UN General Assembly urges end to US embargo on Cuba

INQUIRER Politics.

Renewed international condemnation on Wednesday of U.S. blockade against Cuba

THE United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday will vote on a resolution

condemning the U.S. blockade against Cuba, after around 30 presidents and

other international leaders criticized the blockade in that same forum.

 

Those expressions of repudiation occurred one month ago, during the 64th session

period of that UN body, a week-long plenum devoted to the annual general discussions.

 

This coming Wednesday the General Assembly will consider — for the 18th consecutive

year — a resolution titled Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial

Blockade Imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.

 

During this first month of General Assembly session, several leaders described as obsolete

the U.S. blockade against the island, established almost 50 years ago, and they criticized

the criminal siege, reiterating the numerous demands that have been reflected in recent

months at various summits of heads of state and government on several continents.

 

The Cuban revolutionary government has stated in numerous forums that the U.S. siege

of the island is intact and constitutes “a unilateral act of aggression which should be ended

unilaterally.”

 

Speaking before the UN General Assembly, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez

Parrilla warned that the U.S. government continues to ignore the demands of the

international community to end the blockade, and explained that recent measures

announced by the White House are a positive step, but extremely limited and insufficient.

 

Rodríguez stated that the U.S. president holds broad executive powers via which he could

modify the blockade’s implementation, and that with a real will for change, Washington

could authorize the exportation of Cuban goods and services to the United States and

vice versa, and abstain from harassing, freezing and confiscating transfers from third

countries for Cuban entities and nationals.

 

The foreign minister also referred to the possibility of U.S. citizens, via licenses, traveling

to Cuba, “the only country in the world they are prohibited from visiting.”

 

Rodríguez reiterated Cuba’s willingness to normalize its relations with the United States

and to hold a respectful dialogue, between equals, “without a shadow over our independence,

sovereignty and self-determination.”

 

Since 1991, the U.S. blockade against Cuba has received the growing condemnation of UN

members, and last year 185 states expressed their opposition by voting for the resolution,

the highest figure yet. (PL y SE)

Translated by Granma International

UN Working Group decides that the detention of the Cuban Five is arbitrary

Antiterrorist Working Group 2005-07-15

Recently it was known that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions (Human Rights Commission) declared on May 27, 2005, that the deprivation of liberty of Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, Fernando González Llort, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar and René González Sehweret is arbitrary and requested the Government of the United States to adopt the necessary steps to remedy this situation. The Group adopted that decision following a request made by the families of the five Cubans after evaluating arguments put by both the families and the US government. As is evident from the decision, the arguments on which the Working Group relied to arrive at that conclusion were: – That “the trial did not take place in a climate of objectivity and impartiality which is required” and that “the Government [of the United States] has not denied that the climate of bias and prejudice against the accused in Miami persisted and helped to present the accused as guilty from the beginning.” “It was not contested by the Government [of the United States] that one year later it admitted that Miami was an unsuitable place for a trial where it proved almost impossible to select an impartial jury in a case linked with Cuba.” – That “The Government [of the United States] has not contested the fact that defense lawyers had very limited access to evidence because of the classification of the case by the Government as one of national security”, which “undermined the equal balance between the prosecution and the defense and negatively affected the ability [of the defense] to present counter evidence”. – That the fact that the accused “were kept in solitary confinement for 17 months” determined that “communication with their attorneys, and access to evidence and thus, possibilities to an adequate defense were weakened”. – That these “three elements, combined together, are of such gravity that they confer the deprivation of liberty of these five persons an arbitrary character.” This declaration confirms the essential arguments put forth by the defense in an appeal filed with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in May of 2003 – a decision from which is still pending. CONCLUSION OF THE U.N. WORKING GROUP on ARBITRARY DETENTIONS (HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION). OPINION No. 19/2005 (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) Communication: addressed to the Government of the United States of America on 8 April 2004 Concerning: Mr. Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Mr. Fernando González Llort, Mr. Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Mr. Ramón Labañino Salazar and Mr. René González Sehwerert From the information received, the Working Group observes the following: (a) Following their arrest, and notwithstanding the fact that the detainees had been informed of their right to remain silent and had their defense provided by the Government, they were kept in solitary confinement for 17 months, during which communication with their attorneys, and access to evidence and thus, possibilities to a adequate defense were weakened, (b) As the case was classified as one of national security, access by the detainees to the documents that contained evidence was impaired. The Government has not contested the fact that defense lawyers had very limited access to evidence because of this classification, negatively affecting their ability to present counter evidence, This particular application of the legal provisions of the CIPA, as made in this case and as the information available to the Working Group reveals, has also undermined the equal balance between the prosecution and the defense, (c) The jury for the trial was selected following an examination process in which the defense attorneys had the opportunity and availed themselves of the procedural tools to reject potential jurors, and ensured that no Cuban-Americans served on the jury, Nevertheless, the Government has not denied that even so, the climate of bias and prejudice against the accused in Miami persisted and helped to present the accused as guilty from the beginning. It was not contested by the Government that one year later it admitted that Miami was an unsuitable place for a trial where it proved almost impossible to select an impartial jury in a case linked with Cuba. The Working Group notes that it arises from the facts and circumstances in which the trial took place and from the nature of the charges and the harsh sentences given to the accused, that the trial did not take place in the climate of objectivity and impartiality which is required in order to conclude on the observance of the standards of a fair trial, as defined in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States of America is a party. This imbalance, taking into account the severe sentences received by the persons under consideration in this case, is incompatible with the standards contained in Article 14 of the International Covenant en Civil and Political Rights that guarantee that each person accused of a crime has the right to exercise, in full equality, all the adequate facilities to prepare his defense. The Working Group concludes that the three elements that were enunciated above, combined together, are of such gravity that they confer the deprivation of liberty of these five persons an arbitrary character. In light of the preceding, the Working Group issues the following opinion: The deprivation of Iiberty of Messrs. Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, Mr. Fernando González Llort, Mr Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Mr. Ramón Labañino Salazar and Mr. René González Sehweret is arbitrary, being in contravention of article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and corresponds to category III of the applicable categories examined in the cases before the Working Group. Having issued this opinion, the Working Group requests the Government to adopt the necessary steps to remedy the situation, in conformity with the principles stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Adopted on 27 May 2005

