U.N. event sparks Castro debate

By Amy Fredette

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Model United Nations celebrated the U.N.'s 50th anniversary yesterday on the Mall, but not without mixed opinions about the visit of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his exclusion from celebratory dinner parties.

Leader of the only communist country in the western hemisphere, Castro was not invited to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's feast held Saturday night, or to President Clinton's banquet held Monday.

"If he's going to be let into this country, it's a harsh thing to do," said Arizona Model U.N. member A.J. Campani.

Campani, a political science junior, said that his international law class spent time debating whether Castro should have been excluded from the private celebrations.

Campani said that although views were mixed, most of his classmates felt that Castro was treated unfairly.

"If the U.S. is trying to send political messages, then that's in bad taste," Campani said.

"As for Castro's exclusion, I think it's very important that he not be welcome," said Michael Vaughan, a philosophy senior and Arizona Model U.N member. "He maintained close relations with Russia during the Cold War; he once had nuclear weapons pointed toward our country - he's a communist."

"Why would we want to trade with a country that doesn't allow trade within its own country?" Vaughan said.

Claudia Arevalo, political science senior, disagreed with Castro's exclusion.

"He represents many years of power," Arevalo said. "He's a very important person for global issues. His ideas are very important for us so that we can learn more about socialism."

Arevalo, also a member of Arizona Model U.N., said that although she felt that Castro should have been invited to the dinners, she said he would not change his oppressive ways after visiting the United States.

"He'll still be a socialist when he goes back to Cuba," Arevalo said. "He's just demonstrating to his people that he's not afraid to talk to people in capitalist countries."

Vaughan said he is not in "total" support of the United Nations, because he feels there are certain issues with which it should not be involved.

"Countries should be accountable for themselves and shouldn't rely so much on other countries," Vaughan said. "The U.S. doesn't have a duty to provide goods and services to other countries. It has a duty to promote peace to other countries throughout the world because that directly affects us."

Even though Castro was absent from Giuliani's and Clinton's guest lists, he has received plenty of media attention.

"He who gets the most media wins," said Sean Duffy, political science junior. "He's (Castro) been getting the most media attention by far."

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