Cuban spy Gerardo Hernandez spent 16 years imprisoned in the US and was amnestied in the process of rapprochement.
Former Cuban spy in the US believes that Havana has won the tug-of-war with Washington.
Havana, 03/19/2016 02:45 h.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Gerardo Hernandez (Havana, June 4, 1965) is the son of a Canary Islands woman who came to Cuba when she was fifteen. He does not have a Spanish passport and considers himself a Cuban patriot. He is the man of the moment on the island. Convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage in the United States, he spent more than fifteen years in prison there.
On December 17, 2014 he was amnestied as a gesture of good will in the process of rapprochement between Cuba and the US. El Español has spoken with him under the watchful eye of the Alma Mater statue at the University of Havana days before the historic visit of Barack Obama to the island, which begins this Sunday. His words are echoed, and heavily so, throughout Cuba in this crucial moment for the largest of the Antilles.
Why were you sent to jail and why where you amnestied?
I was sent to jail because I was doing intelligence work for Cuba in the United States. For many years, groups that were sometimes paid and other times tolerated by the United States had been coming to attack Cuba, planting bombs in hotels, blowing up planes … The US never did anything to stop it, so Cuba was forced to send people over there to uncover their plans and send information over here.
We were arrested and tried in Miami without the minimum guarantees of impartiality. In my case, I was sentenced to two life sentences plus fifteen years of imprisonment. After sixteen years in prison, as part of the ongoing process of rapprochement, the two countries reached an agreement, a part of which was the release of three of the five of us who were still in prison.
Is it correct to say that you were a spy?
Look, there are people who defend us and who take offense by the term. I tell you that the term is wrong, but I do not take offense. Legally it does not apply to us because according to US law, we were not accused of spying, but of conspiracy to commit espionage. But I do not feel offended by the term, as I said. I was an intelligence officer and a spy is something that people talk about in the movies and such.
Fidel Castro talks to Hernandez and Ramon Labañino, another of the prisoners.
Photo: Cuban government
Looking ahead, do you see yourself returning sometime to the US, or do you think of the country holding a grudge?
I hold no grudge whatsoever. I took up a responsibility when I agreed to carry out my mission and I have no problem with that. While we did have the unpleasant experience of hearing people say that they wanted to lynch us, and of having had an unfair trial that lasted more than six months, there were also people, including political and religious officials, who were able to see that our cause was just; also there were actors like Danny Glover, who supported us.
Generally speaking I have no negative feelings toward the US people, but I do not see myself going back because one of the conditions imposed for our release was that we could never go back to that country.
I’m going to ask you to be critical of the Revolution and tell me what it has done wrong in these decades, and if you understand that it is time to seriously consider holding multi-party elections in Cuba.
I think that we do have options in Cuba. I guess you mean the fact that there is a single party. That is the result of historical factors: José Martí founded a single party to make it the party of the Cuban nation. Over time, the Communist Party of Cuba has opened up to other sectors such as the religious. Our goal is to make it even more participatory; but we firmly intend to maintain unity.
Our people, 90, 80 or 75 per cent of it support their Revolution.
Throughout our history we have paid dearly on account of disunity. If they manage to divide us, we will be in trouble. You cannot analyze Cuban reality without emphasizing that we are a small country only ninety miles away from the most powerful nation in the world, one that has been determined to prevent Cubans from choosing our own destiny. Our people, 90, 80 or 75 per cent of it support their revolution. You can rest assured that the day when Cubans do not support the revolution, this could not hold. If we are standing today, it is because we have the majority of Cubans with us. It is not a perfect society, but we want to make it ourselves.
Raul Castro has already announced that he resigns this year. There is talk about Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel, the Minister for Economy Marino Murillo, even about a son of Raul’s…
This is not a monarchy. In Cuba, the succession that occurred was because Raul was our vice president and there was no one else more apt or loved by the people. The [National] Assembly [Parliament] met and he was elected.
This is not a monarchy. In Cuba succession happened because Raul was our Vice President
My personal opinion is that it should be comrade Miguel Diaz Canel, who has a great performance record. But everything depends on the will of the Cuban people.
You speak of the will of Cubans and the possibility of it being expressed under the current regime. When you were in prison, the late dissident Oswaldo Paya collected signatures –as contemplated in the law– in what was known as the “Varela Project”. He demanded freedom of expression and assembly, entrepreneurial freedom, democratic elections and amnesty for political prisoners. He was ignored, but eventually some of his proposals have been adopted. What do you say to that?
Actually I was in prison then. I do know that there have been many projects financed from abroad. For less than that, in the United States you get accused of being an agent at the service of a foreign power, for which I got a fifteen-year sentence. I am sure that in Spain anyone who tries to change the government while being paid by a foreign power would go against Spanish law. If this happens in Cuba, other countries applaud. And, well, if we have taken measures that were in that project, let them be welcome.
The bottom line is: in Cuba do people really have the possibility to make decisions about the political system within the current framework?
Cuba’s current system is not perfect, just like all others. But I’ll give you an example: in the last election of the People’s Power, people who are openly against the Government were nominated. There was a vote and they had their chance. The only requirement in our system is that you get elected at the grassroots; you do not have to be a Party member. It is enough to have a base that supports you.
Yoani Sanchez is primarily a media phenomenon created by the Grupo Prisma, and she is better-known abroad than inside.
We can continue modifying aspects of the system to make it more participatory, but the possibility already exists. What happens is that these dissidents, who sometimes are better known outside Cuba than inside, do not have a base of social support. These are cases artificially created from abroad for a reason. And I’ll give you the case of Yoani Sanchez, a media phenomenon created primarily by the Grupo Prisma, who is better known outside than inside. She can stand here at any corner and nobody knows her.
Nor do the Cuban media give her any coverage…
Sure, she hasn’t deserved it either. The Cuban media would give coverage to a woman who may be having a hard time trying to push her family forward. But I do not see any merit in this person to promote her, and we are not going to waste any money of our media to do so.
There is a great expectation with Obama’s visit. Everyone in Cuba surmises that a new stage is about to begin, but no one gives a name to it. Perhaps it is an economic opening without altering the political system, as in China, or something else. What is your perception?
I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you how Cuba will look like in a few years. What I can tell you is what most Cubans want: a country that solves the problems that still affect us, but also that it does not resemble the Cuba of the past when it was necessary to make a revolution.
What would you demand from the United States so that it doesn’t stop at a policy of gestures; what specific measures would you like to see?
Just what we have demanded for more than half a century, since the triumph of the Revolution: For the US to recognize our right to exist as an independent and sovereign nation, to recognize that we are not their backyard. For them to understand that Cuba is a nation that decided its own destiny; and that we Cubans have the right to resolve our own problems without foreign interference.
In relation to the many Cubans who reside in the United States, conflicting versions circulate. The state newspaper Granma argues that this is not so and that they will do anything to prevent the Castro regime from receiving a life-line. What do you think?
For many years now a lot of surveys have been performed by respectable firms, some of which are not at all friendly to Cuba. Even surveys by the US government itself recognize that the vast majority of Cubans living in the US want a normal relationship with their country. Now then, that vast majority of Cubans do not yet have enough economic and political clout to push for more rapid measures.
Cuban power in the US is held by a minority segment –increasingly so– of powerful Cuban families who have found their way into Congress.
The political and economic power there is held by a minority segment –increasingly so– of Cubans who left this country. They belonged to powerful families and in recent years have come to hold seats in Congress. Up until this week, there were two aspiring candidates for the US presidency of Cuban origin [Republicans Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio who has withdrawn from the presidential race]. That segment is increasingly small, but unfortunately it is the one that controls the banks and the media. The majority is on the other side, but unfortunately many still do not vote and have no power to raise an opinion.
