Miami, Florida — 45th largest city in America with an average winter
temperature of 68 degrees. A playground for tourists of over one million people including
200,000 Cubans, many of whom came here after Fidel Castro's rise to power. Ten miles away in
Coral Gables is the University of Miami. With more than 16,000 students, it is the largest
private university in the Southeast. Our setting tonight for "THE ADVOCATES." Lisle Baker,
Joseph Oteri, our moderator Roger Fisher and the man faced with a choice Claiborne Pell,
Democratic senator from the state of Rhode Island.
Good evening, I'm Roger Fisher substituting once again for Victor
Palmieri who will be back next week. Every Sunday night at this time, live and coast to coast,
"The Advocates" look at a problem in terms of a practical choice. Tonight the problem is Cuba.
The practical choice is this: "Should we now lift the embargo on trade with Cuba?" Mr.
Yes, we should because the embargo has not and will not achieve its
goal. It's an absurd policy that has to change. You'll hear tonight from one of the men who
engineered the embargo, and why he has changed his mind. We have a film interview with the
foreign minister of Chile on why he can no longer support it. With us tonight in the studio are
Carmelo Mesa-Lago who once served in the Cuban government and Richard Fagen, Latin American
expert and political science expert from Stanford University.
Thank you, Mr. Baker.
Mr. Pell, our embargo helps curb Castro's ability to promote subversion
in the hemisphere. It is our only bargaining tool in getting Castro to give up his military
links with the Soviet Union and resuming trade would be the first step in reversing our ten year
policy of opposition to Castro's brand of totalitarian communism. This reversal would deny to
the Cuban people any hope of a democratic replacement. With me tonight is deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Robert A. Hurwitch who will tell us why the
embargo serves the interests of the hemisphere and Jose Toriente and Jose Font who will tell us
why the embargo serves the interest of the Cuban people.
Thank you. "Should we now lift the embargo?" The "we" in the question
refers to the United States and other members of the OAS — the Organization of American States —
who for six-to-eight years have prohibited all trade with Cuba.
Should we now make a decision to resume trade with Cuba? These are three
critical ingredients in any political decision: what people think, reasoned arguments, and what
people do. We re about to hear some reasoned arguments. We're going to give you a chance to do
something. First, let's take a look at what people think. On the question we are discussing
tonight, "The Advocates" has just conducted a national public opinion poll, and here are the
results: 17 percent said trade with Cuba; 63 percent said no, don't and 20 percent had no
opinion. Now, let's get the opinion of this audience -- a little over a hundred people, invited
at random from among those in Miami area who have written "THE ADVOCATES" or otherwise expressed
interest in the program. Just before the broadcast we took a first poll. May we see the results,
please, of that vote. Trade with Cuba: 83 percent yes; 56 percent no and 61 not voting at this
time. Can we see the percentages, please? It's 42 percent, yes. Now, let's compare that with the
national public opinion poll which is 17 percent. Well, this audience is more firmly for trade
than the national public opinion. After the arguments we'll take a second vote of this group to
see if anybody has changed his mind and what happened to those who are in the middle. Sitting
next to me is Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, a ranking Democratic member of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. When and if we change our policy that committee may well play a key
role in it. Senator Pell is one of the — I guess he's one of the last members of Congress to
have been in Havana some ten years ago. Senator, I know you have an open mind on our question
tonight, but what has been your thinking on trade questions like this?
Well, I've thought about it in connection with trade with other
Communist nations like China, and Russia and Eastern European countries. I've always believed
that our best national interest is served by contact by trade. I've not formed an opinion as yet
whether there are any special circumstances that would mean that this policy would incorrect
You've not spoken out on the Cuban trade question at all, right?
You have an open mind. Well, we're not asking you to decide tonight on
that question. You're here to hear both sides of the case. So please feel free to ask questions
of our advocates or of our witnesses. We ask each advocate to present not his personal opinions,
but rather what he considers important and responsible arguments. And now to the cases.
Mr. Oteri, what is the case for resuming trade with Cuba?
Senator Pell, in the early 1960s Cuba was mistakenly considered one of
Americas most serious problems. The American public saw Cuba as a threat. One of President
Kennedy's closest advisors, Richard Goodwin, was affected by this emotionalism.
Mr. Goodwin is in Maine, and we have him on the telephone. Mr.
Has the embargo prevented Castro from exporting revolution?