A Very Important Liar

Published in CounterPunch, October 20, 2009

Luis Posada Carriles is a real VIP enjoying unique courtesies and privileges not offered to other dignitaries and celebrities. But he is also a self-confessed and duly certified international terrorist. • Posada began his long carrier with the early actions against the Cuban Revolution, including the Bay of Pigs fiasco and several years as the CIA man in Venezuelan political police where he became a leader of some conspicuous torturers; • Posada was sought by Interpol, since he escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 – Hugo Chávez was still an unknown young man – while on trial for masterminding the first destruction ever of a civilian airplane in midair and the murder in cold blood of 73 human beings; • Posada emerged immediately in Central America as a key figure in the Iran-Contra scam, being mentioned several times during the US Senate investigation and in Oliver North’s notebook; • Posada published his autobiography – a Miami bestseller – and has appeared many times in the local and US media; • Posada twice landed on the front page of The New York Times, in consecutive issues, describing his responsibility in the bombing campaign in Cuba in the 1990s; • Posada was found guilty by a Panamanian tribunal of crimes associated with a plot to bomb the University in order to kill Fidel Castro and hundreds of students and professors; being illegally pardon by the President of Panama, on the eve of her last day in office and after receiving special emissaries sent in a hurry by George W. Bush; • Posada again went into “hiding” somewhere in Central America, but maintained constant communication with his pals in the Cuban American National Foundation and other terrorist groups and collected money from frequent well publicized fundraisings. Yes, it’s been a long career of infamy, always on behalf of US goals and interests as proudly proclaimed by his Miami lawyer. If we are to believe his words all through that period Posada has visited the US several times, although unnoticed. One day he decided to settle there for good. After all, his family has been residing in Miami for decades. And then he went back home. Posada Carriles entered Florida in March 2005, clandestinely, without a US visa, like millions of Latinos try to do unsuccessfully time and again. But he was not arrested, much less deported. The story of how he did it in the Santrina boat with the help of his US based terrorist network was described in a Yucatan newspaper, “Por Esto”, in a story widely disseminated through the continent. Everybody knew it except the Bush Administration, which insisted for two months that they knew nothing about his whereabouts–until, that is, Posada convened a press conference in May to announce his willingness to continue waging from Miami his total warfare against the Cuban Revolution. Having no other option, the Bush Administration detained Posada and took him to the immigration facility in El Paso, where they had prepared for him VIP quarters, completely separated from the general population, with special food and amenities of every sort, even the possibilities to meet friends and journalists. Posada’s only grumble: the US protocol failed to provide him Cuban guava pastries. According to official papers submitted by the US Government to migratory Courts, Washington deployed strenuous diplomatic efforts trying to convince other countries to grant shelter and protection to Posada. American diplomats approached governments in Central and South America and even in Europe asking them to receive the notorious VIP. Without exception the answer always was: No thanks. Ironically Washington has yet to answer the diplomatic note presented by Venezuela on June 15, 2005 for his detention and subsequent extradition to Caracas in accordance with the Extradition Treaty existing between both countries. The Bush Administration, and so far his successor, choose to accuse him of being a liar and entered in a deliberately confused litigation with Mr. Posada for allegedly not being truthful with immigration officials about how he entered the country. As a result, an administrative Court sent Posada home to keep comfortable, arguing for his formal admission by authorities who have shown such unparalleled patience and understanding. How many undocumented poor Latinos have had that opportunity? How many of them have, in the meantime, been freed and allowed to walk away unmolested and do whatever they want to? Posada doesn’t complain anymore. He is a free man in Miami eating plenty of guava pastries.