If Ted Cruz wins, would it be good or bad news for Cuba?
I think it would be very bad, because they are people who have lived off the hatred industry for many years. Hatred against Cuba has given them a modus vivendi like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for example, Lincoln Diaz-Balart … members of Congress who for many years have not had a well-defined program other than hatred against Cuba. They have objected to everything that might have benefited the Cuban people. For instance, when hurricanes have devastated the Island and the Red Cross has wanted to seek help from the United States, they have even opposed that. Their preaching has always been: we will destroy the Government of Cuba; we will recover Cuba at any price. They have motivated a generation of old Cubans who know nothing but that message of hatred. That will change with the new generations of Cuban immigrants, especially starting in the eighties, who went to that country to advance economically and help their families.
If the US puts on the negotiation table the need for free elections in Cuba before discussing Guantanamo and the blockade, would it be acceptable?
Of course not. If we talk to them it is because they have recognized that it is impossible for Cuba to accept preconditions. For many years they said they had nothing to negotiate while the Castros were in power, the country was Communist and had a single party; Cuba always remained firm and said that if we ever sat down to negotiate, it would be on equal terms without preconditions. Finally they had to accept.
If we talk with the US it is because they have recognized that it is impossible for Cuba to accept pre-conditions
Do you think Cuba is the winner of this tug-of-war?
I think that Cuba has already won in the sense that we have not given up any of our principles to sit down and negotiate. They are the same since 1959. The United States has said for decades that it would never negotiate while the Castros were in power and yet, Raul Castro is our president, Fidel is alive and is our guide. And they are negotiating with us. It is a victory for Cuba that they have sat down to negotiate without conditions.
EX HUMORIST AND FATHER ‘BEHIND BARS’
Before joining the Cuban intelligence services, Gerardo was a cartoonist. Throughout his years behind bars he claimed he had not lost irony as a weapon of defense. “You can put humor into sixteen years in prison; it is something that helps a lot. We humorists have a particular way of seeing life, and is not that what we take everything lightly, but I do not know any embittered person who can be a humorist. In my case, my optimistic nature helped me a lot. All along the years that we spent in prison, the five of us often laughed at our own misfortunes. That helped us. “
In prison, the five of us often laughed over our own misfortunes
Gerardo has recently become a father. The numbers don’t add up for a period of normal pregnancy, since his daughter was born a few days after he was released. The explanation: “We always wished to have our child; we had asked for conjugal visits for prisoners, something that happens in Cuba but not in the United States, at least in federal prisons. My wife Adriana asked an American senator for help and he knocked on the right doors to allow me to make a donation after my wife had her eggs frozen. It was a process of in vitro fertilization”. The little girl is called Gema and she was born on January 6, 2015.
DANIEL PINILLA La Habana
19.03.2016 02:45 h.
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo (La Habana, 4 de junio de 1965) es hijo de una canaria que llegó a Cuba cuando tenía quince años. Él no tiene el pasaporte español y se considera patriota cubano. Es el hombre del momento en la isla. Condenado por conspiración para cometer espionaje en Estados Unidos, ha permanecido más de tres lustros en la cárcel allí.
El 17 de diciembre de 2014 fue amnistiado como gesto de buena voluntad dentro del proceso de acercamiento entre ambos países. EL ESPAÑOL ha hablado con él bajo la atenta mirada de la estatua del Alma Mater de la Universidad de La Habana en los días previos a la histórica visita de Barack Obama a la isla, que se inicia este domingo. Sus palabras tienen eco, y mucho, en toda Cuba en este momento trascendental para la mayor de las Antillas.
¿Por qué fue encarcelado y por qué ha sido amnistiado?
Fui encarcelado porque estaba en Estados Unidos haciendo labor de Inteligencia para Cuba. Durante muchos años, grupos a veces pagados y otras tolerados por Estados Unidos han estado viniendo para agredir a Cuba, han puesto bombas en hoteles, derribado aviones… EEUU nunca hizo nada para impedirlo, así que Cuba se vio obligada a mandar gente a ese país para descubrir sus planes y mandar información para acá.
Nosotros fuimos arrestados, se nos hizo un juicio en la ciudad de Miami sin las mínimas garantías de imparcialidad. En mi caso se me condenó a dos cadenas perpetuas más quince años de privación de libertad. Después de haber cumplido dieciséis años en prisión, como parte del actual proceso de acercamiento, los dos países llegaron a un acuerdo, parte del cual era la libertad de los tres de los cinco que quedábamos encarcelados.
¿Decir que ejerció de espía es correcto?
Mira, hay personas que nos defienden y que se ofenden con ese término. Yo te digo que el término es incorrecto, pero yo no lo tomo como una ofensa. Legalmente no nos aplica porque las propias leyes de EEUU no nos acusaron de espionaje, sino de conspiración para cometer espionaje. Pero no tomo ofensa con el término, ya te digo. Yo era agente de Inteligencia y lo de espía es algo que dice la gente por las películas y demás.
Fidel Castro habla con Hernández y Ramón Labanino, otro de los encarcelados. Gobierno cubano
Mirando al futuro, ¿se ve regresando en alguna ocasión a Estados Unidos o piensa en el país con rencor?
No hay rencor ninguno. Asumí una responsabilidad cuando acepté cumplir mi misión y no hay problema. Si bien tuvimos la desagradable experiencia de escuchar a personas decir que nos querían linchar y de haber estado en un juicio sin garantías que duró más de seis meses, también hubo gente, incluso funcionarios políticos y religiosos, que supieron ver que nuestra causa era justa; también actores, como Danny Glover, nos apoyaron.
En sentido general no tengo ningún sentimiento negativo respecto al pueblo estadounidense, pero no me veo regresando porque una de las condiciones que se impusieron para nuestra liberación era que no podíamos regresar más a ese país.
Le voy a pedir que sea crítico con la Revolución y me diga qué ha hecho mal en estas décadas y si entiende que ha llegado el momento
de que se valore seriamente celebrar elecciones plurales en Cuba.
Pienso que en Cuba sí hay alternativas. Supongo que te refieres a que hay un único partido. Eso responde a factores históricos; José Martí fundó un único partido para que lo fuera de la nación cubana. Con el paso del tiempo, el Partido Comunista de Cuba se ha ido abriendo a otros sectores como el religioso. Nuestra meta es que sea aún más participativo, pero tenemos el firme propósito de mantener la unidad.
Nuestro pueblo, en un 90, 80 ó 75% apoya su Revolución
A lo largo de nuestra historia hemos pagado cara la desunión. Si logran dividirnos, estaremos en problemas. No puedes analizar la realidad cubana sin destacar que somos un pequeño país a sólo noventa millas del más poderoso del mundo, que se ha empeñado en impedir que los cubanos escojamos nuestro propio destino. Nuestro pueblo, en un 90, 80 ó 75% apoya su Revolución. Puedes estar convencido de que el día en que los cubanos no apoyen la Revolución, esto no podría sostenerse. Si estamos en pie es porque tenemos con nosotros a la mayoría de los cubanos. No es una sociedad perfecta, pero queremos hacerla nosotros.
Raúl Castro ya ha anunciado que este año renuncia a su cargo. Se habla del vicepresidente Miguel Díaz- Canel, del ministro de Economía Marino Murillo, incluso de un hijo de Raúl…
Esto no es una monarquía. En Cuba la sucesión que se dio fue porque Raúl era nuestro vicepresidente y no había nadie más capacitado ni querido por el pueblo. Hubo una asamblea y fue elegido.
