The envy of Goebbels

(Taken from CubaDebate)

YESTERDAY I was listening to the “Roundtable” program. Among other issues, the panel was discussing Operation Peter Pan, one of the most repugnant acts of moral aggression mounted against our country. The issue of child custody is an extremely sensitive one. It was a low and repugnant blow. One of Mijail Sholojov novels, which I read years later, mentions that calumny, which had already been utilized against the 1917 October Revolution.
The mastermind of the anti-Cuba operation was Monsignor Walsh, a U.S. Catholic priest who responded to the bishop of Miami.

It was 1960 when the operation began. As it is known, our Revolution had not placed any obstacles in the way of people leaving the country. It had to be the voluntary work of a free people. Among many other grave acts of aggression, Peter Pan was the imperialist response.

When Taladrid was commenting on that action, he mentioned the name of a professor of economy, Angel Fernández Varela. I remembered that when I was studying in my last year of high school in Belén College, a lay teacher gave us classes in one of the subjects, Political Economy. It wasn’t, evidently, a course in Marxism-Leninism, which was the ideological issue invoked 18 years later for expelling us from the OAS. They were simple and quite elementary classes on bourgeois political economy. What else were us white students studying there? The teacher who gave the class two or three times a week was punctual and never failed to turn up for them.

I was surprised at what I heard on the “Roundtable.” Could it possibly have been that teacher? I wondered. I called Taladrid to obtain further details. I confirmed it with him, as he knew that he had taught at the Belén College. Luis Báez has also assured me that I met that teacher somewhere in Havana in 1959 and had criticized his attitude, but I didn’t remember that detail.

Walsh was posthumously decorated a few days ago for his “heroic deed” with Operation Peter Pan. He had stated years ago that he received telephone calls concerning the start of the operation and coordinated it with the CIA.

At the end of May, Alvaro F. Fernández, the son of Fernández Varela, commented in the on-line magazine Progreso Semanal that: “A few years before his death in Miami, my father met us in the presence of my mother, my sister María, her husband and myself and told us that he had been one of the people responsible for drafting the false law that provoked the hysteria over the ‘elimination of parental custody.’ That is how I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Operation Peter Pan was a sinister move of immorality designed and dreamed up by the CIA before the Bays of Pigs invasion.”

A CIA agent brought the false draft law to Havana from Miami. Angel Fernández Varela told the Contrapunto magazine that he had worked for the CIA from 1959 to 1968.

Every one of the 14,000 children involved went their traumatic ways. They were basically from the middle class strata of the population. They were not the children of landowners or the haute bourgeoisie; there was no reason for dragging them into that drama. At that time, a yanki embassy existed, which granted visas to enter the United States. Those corresponding to the Peter Pan children were sent over in packets that were then filled in in Cuba with the names of the little ones. Over many years the Revolution has facilitated the exit of around one million people who, in their majority, were headed for the United States, the richest country, which encourages the brain drain and the plunder of educated people and a qualified workforce.

The United States would not have been in a position to do that with any other Latin American country. Who could benefit from that diabolical clandestine operation?

Albeit not a revolutionary, María de los Angeles Torres, associate professor of Political Sciences at the DePaul University in Chicago and a Peter Pan child, has demanded that the CIA declassify close to 1,500 documents on Operation Peter Pan. The CIA is refusing to declassify them on the pretext of national security. The whole business stinks so badly that they do not want to take the lid off it.

Despite that refusal, Professor Torres asked for and won access to a U.S. government document held in the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library rejecting a proposal by the UN High Commission for Refugees stating that the UN would pay the transportation costs of the parents of the children who had been sent to the United States. That material was published in that country’s press more than 15 years ago.

Peter Pan was a cynical publicity maneuver that would have been envied by the Nazi propaganda minister, Goebbels himself.

June 11, 2009

4:40 p.m

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