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Jorge Mas Canosa (21 September 1939 – 24 November 1997) was a Cuban-American exile who founded the Cuban American National Foundation and MasTec, a publicly traded company. Regarded within the United States as a powerful lobbyist on Cuban and anti-Castro political positions,[1] he was labeled a “counterrevolutionary” by the Cuban Communist Party.[2] Mas Canosa was the driving force behind the creation of both Radio Marti and TV Marti and was appointed chairman of the advisory panel by President Ronald Reagan.[3][4] In the early 1960s, he was trained by the CIA for the Bay of Pigs Invasion and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. Under his leadership, the CANF received criticism for its role in covert operations in Cuba. In 1998, the New York Times published several articles on his relationship with Luis Posada Carriles.[5]

In 1981, Mas Canosa, along with Raul Masvidal and Carlos Salman, established the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), at the suggestion of Richard Allen, Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor, and Mario Elgarresta, a member of Allen’s staff.[19] The group was founded as part of a broader strategy to sideline more moderate perspectives within the Cuban-American community, and to convert anti-Castro activism from a more militant to a more political strategy.[20] CANF was widely described during Mas Canosa’s tenure as one of the most powerful ethnic lobbying organizations in the US, and used campaign contributions to advance its policy in Washington, DC.[21][22] Carter administration officials believed that if not for Mas Canosa, the United States might have ended the Cuban embargo.[2][23] Mas Canosa has received criticism from prominent journalists such as Christopher Hitchens who called Mas Canosa the caudillo of the Cuban-American National Foundation.[24]

Chester Arthur Crocker (born October 29, 1941) is an American diplomat and scholar who served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from June 9, 1981, to April 21, 1989, in the Reagan administration.[1] Crocker, architect of the U.S. policy of “constructive engagement” towards Southern Africa including apartheid-era South Africa, is credited with setting the terms of Namibian independence. Author/journalist Christopher Hitchens gave credit for the independence agreement to the South-West Africa People’s Organization, rather than to constructive engagement.

Bernt Wilmar Carlsson (21 November 1938 – 21 December 1988) was a Swedish social democrat and diplomat who served as Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from July 1987 until he died on Pan Am Flight 103, which was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.[1] Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was subsequently convicted of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Namibia’s independence had been expected to take place soon after United Nations Security Council Resolution 435 was agreed in September 1978. However, it took over 10 years for UNSCR 435 to be implemented. The delay was blamed by author and journalist Christopher Hitchens on Chester Crocker’s ‘procrastination’ and on President Ronald Reagan’s ‘attempt to change the subject to the presence of Cuban forces in Angola’ as well as the ‘flagrant bias’ in America’s Namibia policy in favour of apartheid South Africa. Hitchens praised Carlsson’s role as a ‘neutral mediator’ in the process leading to Namibia’s independence:[5]

An important participant was Bernt Carlsson, UN Commissioner for Namibia, who worked tirelessly for free elections in the colony and tried to isolate the racists diplomatically. Carlsson had been Secretary-General of the Socialist International, and International Secretary of the Swedish Social Democratic Party. He performed innumerable services for movements and individuals from Eastern Europe to Latin America. His death in the mass murder of the passengers on Pan American Flight 103 just before Christmas 1988, and just before the signing of the Namibia accords in New York, is appalling beyond words.


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