Anti-US Demonstration Set For Havana

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

( - Cuba's official Granma newspaper reports as many as 800,000 Cubans will march Wednesday before the US Interests Section in Havana to protest U.S. legislation placing strict conditions on U.S. food and medicine sales to Cuba. The bill, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, is "anti-Cuba," the Castro government says.

An editorial in the newspaper claims the bill favors the interests of "Miami's Cuban-American mafia." It condemns the bill for its "anti-democratic procedures." Among other things, the bill writes into law a U.S. ban on travel to Cuba. It also deprives Cuba of the private and public financing the nation needs to buy U.S. food and medicine.

The editorial says House passage of the bill proves that "chaos reigns in US politics."

It complains that "the government and Congress can be used as instruments of the Cuban-American mafia and the ultra-right-wing at a moment when the majority of the American people and the majority of US legislators have demonstrated that they are tired of a stupid and cruel policy that's been in place for more than four decades."

The editorial concluded, "Under these conditions, Cuba will not purchase one cent of medicine or food in the United States, not only due to these unacceptable and humiliating conditions, but also because anti-Cuba legislation remains in place."

Congressional negotiators approved the Cuba language as the last item of a compromise $75-billion Agriculture funding bill.

At the time of passage, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) said the bill underscored the "solidarity" of the U.S. Congress with the oppressed people of Cuba. The denial of credits and tourism to the Cuban dictatorship constitutes an extraordinarily important victory for freedom."