What is behind the Elian case?
Jon Roland © 2000, Constitution Society

The Elian case has given rise to much discussion of why the Clinton administration seems so desperate to placate Castro's demands for the return of Elian Gonzalez. Their April 22 raid, just a day before Easter, seems to have been done, more than anything else, in response to a deadline imposed by Castro. If so, then what threat from Castro could motivate an action that is likely to cost the Democrats the next election?

Dick Morris has suggested that the blackmail threat is of another Mariel exodus, dumping thousands of Cuban criminals and mentally deranged persons on the United States, as were most of the 125,000 Cubans that were ejected for the United States in 1980, which has caused a great deal of trouble, and to which Morris says Clinton attributed his election loss as governor.

While the behavior of the Clinton administration in the Elian case does indicate it is being done under threat of blackmail, the "nuevo Mariel" theory does not offer a convincing explanation, and may be a misdirection. After all, another Mariel would have little effect on the Clintons or their fortunes, or even on the fortunes of the Democrats, except perhaps in a few local elections. That is a solvable problem.

No, the threat must be far more serious than that. For a more plausible theory, we need to consider what Castro might have on Clinton and the Democrats that could drive this administration to conduct such a politically disastrous action, despite the efforts of rigged polls to conceal the political fallout.

What Castro and Clinton have in common is drugs. The recent article in The New Australian suggests a better theory. Cuba has become a major transit route for cocaine smuggling into the United States, under the protection of the Cuban government. It is thought to provide much of the funds needed to sustain the Castro regime, after the loss of aid from the Soviet Union. However, for all his faults, Castro is a committed communist, and it is thought that being a drug lord is not how he wants to be remembered by history.

And his legacy may be on his mind now. There are rumors that he is in ill health, perhaps even suffering from a terminal malady. He knows his regime will not survive his death. Therefore, he must be considering what he can do for his swan song. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves what sort of thing he might try to do.

Several things suggest themselves. One is a kind of "April surprise", like  the rumored "October surprise", in which the Republicans, through William Casey, made a deal with the Iranians to continue to hold the hostages through the 1980 election and until the inauguration, which helped defeat Jimmie Carter, in exchange for arms, which were delivered under the cover of the Iran-Contra operation, to provide a plausible misdirection for the motive for it (raising funds to support the contras).

So who benefits under this theory. The Republicans. Castro may be blackmailing Clinton into doing something that will cost Gore the election, so that the Republicans will win, and perhaps pay off Castro in some way.

This theory is plausible for another reason, because both the Democrat and Republican leadership is suspected of complicity in narcotics trafficking.  Clinton may have protected the transit operations at the Mena airport, but it was George Bush and Oliver North who are reported to have been most directly involved in that operation. Castro may be blackmailing the Republicans as well, by threatening to disclose information about such activities that could not be ignored, as have all the eyewitness reports of persons involved in such operations.

The situation of narcotics trade needs to be reviewed. It is estimated to be the single largest market in the world, greater than the market for food. It is thought to involve more than $200 billion in annual sales in the United States, which is more than there is currency in circulation. Since almost all of this trade is in cash, that means that almost all cash needs to be laundered to support the narcotics trade, and it is often said that within a few weeks, most new currency becomes tainted with cocaine. How does all this cash get returned to circulation? Obviously, it could not be done without the complicity of the major banks and of government officials, who are rumored to take their cut, and who are therefore the real drug lords.

But what is all that money used for? Clearly, not for purchasing luxury goods by the traffickers. Much of it appears to be invested in legitimate businesses, but this much investment, over the many decades that this has been going on, would soon buy control over most of the major assets in the United States. It would become a problem of how to buy everything without revealing the sources of the money.

But it is also clear that what is being bought is governments. Every government, at every level, federal, state, and local. Every judge, every sheriff, every prosecutor, every legislator, every president. And every country. No exceptions can be allowed, because the entire structure depends on secrecy. If the public became aware of what is going on, they could still bring it crashing down in a reformist revolution.

So what game is Castro playing? Jerking Clinton's chains? Sending a message to George W. Bush that he could be implicated in the crimes of his father?

I can see another plan at work here. He may intend to go out in a really big way, by pulling down the whole, worldwide narcotrafficking empire of crime. The way to do this is first to draw attention to Cuba, and the way the Elian case has been manipulated does that. That could be the opening of the curtain on the stage, and playing the fanfare. Then he turns on the spotlight and tells the tale that the world criminal conspiracy doesn't want to come out.

If this is Castro's plan, then we must encourage him to pursue it. If not, then we must make it our plan. It is the one way that Castro could be remembered by history as a hero. If he does this, then it would indeed justify his historical redemption.

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