I don't think that can be demonstrated. It's the business of finding a
new justification for an old policy that hasn't worked. He can export revolution either by
sending in money or agents or through a revolutionary idea. Of course, an embargo can't stop an
idea and if the Soviet Union wishes to finance — send in agents and money — it has ready access
to Latin American Countries which are notoriously easy to enter. Even Che Guevara can get in.
although he didn't get out. The fact is, the guerilla movement in places like Peru, Venezuela,
Guatemala have been put down by the local government, by the governments of those countries
acting together without military action. Trade embargo has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
More important, it seems to me, that the trade embargo makes Cuba totally dependent on the
Soviet Union. There are individuals that fought this within Cuba; that want to move towards
closer relations with the United States or liberalization. They are prevented from doing so by
that embargo because of the dependence on the Soviet Union. That's what we found out in Eastern
Europe. And why even Germany now is encouraging trade now with Eastern Europe. And it seems to
me therefore we keep assuring that in the future as well as in the past that Cuba will be in the
arms of the Soviet Union. It almost makes you think that the FBI really ought to look at the
supporters of the embargo, at its proponents.
Thank you very much, Mr. Goodwin. With me tonight is Dr. Carmelo
Mesa-Lago, presently the assistant director for the Center for Latin American Studies at the
University of Pittsburgh, formerly an official of the Castro government and a noted Latin
Mr. Mesa-Lago, we're glad to have you here.
Dr. Mesa-Lago, the embargo was designed to weaken the Cuban economy. Has
It been successful in doing so?
No, it has not been successful essentially because the economic problems
of Cuba are a direct result of internal mistakes of policy and not of embargo. The Cuban has
been able to get strategic materials and supplies such as oil and weapons from the Socialist
bloc. They have been able to get spare parts through triangular trade from Canada and Western
Europe. They have been able to get transportation equipment like railroads, buses and vessels
from Spain, Great Britain and France. And they have been able to expand trade with Western
Europe. The problem is not the embargo. The problem has been that Cuba has not a surplus big
enough to trade with.
Thank you, Doctor. Doctor, has the embargo hurt the United States?
I think that the embargo has hurt the United States. Number one, it has
created a bad image of this country abroad, particularly in the Third World. The United States
has been presented as a big colossus, trying to strangle a small country, and even worse it has
played a ridiculous role because it has been unsuccessful in trying to strangle Cuba. Number
two, the embargo has been used as a scapegoat, as was seen in Castro's speeches right now to
justify internal mistakes. Number three, the embargo has created friction between the United
States and some allies in Western Europe such as Belgium, Great Britain. In these countries the
United States have some subsidiaries, and also trade lines -- vessels -- these countries have
been asserting pressure to impede trade between these countries and with these countries and
Cuba. And also I think that there has been some frictions within the OAS with recent members
such as Jamaica, and also with Chile and Venezuela, recently. Finally, I would say that the
embargo has strengthened Soviet interference in this hemisphere.
Thank you, Doctor.
Mr. Baker, do you have some questions of Dr. Mesa-Lago?
Yes, Dr. Mesa-Lago, let's clarify one or two things right at the start.
The United States is not alone in imposing this embargo, is it not? There are the vote of the
Organization of American States, voted in 1964, to impose the embargo. Isn't that true?
And over two-thirds of the member nations of the Organization of
American States voted for that embargo and are supporting that embargo today. Isn't that also
That's correct, but I would like to clarify your question. We are not
discussing here what is the procedure to eliminate the embargo. We are discussing whether the
embargo has been efficient or not as a policy. On the embargo I think there has been only
importantly a slight point which is increasing our cost of transportation between Cuba and the
Soviet bloc. But that's all that has resulted.
I just want to clarify the point that the other nations of the
hemisphere have supported this embargo for their own reasons and not just because the United
States went along. We want to get that point out on the record. Now, you've written a good deal
about the incidence of forced labor in Cuba. Can you tell us a little bit about that? For
instance, you've spoken of the term "man-years" of forced labor in Cuba. Now how many
"man-years" of forced labor of school children, grammar school children, occurred last year in
It's quite difficult to say how many school children are because its not
as well-structured as other sections of the economy such as shall we say workers, etc. So, I
can't answer that question.
But would you say its a significant amount for school children's time is
taken up in forced labor?
Yes, it has been entering the curriculum and therefore they are both
working and studying.
Okay now. Can you give us an estimate of how many "man-years" of forced
labor involved for unemployed women in Cuba?
Again this is difficult to say. It depends on the year. Their statistics
are not very accurate, so I don't think I can answer that question.
Now, how about the number of "man-years" of political prisoners? I do
recall I think from your article somewhere the figure of 200,000 "man-years" of labor by
Yes, that's correct. It's about 12 percent of the labor force.
Can you explain that a little bit? 200,000 "man-years" means that at
least 200,000 people work for a year as political prisoners for a particular period of time. Is
No. Are you talking about political prisoners?
No. First of all -- you are talking about political prisoners? No. First
of all, I don't know exactly how many political prisoners are in Cuba. The figure ranges from
20,000 to 100,000, so there is an estimate about the number of hours that each prisoner has put
in. Perhaps about 12 hours per day.
Okay, 12 hours a day.
Mr. Baker, do you have a final question?
Yes, just very quickly. What constitutes a political crime in Cuba that
you can get sent to forced labor camps?
