May 14, 2002


Officials contradict remarks by Carter : Cuba's biotechnology 'sharing' disputed (PATTY REINERT and MICHAEL HEDGES, May 13, 2002, Houston Chronicle)
After accompanying Cuban leader Fidel Castro on a tour of a biotechnology lab in Havana, Carter said he had queried U.S. officials about allegations of Cuban research into weapons of mass destruction before his trip.

"I asked them specifically on more than one occasion if there was any evidence that Cuba has been involved in sharing any information to any other country that could be used for terrorist purposes," Carter said. "The answer from our experts on intelligence was `no.' "

But both the White House and the State Department contradicted Carter's remarks Monday.

"Cuba has at least a limited offensive biological weapons research and development effort, and has provided ... biotechnology to other rogue states," said Otto Reich, assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere. [...]

But Cuban experts heatedly denied the charge Monday during Carter's visit.

"This has offended us because the first thing you need to produce biological weapons is the intention to do so," said Ricardo Bringas, director of bioinformatics at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology on the outskirts of Havana. "We do not have that intention. It does not exist here."

Elias Rodriguez Garcia, another researcher at the lab, said, "These accusations are completely, absolutely false. ... We are very bothered by this because we have worked so hard for more than 15 years, from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m., to get to the level the United States has in biotechnology. But we are interested in biotechnology for lifesaving, not for death and war."

So basically we're asked to take the word of Cuban functionaries that even though they have a crash biotechnology program, they'd never use it for offensive purposes? Well, heck, it was good enough for an ex-President.... Posted by Orrin Judd at May 14, 2002 7:22 AM
Comments for this post are closed.