ANTONIO SENDS A NEW POEM FROM MIAMI TO ALL HIS SUPPORTERS

antiterroristas.cu 2009-10-20

On October 13th, Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five, was resentenced to 21 years and 10 months. While waiting for his court hearing, he wrote this poem and sent it to all his supporters from around the world.

I

Miami is before my eyes. I can’t sleep An obstinate verse bounces between the luxury of a skyscraper and the tragedy of a broken shower. through the window I see the rising sun to light the green tinted windows, in every direction people, with whom I make an imaginary world, walk The Royal Caribbean cruises, the McDonald’s, the school, the banks, the homeless rummaging through the trash the vendor under the umbrella still there and again I look at them from the “hole”, that is, “from my altitude”.

II

It is called Miami’s Down Town a mass of steel, concrete and glasses. During the day an authentic ant’s nest. During the night a dangerous and empty place. Its each time highest buildings are symbols of power and opulence: banks with millionaire transactions, houses with few tenants. In the cosmetic urbanization there are parking lots for countless cars. and I do not know how to say it in verse but what captures more my attention is to see that the public transportation basically is used by the black people.

III

Once again orange jumper Once again solitude between bricks. Once again broken mattress without pillow. Once again big noise in the hall. Once again to change clothes once a week. Once again tiny yellow pencil. One again by a miracle a phone call. Once again to walk without destiny. Once again a cage to “recreate”, This time even they don’t give coffee. Once again dirty floor, cold shower. Once again a “cop-out” to complain and, of course, they don’t answer once again. Once again “hole” and once again poetry.

The ALBA and Copenhagen

(Taken from CubaDebate)

