Today 404 Moroccan Prisoners of War arrived home. These POW's, the world's longest held POW's - some held for more then 2 decades, are the last of more than 2,400 held by Western Sahara's exiled Polisario Front.
These men share something with the Cuban people - hatred for Fidel Castro. The Cuban regime heavily assisted the Polisario, providing guns, money, training and logistical support. They allowed Castro to spread his global effort against the West and its allies.
This fight over the Western Sahara area, located in Northern African, began in 1975 when Spain withdrew as the colonial power. Morocco then reclaimed the area, historically part of the country. But then, the Soviet Union -- with help from Cuba, Libya and Algeria -- assisted a group of rebels, the Polisario Front, in hopes of making the area another Communist state. The Polisario Front got overwhelming assistance from Cuba, at the request of Algeria.
In true Cuban fashion these POW's were horribly tortured "witnessing summary executions of fellow soldiers; being forced to serve as involuntary blood donors to their captors; providing slave labor; undergoing routine physical interrogations; denial of adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical attention and absolutely no contact with their families – many thinking they were dead." Clearly they were taught my Cuban experts on torture and human rights violations.
Continuously from 1976 the Cubans trained the group in Cuba and in the Saharan territory, providing instruction in military actions against Morocco, providing education and indoctrination to thousands of Sahroui children who were separated from their parents for extended stays in Cuba; providing medical, educational and cultural assistance; and training officers to act as military leaders, and providing diplomatic support to the Polisario position in the international community.
Throughout the years of the war, from 1975 till September 1991, Morocco fought off Cuban naval ships, and war planes. Cuba was also actively engaged in an arms delivery program to the Polisario Front. Cuba continued their military support despite a United Nations sponsored cease fire.
Naturally the Polisario group denies any relationship with the Cuban government. Most likely, out of fear that it may cause political trouble with the U.S.A.. Yet on the other hand, Cuba speaks openly about their long time friendship and cooperation with the North African group.
Their working relationship is still very vibrant. As recent as 2003, the last know class of Polisario combatants graduated from military schools in Cuba. And even today, some 350 to 500 Sahraoui children (ages 9 – 11) are being trained in Cuba about communist ideology and anti-west propaganda, unescorted by their parents for extended periods of time, as long as 15 years and upwards.
There are many more atrocities, human rights violations and despicable behavior being perpetuated by the Polisario with heavy assistance from the Castro regime. None of which should shock Cuban-American too much, as we know what types of things the Castro government is capable of doing.
The long-awaited release of the prisoners is the product of an international effort, with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross; Fondation France Liberte; Les Jackson, executive director of American Ex- Prisoners of War; U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL); and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
A few months ago a few of the freed POW’s visited the Washington area and visited Capitol Hill. They spread their story to anyone that would listen. They shared how they were ripped away at the prime of their lives. Some missing limbs, some feeling they had lost their souls, all willing to tell people about the realities they lived through.
More people must know that Castro does not stop in Cuba. He is a harbored of international terrorism and anything to destroy the west and its allies.
We must spread the story of these POWs in their honor and in honor of their Cuban brothers still suffering in Cuba’s jails. (QDTBA)
Morocco welcomes last POWs from Polisario camps
Moroccan American Center for Policy