Well, I am not -- I was a lawyer in Cuba, but I am not aware of what is
the correct definition today.
Well, why did you leave Cuba?
I left Cuba in 1961 because I was in disagreement with the political
system which was in Cuba. And still I am.
Thank you. Very much, Dr. Mesa-Lago. Thank you.
Senator Pell, Dr. Mesa-Lago has told you how the embargo has not worked.
I don't know what the political prisoners had to do with it, but we have seen it has backfired —
the embargo — and made us look ridiculous. It's about time to lift the embargo and follow the
example of Canada and Mexico. And I would like to read direct quotes, if I may. Mexico never
adopted the embargo in the first place. As the foreign secretary said in 1964: "The interruption
of relations would be of no use to anyone in any way, and even more would jeopardize
indispensable communications." Canada never adopted the embargo. Prime Minister Trudeau said in
Washington last year, and I'd like to read the quote: "Most countries in the world trade with a
lot of governments with policies of which they do not approve. One of the best vehicles of
understanding and closer relationships is trade. In international relations as in domestic
relations the catchword is communication, the key word is dialogue." Now sir, that is true of
our allies in this hemisphere. Latin American countries, many of whom unwillingly supported the
embargo — we engaged in some arm twisting to get it through OAS — are now beginning to speak
their minds. In recent months Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Trinidad, Tobago and Chile have all
called for a re-examination of our relations with the Cuban country. Now, one of the leaders of
the rising tide of Latin American opposition to the embargo is Chile's foreign minister Gabriel
Valdes. He gave us this exclusive interview last week at his home in Santiago.
(FILM) There is nothing worse I think for America than to try to put the
responsibility in different places that where they are, really. Castro is not responsible for
revolutions in Latin America. Revolution exists before Castro. Castro is not responsible for
many actions -- for the anarchism in Latin America, for lack of development -- they existed
before Castro. And it will exist after Castro. If now the coexistence is practiced when the
United States has agreed with the Soviet Union in a certain way of coexistence and that is good
for peace. When United States is trying to produce some links with China, communist China, in a
very imaginative action, we think that is good for peace. When Mr. Willy Brandt, the Chancellor
of Germany, is trying to solve the German problem, that is good for peace. When the United
States is trying to withdraw from Vietnam, that is good for peace. But Cuba remains as a unique
case completely freeze, that is not good for America. Cuba is a Latin American country. We
cannot continue having a country in Latin America absolutely outside of connection with us. This
is not normal. This is not sane. This is not logical. We have to find a way to combine the
self-determination of the Cuban people, the non-intervention, and the respect of
I would now like to call Mr. Richard Fagen. Dr. Fagen is a professor of
political science at Stanford University, the author of the book "Cubans in Exile" and a man who
has visited Cuba three times in the last few years at the request of the State Department.
Dr. Fagen, we're glad to have you here in Miami with us tonight.
Dr. Fagen, why must we change our Cuban policy?
Let me make three points. In the first place, over the last decade --
and I'm speaking about the decade of the '60s -- we have followed what I consider a disastrous
and certainly an uncreative policy in Latin America. Just to note some of the things that have
happened, in 1961, the Bay of Pigs, a disastrous episode of the Kennedy Administration; 1965 the
massive intervention and invasion of the Dominican Republic: 1969 Governor Rockefeller sent by
President Nixon on a goodwill and fact-finding tour of Latin America could not even visit two
countries that were considered showcases of the Alliance for Progress — Venezuela and Chile.
It's simply time for a change to break out of those policies. The second point that I'd like to
make is that President Nixon has called for a change in a very impressive speech on Oct. 31st.
Nelson Rockefeller called for a change in his report, and we simply must begin this change
sometime. There's been rhetoric from political figures. There's been rhetoric from public
figures. There's been rhetoric from lots of people. There hasn't been any action. And one place
to begin this action is without question, with the Cuban revolution.
Now, Dr., how do you feel we should change our policy towards
To begin with, with the embargo. We should end the embargo. Let me point
out that ending the embargo does not necessarily mean in any sense picking up the trade aid
burden that's now borne by the Soviets and others, it simply means letting political nature take
its course in this hemisphere. It means letting the full play of forces come free once again to
see what, in fact, resolution there will be to the Cuban policy. It means diplomacy instead of
what we have now, which is non-diplomacy. It means small events perhaps culminating into a saner
and healthier kind of policy in the hemisphere. It's frozen now, it's time to break it
Thank you. Mr. Baker do you have some questions of Dr. Fagen?
Yes. Before I begin to talk to Dr. Fagen, I'd like to just point out to
Senator Pell a few items about Mr. Oteri's film. Mr. Oteri intimates, by producing several
examples of hemispheric shifts in opinion, that the whole hemisphere feels this way. This is not
necessarily so. Other nations, Brazil, Argentina for instance, are still strongly in favor of
continued embargo and blockade of Cuba. Second, it's very easy for Chile to come around and make
this statement, it abstained from the original vote to impose the blockade, and secondly, Chile
is a nation distant from the dangers of Cuban subversion. It never really felt itself under the
gun, it's easier for--
Do you have a question for Mr. Fagen?
