(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 20, 2011
Barack Obama entered
the White House there were expectations in some quarters that
community has been repeatedly condemning the unjust five
decades old economic
Cuban government and
people want the blockade to be lifted at the earliest but
their immediate focus
these days is to ensure the release of Gerardo Hernandez,
Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzales, known
the “Cuban Five”. Their case has been a “cause celebre” world
International solidarity committees demanding freedom for the
sprung up all over the world, including
excessively long sentences, put in separate jails in different
parts of the
country with periods of solitary confinement and routinely
denied visits by
their family members who are all residing in
Gonzales was freed
from prison in early October after 13 years in prison. But
this did not
translate into freedom for Rene. A judge has ordered him to
serve an additional
three years of probation in the
well known that the
job assigned to “Cuban Five” by the authorities in
terrorism started with “Operation
Mongoose” in 1962 under the auspices of the Kennedy
administration. 5700 acts
of terrorism have been committed against
Luis Posada Carriles, the notorious terrorist responsible for putting a bomb on a Cuban passenger plane in 1976 that killed 76 people, had become active again at the time the Cuban Five were in the US. In 2000, he was involved in a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro when the Cuban leader was attending a regional summit in Panama. He was released from a jail in Panama in 2004 under a presidential pardon. The Panamanian president, Mireya Moscoso, pardoned Carriles, just before demitting office. The Cuban and Venezuelan governments had put Posada on its most wanted list. Posada had escaped from a Venezuelan jail in the mid-nineties, where he was held for eight years in connection with the blowing up of the Cuban airplane. Posada turned up in the US in 2005 where he spent a short time in jail.
The Obama administration has not bothered to either try him on terrorism charges or prosecute him for the bombings of hotels in Cuba. Posada had confessed to a New York Times journalist that he had planned and financed many of the hotel bombings. The Venezuelan government had asked for his extradition but that plea was also ignored on specious judicial grounds. Ricardo Alarcon, the Speaker of Cuba’s national assembly called the Posada trial “a stupid and shameful farce”. The Cuban foreign ministry described the trial which concluded earlier in the year “as an emblematic case of the United States’ double standards in the international fight against terrorism”. In the last days of the presidency of George Bush Senior, Orlando Bosch Avila, who had masterminded many acts of terrorism against civilian targets in Cuba in cahoots with Posada was also granted an executive pardon.
Successive US administrations had either actively supported or turned a blind eye to the activities of the Cuban terror groups on their soil despite the government in Havana cooperating with Washington on broad counter-terrorism issues. In 2005, an FBI delegation visiting Havana was given voluminous documents detailing the activities of anti-Cuban terror groups in the US and Central America. Not a single individual named in the dossiers was arrested. Instead the Bush administration turned its wrath on the Cuban Five, who had provided much of the information to the Cuban government on the terror groups and their network.
The Obama administration, like its predecessors, has continued with its subversive activities inside Cuba. The USAID’s Cuba program had risen to $250 million per year under Bush and was funnelled through Cuban dissident groups. After it was revealed that much of the money was squandered to supply groups inside Cuba with expensive luxury goods and the rest siphoned off through corrupt practices, the Obama administration adopted a more stealthy approach by subcontracting the job of destabilising Cuba to NGO’s and contractors. A contractor, Alan Gross, was arrested in Havana in December 2009, after being caught supplying lap top computers to dissident groups in the island. Gross had travelled to Cuba on a tourist visa despite working as an “independent business and development consultant” for Development Alternatives Inc (DAI), a company working for the US government. The DAI had received USAID money for “democracy development” in Cuba. Organisations like the DAI have been hired because of their willingness to run covert operations inside Cuba by subcontracting work to individuals like Gross.
In March this year, Gross was duly sentenced by a Cuban court for 15 years for crimes against the State. Now the Obama administration wants to trade Rene for Gross. The Obama administration despatched Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico to Havana in September to plead for the release of Gross. The US move to swap the two prisoners was rejected in Havana. Cuban officials have pointed out that Rene has already served most of his sentence. According to reports in the American media, the Cuban government was prepared to pardon Gross provided all the Cuban Five were released. US officials have said that they would not consider pardoning the remaining four Cubans who are still physically behind bars in American prisons. Richardson during his visit to Havana had also carried vague promises from the Obama administration about removing Cuba form the US State Department’s list of countries sponsoring terrorism and a reduction in the funding of its clandestine destabilisation programs.
The Obama administration thought that Cuba would jump to the bait. Richardson had even kept a plane waiting to whisk away Gross. Cuba wants all the Five to come back home and be reunited with their family. Gross has been in prison for less than two years for a crime he had committed while the Cuban Five have been unjustly incarcerated since 2001 for exposing a terror network operating from the American mainland. Rene, speaking to the Cuban people after stepping out of prison, said that “only one avenue of abuse which I have been subjected to has been closed”. He assured the Cuban people that he would go on fighting till his four comrades are also freed. “For me, this is only a trench, a new place in which I am going to continue fighting for justice till the five of us can return together to you”, Rene said in his stirring message.