Esto no es una monarquía. En Cuba la sucesión que se dio fue porque Raúl era nuestro vicepresidente
Mi opinión personal es que debe ser el compañero Miguel Díaz- Canel, que tiene una gran trayectoria. Pero todo depende de la voluntad de los cubanos.
Habla de la voluntad de los cubanos y de la posibilidad de que se exprese en el régimen actual. Cuando usted estaba en prisión, el
disidente ya fallecido Oswaldo Payá recogió las firmas como plantea la ley en lo que fue conocido como ‘Plan Varela’. Pedía libertad de expresión y reunión, libertad empresarial, elecciones democráticas y amnistía para los presos políticos. No se le hizo caso, pero con el tiempo se han adoptado algunas propuestas que proponía. ¿Qué opina?
Realmente yo estaba entonces en prisión. Sí sé que ha habido muchos proyectos financiados desde el exterior. Por menos de eso, en Estados Unidos te acusan de ser agente al servicio de potencia extranjera, por lo que yo tenía quince años de condena. Estoy seguro de que en España cualquiera que pretenda modificar el Gobierno siendo pagado por una potencia extranjera iría contra la ley española. Si esto ocurre en Cuba, en otros países lo aplauden. Y, bueno, si tomamos medidas que eran de ese proyecto, bienvenidas sean.
La cuestión de fondo es: ¿en Cuba existe realmente la posibilidad de que la gente tome decisiones sobre el sistema político en el marco actual?
El sistema actual cubano no es perfecto, como todos. Pero te pongo ejemplo de que en el último ejercicio de elección del Poder Popular fueron postuladas
personas que son abiertamente contrarias al Gobierno de Cuba. Se votó, tuvieron la posibilidad. El único requerimiento en nuestro sistema es que te elijan en la base, no tienes que formar parte del Partido. Basta con que haya una base que te apoye.
Yoani Sánchez es un fenómeno mediático fundamentalmente creado por el Grupo Prisma, que es más conocida dentro que fuera
Podemos continuar modificando aspectos del sistema haciéndolo más participativo, pero la posibilidad ya existe. Lo que ocurre es que estas personas de la disidencia, que a veces son más conocidas fuera de Cuba que dentro, no tienen una base de apoyo social, son fenómenos creados artificialmente desde afuera con algún propósito. Y te pongo el caso de Yoani Sánchez, un fenómeno mediático fundamentalmente creado por el Grupo Prisma, que es más conocida dentro que fuera. Aquí se puede parar en cualquier esquina y nadie la conoce.
Tampoco le dan cobertura los medios cubanos…
Claro, tampoco lo ha merecido. Los medios cubanos le dan cobertura a una mujer que esté pasando trabajo para sacar adelante su familia. A esta persona no le veo ningún mérito para promoverla y no vamos a gastar dinero en nuestros medios para hacerlo.
Existe una gran expectación con la visita de Obama. Todo el mundo en Cuba intuye que se va a entrar en una nueva etapa, pero nadie le pone nombre. Quizás se trate de una apertura económica sin alterar el sistema político, como sucedió en China, o de algo más. ¿Cuál es su sensación?
No tengo una bola de cristal para decir cómo va a ser Cuba de aquí a unos años. Sí te puedo decir lo que queremos la mayoría de los cubanos: un país que resuelva problemas que todavía hoy nos afectan, pero igualmente que no se parezca a la Cuba del pasado en la que fue necesario hacer una revolución.
¿Qué le demandaría a Estados Unidos para que no se quede en política de gestos, qué medidas concretas desearía?
Lo mismo que llevamos demandando más de medio siglo, desde el triunfo de la Revolución. Que reconozcan nuestro derecho a existir como nación independiente y soberana, que reconozcan que no somos el patio trasero de ellos. Que entiendan que Cuba es una nación que decidió su propio destino y que los cubanos tenemos el derecho a resolver nuestros propios problemas y hacerlo sin injerencias extranjeras.
En relación a los muchísimos cubanos que residen en EEUU circulan versiones contrapuestas. En el diario estatal Granma sostienen que no es así y que harán lo que sea para evitar que el régimen castrista reciba un balón de oxígeno. ¿Qué opina?
Se vienen haciendo muchas encuestas desde hace ya muchos años por parte de firmas respetables y algunas de ellas nada amigables con Cuba. Incluso encuestas del propio Gobierno norteamericano que reconocen que la gran mayoría de los cubanos que residen en EEUU desean una relación normal con su país. Ahora bien, esa gran mayoría de cubanos todavía no tiene el poder económico y político suficientes para impulsar que se tomen medidas más rápidas.
El poder cubano en EEUU lo tiene un segmento cada vez más minoritario de cubanos de familias poderosas que han llegado a congresistas
El poder político y económico allí lo tiene un segmento cada vez más minoritario de cubanos que se fueron de este país, que pertenecían a familias poderosas y que en los últimos años han llegado a ocupar puestos de congresistas. Hasta esta semana había dos aspirantes a la presidencia de Estados Unidos de origen cubano [, los republicanos Ted Cruz y Marco Rubio, que se ha retirado de la carrera presidencial]. Ese segmento es cada vez más reducido, pero desgraciadamente es el que controla los bancos y los medios de comunicación. En el otro lado está la mayoría, pero lamentablemente muchos todavía no votan ni tienen poder para levantar opinión.
Si Ted Cruz ganara, ¿sería una buena o una mala noticia para Cuba?
Pienso que sería muy malo, porque son personas que han vivido muchos años
de la industria del odio. El odio contra Cuba les ha dado un modus vivendi y pongo por ejemplo a Ileana Ros, Lincoln Díaz Balart… congresistas que por muchos años no han tenido un programa definido que no sea el odio contra Cuba. Se han opuesto a cuanto beneficio pudiera haber para el pueblo cubano.
Por ejemplo, cuando los ciclones han devastado la isla y la Cruz Roja ha querido ayudar desde Estados Unidos, ellos se han opuesto hasta a eso. Su prédica siempre ha sido: vamos a destruir al Gobierno de Cuba, a recuperar Cuba al precio que sea. Así han movido a una generación de viejitos cubanos que no conocen otra cosa que ese mensaje de odio. Eso va a cambiar con las nuevas generaciones de emigrantes cubanos, sobre todo a partir de los ochenta, que fueron a ese país para mejorar económicamente y ayudar a sus familias.
Si EEUU pone encima de la mesa de la negociación la exigencia de unas elecciones libres en Cuba para hablar de Guantánamo y el bloqueo, ¿sería admisible?
Por supuesto que no. Si conversamos con ellos es porque han reconocido que es imposible que Cuba acepte condiciones. Durante muchos años dijeron que no tenían nada que negociar mientras los Castro estuvieran en el poder, el país fuera comunista y hubiera un único partido; Cuba se mantuvo firme siempre y dijo que si alguna vez nos sentáramos, sería de igual a igual sin condiciones previas. Finalmente lo han tenido que aceptar.
Si conversamos con EEUU es porque han reconocido que es imposible que Cuba acepte condiciones
¿Piensa que Cuba es el ganador de este pulso?
Yo pienso que Cuba ya ha ganado en el sentido de que no hemos renunciado a ninguno de nuestros principios para sentarnos a negociar. Son los mismos desde el año 59. Estados Unidos ha dicho durante décadas que nunca negociaría mientras estuvieran los Castro en el poder y, sin embargo, Raúl Castro es nuestro presidente, Fidel está vivo y es nuestro guía. Y ellos están negociando con nosotros. Ha sido una victoria para Cuba el que se hayan sentado a negociar sin condiciones.