Yes, I do. Now Mr. Fagen, you said several things that interest me. One
is that our policy now has began to wear thin. Now Senator Pell is interested to find out
whether Cuba is somehow a special case that's different from our relations with China and other
communist nations. Now, in your article, you said that Castro is totally dependent on the
umbilical cord of an economic tie with the Soviet Union. Isn't that correct?
Two comments. First of all I'll take my witnesses' liberty to point out
that what you said for instance about Chile holds in just the opposite sense for Venezuela.
Venezuela was the country that brought the sanctions against Cuba in the OAS and it is the
president of Venezuela, President Caldera, who has called within the last three days for a
reopening and a renegotiation of the Cuban case.
But you forgot the important condition he placed on that call.
...that it be done within the context of the OAS, which no one is
...that Cuba renounce its aims of subversion and intervention in the
hemisphere. You'll recall that condition, I'm sure.
What the President said is that we have evidence now that Cuba has in
fact by its policy by its actions renounced this...He did not call for Castro to stand...
No, he called for a condition, if I may correct you. I think we'll have
a chance to explore whether Cuba in fact, is renounced in the later part of the program.
Let me clarify this notion of the umbilical cord. There's no question
that Castro receives aid from the Soviet Union. Of course, he receives aid from the Soviet
Union. The normal figure posited is about a $1 million a day. This is approximately what we
spend in a couple dozen hours in Vietnam, and it should not be seen, I think, as anything that
looms large in the scale of worldwide trade--
It looms large on the Soviet scale, though, doesn't it?
I would say it does not, not for the country of the world that has the
second largest gross national product. $1 million a day is certainly something they can absorb
and something which is it clearly in our interest to diminish in some fashion, and that's what
we're talking about.
You're interested in trying to reduce the burden on the Soviet
Absolutely. This is no way whatsoever to conduct a diplomacy — to punish
and make difficult, and make as financially risky as possible the conduct of foreign affairs. We
can punish the Soviet Union — if one is interested in that — obviously by building missiles so
they have to build anti-missiles which are a hundred times as expensive as any trade or aid
given to Cuba.
We're not debating missiles now, Dr. Fagen, we're debating Cuba...
I'm talking about the policy, though...
Senator Pell has a question for you, Dr. Fagen.
I'm surprised at this view because, generally speaking, we've felt that
if you can drain the strength of one's opponents it's probably to your own national interests.
This maybe selfish, but I've always thought one of the reasons for the embargo was this fact
that a third of a billion dollars was being drained from Russia.
Yes, sir, I think this is one of the reasons and I think it's a kind of
false logic because it was precisely this kind of false logic which brought us to the
confrontation in 1962, and this is something we can ill afford.
Is this the same logic that the Soviet Union is using now with us in
Vietnam — that we're being drained of some $80 billion there and it's in their interest to see
that that conflict not come to a termination.
Absolutely, but I don't take their behavior as a point of departure for
No, but the rules of national interest apply on both sides.
Yes. But I would say that this is minimal in those terms. It's not even
a good argument from that point of view because it is not Vietnam in terms of Soviet
Mr. Fagen, you've written a good deal about the extent of political
control inside Cuba. Now, can you tell us how many newspapers were in Cuba before Castro came to
There were dozens.
And how many are there now?
There about three national and about three local.
What constitutes a political crime in Cuba? I asked that of Mr.
Yes. Well, I would point out -- what I think he pointed out very well --
that what constitutes a political crime is totally irrelevant to the question of our relation to
this. The same question could be asked about the Soviet Union, which has in its history executed
a thousand persons for every person who's been incarcerated, probably, in Cuba.
Well, it's relevant in the question of what kind of conditions occur
inside the country, and it's useful for the American people to know what kind of man we're
I fail to see this. I fail to see this.
Can you answer my question? Let me decide the relevance if you can
answer the question.
What's your precise question, Mr. Baker?
My question is what constitutes a political crime within Cuba that would
involve locking up...
I take it your answer, Mr. Fagen is what ever constitutes a...
Whatever they choose to constitute as a political crime.
So there's no tangible no definite standard. It's whatever the
government feels like can be a political crime.
No, it's not that simple.
Thank you very much, and thank you Dr. Fagen.
Well, we've listened to Mr. Oteri's case for resuming trade with Cuba,
and now let's turn to the other side of the question. Mr. Baker, will you give us the case
against resuming trade with Cuba.
