The Guardian 13 April, 2005
More lies about WMD,
this time against Cuba
Richard Bolton, US assistant secretary for International Armaments and Security, has accused Cuba of producing biological weapons and being a terrorist threat to the United States. He has repeatedly made this accusation. Once, on March 30, 2004, before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Bolton asserted that Cuba could supply double-use biotechnology to other criminal states.
The assistant secretary referred to the island as a "criminal state", and expressed his concern over Cuba sharing such technologies with other "despicable" nations. These accusations were part of President Bush’s argument to approve his measures against Cuba regarding travel and the sending of remittances. One of those centres of production of biological weapons and weapons of mass destruction, where products are constructed to be shared with other terrorist countries, which could attack the US people at any moment, is the Havana Molecular Immunology Center.
Its researchers cannot obtain a visa to travel to scientific meetings held in the United States because, according to the US authorities, their presence would be a danger to the most powerful nation in the world.
The Center of Defense Information visited those installations on May 2003 with Pentagon officials, searched every inch of the building, interviewed personnel and prepared reports on six military and scientific specialists.
Since I have never been to a biological weapons centre with such potential for destruction, I decided to visit this institution. In contrast to what I imagined, I did not see a massive military presence at the entrance of the building, guarding such dangerous activities, just a photograph of Jose Martí, and a bulletin board with his poetry in the corridor. The dangerous scientists were barely 30 years old, with innocent smiles that did not seem like those of individuals planning a surprise attack on the United States.
When I began asking what they do at the centre, I found out that they produce erythropoyetine for anemia and immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. And it would seem that I am not the only person to have come to this conclusion because their products are being tested in Italy, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and Spain, among other countries.
Moreover, 50 US companies have expressed an interest in the centre’s oncological treatment. Last year, the US pharmaceutical company CancerVax signed a co-operation agreement with the centre to produce three cancer vaccines from this institution for the manufacture of biological weapons and weapons of mass destruction, one of them to treat lung cancer.
This collaboration has taken almost two years of negotiations by the US company’s CEOs with the US authorities in order to convince the government, including the director of the John Wayne Cancer Institute of Cancer in California, who had to explain the project to the US Senate itself.
So, the crime of the Molecular Immunology Center is that it is a pioneer in research into immunology in order to manufacture vaccines for poor countries, and which it has been exporting for five years. It is giving an example of scientific rigor in combating cancer through the production of humanised antibodies and vaccines, which develop natural defences against tumours and have demonstrated a high efficacy in European clinical trials.
And all this is happening in a Third World country, where reagents take seven months to reach its labs because of the US blockade, and with scientists who do not envy the money and luxury of developed countries.
Without any doubt, weapons of mass destruction are to be found in the Molecular Immunology Center and the 40 centres comprising the so-called Scientific Complex in west Havana, but these are weapons against egoism, lack of solidarity and the model of scientific development in the first world, based on the enrichment of the large transnationals.