September 3, 1999

Brothers to the Rescue launches new plan of attack

MSNBC, septiembre 3, 1999

For years, Brothers to the Rescue has been taking to the air to take a stand against the Cuban government. Now they have a new plan of attack to help bring change to the Communist island and it is not coming by air.

Their airplanes are their trademark. Well-known for their humanitarian missions in the Straits of Florida of saving lives of Cuban rafters and boaters, now Brothers to the Rescue has a new mission. Mini-pamphlets on how to peacefully bring change to Cuba are being flooded into the island by the group.

Brothers leader Jose Basulto has been shipping larger versions of the pamphlet to Cuba for about a year. Initially the "Passive Resistance Cookbooks" were sent to dissident leaders. The smaller format pamphlet will be sent to as many as possible on the island.

"It is very easy to fit in your shirt pocket and in it can hide it," Basulto said. "It was done in a way so you could open it and it would be thin enough so you could put it in an envelope and send it to Cuba."

Members believe the time is right for the mini-pamphlets. Over the past several years, there have been more and more street demonstrations. The most notable example of resistance was a recent 40-day hunger strike staged by members of the dissident Lawton Foundation.

At the offices of the CubaNet, an exile news gathering operation in constant contact with island journalists, the feeling is the Brothers to the Rescue material is being read and acted on.

"I think they have been and they are reflecting. I think they have been read, the material Basulto is sending there," said Rosa Berre of CubaNet.

The small booklet is a compilation of several books written by Cambridge political scientist Gene Sharp, who advocates non-violent action leading to the destruction of dictatorships by empowering citizens using the tactic of non-cooperation.

"We are not the protagonist. They are the protagonist. We are simply the supporters of the effort to bring freedom and Democracy to Cuba," Basulto explained.

Brothers to the Rescue continue their weekly flights. Now they have another major project– a re-direction which puts them shoulder to shoulder with dissidents on the island.