Antes de enrolarse en los servicios de Inteligencia Cubanos, Gerardo era humorista. Durante toda su estancia tras los barrotes asegura no haber perdido la ironía como arma de defensa. “Se le puede meter humor a dieciséis años en la cárcel, es algo que te ayuda mucho. Los humoristas tenemos un modo particular de ver la vida, y no es que lo tiremos todo a relajo, pero no conozco a ninguna persona de carácter amargado que pueda ser humorista. En mi caso me ayudó mucho el tener un carácter optimista. A lo largo de los años que estuvimos en prisión, los cinco nos reímos muchas veces de nuestras propias desgracias. Eso nos ayudó”.
En prisión, los cinco nos reímos muchas veces de nuestras propias desgracias
Gerardo ha sido padre recientemente. Haciendo números, no sale un periodo de embarazo normal, puesto que su niña nació pocos días después de haber sido puesto en libertad. La explicación: “Siempre tuvimos el anhelo de tener nuestro hijo; habíamos pedido la visita conyugal para los presos, algo que se da en Cuba pero no en Estados Unidos, al menos en las prisiones federales. Mi esposa Adriana solicitó ayuda a un senador americano, quien tocó las puertas necesarias para que yo pudiera hacer una donación después de que mi esposa hubiera congelado sus óvulos. Fue un proceso de fertilización in vitro”. La pequeña se llama Gema y nació el 6 de enero de 2015.
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
EL HERALDO GROUP sarahnes@ …
“THE FEELING OF FULFILLING THE MOST SACRED OF THE DUTIES,
TO FIGHT AGAINST IMPERIALISM WHEREVER IT IS”
There is an expectation among a good number of people, especially in Cuba and in Miami, about what Trump might say in relation to our island in the declarations he is about to make in the near future in the city of Florida.
Some wish that these statements would provoke Armageddon and that everything that has advanced in the relations between the two countries will be without effect and we will return to the time in which hostility is the main reason that governs our relations.
Others, whom I believe have a more objective approach, suggest that there will be some changes in what Obama has established, but many issues will remain as they have been until now, especially those that could affect business profits, jobs, immigration policy, and campaigns against Cuba, such as those related to religious freedom, so-called political prisoners, human rights and ideological-political subversion.
It should not be surprising, according to the rumors running on Calle 8, that some issues be added to U.S. claims, among which may be to demand that people who are considered to have debts with justice be delivered to the United States, impose sanctions and visa limitations on certain Cuban officials and act against the entry into the United States of Havana Club rum. The problem with the claims is another one that has also been considered to be included in Trumps’s speech , that if it includes all that is desired by some in Miami, it will last about three hours.
In relation to something on Radio Bemba in Miami, we could also say that also in the United States people who have debts with Cuban justice, many of them for having committed acts of terrorism, in or against the island and its citizens, I do not think there is any interest in sending those terrorists to Cuba to be tried. The main interest of the government of the northern country lies in Joanne Chesimard [Assata Shakur], a woman, a militant of an organization that fought for the rights of blacks. She was accused unjustly of having committed a crime, and whom they say is in Cuba.
As to limitations and sanctions, it is possible that again and have been so many times raised that the food that Cuba buys and if it manages to buy medicine in that country, they can not go to military installations. As for tourism, they say they are thinking of banning business with Gaviota, because they consider that MINFAR (the Ministry of the Armed Forces) runs this company, hence it could be deduced that the visa limitations and sanctions would be to civil servants who now occupy positions in our government, but they come from the Armed Forces.
That of Havana Club rum is a business problem, as the Bacardí firm feels strongly affected and is precisely the one that delivers large amounts of money to the electoral campaigns of US politicians of Cuban origin. This is the time to pay off that debt, and business people understand that politicians have enough influence on Trump to do something about it, if that were possible.
The financial demands between the two countries could be another issue touched on by Trump. It is true that this is a long-term problem, because the United States demands $8 billion from Cuba and we demand $120 billion from them. The Miami speech could give Trump the opportunity to argue that those Cubans whose property was nationalized, and who traveled to the “land of democracy” and became US citizens, will be included in the claims they present.
Many of these issues, as discussed in this article, are rumors, which stakeholders put into the possible pronouncements that Trump could make to try to reach their ears and take them into consideration. Those in charge of trying to do this are the Representatives of Cuban origin who have been closer to Trump lately.
There are other elements that can not be left out of the analysis. The first is Trump himself, who is quite difficult to predict. The second, in my opinion, is Greenblatt, that of the Cuban grandfather. According to him, the number two person of the Trump Corporation, appointed as presidential negotiator, the third is Sonny Perdue, recently named by Trump as Secretary of Agriculture. On several occasions Purdue has mentioned the benefits which would be obtained from agricultural trade with Cuba.
Trump, as always, may surprise us. He may say that his policy will maintain everything that implies economic benefits for the United States, increasing jobs, increasing trade possibilities (which would reduce the United States’ negative trade balance), maintaining a system to ensure orderly immigration of people and the exchange between civil entities of both countries.
Other matters of interest (such as Havana Club rum) should be analyzed more deeply, which will be reported to the extent that he has decided what to do.
He will maintain US support for what they are fighting for in Cuba for the “liberties”, the “human rights” and the liberation of “political prisoners”. He will demand the sending to the United States of fugitives of justice who may be refugees in Cuba. Above all this, he will order an immediate start to talks with the Cuban government.
The latter he will leave until the end, as a good communicator that is, to leave a good impression on the audience, who must be pleased with the proposal to maintain a degree of hostility towards Cuba.
I could be wrong. To err is human and especially of humans who say what they think will happen.
The one who does not bet does not lose, but does not win either.
Back in 1935, my wife and I went to Cuba for a vacation. We went via the Panama Canal one of the great flying boats which then operated between San Francisco and New York. It laid out for two or three days in Havana harbor. We spent one day in the capital city and then returned aboard the ship and went on up to New York. We couldn’t see ourselves vacationing in the welter of poverty, ignorance, corruption, prostitution, misery and despair, which were the Cuba of 1935. We went back to Havana and in December 1960. Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries had overthrown the American puppet Batista, and defeated his army – also maintained, trained, and paid by American taxpayers for the benefit of American big – business corporations. It was the Year of Education, and and islandwide campaign was being waged to stamp out illiteracy. The shacks and slums were disappearing, to be replaced by prefabricated concrete houses. These had sanitary plumbing, running water, gas and electricity. The barren landed estates had been converted into food–processing plantations for the benefit of all. Everywhere there was hope, pride and exaltation. The Cuban people had recaptured their coiuntry from the exploiters.
A LION IN COURT
by Vincent Hallinan
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico. Http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
In recent days, a book written by a Cuban who has been a mercenary in the service of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been published in the United States and has played dissimilar roles in that criminal organization’s actions not only in the Washington battle against his Home country, but also to other infamous plans of the agency in other parts of the world and in the United States, including the latter, to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The American magazine Newsweek, in its May 28, 2017 issue, publishes a review by journalist Jefferson Morley on the book “Trained to Kill: The CIA Secrets about His Plans Against Castro, Kennedy and Che,” written by his ex Operative agent Antonio Veciana.
The terrorist “exploits” of this mercenary were widely known in Cuba and recognized by the American press, but the value of the infamies confessed by Veciana is that he adds elements to the multiple versions of the CIA’s leading role in the assassination of Kennedy .
