What Was Ahmadinejad Doing in Cuba?

Irina Echarry

Iranian President Ahmadineyad and Fidel-Castro in Havana this week. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES, Jan 15 — Many people asked that question. I even received two calls asking me to protest his visit. One was late because the Iranian president was already leaving Cuban soil. The other person felt regrets later on, saying that it wouldn’t have been worth it and would have only raised suspicions about us.

To me — someone who doesn’t like attention, and who’s easily scared — I wasn’t encouraged about the thought of marching through the streets with signs, but at the same time I didn’t like the idea of the visit of one of the presidents with the most prisoners of conscience and death sentence executions in his country.

I’m trying to be tolerant, and I understand that there are protocols to meet, especially between governments – but then to give him an award? That’s something I really don’t understand.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Cuba making the “V” for victory gesture and smiling. Maybe he was pleased about having so many political prisoners, or condemning to hanging or stoning of so many homosexuals, converts to Christianity, and thousands of women for even been accused of infidelity.
I know we live in different cultures, and this is why we shouldn’t judge him, not for the better or for the worse.

However, the Cuban government opened the door by granting him an honorary doctorate degree in political science and also allowing him to speak in public.

Consequently, we had to listen to his ironic words about a “new world order based on justice and respect for all human beings.”

I don’t know if it’s true that Iran produces 20 percent depleted uranium. Nor do I know if the Iranian people approve of the nuclear program in their country.

I would have liked to learn more about the reasons for his visit, but the Cuban press only said that he was an anti-imperialist who thinks that the capitalist system is in decline.

I’m trying to figure out what he came here to do, in a country where — fortunately — it’s been years since anyone has been executed.

But I still don’t understand how the Cuban government is advocating changes in people’s mentality here (supposedly to advance, prosper, improve the country), when it welcomes a man with a policy as retrograde, anti-feminist, homophobic, warmongering and anti-environmental as his.

I don’t understand. I think I’m missing something and I don’t know if I’ll ever find out what it is.


Irina Echarry

Irina Echarry: I enjoy reading, going to the movies and spending time with my friends. Many of the people I love are dead, or are no longer in Cuba. I will do my best to transmit my thoughts, ideas or worries via these pages so you can get to know me. I will give an idea of my age, since it helps explain certain things. I’m over thirty-five, and I think that’s enough information. I don’t have any children yet, or nieces or nephews. There are days when I transform myself into a child with no age at all in order to see life from another angle. It helps me break the monotony and survive in this strange world.

Irina Echarry has 232 posts and counting. See all posts by Irina Echarry

16 thoughts on “What Was Ahmadinejad Doing in Cuba?

  • Im curious as to what this peace plan is and what sources exist for learning more about it, I personally have heard nothing of it.
    Thank you

  • “I know we live in different cultures, and this is why we shouldn’t judge him, not for the better or for the worse.”

    Did you ever heard of Human Rights, could you understand HH.RR. are universal, cross-cultural?
    It doesn’t matter if you live under a communist dictatorship or an islamic theocracy; you still have human rights.

  • As somebody already posted this is purely a matter of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, just as before his recent toppling Gaddafi was welcomed back into the international community by Blair & co. and why USA/Europe had good relations with most of middle east dictators. Perhaps economics comes into it too given the oil rigs being built off Cuba and as Chavez /Nicaragua have economic relations with Iran.

    I agree also that ‘different cultures’ shouldn’t be an excuse for not criticising wrong doing and Ahmadinejad’s government is certainly guilty of severe repression. Sadly in the global-political world ‘realpolitik’ comes before genuine ‘ethics’ so Cuba offers support to ‘anti-imperialist’s like Ahmadinejad and the USA continues to prop up Saudi Arabia & support Israeli aggression. Cuban support and action for the African liberation movements seems to have been a high from which foreign policy has descended somewhat.