Senator Pell, Mr. Oteri's witnesses say in general that the embargo has
hurt the Cuban people while cementing Castro in power by letting him use us as a scapegoat for
his mistakes. But the embargo has become a threadbare excuse after 16 years of mismanagement and
economic stagnation. And Castro's in trouble now, and now is no time to give him some help by
lifting the embargo. Now Mr. Goodwin can sit quietly in his cabin in the Maine woods and opine
about what we should do in Cuba, but we have here tonight on a man who sits on the hot seat of
policy decisions. He's a man who has to make these kind of decisions and be responsible for
Personally, I'd be very interested to know why Castro's in trouble now.
I'd understood he's still pretty solidly entrenched there.
Our refugee witnesses will speak to that in a minute. But I'd like to
call Robert Hurwitch, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs in the
Department of State.
Mr. Hurwitch, we're very glad to have you here from the State
Thank you, Mr. Fisher and Senator Pell.
Mr. Hurwitch, what is the basis of our policy towards Cuba?
There are two reasons why we have a trade embargo against Cuba. The
first is Castro's publicly announced policy of exporting his revolution by overthrowing other
governments in the hemisphere. The second reason is the military ties between Cuba and the
Soviet Union which presents a danger to the peace and security of this hemisphere such as we
experienced in 1962 during the missile crisis.
Now, Mr. Goodwin says that that policy has failed. Is he right?
No, he's by no means right. I think our policy has gone a long way
toward accomplishing our goals, and I think we should be very clear and not be mistaken that our
policy is not designed to bring down Castro or overthrow the Castro government. Our policy is
designed to limit Castro's ability to export his revolution and overthrow other governments. And
the second part of our policy is to discourage the Soviet Union from other adventures in this
Now, Mr. Goodwin says you can't stop the spread of an idea, but has
Castro given up at least the spread of arms and men in Latin America for subversion?
On the contrary. Today there are young Latin American men who are being
trained as subversives in Cuba. They are learning guerilla warfare, and they are learning
terrorism for the cities. Funds and arms are being transferred; Cuban agents are being
infiltrated into the hemisphere. Not too long ago a high-ranking Cuban communist party member in
Havana said privately, "It's a mistake to think that we have abandoned our policy of exporting
the revolution. We are continuing at a lower level, but nonetheless we are continuing."
Now, what is the cost to the hemisphere of resuming trade with
Well, I think we should be clear on a couple of things, Mr. Baker.
First, the United States as well as the other countries of the hemisphere would welcome to go
back to the American Family of Nations provided it abandon its policy of subverting other
governments and provided it cut its military ties with the Soviet Union. However, there is no
evidence that Castro is about to do this. The Cuban government has not sought to re-enter the
American Family of Nations or the Inter-American. As long as Cuba retains this policy it would
be foolish on the part of the United States to abandon the trade embargo policy. Otherwise, what
we would be doing would be strengthening Castro, strengthening his ability to export his
revolution, and we would relieve the Soviet Union of the costly financial burden that Cuba
represents. And finally, as you know, resumption of trade will mean trade missions to the
various Latin American countries. And it would not at all be surprising if Castro used these
trade missions which is typical communist disguise for infiltrating agents and subverting these
Mr. Hurwitch, I know Mr. Oteri has some questions for you and Senator
Pell does. Mr. Oteri, why don't you start?
Thank you. Mr. Hurwitch, you say that Castro is training revolutionaries
in Cuba. Is that the same kind of training we give to right wing governments in this country at
our military installations?
No, not at all.
No. All right. You say that they're being smuggled into Latin American
countries to subvert, is that correct?
How many Latin American countries have gone communist since Castro took
over in Cuba?
It would have probably been more if our policy had not been the ones
But there are none, is that correct?
And we're going to keep it that way.
Right. Now, sir, we need the embargo so that Latin American countries
cannot determine for themselves who they want to govern them or how they want to be governed.
No, these statements...On the contrary these same Latin American
countries were the ones who voted in favor of the embargo.
With a little arm twisting?
No. No arm twisting whatsoever.
How about the fact that Bolivia, Peru, Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica,
Canada, Mexico, Chile--they all want to open some kind of a dialogue. Is this,...we ignore
If you listened carefully to Mr. Baker, you would have heard that all
these countries have placed conditions upon any talks with Castro's Cuba. They are the same
conditions that we lay down. There's nothing different.
The same conditions we lay down.
But we maintain the blockade, these other countries don't.
That's not true.
Do any other countries have ships floating around Cuba to keep things
out? Any other country...
This is not a physical blockade. This is a legal blockade.
Any other countries stop ships coming into its ports?
There are no other Latin American countries with exception of
Mr. Oteri, the Senator has a question.
Would it not be correct to say that the level of export of subversives
and of subversion from Cuba to the countries of Latin America is substantially less now than it
was five years ago?
Senator Pell, I would say, yes, it is less, but probably not
substantially, partly because the subversion is now concentrated in the urban areas rather than
in the rural areas. And therefore the amount of people needed for training and so forth are
So in other words, even with the embargo we have the same amount of
subversion now than we had five years ago, so the embargo hasn't contained anything.
