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Dear Congressman Jim McDermott,

Upon the conclusion of the 9th Summit of Ibero American Countries in Havana and the intense program of activities involved in both the summit itself and the official and working visits made to our country by various participating heads of state, with no pause to rest I devoted myself entirely to reading materials related to the upcoming meeting of the World Trade Organization and to studying the complex themes I would need to address in presentations, speeches, meetings, discussions, press conferences and public statements during the brief days of my stay in Seattle.

The meetings requested by numerous political figures, notwithstanding, the program of activities was really tight and intense. However, I was ready for the challenge. I had promised you that I would consider the possibility of attending, although aware of the obstacles that would have to be overcome, I was not able to give you any assurances of the decision I would finally adopt. So, I asked you for more time. Meanwhile, I kept feverishly preparing for the meeting. I wanted to go, and was practically determined to make the trip, until insurmountable difficulties arose.

In view of this possibility and the basic measures of discretion I am obliged to observe for obvious reasons, I would refrain from publicly announcing my decision until the last minute. Likewise, I would postpone the visa application. I know all too well that before an hour has passed in the State Department the news has leaked out.

There has been a flood of speculation regarding the possibility of my traveling to Seattle in response to the invitations I have received, which are publicly known. Congress, the simple invitation provoked immediate reactions of anger and frustration.”

“At the University of Seattle, preparations are already underway for the Cuban leader to speak there on December 2, and this has further irritated numerous Republican legislators.”

Also on November 19, AP reported: “His allies are thrilled with the idea. His enemies are on the lookout.”

“‘Fidel Castro’s presence combined with the attention paid by the press to the WTO meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to inform citizens of the United States about the inhuman blockade against our neighbors,’ said Patsy Behrend, co director of the National Network on Cuba.”

On Monday, November 22, James Rubin, the State Department spokesman, declared, “We are waiting to react once we have a request for a visa. Attorney General Janet Reno to take provisions to order the arrest of the Cuban president on charges of murder,
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in the event that he attended the meeting in Seattle. Congressman Lincoln D Balart to prosecute Castro for the death of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots.”

These successive and combined actions were all reported in just 72 hours following the statements made by the State Department spokesman on November 22.

I will leave aside the hysteria and threats of the noisy terrorist mob in Miami, who are always eager to provoke a bloody armed conflict between Cuba and the United States, which in this case would be an inevitable consequence of any attempt to forcibly hold me in Seattle.

What was most important to me was the United States’ position with regard to my right to participate in an international meeting of the World Trade Organization, of which Cuba is a founding member. government was opposed to my presence at the meeting in Seattle. I was certain that the State Department would not grant me a visa. Therefore, I did not even bother to apply. I did not wish to be subjected to this humiliation. We were soon to confirm this supposition.

On November 26, in the early hours of the afternoon, the head of the State Department’s Cuban Bureau and a senior State Department undersecretary arranged a lunch meeting with the director of the North American department at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, comrade Dagoberto Rodr who was in Washington on his way to Seattle. officials warned Rodr of the possible consequences of the trip, using the same arguments as the Cuban American extremist mob, and thus washing their hands off the matter like Pontius Pilate. There was unquestionably a plot, backed by the State Department, against my traveling to Seattle. This confirmed my perceptions on the opposition to and even political and moral fear of my participation in the WTO meeting in Seattle.

However, I did not want to make this decision public until you had received this message.

What was most encouraging for me to travel to Seattle was not the meeting itself, where I would have only five minutes to speak about truly complex issues, but rather the possibility of meetings with students, professionals and academics, where I could present my points of view and engage in an exchange of opinions and an in depth discussion of the crucial issues of our era, thanks to the numerous invitations that had been kindly extended to me for this possible visit. But it would be impossible for me to travel to the United States if official government spokesmen were declaring the visit ‘inappropriate’ or, even worse, if they were consciously involved in a major provocation in Seattle.

Nevertheless, I did not feel it would suffice to send a simple letter explaining the reasons for my absence to the numerous personalities and institutions, including religious institutions, that were looking forward to my visit with such generosity and interest. Therefore, we have decided to send a delegation headed by our young and combative foreign minister, engineer Felipe P Roque, who has worked with me for over seven years and is profoundly familiar with and fully shares my views and ideas on the current international situation and its potential evolution.

Traveling with him as well are Foreign Trade Minister Ricardo Cabrisas, a committed advocate of the interests of the Third World countries, and other members of the team involved in our daily work of analyzing the serious problems facing the world economy. The head of our Interests Section in Washington and the prestigious chairman of the Cuban Federation of University Students are also part of the delegation.

We have decided to send with them part of the security detail and communications personnel who have accompanied me on my most dangerous trips abroad, to provide support to the Cuban delegation in Seattle and guarantee their protection against any provocation or physical aggression by the Cuban American terrorist mob.

Our foreign minister has been instructed to contact and meet with the institutions and personalities that invited me to Seattle and expressed interest in meeting with me, and to explain the reasons for my absence. He will be able to answer any questions,
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provide information and discuss all issues related to Cuba’s positions just as well as I myself could have and perhaps even better.