    As to the dangers of Iran and the possibility of nuclear weapons; i fear the current economic crisis and its effects more than I do Iran. I have no idea if they genuinely are building a bomb as after Iraq I don’t really trust any reports of nuclear weapons! The point always to be made is that the USA/China/Russia etc all have nukes so what gives them a god-given right to do so and not others? USA is only nation to have used the bomb and is also a serial invader! On the other hand I do not like the idea of Iran with nuclear weapons…therefore I think the best position to take is to be anti-nuclear weapons (and energy; see Japan tsunami) in ALL countries. Perhaps unilateral disarmament and less aggressive policy will encourage Iran that they do not need these weapons…(interesting to note here is the number of missile sites the USA has on Iranian borders! Of course they are non-nuclear therefore ‘we don’t have to worry about them’…!

  • john, iran doesnt hide the fact that they openly support various groups of violent, wretched old buzzards throughout the region so to say they haven’t invaded anybody is true but is still dishonest.

    in one of your earlier posts you say that the uranium iran is enriching is for medical purposes, but not too long later you say it makes sense for them to want to aquire nukes. which is it?
    that precisely is what is what makes iran so dangerous, that nobody really knows.
    from an iranian perspective it may make sense for them to develope genocidal weaponry but for the rational minded person a country like iran cannot be allowed to aquire them for the simple fact that the iranian leadership are people who eagery await the “end of times” and would like to help it along. hypocritical though the west may be, standing firm on this point is of the absolute most importance, at least in my opinion, as i am already disgusted that atomic weaponry even exists at all, i cannot bear the thought of being held hostage to a nation like iran having that type of power.

  • Vio,

    Apparently you are unaware that Iran has not invaded any of its neighbors in modern times but that the real threat to the world; U.S. imperialism, has been responsible for the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953 and the ensuing 25 years of terror on the Iranian people under the U.S. installed dictator.
    In the 1980s Iraq with the total backing of the United States invaded Iran and killed over 200,00 Iranians.

    Here’s a link to both an article that you need to read regarding Iran’s “threat” to the world and to a website that takes the New York Times pro-U.S. articles and reveals the lies and inaccuracies found in them.


  • That is correct.
    The leaders of Iran are dangerous for the whole world.
    They should not have been invited in Cuba.

  • I stand corrected:
    Irina did mention DU but she was in error.
    What is being produced is 20% pure uranium for use in medical radioistopes.
    DU is used by the U.S in its artillery shells.
    I do not believe that any other country does so.

  • corrections:
    1) The 20% purification of uranium in is intended for medical use in radioactive isotopes.,
    It cannot be used to make nuclear weapons which require purification of uranium to well over 90 %.
    In previous deals limiting Iranian nuclear development the U.S reneged on the deal to supply medical radioisotope grade uranium forcing the Iranians to make their own.
    Anyone who does not know and understand this should not be discussing Iran’s nuclear program.

    Rachel, No one has spoken in this thread about DU

    Further, petroleum reserves are finite and will last maybe another 50 years at the current planet-wide usage.
    Iran is wise to use its oil wealth now to build its infrastructure and especially to build nuclear plants to replace the dependence on its diminishing oil reserves..

    Further, Iran has not invaded anyone in modern times. It had its democratically elected government overthrown by Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA in 1953, the Shah installed and a reign of terror imposed for the next 25 years. In the 80’s the Iraqis with full support from the U.S. invaded Iran, killing some 200,000 people.

    Given this history which puts the lie to an Iranian threat to its neighbors, it makes a world of sense for Iran to develop nuclear weapons for defensive purposes along with surface to surface missiles to deliver them along with sophisticated surface to air missile defense systems to shoot down the coming Israeli/US planes, drones and cruise missiles.

    On the other hand, Iran is a socially backward theologically run state poisoned by just another of the religions that have come out of the Middle East and afflicted the world.

    What Cuba and Venezuela have in common with Iran is the existential threat from U.S aggression and in this case “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” applies.

    Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and any other nation that contests U.S hegemony needs all the help it can get.

    Once the existential threat is gone ( and U.S economic and military abilities are dropping like a paralyzed falcon) Cuba et all can either drop their relations because of the religious craziness in Iran or , not likely, get Iran to reform its ways.

    As for what Karen Holmes wrote above: I would need some evidence of that supposed plan for peace.
    Where is this written about?
    Please name your sources.
    Since when has the U.S been interested in anything other than force to achieve its selfish ends?
    FYI, the U.S has spent a total of 45 minutes in diplomatic talks with the government of Iran over the alleged nuclear threat.
    Obama support a plan for peace? Don’t make me laugh. He’s waging as many wars as he can’t afford.
    Reality intrudes rudely into that fantastic idea of the U.S even thinking of allowing peace in the world.
    Since around 2000 U.S foreign policy has been predicated upon preventing any nation from being able to stand up to U.S hegemony.

