Letter: Let Europe defend Cuba against US

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The Independent Online
Sir: It was very sad to read (11 July) of the continued US persecution of Cuba. For Jesse Helms to base his sponsorship of the appalling Helms- Burton Bill on the grounds of the US having rescued Cuba from tyranny is to defy history. When the US evicted Spain, it imposed its own brand of colonial tyranny, and at the time of Castro's revolution that included turning Havana into a private playground for prostitution, gambling and the mafia, while allowing the country to be bled dry.

Cuba to-day may be extremely poor, but is still a proudly egalitarian society. When I chanced to meet the Minister of Tourism on a recent visit, he was climbing behind the wheel of his ancient ministerial Lada. He spoke of the desperate need for hard currency, driving the country's present tourist development. It is a wonderful country to visit, and its people open and friendly and extraordinarily well educated considering their inability to travel.

Is it not time that London and Brussels took up the cudgels on behalf of this poor island and opened the doors for European aid and trade? The US current stance can only unite the Cuban people under a Communist banner and inhibit democracy. European defiance of the Helms-Burton Bill will help Cuba towards the genuine freedom and independence which are all its people desire.

Dr D S WRIGHT

Gosport, Hampshire

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