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Monday, June 11, 2012

Fix flawed relations with Cuba

Voice from the Americas sees what U.S. Americans won’t see
Excerpting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

Today on the Democracy Now program a daughter of Cuba gave further evidence of a severely impaired U.S. foreign relations model perpetuated by entrenched leadership.

Cuban activist Mariela Castro Espín is president of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Center for the Study of Sexuality, president of the National Commission for Treatment of Disturbances of Gender Identity, and a member of the Direct Action Group for Preventing, Confronting, and Combating AIDS. She is an executive member of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) and the director of the journal Sexología y Sociedad, a magazine of Sexology edited by an organization she directs, the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).

This human rights advocate and campaigner for effective AIDS prevention, scholar and author  is also the daughter of Cuban president Raúl Castro and Vilma Espín; niece of Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro; and is married to Italian Paolo Titolo, General Manager of Amorim Negocios Internacionais, S.A. in Cuba.

In answering questions posed by Democracy Now interviewer Amy Goodman, this is some of what Mariela Castro Espín had to say. [Democracy Now translation]

U.S. presidency, agent of imperialism

“I … prefer a president who responds to the interests of the American people,” she said; one who protects the poor from the arbitrary actions of the rich and who respects international law.”

However, while holding the office of president …of the United States, “it difficult to be just… [in that a president] represents an imperialist government and policy.…”

Cuban Five imprisoned in the United States

Prosecution of the Cuban Five was “a kind of political vendetta … [and] as part of the Cuban population, I am committed to fighting for the liberation of the five Cubans,” Mariela Castro Espín said. “In this case, four Cubans who are imprisoned and one who is out on probation in Miami are serving very severe sentences that do not correspond with the evidence.

“There is no evidence for such severe sentences. If they had been tried justly, they would have already completed their sentences. Yet, they are still prisoners.”

The Cuban Five (or Miami Five: Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González) are Cuban intelligence officers who were arrested in Miami, on September 12, 1998, and indicted by the U.S. government on 25 different counts, including charges of false identification and conspiracy to commit espionage.

After seven months and much public and media ranting and pressure from Miami Cubans in exile, an additional indictment, conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the shoot-down of the Brothers to the Rescue aircraft, was added against Gerardo Hernández.

The Cuban Five trial began in November 2000 and ended in 2001 after a few hours’ jury deliberation. In June 2001, the group was convicted of 26 counts in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami. The verdict included a charge of first-degree murder against Gerardo Hernandez which the prosecution had applied to withdraw.

The prosecution had tried to withdraw the case when it became clear that the judge’s jury instructions would specify that the murder charge required that the deaths occurred within U.S. jurisdiction, which it had been unable to show.

The prosecution also applied for an emergency writ, which was denied, that the instructions should exclude reference to jurisdiction.

U. S. terrorism in Cuba

In 1960s and 1970s, the United States-based counterrevolutionary exile groups such as Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), Alpha 66, and Omega 7 committed many acts of terrorism against Cuba.

A 2001 report by Cuba’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations covered four decades and highlighted attacks such as the bombing of Cubana Flight 455 by men trained by the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA-supported Bay of Pigs invasion, and the War against the Bandits between the government and anti-communist rebels in the Escambray Mountains.

Catalogued by the Cuban government in this report were 3,478 deaths as a result of “terrorism,” “aggression,” “acts of piracy and other actions.”

Alan Gross imprisoned in Cuba

Alan Phillip Gross was a U.S. government contractor with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) working in Cuba. While in Cuba in 2009, he was arrested as a spy.

In 2011, he was prosecuted for committing crimes against the Cuban state and is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba.

Fix relations
Mariela Castro Espín 
Wikipedia image

Mariela Castro Espín ended her discussion on this subject by calling for return of the Cuban Five to Cuba and return of Alan Gross to the United States.

Concerning relations in general between the United States and Cuba, she said, “I want an end to the financial, commercial and economic blockade that violates the human rights of the Cuban people and the normalization of relations between both countries.”

Sources and notes


Mariela Castro on Ending the Embargo and Swapping Cuban Five for Jailed U.S. Contractor Alan Gross, June 11, 2012, http://www.democracynow.org/2012/6/11/mar

Wikipedia notes


Obama, give me five now ... la que asistirá Mariela Castro, hija del gobernante cubano Raúl Castro, cubanet.org

Wikipedia image of Mariela Castro Espín
Worldatlas map images, http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/caribb/cu.htm


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