I thought I said less. You perhaps didn't hear me.
Less. You said about the same amount.
No, I said less.
All right, let me ask you this, sir, do we trade with Iron Curtain
And we don't try to tell them that they can't have ties with Russia or
they can't have communist governments, do we?
Right. We do think that Castro because he's 90 miles off our coast
should have the kind of government that our State Department tells him he can have. Is that
No. You're absolutely wrong. Now let me repeat for you. I've never said
anything about the nature of the Castro government. I have said two things that the State
Department holds. One is the export of revolution, that is, interfering in other people's
business in another country. The other is military ties with the Soviet Union. Neither of those
have anything to do with how the Cuban people have arranged their own society. I think we ought
to be very clear on that, Mr. Oteri.
Mr. Oteri, the Senator has a question.
Two queries here. One: Don't we interfere in other people's countries,
also on occasion and try to change their government?
I don't think, Senator, that we have an announced policy of calling for
revolution in any country in the world.
Announced, announced. Mr. Hurwitch...just one last question, sir. Did
you support the intervention of 20,000 armed Marines in the Dominican Republic?
You did not. You were opposed to that.
Thank you very much, Mr. Hurwitch, I want to thank you. We'll get back
to... Mr. Baker.
Senator, one index of the dissatisfaction that the people within Cuba
must feel for this regime is the extent to which they will try to leave it. This raft was used
by two people who went 90 miles from Cuba to get to the United States. Since 1959, 14,000 people
have come by boat or raft like this to get to the United States from Cuba. Over one million
people have left Cuba or are waiting to leave. Now if you took the same amount of people in
terms of the United States that's 30 million people that would have left the United States.
Think of what a mass exodus that would mean to us. The two men who came over on this raft were
joined by a third. He was killed by machine gun fire. The two men were 18 and 20 years old, and
they were both workers. It's not the rich and the affluent who are getting out of Cuba. I'd like
to call Jose Toriente to the stand. He's a long time leader -- not a long time leader -- but
he's now a leader of the Cuban Exile Movement in the United States.
Senor de la Toriente, we're glad to have you here.
Thank you, sir.
Senor Toriente, why were these refugees that used this raft and others
who came over opposed to Castro's regime?
Very simply because they were taken away the right of dissension. In
other words, when Castro went on the television and said, "What do we need elections for?"
anybody -- and that means roughly at least a million people who have left Cuba -- felt that once
the right of dissension was taken from them everything else was useless.
Now, would Castro be bale to claim a moral victory if we abandon our
Absolutely, yes. Because in my opinion it would undermine the confidence
of the other United States allies that would probably feel that you haven't followed your policy
whereas you have asked a lot of people to follow it that policy.
Now what would be the effect on the people within Cuba if we abandon our
Demoralizing. They would feel betrayed. Just like the million people who
are outside of Cuba.
Why is it important not to abandon the embargo now?
Because I think that Castro at the present moment is undergoing the
biggest crisis since he has been in power, and I think the time would be wrong to give him a
hand at a time when he's practically on the run.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Oteri, your witness for cross-examination.
Mr. Toriente, could you tell me, sir, when did you leave Cuba?
On April 7, 1960 and for not political reasons.
You've been out of there for ten years then, sir, is that correct?
And, sir, as you think an embargo that has been in effect for eight
years, and it has not toppled the Castro government, that has not stopped the spread of any
revolution of itself is a worthwhile tool to be continued?
I would say, yes. And I will give you a reason for it.
Basically, all Cuban industry is based on United States machinery which
they are probably buying through Canada, England, but it's been made a lot more costly to them
and therefore they have undermined their hold on the Cuban people.
But the Cuban people still have Castro in power eight years after the
No, no, no I beg to disagree with you very violently. Castro has the
Cuban people under a yoke which is an entirely different thing.
May I point something out, sir? I think, Mr. Toriente, we ought to get
one thing straight. We are not pro-Castro, let's understand that. We're pro-Cuban people as you
are. Now, this kind of thing right here, that forces people who want freedom... that forces
people who want to be free to get on something like this and risk their lives for freedom is
tragic and should stop. Do you feel, sir, that if the American government lifted the embargo –
ships were coming in and out of the harbor, the American consulate – embassy was open – don't
you think that instead of a 160 Cubans a day being able to go out on our airlift we might be
able to expand it; we may be able to make access and excess from Cuba more free so we won't
drive poor desperate people to use this kind of a thing to escape from a tyrant?
I will give you the answer which is very plain. In the first place, if
the renewing of trade would cause a lot more people to leave Cuba, I don't think it's helping
Cuba. If renewing of trade would enable the Cuban people to be free and have elections, I would
be for it, but I don't think it will.