    If Cuba can invite the Pope head of the Church of the Child Molesters to Cuba, it certainly can invite Ahmedinejad.
    Who represents the less moral group?

  • I agree with Karen, lets hope they find a solution.

  • There is a plan for world peace that is being introduced amongst the ambassadors in Washington, DC. Everyone knows about it and is talking about it, but no one knows how to make it come about. Several of the world’s leaders have stood up to hint they really like the plan, but they can’t just come out and state their support because they can’t figure out how to bring the U.S. government into the plan. I think Ahmadinejad went to Cuba to talk to the Castros to see how to encourage President Obama to support the plan.

  • Hello, I am not fond of the national leaders of Cuba and Iran. However, your posting clearly shows that you are out of touch with reality (other explanations do exist). You accuse Iran of producing Depleted Uranium (DU). Hello… Who has used DU for decades? Give you a hint: US (Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc) & Israel (Egypt, Gaza, etc). Please, do your homework… Don’t let your basic instinct (hate) overcome your homo sapiens advantage (wisdom). Google DU Babies. Google Tactical Nukes+Iraq. Check Operation Susannah that took out democratically elected Iranian President. Check Operation Northwoods. Etc. As for warmongering… Again, you got your facts wrong (I assume you talk about Modern History)… So… Yes, disagree with both Cuban and Iranian leaders. I have no problem with this. However, your posting serves the Real Warmongers, the ones who lied (Colin Powell at UN with WMDs; Bin Laden and 911; etc) to invade resource-rich countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. In case you haven’t noticed it, our Nobel Peace Prize President signed the Indefinite Detention Act on December 31st, 2011. I have come across a website that sheds light on these ideas that you posed. It will help you learn important issues hidden from the public. It will also help you understand that the History of the world presented to us has been manufactured by The Masters of The New World Order. This Act allows for torture, etc. Finally, I have learned quite a bit from this website. I hope you and your audience will find it useful to visit the website and learn a bit before criticizing any country on the basis of US Loving Democracy: http://Sail.To/du666

  • Maybe it is about location, location, location. I can’t help but think “Cuban missle crisis”.

  • I believe you cannot understand how is this possible, me neither, but I hope you do know why?

  • different cultures means nothing, it is perfectly fine, actually it is urgent to judge such people like ahmadinejad, as well as any stone age barbarism. the leadership of iran is one of the most vile on earth and i understand anti imperialist solidarity or whatever the hell, but the fact is that cuba has no business as a secular and socialist state cozing up to this fascist.

  • I think it is much easier to answer why Ahmedinejad was in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador than why he was allowed to visit. Rather than at the forefront of political Islam, the Islamic Republic of Iran is completely isolated in the Islamic world. Iranian isolation is not due to human rights concerns but the Sunni Shia split and territorial disputes with neighbouring countries. Ahmedinejad is not welcome in either Argentina or Brazil. Argentina still suspects Iran behind the bombing of a synagogue. And in Brazil Dilma Roussef has not continued Lula’s flirtation with Iran.

    As for Cuba it is different. Iran is one of the few countries left, able and willing to give financial credit to Cuba.
    There is no public debate on foreign policy in Cuba. Decisions on foreign policy are left to the discretion of a few, presumably the same few that have unlimited access to international news.

    It is not permitted for Cubans to set up a human rights group like Amnesty International in Cuba campaigning for human, trade union or workers rights in other countries. So, the Cuba Iran governmental alliance is not linked to a desire to defend socialism but simply a survival instinct. However, whether it is in the long-term interest of any socialist to allow a right-wing regime like Iran to have nuclear technology I doubt very much. The support for Iran’s right to have nuclear technology does not wash with me. So, why should a country that has in petrol a huge source of energy want to import uranium to produce even more energy. It makes no positive sense. No, sorry, history will not absolve Fidel Castro on his dealings with Iran.

  • Irina I think the Cuban regime’s logic in this is a case is – the enemy of my enemy is my friend type of logic.

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