According to Veciana, in 1960, he worked as an official of the Cuban government when, having already tried to subvert it from within, he stole official funds and used the money to finance attacks against government offices, factories and warehouses.
Two years later, he used his position in the government to distribute propaganda falsely announcing that the government planned to take custody of school-age children with the purpose of provoking panic in Cuban families and having some send their children to the United States , Where they would be welcomed by the Catholic Church in South Florida. The operation was called Peter Pan, separated 14,000 Cuban children from their families and was described in the press as “a disinterested effort to rescue the victims of communist oppression.”
Controller of Veciana for the operation was “Maurice Bishop” whose real name was David Atlee Phillips, who would become Head of the Division of the CIA for the Western Hemisphere until his retirement in 1975.
After the failure of Bay of Pigs, at Playa Girón, Phillips expressed his contempt for Kennedy, explains Veciana. After JFK’s peaceful conclusion to the missile crisis, Phillips created Alpha-66, a terrorist organization to attack Cuban targets that became a CIA instrument to pressure Kennedy with his actions.
In March 1963, Veciana and his group attacked a Russian merchant ship headed for Cuba, generating headlines around the world. Phillips sought to humiliate the Russians and embarrass JFK to take more aggressive action against Cuba. But Kennedy downplayed the issue and “Castro’s enemies, including Phillips, became even more furious,” Veciana says.
Veciana confirms how she met Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in the lobby of the Southland Center, the tallest building in Dallas, where he was introduced by Bishop.
“That was full of people, but Bishop, standing in a corner, was talking to a young man, pale, insubstantial. When he introduced me, I do not remember if he did it by his name (he might have said, ‘Tony, this is Lee. Lee, this is Tony.) But what I’m sure of is that Lee did not say anything. “
Following the assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Oswald was arrested, and his face was broadcast on television. “I recognized him immediately,” writes Veciana. “He was, without a doubt, the same pale, insignificant young man he had seen eleven weeks before” in the company of Maurice Bishop. “
Veciana recalls that early in 1964 the agency man asked if a cousin of his who was a Cuban intelligence officer would be willing to state that he had conspired with Oswald before JFK was killed. Phillips offered to pay for such testimony, but Veciana replied that his cousin was communist and could not be bought.
A decade later, in 1975, when the JFK investigation was reopened, a congressional investigator, knowing that Veciana had worked for the CIA, approached him to learn more about how the agency collaborated with Cuban exiles. Veciana told her the story of her work with Bishop, including meeting with Oswald. Arrangements were made for an artist to draw a picture of Bishop based on Veciana’s description and the result was a portrait that closely resembled Phillips. Veciana was then taken to Washington for a meeting with Phillips, but he pretended not to know Veciana who, out of fear of reprisals from the CIA denied that Bishop and Phillips were the same person. “A lie that I have maintained until today”, emphasizes Veciana.
Certainly, in the confessions of this bloodthirsty terrorist there are elements that contribute data to the clarification of some half truths and manipulations in the criminal history of the USA.
June 5, 2017.
Por Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusivo para el diario POR ESTO! de Mérida, México. http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/
En días recientes se publicó en Estados Unidos un libro escrito por un cubano que hizo carrera como mercenario al servicio de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) y desempeñó disímiles papeles en acciones de esa organización criminal vinculadas, no solo a la batalla Washington contra su país natal, sino también a otros planes infamantes de la agencia en otras partes del mundo y en los propios Estados Unidos, incluyendo entre estos últimos, al magnicidio de John F. Kennedy.
La revista norteamericana Newsweek, en su número de 28 de mayo de 2017, publica una reseña del periodista Jefferson Morley sobre el libro “Entrenado para matar: Los Secretos de la CIA sobre sus planes contra Castro, Kennedy y Che”, escrito por su ex agente operativo Antonio Veciana.
Las “hazañas” terroristas de este mercenario eran ampliamente conocidas en Cuba y reconocidas por la prensa estadounidense, pero el valor de las infamias que confiesa Veciana radica en que agrega elementos a las múltiples versiones acerca del papel rector de la CIA en el asesinato de Kennedy.
Según Veciana, en 1960, él trabajaba como funcionario del gobierno cubano cuando, teniendo ya como proyecto subvertirlo desde dentro, robó fondos oficiales y utilizó el dinero para financiar ataques contra oficinas, fábricas y almacenes del gobierno.
Dos años más tarde, utilizó su posición en el gobierno para distribuir propaganda anunciando falsamente que el gobierno planeó tomar la custodia de niños en edad escolar, con el propósito de provocar pánico en las familias cubanas y hacer que algunas enviaran a sus hijos a Estados Unidos, donde serían acogidos por la Iglesia Católica en el sur de la Florida. La operación fue llamada Peter Pan, separó a 14 mil niños cubanos de sus familias y fue descrita en la prensa como “esfuerzo desinteresado para rescatar a las víctimas de la opresión comunista”.
Controlador de Veciana para la operación era “Maurice Bishop” cuyo verdadero nombre era David Atlee Phillips, quien llegaría a ser Jefe de la División de la CIA para el Hemisferio Occidental hasta su retiro en 1975.
Tras el fracaso de Bahía de Cochinos, en Playa Girón, Phillips manifestó su desprecio por Kennedy, explica Veciana. Luego de la conclusión pacífica abogada por JFK para la crisis de los misiles, Phillips le creó Alpha-66, organización terrorista para atacar objetivos cubanos que se convirtió en instrumento de la CIA para presionar a Kennedy con sus acciones.
En marzo de 1963, Veciana y su grupo atacaron un buque mercante ruso que se dirigía a Cuba, generando titulares en todo el mundo. Phillips buscaba con ello humillar a los rusos y avergonzar a JFK para que tomara acciones más agresivas contra Cuba. Pero Kennedy restó importancia al tema y “los enemigos de Castro, incluyendo a Phillips, se pusieron más furiosos aún”, dice Veciana.
Veciana confirma cómo conoció al supuesto asesino de Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, en el vestíbulo del Centro Southland, el edificio más alto de Dallas, donde le fue presentado por Bishop.
“Aquello estaba lleno de gente, pero Bishop, de pie en un rincón, hablaba con un hombre joven, pálido, insustancial. Cuando me lo presentó no recuerdo si lo hizo por su nombre (podría haber dicho: ‘Tony, este es Lee. Lee, este es Tony’). Pero de lo que estoy seguro es de que Lee no dijo nada.”
Tras el asesinato en Dallas el 22 de noviembre de 1963, Oswald fue arrestado, y su rostro transmitido en la televisión. “Lo reconocí inmediatamente,” escribe Veciana. “Era, sin lugar a dudas el mismo hombre joven, pálido e insignificante que había visto once semanas antes” en compañía de Maurice Bishop”.
Veciana recuerda que, temprano en 1964, el hombre de la agencia le preguntó si un primo suyo que era oficial de inteligencia cubano, estaría dispuesto a declarar que él había conspirado con Oswald antes de que JFK fuera asesinado. Phillips le ofreció pagar por tal testimonio, pero Veciana le respondió que su primo era comunista y no podía ser comprado.
Una década más tarde, en 1975, cuando la investigación JFK se reabrió, un investigador del Congreso, sabiendo que Veciana había trabajado para la CIA, se acercó a él para conocer más sobre cómo la agencia colaboraba con los exiliados cubanos. Veciana le contó la historia de su trabajo con Bishop, incluida la reunión con Oswald. Se hicieron arreglos para que un artista hiciera un dibujo de Bishop basado en descripción de Veciana y el resultado fue un retrato que se parecía mucho a Phillips. Veciana fue entonces llevado a Washington para una reunión con Phillips, pero éste fingió no conocer a Veciana quien, por miedo a represalias de la CIA negó que Bishop y Phillips fueran la misma persona. “Una mentira que hasta hoy mantuve”, subraya Veciana.
Ciertamente, en las confesiones de este sanguinario terrorista hay elementos que aportan datos al esclarecimiento de algunas medias verdades y manipulaciones en la historia criminal de EEUU.
Junio 5 de 2017.
By Guillermo Almeyra
August 8, 2009
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The Cuban Revolution is going through its hardest period ever, mainly because of an international situation marked by capitalism’s current crisis, which is bound to last for at least two more years. Even a slight recovery will still mean that imported goods such as food and oil will go up in price, and hopefully the latter won’t go so high as to prevent Venezuela’s aid from increasing. At the same time, global warming has reached such levels that the whole Caribbean region is doomed to suffer the devastating effects of hurricanes and droughts on a regular basis.
Throw in the fact that the way U.S. policy on Latin America has evolved –suffice it to mention the role played by the State Department and the Pentagon in the coup d’état in Honduras, the threat posed by the IV Fleet hanging over the region like the sword of Damocles, and the seven military bases in Colombia that constitute a direct threat to Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil, just to mention a few examples– reveals that Obama’s intentions and views carry a lot less weight with the Establishment than the big business and the U.S. government’s imperialist nature. Therefore, Cuba must keep improving its preparedness, so much so now that it has fewer resources than ever to provide for people’s needs and well-being.
There’s also the fact that youth, especially in the cities, have known nothing but crises and special periods, and what’s worse, they have witnessed the sharp contrast between their austere and difficult life and the frenzied consumerism of foreign tourists. Unacquainted with pre-Revolution Cuba, they are fully aware that it was a terrible mistake to model their system on a Soviet bureaucracy they believed eternal and reliable, only to be left stranded in the end with no aim or sense or purpose. The Cuban Government is thus relying on a negative consensus, that is, the decision made by the vast majority of Cubans, whether or not they agree with the official policy, that Cuba will be neither another Puerto Rico nor a new addition to the Stars and Stripes. Not exactly small potatoes, but more is needed to lift their spirits and boost their confidence enough for them to undertake a project that will only bear fruit in the medium or long term and demand therefore their courage, patience and creativeness while they live their life without consumer items.
Truth is, Cuba can be dependent on the brain drain no more than it can rely totally on oil imports, especially at a time that its Venezuelan friends are in Washington’s sights. It must work hard instead to produce a variety of quality foods and share them out effectively in the short term, even for reasons of internal political security, which the Cuban Government knows only too well. Now, an effective agricultural production calls for skilled, non-improvised labor and incentives to make up for the first rough encounter with rundown land overrun by thorny shrubs, essential tools and consumables –since hoes and machetes are not enough– seeds and water. In other words, investments, a system of extensive agriculture and even the shock experience of an agreement with China, for instance, to set up model farming camps in some regions of Cuba to be manned by landless Chinese and Cubans.
Yet, producing is not enough: there must be an effective, affordable system in place to distribute the most urgently needed foodstuffs, some of which –say, meat and dairy products– must be sufficiently profitable for the producers who invested their time and money in the project. Lenin saved his country with a new economic policy, that is, a market policy implemented in agriculture and trade together with plans to manufacture clothes, machinery and equipment for the new farmers’ market. How much does the island pay for a tourist industry bound to bring less and less hard currency in the coming years as it turns to cheaper destinations with less demanding moral and legal standards? Instead of funding great hotel chains empowered to buy expensive goods and foods, wouldn’t it be better to skim some money off that stock and use it to prod domestic production and design a more fair and equitable plan to distribute foods and services?
Why not consult the population about their needs and ideas to meet them? Why leave everything in the hands of a state apparatus made up of bureaucrats and technocrats who mean well but whose perception differs from John Q. Public’s and tend to solve things through managerial channels, using military labor rather than the working class’s energy and ingenuity? Why not hold people’s assemblies for production and self-improvement where the citizens can directly discuss, propose and resolve things? If the Party Congress has been put off –which further confirms that it neither has a life of itself nor does it control the State, but rather depends on a bunch of government leaders– why not turn this extraordinary conference into a forum for open, free, on-the-job debate where workers can make proposals? The techno-bureaucratic option is a fake option. Socialism cannot be built without the conscious involvement of the Cuban people. Cuba is in a state of emergency it can only overcome through the participation and will of all its workers and intellectuals.
By Graziella Pogolotti
May 3, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The image of the tourist was, at first, that of a traveler who, individually, undertook an adventure in search of new horizons to gain knowledge. Thus, exotic visitors began to show up in Cuba, who very often left testimony of their experience through letters, stories or books that proposed more ambitious insights.
The perspective of others gave us a vision of our singularity in the multiple planes that natural and human landscapes offer. For those persons who come from other lands, the richness of a prodigal natural universe –unaffected by the harsh rigors of winter– is striking.
The chromatic luxury of the environment made an impact at first sight. The true singularity was expressed in the human face of a cordial country, with open doors, where the refinement of customs was accompanied by the abandonment of the rigid formalism prevailing in other lands. The deepest bond was established in the human plane and there was also the first-hand approach to a culture forged under different circumstances. Thus, the characteristics of “being Cuban” were beginning to be defined.
Later on, in the twentieth century, workers’ demands gave the middle classes the right to vacation time. Inexpensive because of geographical proximity, access to a tourist trip was within reach of Americans encouraged by the stimulus of the warm climate and the exoticism of a certain folklore trivialized by the trinket trade.
In the winter months, the high season prevailed. It offered an enjoyable warm weather and coincided with the Havana carnival. In Parque Central, a maracas player stood at the door of a store that offered cheap musical instruments, along with belts, purses, and other articles made of genuine crocodile leather.
The flourishing business imposed its perverse features. When Prohibition was established in the United States, Havana was a space open to free consumption of alcohol. Bars multiplied and a malicious substrate became linked to the contraband privileged by the vicinity between the coasts of the two countries.
With its well-known ability to forge mentalities, neo-liberal globalization has appropriated large-scale tourism, associated with what is called with apparent innocence –eternal trap of words–: the leisure industry.
Its extreme expression is manifested in the cruises. In these, instead of observing the new, travelers contemplate each other in a coexistence that consumes most of the available time. In a tour of preset destinations, they pass through some paradigmatic sites and lunge into the search for small souvenirs, trophies to give to friends, once back home. The human landscape and the power of culture have disappeared from the picture. They will get to know, if at all, a masquerade willing to show –with roaring stridency– the expected exotic component.
Before becoming the grave of desperate emigrants, the Mediterranean’s natural environment suffered the predatory effects of tourism. There, too, on a short excursion, the testimonies of one of the original sources of so-called Western culture moved to the background
The Caribbean is the counterpart of that mare nostrum. We preserve virginal areas, but our being an island makes us extremely vulnerable. We have beautiful landscapes, but we lack abundant water resources to quench the thirst of a temporary overpopulation and maintain perfect lawns for golf courses.
In the cultural field, the dangers are even greater. While the Mediterranean tradition still evokes the glories of a dilapidated Parthenon and the infinite management of the Egyptian pyramids, –all victims of neo-colonial perspectives– our culture does not enjoy similar recognition.
