Beyond the Axis of
Evil: Additional Threats from Weapons of Mass Destruction
by The Honorable John R. Bolton
HERITAGE FOUNDATION LECTURE
held on May 6, 2002 Washington, D.C.
Complete transcript available at www.heritage.org
Prepared statement on Cuba:
In addition to Libya and Syria, there is a threat coming from another BWC signatory, and one that lies just 90 miles from the U.S. mainland--namely, Cuba. This totalitarian state has long been a violator of human rights. The State Department said last year in its Annual Report on Human Rights Practices that
the Government continued to violate systematically the fundamental civil and political rights of its citizens. Citizens do not have the right to change their government peacefully. Prisoners died in jail due to lack of medical care. Members of the security forces and prison officials continued to beat and otherwise abuse detainees and prisoners.... The Government denied its citizens the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and association.
Havana has long provided safe haven for terrorists, earning it a place on the State Department's list of terrorist-sponsoring states. The country is known to be harboring terrorists from Colombia, Spain, and fugitives from the United States. We know that Cuba is collaborating with other state sponsors of terror.
Castro has repeatedly denounced the U.S. war on terrorism. He continues to view terror as a legitimate tactic to further revolutionary objectives. Last year, Castro visited Iran, Syria, and Libya--all designees on the same list of terrorist-sponsoring states. At Tehran University, these were his words: "Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees. The U.S. regime is very weak, and we are witnessing this weakness from close up."
But Cuba's threat to our security often has been underplayed. An official U.S. government report in 1998 concluded that Cuba did not represent a significant military threat to the United States or the region. It went only so far as to say that "Cuba has a limited capacity to engage in some military and intelligence activities which could pose a danger to U.S. citizens under some circumstances." However, then-Secretary of Defense William Cohen tried to add some balance to this report by expressing in the preface his serious concerns about Cuba's intelligence activities against the United States and its human rights practices. Most notably, he said, "I remain concerned about Cuba's potential to develop and produce biological agents, given its biotechnology infrastructure...."
Why was the 1998 report on Cuba so unbalanced? Why did it underplay the threat Cuba posed to the United States? A major reason is Cuba's aggressive intelligence operations against the United States, which included recruiting the Defense Intelligence Agency's senior Cuba analyst, Ana Belen Montes, to spy for Cuba. Montes not only had a hand in drafting the 1998 Cuba report, but also passed some of our most sensitive information about Cuba back to Havana. Montes was arrested last fall and pleaded guilty to espionage on March 19.
For four decades, Cuba has maintained a well-developed and sophisticated biomedical industry, supported until 1990 by the Soviet Union. This industry is one of the most advanced in Latin America and leads in the production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines that are sold worldwide. Analysts and Cuban defectors have long cast suspicion on the activities conducted in these biomedical facilities.
Here is what we now know: The United States believes that Cuba has at least a limited offensive biological warfare research and development effort. Cuba has provided dual-use biotechnology to other rogue states. We are concerned that such technology could support BW programs in those states. We call on Cuba to cease all BW-applicable cooperation with rogue states and to fully comply with all of its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention