AN IMPRESSIVE GESTURE

I confess that many times I have meditated on the dramatic story of John F. Kennedy.  It was my fate to live through the era when he was the greatest and most dangerous adversary of the Revolution.  It was something that didn’t play a part in his calculations.  He saw himself as the representative of a new generation of Americans who were confronting the old-style, dirty politics of men of the sort of Nixon whom he had defeated with a tremendous display of political talent.

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TRAPPED BY HISTORY

Daniel’s appearance on the National Television Round Table program went as I hoped.  He spoke eloquently and he was persuasive, calm and irrefutable.
He gave no offence nor did he wish to offend any other Latin American country; he held firmly to the truth in every moment of his appearance: Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, as ALBA spokesmen, rejected the idea that the Final Declaration was submitted as a matter of consensual agreement, in no uncertain terms.

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PONTIUS PILATE WASHED HIS HANDS

Pressure against the U.S. blockade of Cuba was so great that on the day Raúl categorically declared that our country would not join the OAS, the secretary of the discredited institution began to prepare the terrain for Cuba’s participation in an eventual future Summit of the Americas.  His recipe is to abolish the resolution which decided the expulsion of the Island for ideological reasons.  Such an argument is truly laughable when important countries such as China and Vietnam, which the world today cannot do without, are being lead by Communist parties that were created on the same ideological foundations.

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Bulletin on the Amicus from ten Nobel Prizes filed with the US Supreme Court in favor of the Cuban Five

Dear Friends:

Today, from the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples we send you an extract from the amicus where ten Nobel prizes subscribe to the petition filed by the defense, as well as the Reasons to grant the petition, under the signature of the representing lawyer Michael Ratner, hoping it can be spread to your friends, posted in the electronic pages of the solidarity movement and if it is possible, received by important personalities as well as the mainstream media of yours countries. Also, we ask you to report to this address any action you might carry out in such sense. For more information we suggest you to visit our website www.icap.cu and www.antiterroristas.cu
INTERESTS OF AMICI

The Amici Curiae are ten Nobel Prize winners of diverse political ideologies who have spent much of their lives concerned with issues of justice. All are from countries where the existence of fair and impartial tribunals has been an issue of grave concern during their lifetimes. They and their countrymen have looked for leadership to the United
States legal system, its Constitution, and its legal protections guaranteeing fair and impartial trials. They are alarmed by the convictions in this case and believe, if left standing, they will set a negative example in countries where the rule of law is not
firmly established and denigrate the esteem in which the United States justice system is held.

As members of the international community, Amici wish to underscore violations of international legal norms that mandate a fair and impartial trial, norms modeled on U.S. standards. International treaties ratified by the United States as well as customary international law reflect the U.S. constitutional requirement of a fair trial. The
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that “everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.” International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 14, Dec. 19, 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171. Numerous other international treaties and declarations do likewise.

For a number of years Amici have been attentive to this case. For example, in 2003, Amicus Nadine Gordimer wrote to the The New York Times stating, “the trial was held in Miami where the charges could not be heard by anything other than a biased jury, since the area has a dominant presence of avowed enemies of Cuba.”

In 2005 Amici signed a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales protesting
Petitioners’ continued incarceration after the Eleventh Circuit had reversed their convictions because of the inability to obtain a fair and impartial trial in Miami, Florida.

In that letter, which was subsequently signed by thousands of prominent international personalities, the Amici addressed the 2005 opinion of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions of the U.N. Human Rights Commission that the incarceration of Petitioners was arbitrary and in violation of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights.

This was the first time that the Working Group found a U.S. judicial proceeding violated the prohibition on arbitrary detentions. The Working Group found that
the “climate of bias and prejudice against the accused” was so extreme that the proceedings failed to meet the “objectivity and impartiality that is required in order to conform to the standards of a fair trial” and “confer[red] an arbitrary character on the
deprivation of liberty.” Dozens of organizations and individuals around the world—
including, for example, national parliaments and parliamentary committees on human rights joined in the condemnation. No criminal trial in modern American history has received such international approbation.

Amici raise concerns about juror intimidation, selective enforcement of the law, and the biased community atmosphere in which the trial occurred. Amici have been aware of acts of violence and harassment against the Cuban government and of
efforts to silence individuals, especially those living in Miami who are labeled “friendly” or even open to dialog with Cuba. They are also aware that at times
the U.S was unwilling to prevent or punish unlawful actions against Cuba or against persons who expressed an interest in the normalization of relations with Cuba, and failed to enforce laws prohibiting and regulating the possession of weapons
and explosives by those supporting the overthrow of the Cuban government.

Amici believe that, in these circumstances, Petitioners could not have received a fair and
impartial trial and that their convictions and sentences were wrongful.

REASONS FOR GRANTING THE WRIT

  1. Petitioners did not receive a fair and impartial trial because jurors could not decide this case free from fear of retaliation by the anti-Castro community.
  2. Petitioners did not receive a fair and impartial trial because jurors could not decide this case free from pervasive community prejudice against anyone associated with the Cuban Government.
  3. The conviction of Gerardo Hernandez for conspiracy to commit murder demonstrates that impaneling a jury free from anti-Castro prejudices, and free from the fear of intimidation was necessary for a fair and impartial trial.
  4. The failure of the Courts of The United States to reject a jury verdict infected by intimidation and the Fear of violence encourages a disregard for the right to a fair trial.

IDENTIFICATION OF AMICI CURIAE

Ten Nobel Prize winners are Amici Curiae:

Jose Ramos-Horta
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996. He is the President of East Timor. Prior to being elected President, he was elected as the country’s first Foreign Minister in 2002 and appointed Prime Minister in 2006. Ramos-Horta studied International Law at The Hague Academy of International Law and is a Senior Associate Member of the University of Oxford’s St. Antony’s College.

Wole Soyinka
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986. A Nigerian author, Soyinka is considered Africa’s most distinguished playwright. He was the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. An outspoken critic of authoritarian Nigerian regimes, Soyinka was imprisoned for nearly two years during the Nigerian Civil War for his attempts to broker a peace accord. During the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha (1993-1998), Soyinka lived in exile in the United States. He is a Professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, as well as a Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980. Born in Argentina, he is the cofounder of the Christian peace organization, Servicio Paz y Justicia, which promotes human rights throughout Latin America. Pérez Esquivel was imprisoned and tortured in Ecuador and Argentina in the late 1970’s as a result of his peace and human rights work, which included the creation of an international campaign that urged the United Nations to create a Human Rights Commission. He has been awarded the Pope John Paul XXIII Peace Memorial.

Nadine Gordimer
She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. Gordimer was born in South Africa and has spent her life there. Her literary work confronts moral and racial issues, and in particular apartheid. Some of her works were banned by theSouth African apartheid government. She was active in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and joined the African National Congress. She has continued her political work most notably in anti-censorship campaigns, as well as HIV/AIDS causes.

Rigoberta Menchú
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. A Quiche Indian from Guatemala, Menchú was active in reform efforts in Guatemala, particularly concerning women’s and Indian peasants’ rights. Her family, including her brother, mother, and father, was arrested, tortured and killed by the Guatemalan government. Menchú was forced into exile in Mexico in 1981, where she authored the internationally renowned book, I, Rigoberta Menchú. She is currently a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and continues her work on behalf of Guatemala’s Indian peasant communities.

José Saramago
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Saramago co-founded the National Front for the Defense of Culture in 1992. Saramago is a novelist, playwright and journalist. His writing is known for its empathy for the human condition. He continues to write about human rights issues.

Zhores Alferov
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000. He is a Russian physicist and invented the heterotransistor, a technological breakthrough that helped advanced electronic computer technology, including cellular phones, barcode readers and music players. Alferov has been active in Russian political affairs and has been a member of the Russian Parliament since 1995.

Dario Fo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997. Fo is an Italian playwright, director, stage and costume designer and music composer. His work was often found to be controversial in Italy and resulted in his receiving death threats. His work has been performed throughout the world.

Günter Grass
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999. A prolific author, Grass won a number of literary awards and an archival museum was founded in his honor in Bremen, Germany. Grass has been active in German political life, including the peace movement and electoral politics. He is currently working to create a German-Polish museum for artworks lost during World War II.

Máiread Corrigan Maguire
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 in recognition of her work pursuing peace and resolution in armed conflicts. She is the co-founder of the Community of Peace People, an organization that urged a non-violent resolution to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. She continues this work and has traveled to over 25 countries. In 1992 she was awarded the “Pacem in Terris” Peace and Freedom Award, named after Pope
John XXIII.

THE SUMMIT AND THE LIE

Some of the things Daniel told me would be difficult to believe if they weren’t being told by him and if they weren’t happening at a Summit of the Americas.
The odd thing is that there was no such consensus on the final document.  The ALBA group did not sign it; so it was recorded in the last exchange with Obama in the presence of Manning and the other leaders on the morning of April 19th.
Chavez, Evo and Daniel spoke at that meeting with absolute clarity.

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OBAMA AND THE BLOCKADE

Yesterday I referred to what was funny about the “Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain”.
Today I could refer to what is tragic about it.  I hope our friends do not take any offence in this.  There were some differences between the draft that we received, which was going to be submitted by the hosts of the Summit, and the document that was finally published.  In all that last-minute haste, there was hardly any time for anything.  Some items had been discussed at long meetings held some weeks previous to the Summit.  At the very last moment, proposals such as the one submitted by Bolivia, complicated even more the whole picture.  The Bolivian proposal was included as a note in the document.  It stated that Bolivia considered that the implementation of policies and cooperation schemes aimed at expanding the use of bio-fuels in the western hemisphere could affect and have an impact on the availability of foodstuffs, the increase of food prices, deforestation, the displacement of populations as a result of the land demand, and that consequently this could make the food crisis to be even worse, which will directly affect low income persons and, most of all, the poorest economies among developing countries.  The note added that the Bolivian government, while recognizing the need to look for and resort to environmentally friendly alternative sources of energy, such as the geothermal, solar, and eolic sources of energy, and to small and medium size hydro-power generators, it advocates for an alternative approach, based on the possibility of living well and in harmony with nature, in order to develop public policies aimed at the promotion of safe alternative energies that could ensure the preservation of the planet, our ‘mother land’.
When analyzing this note submitted by Bolivia please bear in mind that the United States and Brazil are the two biggest producers of bio-fuels in the world, something that is opposed by an increasing number of persons in the planet, whose resistance has been growing since the dark days of George Bush.

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THE SECRET SUMMIT

Neither represented nor excommunicated, only today could I learn what was discussed at the Summit of Port of Spain. They led us all to entertain hopes that the meeting would not be secret, but those running the show deprived us of such an interesting intellectual exercise. We shall get to know the substance but not the tone of voice, the look in the eyes or the facial look that can be a reflection of a person’s ideas, ethic and character. A Secret Summit is worse than a silent movie. For a few minutes the television showed some images. There was a gentleman on Obama’s left whom I could not identify clearly as he laid his hand on Obama’s shoulder, like an eight-year-old boy on a classmate in the front row. Then, another member of his entourage standing beside him interrupted the president of the United States for a dialogue; those coming up to address him had the appearance of an oligarchy that never knew what hunger is and who expect to find in Obama’s powerful nation the shield that will protect the system from the fearsome social changes.

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