Exoticism always maintains a component of underestimation, and our inhabitants have psychologically suffered from this conditioning. Expansive in the last half century, the leisure industry was already emerging, when “the Commander arrived and ordered it to stop.” [a refernence to the lyrics of a song, by Carlos Puebla, referering to Fidel putting an end to capitalist evils].
The hotels that multiplied in Havana were fronts for gambling halls, meeting points for high class prostitution, and business centers of an expanding mafia.
At that time, a master plan for the development of Havana was designed which articulated interests of a diverse nature. Speculation based on the price of the land oriented the growth of the city towards the east, where investments were made with a view to the creation of new neighborhoods.
The government would pay the expenses of infrastructure for investments with an absolute guarantee of profitability. New management centers were being directed there.
The historic city would be at the expense of the underworld. Since the space provided for that predatory universe was insufficient, a floating island would be built in front of the Malecon, for the free flow of large-scale gambling dens. The landscape value of the Malecón –complemented by the gentle hills that shape the profile of the city towards its geographical center, the present-day Plaza de la Revolución– did not matter. The capital of the country, the historical and cultural jewel in our crown, would be hopelessly dismembered.
For a country like ours, lacking in great mining wealth, tourism is a source of income of indisputable importance. The challenge is to devise strategies that enhance the possibilities of development in favor of the nation, culturally and humanly, because in the virtues of our people lies the soul of the nation.
The emergent demand for a large-scale project focused on the advantages of the availability of sun and beaches must be accompanied by the analysis of the risks involved, with the purpose of elaborating the indispensable counterparts. It is important to discard the notion of the leisure industry and to take into account that the fashion of beach enjoyment may be temporary.
Our true strength lies in our status as a large island, endowed with a multitude of possible options: many of them based on a cultural and historical tradition.
There is also the possibility of proposing designs aimed at valuing good living, latent in our large and small cities, in the varied landscape environment, and in the survival of little-explored corners made to the measure of the human being. To elaborate these projects, it would be advisable to complement the geographic and geological maps with a cultural map illuminated by a deep inward look.
By Atilio A. Boron
June 3, 2009
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
After a 47-year ban, the OAS sealed an agreement by acclamation yesterday to revoke a 1962 measure suspending Cuba from that body. The resolution was taken without conditions, although it lays down a procedure to be set in motion in the (unlikely) event that Havana decides to join the group. However, there are some facts to be taken into account here.
First: The resolution is a telltale sign of the great sociopolitical changes we’ve seen in Latin America and the Caribbean in the last few years, marked by the United States’ decreasing clout in the region. The vote to render the outrageous move under Kennedy null and void, is at once highly revealing of an ongoing shift that the White House has reluctantly accepted and a step to make amends, if belatedly and partially, for an obviously immoral policy which has long brought unbearable shame upon both the OAS and those governments who have voted for –or at least not against– Imperialism’s plans. Unable to defeat the Cuban Revolution by force of arms at the Bay of Pigs, the U.S. chose to put up a ‘cordon sanitaire’ to keep the island’s liberating influence from spreading across the continent. They never succeeded, by the way.
Second: That the U.S.’s hegemony became weaker is by no means an indication that they give up on using other means to get hold of the region’s resources and wealth or control our governments. It would be an inexcusable mistake to believe that Imperialism will lay down its arms and start to get along with our countries on an equal footing just because its political (and intellectual and moral) ability as a leader has gone into decline. Quite the opposite: in similar circumstances in the past its response was to reactivate the Fourth Fleet in order to achieve by force what they used to get from submissive or abetting governments. And Obama has given us no hint that he intends to change that policy.
Third: Neither Cuba nor any other country in Our America have anything to do in the OAS. As we have oftentimes pointed out, this institution became a landmark of a special period in our continent’s evolution: that of the U.S.’s absolute supremacy. But those days are gone, and there’s no going back. As our political consciousness developed, governments that still look up to the White House have no choice but to vote against the U.S. blockade on Cuba and the 1962 suspension in San Pedro Sula. The OAS has been brought to the limelight for its long record as a docile instrument of the Empire, since it condoned invasions, the assassination of political leaders and presidents (like the murder of Orlando Letelier in Washington), coups d’état and campaigns to destabilize democratic governments. The OAS turned a blind eye –and a deaf ear– to the atrocities of U.S.-sponsored ‘state terrorism’ and criminal policies like Plan Condor. When in May 2008 the Bolivian conflict blew up, the Latin American countries took care of things right away without the OAS getting involved at all. There was no need for it, nor will there ever be.
Fourth: What we do need is to make our various projects of Latin American and Caribbean integration stronger and more coherent, for instance, initiatives such as ALBA or UNASUR, basically different but based on our region’s contemporary situation. The OAS, however, is an inevitably and therefore useless, anachronistic, body in that it represents a world we only find in the delirious ravings of those who yearn for the Cold War era, and that’s why it can contribute nothing to deal with our current challenges. Now that the 1962 resolution has been done away with, the OAS should do mankind a very great service by dissolving.
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
25 April 2017 / UNESCO Havana / Culture Portal for Latin America and the Caribbean
Two unforgettable encounters between music students from Cuba and the world were held on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 April. It was a magnificent debut for the week dedicated to the global celebration of International Jazz Day in Havana: the first in the University of The Arts (ISA) and the second in the Conservatory of Music “Amadeo Roldán”.
In front of the visiting musicians from different countries and students of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Danier Seeff, Director of Programs of this institute in the West Coast of the United States came
The young jazz musicians offered a concert in both school centers that included several numbers under their own authorship and an impressive musical route by the History of the Jazz, from the times of one of its initiators in century XIX, the teacher of the ragtime Scott Joplin, until contemporaries like Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis, going through 1960s jazz, an expression of the civil rights struggles in the United States at the time.
Under the direction of Camilo Moreira Coro, the ISA Jazz Band offered a performance that included versions of “Mambo No. 5” by Dámaso Pérez Prado, “Amor Fugaz” by Benny Moré, and “Chinoiserie” by Duke Ellington, as well as the interpretation by the young pianist of the band of one of his own compositions.
In the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory, the young middle level students gave a show led by the female quintet “Nymphs”, directed by the cellist Kabila Franchini Suárez; The musical project “Ceda el Paso”, with the young and laureate pianist Rodrigo García Ameneiro at the front; and the the school’s jazz band, under the direction of the Master Enrique Rodriguez Toledo, also director of the band. The students performed singular arrangements of classics such as “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla or “Pita y Para”, by Francisco Repilado, and a wide repertoire of Cuban and international jazz.
But the most exciting in both cases was the interaction of the students of Thelonious Monk with their Cuban counterparts. It was a real splurge of virtuosity both by hosts and guests, who performed improvised jam sessions and exchanged knowledge in spontaneous “workshops” of Instruments, memorable “downloads” where talent and creativity flowed uncontainablely, after the scheduled presentations were concluded.
They were, without doubt, new samples of the power of jazz to unite, and to create synergies, so that the cultures dialogue through the notes of the most democratic musical genre. Those of us who live in it were, in truth, privileged.
First, the U.S.-Cuba Joint Communiqué on Cuba-U.S. Migration, New York City, September 9, 1994 established that both countries agreed to procedures and measures “to ensure that migration between the two countries is safe, legal, and orderly.” The agreement established that, “The United States and the Republic of Cuba recognize their common interest in preventing unsafe departures from Cuba which risk loss of human life. The United States underscored its recent decisions to discourage unsafe voyages. Pursuant to those decisions, migrants rescued at sea attempting to enter the United States will not be permitted to enter the United States, but instead will be taken to safe haven facilities outside the United States. Further, the United States has discontinued its practice of granting parole to all Cuban migrants who reach U.S. territory in irregular ways.”