In effect, we're in a position where we merely disagree on what will
help the Cuban people. It's obvious the embargo hasn't helped them when it forces them to risk
their life on this. Don't you think in fairness to those thousands of Cuban who will be driven
to this in the next few years, we ought to lift the embargo and take a chance at dialogue with
our Cuban brothers and hope we can incite them to overthrow Castro?
I think, Mr. Oteri, that you're being a little bit unrealistic.
I'm no more unrealistic than the embargo.
Mr. Oteri, the Senator has a question he'd like to ask.
From where I've been sitting, I've been hearing people say for years,
"Carry on the same policy, we're almost there." Just as you see light at the end of a tunnel.
What is your hard evidence that you believe Castro is a bit on the ropes?
Excuse me, sir.
What is your reason for believing that Castro is on the ropes?
In the first place, Castro has been making promises, promises, and
Most political leaders do.
I have never heard of one promise that's been kept, have you?
But I mean the promises that you make to try to become Senator...
I try to keep mine. And I say I'm the great exception.
You try to keep them to the best of your ability, but when you fail
you're not causing people who are voting for you any hardship. But when Castro fails, then he
continues to create more and more hardship and more intolerance...
Right, but do you have any more specific thought than that? Because this
was the same thought I've heard advanced five years ago, four, three, two and one. But do you
have any specific evidence that there's unrest in Cuba?
Oh, there is. I have happened to have seen an intelligence report made
by a very good intelligence agency over a very serious European government wherein it states
that although there is no organized opposition in Cuba against Castro's regime, there is the
feeling amongst the people who have canvassed the country, that 90 percent of the people are
against Castro – which is entirely opposite what you heard during the first year, second year,
third year. I, for one, told the U.S. government at the Bay of Pigs invasion that it was a great
big political mistake and time has proven me right.
Thank you very much, Mr. Toriente, we're glad to have you here.
Senator Pell, the critical question is what lifting the embargo would do
to the Cuban people -- the psychology of that shift in our policy, not so much the economics,
but as a political act of what a change in policy would do. I'd like to call a young Cuban who
has a vision of what Cuba could be like. Jose Font is 22 years old, he's been a student in this
country for several years and would like to return to his homeland.
Mr. Font, we're glad to have you here to join us tonight.
Mr. Font, what are your hopes for Cuba's future?
I would say very firmly that I don't believe that any people can achieve
happiness without the freedom of mind to seek for truth, the freedom of mobility to seek for
life, the freedom of interchanging that we find each day in search for knowledge, the freedom of
existence that this country says that they provide for its inhabitants and that freedom must
exist in a nation to go forward. Furthermore, I believe that with the experience that such a
young nation as Cuba had -- the tremendous knowledge of a system which we call capitalism --
which up to 1959 -- we had pretty much of a knowledge. Secondly, the tremendous experience which
the Cuban revolution has brought about to the Cuban people -- the minds that have been created
in the youth which feel the reactionary attitudes at this moment of a man such as Fidel Castro;
the minds that have been cultivated in the youth outside of Cuba. I think they will blend and
they will create a hybrid formula... which is perhaps going to be one of the solutions to the
third world. I do not believe that communism or capitalization or anything is necessarily the
Mr. Font, I want Mr. Oteri to ask you a couple of questions.
Mr. Font, could I ask you a couple of questions? How old were you when
you left Cuba?
I was 12 years old.
12. So you haven't been back there in ten years either, correct?
So it's fair to say you really don't speak to the Cuban youth
I try to keep in touch very much with the Cuban youth in Cuba.
Let me ask you a question, sir. If you were able to go back to Cuba
tomorrow -- if Castro were overthrown and you could go back to Cuba tomorrow -- and we had a
government set up that was acceptable to the Cuban people and it was acceptable to the United
States of America and in a few years the United States decided because we have refugees this
government is no longer acceptable to us... would you as a free Cuban who took part in the
election of that government want the United States to tell you that government cannot exist
because we don't approve of it? You must be made to suffer. Is that the kind of freedom you
I don't disagree with the Cuban situation because the United States
disagrees. I disagree because I know that there are seven million inhabitants who have been
driven like slaves, who have no right of any sort that you today have the right.
Sir, I agree with you too, I agree with you, too.
Then I don't understand your question.
There's no problem. You see, we both agree that freedom is the important
thing. Freedom is what we need for the Cuban people. The question is how does the embargo keep
people in chains?
A very short answer.
Well, see I do not take it from an economical point of view because I do
not believe that Cuba will exist as it is for much longer.
Fine, so the embargo isn't helping.
You see, if you are going to trade with a man...
Thank you. Thank you very much. We have to go on.
We'll talk about it after the show.
Thank you very much, Mr. Font. Mr. Baker, you have 30 seconds.
Very briefly, Senator Pell, an inefficient dictatorship will sow the
seeds of its own destruction if we only have the patience to let them grow and mature. If we
lift the embargo right now that would give aid and comfort to Castro when he needs it most. All
we have to do is just wait him out, and we shouldn't lift the embargo for nothing. We should
wait and get something for it.
