(This is for your information. It's NOT an official document).
I’m attaching a sort of incomplete talking point I elaborated yesterday for my own consumption. I was a little reluctant to send it to you, but I think there is a need for the alternate media and all the friends of Cuba to be aware of what is going on and the threats Cuba is facing.
In the last weeks quite a campaign have been launched against Cuba because many counterrevolutionaries were arrested last month and accused of receiving American government funds and collaborating with U.S. diplomats to undermine the socialist state.
This campaign is based on distortions and totally one-sided reports that ignore many recent developments were the hostility and threats toward Cuba by this Administration have been mounting. The starting point of the distortions is terms used:: Those are not “ dissidents” nor “journalists” or “librarians”, etc. They were arrested not because they “have” typing machines or computers, but because their actions and because they received money, materials resources and instructions from the very government (! I repeat: from the very government!) that have attacked Cuba during 44 years and the same current Administration that have reiterated they want to build internal opposition with the goals of overthrowing the government and the social system of Cuba.
Few days ago, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Felipe Perez Roque, host a press conference and provide many details, and I encourage you to looks for that information and to continue sharing it among your friends and the general public. He gave data about the trials, the guarantees and protections given to the defendants, judge under laws that have existed for years and even during more than a century and by the standing and competent tribunals. All the defendant are represented by lawyers, in most of the cases chosen by they or their families. All had oral hearings and the defense was able to bring their witnesses and experts. Their families were present during the trials and have been allow to visit them quite often.
Before attaching my notes, let me quote from James Cason speech in Miami a week ago: “… Apart from the moral imperative driving our support for democracy in Cuba, we have a strategic interest as well. The continued disintegration of Cuban society generates instability throughout the region and creates the threat of a mass migration to the United States. This undermines our security and the long-term potential for the Cuban nation”.
TALKING POINT (a sort of..) a draft: This is the least proper moment for anyone to allow be confuse or diverted, to abandon those who struggle to defend their right to self-determination. The right to defend ourselves cannot be questioned! All countries have the right to defend themselves, including Cuba.
But, HOW can they defend themselves if the powerful countries can overrule every code, every norm. A small country like Cuba has to defend itself within its own territory.
The U.S. matches all its hostile actions against Cuba with another campaign of slanders and misinformation. From the Washington Times to the LA Times to some alternate Media have been put to follow an script: a) arbitrary arrests, coming from nowhere, b) against people wanting to express opinions, and c) in moment while World attention focus in Baghdad…!
But why now?
The bottom line is the U.S. continue with their goals and dreams to destroy the Revolution, but the most immediate reasons was the break any limit of respect of our sovereignty aiming to damage the relations and ties of friendship that have patiently and progressively been forged between the peoples of Cuba and the United States.
So, they provoke, they cross the line, they build to destroy our national security. But they hidden theirs many hostile actions against Cuba from the American people, and mostly so now when everybody is concern with the situation in the Middle East. Many topics have been left out of the table; issues and steps the U.S. government prefer to keep off the public attention, while continues profiting of the thick crush of prejudice and ignorance that covers the Cuban case. “Anti-Castroism” has become big business with ramifications in U.S. Media and political life…
In addition to misinformation and the comprehensive economic blockade, there is a whole history of terrorism wage against Cuba from U.S. territory that have kept from the public attention. But also many recent actions:
The decision to keep Cuba in the so-called “ list of terrorist states”;
But also the encouragement of all sort of illegal actions: smuggling of immigrants, confiscation of the vessels and aircraft’s taken by Cuban criminals and hijackers, the robbery of our trade-marks and so on…
As I mentioned, our country have been victim of terrorism for almost 44 years: thousand of lives and billions of dollars in economic damages. Cuba didn't’t commit the stupidity of responding to those actions launched from US territory. Never a single brick in the US have been destroyed by actions from Cuba’s soil. Not only is it a lie but also it’s cynical to include Cuba in the so-called list of terrorist countries. Nor there is any resentment against the American people. Ours it’s a country where Americans and every visitor are respectfully welcomed.
This is the least proper moment for anyone to allow be confuse or diverted, to abandon those who struggle to defend their right to self-determination. It’s important at least to read between lines the “ information” being provided by the established Media. After more than 40 years of blockade and aggressions, nobody have the right, least of all the United States, to became a judge, and precisely now during this shamelessly intervention in Iraq! This will amount to add to the U.S. offensive and dirty work against Cuba.
