to spare for Third World revolution. Despite the passage of time, his hatred for America is undiminished. At a ceremony commemorating the 1981 IRA hunger strike, with Adams looking on, a Cuban official charged that U.S. operations in Afghanistan were "a calculated massacre of civilians."

This spring, Cuba's president for life took a Middle East thug tour, including stops in Libya, Syria and Iran. On May 10, Castro told students at Tehran University, "Together we will bring America to its knees."

Cuba is one of seven countries on the State Department's list of terrorism sponsors. Castro has worked hard to earn that distinction.

According to Colombian intelligence sources, the FARC has at least 20 Cuban military advisors. There are reports that prior to Sept. 11, Mohammed Atta (who coordinated the World Trade Center attacks) met with Cuban agents in the United States.

Castro maintains an extensive spy network in here, which apparently included Ana Montes, a senior analyst in the Defense Intelligence Agency, arrested by the FBI on Sept. 21.

The Cuban spy ring broken up in Florida over the past three years gathered information on U.S. military bases, airport security and postal operations -- intelligence that was probably shared with Fidel's friends from Tripoli to Kandahar.

Castro's interest in our mail is particularly ominous. According to Jose de la Fuente, a top Cuban scientist who defected in 1999, labs on the island know how to manufacture anthrax bacteria and the smallpox virus.

Earlier this month, the 10th. meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum convened in Havana. Billed as a major gathering of leftist politicians, leftists with guns and bombs also were present, including representatives of the Peruvian Shining Path and Tupac Amaru, and at least a dozen other Latin equivalents of al Qaeda, as well as Saddam Hussein's Baathist Party. Osama bin Landen could not attend, due to a prior engagement.

Besides supporting oppression of the Cuban people, unrestricted U.S. trade -- and the tourist dollars to follow -- would be invested in America's destruction. As U.S. forces clean out the Tora Bora caves, we would be nuts to subsidize a branch office of the terrorist international 90 miles from our shores.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate