HAVANA – Cuba’s internal opposition is seeking “pretexts,” such as the recent death of dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, to spur conflict between the island and the United States, the newspaper of the ruling Communist Party said Monday.
The death of Soto Garcia has become the latest “disinformation campaign” against Cuba, Granma said in an editorial taking up the entire front page of Monday’s edition.
Juan Soto Garcia died May 8 at a hospital in the central city of Santa Clara. While representatives of Cuba’s opposition said he perished from injuries received two days earlier at the hands of State Security police, the official autopsy said death was solely caused by “multiple organ failure due to pancreatitis.”
“Our country will not be confused by these domestic counterrevolutionaries who seek any media pretext to foment conflict with the United States, and will respond calmly but firmly against the actions of these mercenaries,” Granma said, using the Castro regime’s standard epithet for the dissidents.
“What are they after with these campaigns? Just to vilify us or something worse? Is it that the ones who are pulling the strings and the people on their payroll here would love to pretend they are ‘protecting civilians’ by bombing Havana?” the newspaper said, alluding to the stated rationale for NATO’s ongoing military intervention in Libya.
In the last few days, Cuba’s official media have released testimonies by members of Soto Garcia’s family confirming the government’s version.
Several prominent dissidents, including Sakharov Prize recipient Guillermo Fariñas, say Soto Garcia’s family and several eyewitnesses are being “terrorized” by authorities in a bid to silence them.
Granma counters that the opposition is trying to turn “a pancreatitis into a political assassination...a justified police detention of less than three hours for creating a public disturbance and without the slightest use of force into a fatal beating...and a person with a criminal record (Soto Garcia) into a dissident.”
It also calls strange and unusual that U.S. President Barack Obama spoke about the case in a recent television interview.
Granma contrasts the echo of what it calls “campaigns” against Cuba with the pervading “silence” in such matters as the deaths of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the existence of America’s secret prisons in Europe, the case of Guantanamo, secret CIA flights and the consequences of the economic crisis on Europe’s poorest people. EFE