The Revolution has often been generous and tolerant by virtue of its immense political strength and its capacity to withstand all kinds of aggressions: the mercenaries and many others released before fully serving their prison sentences.
Adequately severe laws against serious acts carried out in complicity with the enemy that seeks to destroy us have not been applied, although they are fully in force.
But those who commit acts of treason at the service of a foreign power most not expect guaranteed impunity!
-------- End part one ----------
(This is followed by another note on the legal guarantees during the trials in Cuba)
1 – IS IT THEIR GAME TO BUILT A “CRISIS”?: I again would like to call attention to the trends, to the currents that shape events, and not let to be confuse or jump in the simplistic and manipulative campaign about our legitimate, defensive reaction, the legal actions in Cuba to protect our country and impede the worst.
Bear in mind the statement of U.S. Ambassador in Dominican Republic (April 10): "I think what is happening in Iraq is going to send a very positive signal, and it is a very good example for Cuba", but I want to focus in other aspect of the current bilateral stage:
What are the implications of the fact that US it’s right now drastically reducing the authorization of immigrant visas to Cuban at the same time it’s encouraging anyone that come to this country by illegal means? Could we allow the hijackings become an exodus?
Why the US has allow so quietly plains and vessels to arrive from Cuba under “orange alert”? and would it not be creating condition to swift track in this regard and accuse us creating danger to US national security?
Just this weekend The Keys News of South Florida published the article “Events in Cuba signal possible crisis”, BY J. J. HYSELL. He quoted from Joe Garcia, executive director of the terrorist’s linked Cuban American National Foundation: "The repression may be getting to the point where you have A CRISIS BREWING". And also quoted from the chief U.S. diplomat Havana: " The continued DISINTEGRATION OF CUBAN SOCIETY GENERATES INSTABILITY THROUGHOUT THE REGION and creates the threat of mass migration to the United States," Cason said. "This UNDERMINES OUR SECURITY and the long-term potential for the Cuban nation" I call your attention at these excerpts, part of our Foreign Minister press conference April 9 (which have also been intentionally left out of the public attention in this country):
“I already said there were seven hijackings in seven months using firearms, knives, violence against passengers, grenades-- our opinion is that these hijackings, these numerous plans for hijackings, for illegal emigration to the United States are actually part of a deliberate plan to encourage illegal departures from Cuba, to encourage people to commit acts of terrorism on boats, and on planes that fly to and from Cuba, to encourage the hijacking of Cuban boats and of Cuban planes, to create the conditions which will allow them to tear up the immigration agreement.
“The U.S. government’s commitment is to give visas to a minimum of 20,000 Cubans a year so they can emigrate. This does not include immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, therefore, not including that, a minimum of 20,000 should emigrate. Each year of the agreement begins on October 1… Between October 1 and February 28, …with five months gone, they have issued 505 visas. …What does this abrupt reduction in issued visas mean in overt violation of the Immigration Agreement? Why is the U.S. government not meeting its commitment? Why, after five months have gone by are we not even close to 10,000 Cubans with visas and they have issued hardly 2.5% of the visas agreed to?
…We are dealing with a deliberate plan to make those who want to emigrate lose hope, so that they have no alternative but illegal emigration. …We are witnessing the implementation of a premeditated plan to encourage illegal emigration, to leave those who want to emigrate from Cuba no other option than to hijack boats, planes. What we want is that migration takes place in a legal and orderly fashion”…. (End of quote) There are people who want to tear up the immigration agreements, but I think the intention may also be to create a situation that could be presented as justification for other kind of action by U.S. “to protect it’s national security”?).
2 - EXCEPTS FROM CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON LEGALS AND PERSONAL GUARANTIES DURING THE RECENT TRIALS:
“ Now, I will offer you some information about the criminal trials, having looked at the background and explained their causes and the conditions that have brought us to this point.
Twenty-nine trials have been held in Cuba, in just about every province in the country. Charges were pressed against 75 people, 74 of them men, and the courts have handed down appropriate sentences of between 6 and 28 years in jail. Therefore, it is not true that there have been death sentences. It is not true that in these cases life sentences have been handed down, which the law allows for and the behavior of some of the defendants merit. Actually, even longer sentences than they were given are provided for their crimes in most legal systems around the world.
The criminal trials were arraigned on an expedite basis as per Law No. 5 of 1977, the Law of Criminal Procedure. And here I want to make a side comment. A summary trial is an institution that is not new and is far from being a Cuban invention and something only used in Cuba, far from it. It is in the body of law of more than 100 countries, including the United States and was, in fact, brought to Cuba by the Spanish colonial government. Summary trials did not arise in Cuba in the Revolution; they date back to the 1888 Law of Criminal Prosecution …And the interventionist U.S. military government from 1900 to 1902 used summary trials. So, we have inherited this institution, which is also used universally.
A summary trial means that the President of the Supreme Court is empowered to shorten the time for holding a trial, but under no circumstances does it mean a limitation of guarantees. … Summary trials also existed in the pseudo-republic, under Machado and Batista’s bloody dictatorships, which U.S. governments supported and financed giving them military and political support, although they were not often used or they were used but they were not the only measures because they resorted to more expeditious solutions such as murder, disappearance and crime against their opponents.
No one can come up with, nor will ever be able to come up with the name of a missing person in Cuba, the name of a murdered person… Therefore, I maintain that there has been absolute respect for due process and that all defendants have had their full guarantees respected in accordance with Cuban law and with the principles generally recognized and accepted throughout the world. First, all of the defendants knew of the charges brought against them and had the opportunity to contest them before the trial began. …They were informed in advance and just like any other defendant in Cuba they had the opportunity to give their views on the charges.
Secondly, all of the defendants exercised their right to have legal counsel, a defense lawyer who, according to Cuban law, can be either retained by the defendant or, if he or she fails to do so, appointed by the court as assigned counsel. 54 defense lawyers took part in the 29 trials; some lawyers represented more than one defendant (their families appointed 44.) Thirdly, all of the defendants exercised their right to be heard by previously established courts. No special ad hoc tribunal was set up to try them. They did not go before a military court set up in an expeditious way; that is not true. They were brought before previously established provincial courts, as our law provides for, and judges appointed who were already there and working in those courts. No judges were appointed on any especial basis nor courts specifically set up; that is untrue.
Therefore, all of them, each and every one of them, exercised their right to be heard in public hearings by courts and judges that already existed. Oral proceedings were held with the defendants where they exercised their right to speak, where they answered questions from the defense and the prosecution, where witnesses were called, experts were called, where the defense lawyers examined the witnesses, including the experts.
The oral hearings were open to the public. I reject the notion of secret trials. On average, about 100 people per trial attended the hearings. Almost 3,000 people attended all of the hearings, mostly family members, witnesses and expert witnesses —hundreds of witnesses and expert witnesses. The courts are empowered to decide who can and who cannot attend. I stress that these were oral, public and adversary proceedings, Fourth, all of the defendants and their defense lawyers exercised their right to introduce evidence in their favor, which was examined the same as that produced by the police investigation, which was introduced by the prosecution.
All of the defense lawyers had prior access to the list of charges. …
Fifth; all have the right, and they were notified of this during the trial, to appeal their sentences in a court higher than the one, which handed down their sentences, in this case to the Supreme Court. This is a right they have which the Cuban law respects scrupulously.
And sixth; I said I was going to cite six arguments. There has been the most transparent and scrupulous respect for the physical safety, for the physical and moral integrity of each of the defendants at every stage of the trial. There is not here the slightest evidence or the slightest suspicion of coercion, pressure, threats or blackmail.”
-------- End part two ----------
These are links to a gallery of documents that prove US and foreign assistance to the so-called “ dissidents” (follow by US AID Cuba program, which is PART of the OPEN funding for building the internal “ opposition): http://www.lajiribilla.cu/2003/n101_04/pruebas/pruebas01.html
In light of the Bush Administration's recent attacks on Cuba, I thought this should be forwarded widely. http://www.usaid.gov/regions/lac/cu/upd-cub.htm
US Agency For International Development (USAID) FUNDING FOR CUBA PROGRAMS 21 May 2002 Following is the text of a press release from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), providing a May 2002 update on the agency's Cuba program spending.
