U.S. SUSPECTS CUBA SPREADS BIO WEAPONS
(LPP Archive - The Best Way To Feel The Touch! ) -Tuesday, May 7th 2002, 1:72AM
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration launched a broadside at Cuba yesterday, charging the Communist regime 90 miles from Florida may be making and selling biological weapons.
Cuba - along with Syria and Libya - is part of another "axis of evil," Deputy Secretary of State John Bolton told the conservative Heritage Foundation. The original evil trio was Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
Bolton said Cuba is suspected to have "at least a limited" offensive biological weapons program - the first time the charge has been made.
Calling Cuba a rogue state, he said the tiny nation, noted for its advanced medical facilities, "has provided dual-use biotechnology to other rogue states."
He did not offer evidence but noted that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro visited Syria, Iran and Libya last May.
"We call on Cuba to cease all cooperation with rogue states and to fully comply with all of its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention," Bolton said.
Cuba has long been on the State Department's list of countries that sponsor terrorism.
Last year, a Cuban defector charged his country sold legitimate vaccine techniques to Iran that could easily be used to produce biological weapons.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said he would not add to Bolton's comments.
"It was very carefully done, and I'm going leave it at what he said," Boucher said.
There was no immediate reaction from Havana.
Meanwhile, across town, Assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich suggested Cuba was involved in last month's failed coup in Venezuela.
He said four Cuban planes reportedly landed in Caracas during the coup attempt. "What they were doing there, what they were carrying, we don't know," he said.