In 1995 both countries signed the Companion Agreement on Migration by which the US government agreed to return to Cuba all those who were intercepted at sea, if they did not reach the US mainland. This is known as the “wet feet you go back, dry feet you stay” (in the US). The 1994 agreement also established that “The Republic of Cuba will take effective measures in every way it possibly can to prevent unsafe departures using mainly persuasive methods.”
The record indicates that the child was found at sea, he never reached the US mainland on his own. Moreover, fishermen found him and turned him over to the US Coast Guard. If this is the case, then the child has to be returned, as the 1994-1995 Migration Agreement establishes.
Second, the 1994 agreement has a section on “Alien smuggling” between Cuba and the United States. It reads, “The United States and the Republic of Cuba reaffirm their support for the recently adopted United Nations General Assembly resolution on alien smuggling. They pledged their cooperation to take prompt and effective action to prevent the transport of persons to the United States illegally.”
The Coast Guard, the US media and the State Department spokesman have stated that this was an illegal smuggling operation. In fact two of the survivors stated that they paid to get into the boat that would bring them to the United States.
If this is the case, then, the Migration Agreement has been violated as well. It should be noted that the 1994 agreement established that, “The United States and the Republic of Cuba are committed to directing Cuban migration into safe, legal and orderly channels consistent with strict implementation of the 1984 joint communiqué.”
Third, the United States has signed the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague on October 25, 1980, which established the legal rights and procedures for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed from one country to another, or retained in one country. Cuba has not signed the Convention but has the right to accede to it. Under The Hague convention children who have been wrongfully removed or retained abroad are to be returned promptly.
No one has denied that the child was removed by his mother without the consent of his father or of Cuba’s authorities. Nor that the father has requested that the child be returned to him.
Fourth, the U.S. Congress has ratified the International Convention on Child Abduction. In fact the Congress has declared that, “(1) The international abduction or wrongful retention of children is harmful to their well-being. (2) Persons should not be permitted to obtain custody of children by virtue of their wrongful removal or retention. (3) International abductions and retentions of children are increasing, and only concerted cooperation pursuant to an international agreement can effectively combat this problem.” (See: Section 1 of Pub. L. 100-300 or the International Child Abduction Remedies Act.)
Fifth, if the issue of custody is raised, then a custody jurisdiction dispute between the United States and Cuba (a country that has not ratified The Hague Convention) is to be handled in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act of the U.S. It should be noted that the federal legislation establishes under Section 105. INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION OF [ACT] that the court “shall treat a foreign country as if it were a State of the United States for the purpose of applying the law. That means that the rules that apply to another state in the United States also applies when it comes to the foreign country. That means that ” (c), a child-custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this [Act] must be recognized and enforced under [Article] 3.” U.S. federal law is consonant with the International Convention, which, under Article 3 recognizes that “the law of the State in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention” is the one that applies in the case.
It has been argued that the mother’s intent of taking the child to the United States should be respected. However, the law says otherwise. The moment when the child was removed, it has been argued, constitutes a “loss of residence” even if a new habitual residence has not been established. But U.S. Court of Appeal for the 6th Circuit concluded otherwise. (Friedrich v. Friedrich, No 92-3117, 983 F.2d 1396, decided 22 January 1993)
Sixth, the 1999 Florida Statutes also support the father’s claim. The following sections are pertinent to this case:
A mere physical presence of the child in the state is not sufficient to confer jurisdiction on a court of the state to make a child custody determination. (FLORIDA STATUTES 1999, HISTORY: s. 4, ch. 77-433; s. 326, ch. 95-147.)
Seventh, the very fact that the child has been held in Florida without the consent of the father, the only surviving parent may constitute kidnapping as defined by the Florida Statutes, TITLE XLVI, Chapter 787. Kidnapping refers to the confining of a child under 13 “against her or his will” meaning, confinement “without the consent of her of his parent or legal guardian.” (See: Section 787.01b). The Florida courts have not yet determined who the legal guardian is; but the Cuban courts state it is his father..
Eighth, it remains to be determined whether in fact there has been a concerted effort to interfere with the custody of the child’s father. ( See Section 787.03, (1) Whoever, without lawful authority, knowingly or recklessly takes or entices, or aids, abets, hires, or otherwise procures another to take or entice, any child 17 years of age or under or any incompetent person from the custody of the child or incompetent person’s parent, his or her guardian, a public agency having the lawful charge of the child or incompetent person, or any other lawful custodian commits the offense of interference with custody and shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084; (2) In the absence of a court order determining rights to custody or visitation with any child 17 years of age or under or with any incompetent person, any parent of the child or incompetent person, whether natural or adoptive, stepparent, legal guardian, or relative of such child or incompetent person who has custody thereof and who takes, detains, conceals, or entices away that child or incompetent person within or without the state, with malicious intent to deprive another person of his or her right to custody of the child or incompetent person, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.775.084.)
Ninth, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Cuba and the United States in its Article 11 declares that “States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad” and “to this end, States Parties shall promote the conclusion of bilateral or multilateral agreements or accession to existing agreements.” Article 35 calls for “all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form.”
Tenth, human decency, family love and common sense dictates that this child and his father should be together.
At the time of this writing Prof. Nelson P Valdés was a full professor of Sociology at the University of New Mexico, director of the Program of Academic Research on Cuba of the Latin American and Iberian Institute at UNM, and president of the Cuba Research and Analysis Group – a nonprofit organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Note: The Elian affaire was initiated prior to Fidel Castro participating at the WTO conference in Seattle. At the time the CANF had a major campaign to get Fidel Castro arrested if he landed on US soil. See: https://socialistaction.org/1999/11/01/fidel-castro-expected-to-attend-cuba-solidarity-conference-and-wto-meeting-in-seattle/
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant began an official visit to Cuba Wednesday, where he met with Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca to stimulate bilateral ties.
Bryant is the second governor of a US state to travel to Cuba since New York magnate Donald Trump took office, following the visit of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, last February.
In the meeting with Malmierca, the governor of Mississippi was accompanied by a delegation of business executives and officials from that state, who also held meetings with officials from the ministries of Tourism, Agriculture and Food Industry.
The North American delegation includes representatives from sectors such as agriculture, tourism, renewable energy, food production and marketing, and port activity.
Minister Malmierca said that since the beginning of the process of normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States in December 2014, “much has been progressed since”, but remains “the most important”: elimination of trade, economic and financial blockade.”
“The blockade’s measure is the main obstacle to us having normal ties. It not only creates serious difficulties for the Cuban people, but also damages economic operations between the two countries and with third parties,” said the Cuban minister on the policy Washington has applied to the island since 1962
According to him, Bryant and his entourage also spoke with authorities of the Cuban ministries of Tourism, Agriculture and Food Industry
Governor Bryant and his delegation are planning a tour of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), a business and commercial enclave about 40 kilometers from Havana, which is the star project of the Cuban government to attract foreign investment .
The governor is scheduled to meet during his visit with authorities of the Ministry of Transportation and with the director general for the United States of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal.
Last February, Havana, Republican Senator William Thad Cochran, who presided over the signing of agreements between maritime-port authorities in Cuba and the ports of Pascagoula and Gulfport in that southern state, was the result of a business forum to explore Joint business opportunities.
(Infromation of Prensa Latina and EFE)