USAID/Cuba Program May 2002
A. BUILDING SOLIDARITY WITH CUBA'S HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS
1. Freedom House: Transitions ($500,000 -- completed)
2. Center for a Free Cuba ($2,249,709)
3. The Institute for Democracy in Cuba ($1,000,000 -- completed)
4. Cuban Dissidence Task Group ($250,000 -- completed)
5. International Republican Institute ($1,674,462)
6. Freedom House: Cuban Democracy Project ($825,000)
7. Grupo de Apoyo a la Disidencia ($1,200,000)
8. Accion Democratica Cubana ($400,000)
B. GIVING VOICE TO CUBA'S INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS
1. Cuba Free Press ($280,000 -- completed)
2. Florida International University: Journalism Training ($622,000)
3. CubaNet ($833,000)
4. Carta de Cuba ($293,000)
C. HELPING DEVELOP INDEPENDENT CUBAN NGOs
1. Partners of the Americas ($172,000 -- completed)
2. Pan American Development Foundation ($553,500)
3. ACDI-VOCA: Independent Agricultural Cooperatives ($265,000)
4. University of Miami: Developing Civil Society ($320,000)
5. Florida International University: NGO Development ($291,749)
D. DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF CUBAN WORKERS
1. American Center for Int'l Labor Solidarity ($168,575)
2. National Policy Association ($424,000)
E. PROVIDING DIRECT OUTREACH TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE
1. Cuba On-Line ($800,000)
2. Sabre Foundation ($85,000)
F. PLANNING FOR TRANSITION
1. Rutgers University: Planning for Change ($99,000)
2. Int'l Foundation for Election Systems ($136,000)
3. U.S. - Cuba Business Council ($852,000)
4. University of Miami: Cuba Transition Planning ($1,045,000)
G. EVALUATING PROGRAM IMPACT
1. Un iv of Florida: Measuring Public Opinion ($110,000)
2. PriceWaterhouseCoopers: Program Evaluation ($225,000)
Summary: The goal of U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba is to promote a peaceful transition to democracy. U.S. policy recognizes the key importance of civil society in shaping and helping smooth the way for a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy in Cuba. The present state of Cuban civil society is extremely weak. Fidel Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba dominate the political landscape, control the formal economic system, and strive to maintain a monopoly on the flow of information to, from and within the island. As long as Castro remains in power, most analysts predict little intentional loosening of government controls. Once Castro is gone, however, the prospects for peaceful transition will hinge on the ability of a renascent Cuban civil society to help reconcile conflicts and prepare the population for peaceful democratic change.
To support a peaceful transition to democracy, USAID has adopted the special objective of increasing the free flow of accurate information on democracy and human rights to, from, and within Cuba. The CUBAN DEMOCRACY ACT OF 1992 authorizes the President to provide assistance "through appropriate nongovernmental organizations for the support of individuals and organizations to promote nonviolent democratic change in Cuba." The LIBERTAD Act of 1996 further elaborates the types of assistance and support the President is authorized to provide for individuals and independent NGOs to support democracy-building efforts for Cuba. Assistance may include provision of published and informational matter on democracy, human rights and market economies, to be made available to independent groups in Cuba; humanitarian assistance to victims of repression, as well as their families; support for democratic and human rights groups in Cuba; and support for and permanent deployment of independent international human rights monitors. The LIBERTAD Act (section 202) also authorizes the President to begin planning now for U.S. assistance to a future transition government in Cuba and to a future democratically elected Cuban Government.
Key Results: Six key intermediate results were concluded to be necessary to achieve this objective:
(1) Cuba's Human Rights Activists: Books and other
Informational materials will be provided to more than
250 human rights activists in Cuba. Nine thousand
pounds of food and medicine are needed for families of
political prisoners and other victims of government
repression in Cuba;
(2) Cuba's Independent Journalists: 5000 articles by Cuba's independent journalists will be disseminated internationally as well as circulated inside Cuba;
(3) Independent Cuban NGOs: …. … ..The requested $5,000,000 in ESF is intended to promote a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba by building solidarity with Cuba's human rights activists, giving voice to Cuba's independent journalists, helping develop independent Cuban NGOs, defending the rights of Cuban workers, providing direct outreach to the Cuban people, and planning for assistance to a future transition government in Cuba.
…Principal Contractors, Grantees or Agencies: American Center for International Labor Solidarity, Center for a Free Cuba, Cuba Free Press, Institute for Democracy in Cuba, International Republican Institute, Pan American Development Foundation, Rutgers University, Sabre Foundation, Florida International University, U.S.-Cuba Business Council, Freedom House, Cuba On-Line, CubaNet, and National Policy Association.
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Sent out by:
Fernando García Bielsa
Cuba's Interests Section
2630 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009