Mr. Oteri, I'll give you 30 seconds.
Senator Pell, you haven't heard one single argument proposed tonight by
our opponents as to why you should not lift the embargo. What in effect you've heard is a lot of
things we all agree on, including freedom. But the fact of the matter is, sir, that you don't
wait out dictatorships. We haven't succeeded in doing it in Russia, in Greece, in Spain, or in
Vietnam and it seems to me, if we really want to help the people, lift the embargo, have a
dialogue with the Cuban people and let's help them as people to people rather than government to
Thank you, Senator, and thank you both. Now is the time for any of you
who are undecided to make up your mind. Should we now trade with Cuba? As you have heard there
are risks and benefits in deciding either way. If we now resume trade with Cuba, we take a first
step toward reconciliation; we recognize the right of self determination that we preach and we
bury a foreign policy based, it is said, on punishment. But resuming trade runs the risk of
strengthening the economy of a regime which has been supporting revolutions in Latin America
which is unacceptable to many Cubans and to America. If we decide the other way, if we keep the
embargo we can figure to show our disapproval of the Castro regime and we discourage a violent
approach to social problems in other Latin American countries. But this course imposes economic
hardships on other Cubans; it runs the risk of further isolating Cuba from other parts of the
Western hemisphere and strengthening the Soviet role on the island. With this choice in mind,
let's now take a second vote of the audience here in Miami. Would each of you please pick up the
voting box and be prepared to vote when I give the signal? Remember to hold the voting lever
down while I count. Get ready for the second vote. The question is: "Should we now trade with
Cuba? Vote now. Five, four, three, two, one. Let go. Now, before we look at the results, how
would you vote? Think about the choice -- whether you want to lift the embargo or continue it,
you can make your position felt, you can vote by writing to us, "THE ADVOCATES," Box 1970,
Boston, 02134. We will tabulate your views and will make them known to Senator Pell and to every
other senator and congressman. Please let me know the station on which you heard this broadcast.
If you usually don't write letters, you aren't alone. One Colorado viewer told us, "I've never
written in response to a television show prior to this. Whether I like to admit it or not, it
must be because I was not sufficiently concerned." A man in Philadelphia wrote, "I've never
written to a TV program before. 'THE ADVOCATES' should become an important and regular forum for
public debate on America's problems." We hope that you, too, think of "THE ADVOCATES" not just
as a television program but as your public debate. Be a participant, not a spectator. And now to
the views of the audience here in Miami. On the first vote, before the argument, the number
voting each way -- let's see that again on the display. May we see the first vote on the
display? It was originally: 83, yes; 56, no; 61, no opinion and now may we see the impact of the
arguments. Will you please put up the second vote now if you can have it? Wow. The second vote
shifted to 124 in favor of trade; 46 against, and only 30 undecided. Now remember, this vote
just taken is not a scientific sample of national public opinion. It is only what happened in
this one audience. Far more important is what you do. Remember that address: "THE ADVOCATES,"
Box 1970, Boston, 02134.
Two weeks ago we debated the problem of foreign aid. As of yesterday,
more than 2,000 of you had written in. 28 percent were for more foreign aid, and 69 percent were
for less; three percent expressed other views. These results are being sent to Undersecretary
Richardson who was with us that night. On November 9, "THE ADVOCATES" debated the question:
"Should we prohibit lawsuits over auto accidents and have each driver buy insurance for his own
injuries?" Two-thirds of you who wrote in favored the proposal. The results of that mail-in, and
some of the letters themselves, went to our guest that night, Mr. Richard Stewart,
Superintendent of Insurance of New York State. Mr. Stewart's recommendations to Governor
Rockefeller for a new no-fault insurance system which would prohibit a typical personal injury
lawsuit is about to be made public. Mr. Stewart.
(FILM) The New York State Insurance Department is now finished a
careful study of auto liability insurance. Our report concludes that the present system is slow,
wasteful, cruel, and unfair. If you, as a consumer, want to get your money's worth from auto
insurance, and if you want a chance to get what you need if you're ever in an accident, then
this present system has got to be changed completely. The New York report recommends an entirely
new system, one that would cut premiums by a third to a half and that would get the money to
victims who need it when they need it. The proposal should help highway safety generally and
would be especially tough on the drunken driver. If enacted, this proposal can save you a lot of
money and someday might save you a lot of hardship. The report is written for a kind of
concerned, intelligent citizen who watches "THE ADVOCATES." If you'd like to read it, write to
Governor Rockefeller, Albany, New York, and he'll send you a copy. Unlike auto insurance, the
report is free.
Thank you, Senator Pell, for joining us tonight and thanks to our
advocates and particularly to our witnesses. Join us next Sunday night at the same time. I'm
Roger Fisher, good night.