THE festivities at the 7th ALBA Summit, held in the historic Bolivian region of Cochabamba, demonstrated the rich culture of the Latin American peoples and the joy elicited in children, young people and adults of all ages through the singing, dancing, costumes and expressive faces of the individuals representing all ethnic groups, colors and shades: indigenous, black, white and mixed race people. Thousands of years of human history and treasured culture were on display there, which explains the decision of the leaders of several Caribbean, Central and South America peoples to convene that summit. The meeting was a great success. It was held in Bolivia. A few days ago, I wrote about the excellent prospects of that country, the heir to the Aymara-Quechua culture. A small group of peoples from that area are striving to show that a better world is possible. The ALBA – created by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Cuba, inspired by the ideas of Bolívar and Martí, as an unprecedented example of revolutionary solidarity – has demonstrated what can be done in just five years of peaceful cooperation. This began shortly after the political and democratic triumph of Hugo Chávez. Imperialism underestimated him; it blatantly attempted to oust him and eliminate him. The fact that for a good part of the 20th century Venezuela had been the world’s largest oil-producer, practically owned by the yanki multinationals, meant that the course they embarked on was particularly difficult. The powerful adversary had neoliberalism and the FTAA, two instruments of domination with which it crushed any form of resistance in the hemisphere after the triumph of the Revolution in Cuba. It is outrageous to think of the shameless and disrespectful way in which the US administration imposed the government of millionaire Pedro Carmona and tried to have the elected President Hugo Chavez removed, at a time when the USSR had disappeared and the People’s Republic of China was a few years away from becoming the economic and commercial power it is today, after two decades of growth over 10%. The Venezuelan people, like that of Cuba, resisted the brutal onslaught. The Sandinistas recovered, and the struggle for sovereignty, independence and socialism gained ground in Bolivia and Ecuador. Honduras, which had joined the ALBA, was the victim of a brutal coup d’état inspired by the yanki ambassador and boosted by the US military base in Palmerola. Today, there are four Latin American countries that have completely eradicated illiteracy: Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua. The fifth country, Ecuador, is rapidly advancing towards that goal. Comprehensive healthcare programs are underway in the five countries at an unprecedented pace for the peoples of the Third World. Economic development plans combined with social justice have become real programs in the five different states, which already enjoy great prestige throughout the world for their courageous position in the face of the economic, military and media power of the empire. Three English-speaking Caribbean countries have also joined the ALBA, in a determined fight for their development. This alone would be a great political merit if, in today’s world, that were the only major problem in the history of humankind. The economic and political system that in a short historical period has led to the existence of more than one billion hungry people, and many more hundreds of millions whose lives are barely longer than half the average of those in the wealthy and privileged countries, was until now the main problem for humanity. But, a new and extremely serious problem was extensively discussed at the ALBA Summit: climate change. At no other point in history, has a danger of such magnitude arisen. As Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega bade farewell to the people in the streets of Cochabamba yesterday, Sunday, that same day, according to a report by BBC World, Gordon Brown was chairing a session of the Major Economies Forum in London, mostly made up of the most-developed capitalist countries, the main culprits for carbon dioxide emissions, that is, the gas causing the greenhouse effect. The significance of Brown’s words is that they were not uttered by a representative of the ALBA or one of the 150 emerging or underdeveloped countries on the planet, but Britain, the country where industrial development began and one of those that has released the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The British prime minister warned that if an agreement is not reached at the UN Summit in Copenhagen, the consequences will be “disastrous”. Floods, droughts, and killer heat waves are just some of the “catastrophic” consequences, according to the World Wildlife Fund ecological group, referring to Brown’s statement. “Climate change will spiral out of control over the next five to ten years if CO2 emissions are not drastically cut. There will be no Plan B if Copenhagen fails.” The same news source claims that: “BBC expert James Landale has explained that not everything is turning out as expected.” Newsweek reported that every day it seems more unlikely that states will commit to something in Copenhagen. According to reports from a major American news outlet, the chairman of the session, Gordon Brown, said that “”If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice. He continued by listing conflicts such as “climate-induced migration” and “an extra 1.8 billion people living and dying without enough water.” In reality, as the Cuban delegation in Bangkok reported, the United States led the industrialized nations most opposed to the necessary reduction in emissions. At the Cochabamba meeting, a new ALBA Summit was convened. The timetable will be: December 6, elections in Bolivia; December 13, ALBA summit in Havana; December 16, participation in the UN Copenhagen Summit. The small group of ALBA nations will be there. The issue is no longer “Homeland or Death”; it is truly and without exaggeration a matter of “Life or Death” for the human race. The capitalist system is not only oppressing and pillaging our nations. The wealthiest industrialized countries wish to impose on the rest of the world the major responsibility in the fight against climate change. Who are they trying to fool? In Copenhagen, the ALBA and the countries of the Third World will be fighting for the survival of the species.

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 19, 2009

6:05 PM

The Case of the Cuban Five: American Justice as a Political Weapon

by Michael Collins 
Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP) 
Oct. 19, 2009
 

The decision by a Miami court on Tuesday October 13 to reduce Antonio Guererro’s life sentence to 22 years imprisonment is the latest chapter in the ongoing legal battle to free a group of men known as the Cuban Five. Largely anonymous in the United States yet celebrities in their native Cuba, their conviction symbolizes the fraught relationship that exists between the two countries. The re-sentencing is the result of a decision taken last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which stated that the court in Miami, where the original trial was held, may have erred when it imposed sentences on three of the five men. The hearing takes place at a time when many Cubans and Americans have high hopes for improved diplomacy between their nations. 

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