Havana. October 7, 2011
Further injustice against René confirms that U.S. government acknowledges presence of terrorists in its territory
• Speech given by Mercedes López Acea, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party, during the central event marking the Day of the Victims of State Terrorism
ARMY General Raúl Castro Ruz,
Family members of the victims of state terrorism against Cuba,
Family members of our Five Heroes,
Compañeras and compañeros:
Exactly one year ago, in this very place, our President, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, during the commemoration for the first time of the Day of the Victims of State Terrorism, recounted some of the long and painful history of terrorism against the Cuban people, sponsored by the highest echelons of successive U.S. governments, with the sinister Central Intelligence Agency playing a prominent role and the active participation of unpatriotic and mercenary counterrevolutionary organizations.
Raúl evoked the fires, the bombings, the acts of sabotage – such as the perfidious explosion aboard La Coubre and the no less criminal one of the Le Van Than day care center – the hijacking of planes, boats and Cuban citizens, attacks on our offices abroad and the killing of diplomats; the machine gunning of facilities and the many attempts on the lives of the principal revolutionary leaders, in particular that of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.
He also recalled the organization, financing and provisioning of the armed bands; the Bay of Pigs invasion; Operation Mongoose; biological warfare on cultivated areas, animals and human beings, with its particularly cruel manifestation in the hemorrhagic dengue epidemic; explosions in tourist facilities… The trail of suffering and pain inflicted on our people by U.S. imperialism has indeed been great!
Today, October 6, 35 years have passed since one of the most abominable acts in this history of terror against Cuba: the Barbados crime. The in-flight destruction from a terrorist attack of the Cubana passenger plane, the vile murder of 73 innocent people, Guyanese, Korean and Cuban citizens – most of them in the flower of youth – and among them the Cuban juvenile fencing team, shook the nation to the core.
The homeland elected this day to honor the 5,577 Cubans who have died or left permanently disabled as a result of acts of terrorism perpetrated against Cuba for more than 50 years, with the sponsorship, complicity and direct participation of United States authorities.
The list given by compañero Raúl one year ago, with undisputable figures and arguments, relieves me of having to go into more details of events indelibly inscribed in history. Moreover, as he himself said then, "It would be impossible to include in just one speech the interminable chain of terrorist plots, actions and attacks hatched against our country."
For this reason, I will center my speech on detailing what has happened in these past 12 months. I have to say that, for yet another year, our people have waited in vain for justice to be done. One of the masterminds of the Barbados crime and many other felonies against Cuba, Orlando Bosch, died in Miami, enjoying the liberty he was granted thanks to the executive pardon afforded by President George Bush Sr. That pardon was a retribution for the criminal services he provided for years. But, who was the director of the CIA when the Cubana plane was blown up? The very same George Bush.
What happened this year with the international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the other mastermind of the crime? It wasn’t enough to charge him on minor counts and postpone his trial to the point of absurdity, which our press justly called "the El Paso farce." He was finally exonerated of all charges. Saying that a criminal like Posada is innocent is an affront not only to the Cuban people, but to all of humanity. We demand his extradition to Venezuela and that justice is done. This self-confessed killer must be tried for the crimes which he has committed.
Did the United States by any chance exclude Cuba this year from its spurious list of state sponsors of terrorism, an infamous measure like few others which, more than placing our country in the judgment seat, discredits that government even more?
No! Once again, it included Cuba, in order to justify its sanctions and its genocidal blockade.
The United States, the largest promoter of state sponsored terrorism in the world – of the savage nuclear bombardments of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took the lives of four million Vietnamese, godfather of the bloody military dictatorships and Operation Condor, of the massacres in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – that country which fails to fulfill international treaties signed in this context and which demonstrates notorious double standards in its supposed "war on terror," does not have an iota of moral authority for drawing up such a list.
The historical truth is that no other country has been the victim of this scourge, which originated years ago in the United States, as has Cuba. Precisely for this reason, and because of the principles which have sustained our Revolution, our country has resolutely condemned all forms or manifestations of terrorism in any part of the world, and has signed the 13 international agreements on the subject.
While an American politician, as Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann did recently, might make unfounded and irresponsible statements in this context, the reality is that Cuban territory has never been utilized, and never will be, to organize, finance or execute acts of terrorism against any country, including the United States.
Yet another year has gone by, and our government’s proposal to U.S. authorities to sign a cooperation agreement in this sphere remains without response. We ask ourselves why, when it is in the interest of the people of the United States? Doubtless, there is no political will to do so.
The most compelling evidence of that is what has taken place with the five Cuban heroes. Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René have endured another 365 days of unjust incarceration. That is now 13 years of cruel and unmerited imprisonment. How much longer is this injustice going to prevail?
They should not have been imprisoned even for one day. They were not seeking classified information nor did they obtain any information on [U.S.] national security, nor did they affect any U.S. interests. Their mission was to contribute to averting the actions of terrorist groups acting against Cuba from Florida with total impunity. Their trials were arbitrary, they were held in Miami – the capital of anti-Cuban terror – in the midst of a climate of hostility, fuelled by an intense press campaign paid for by the yankee government. There is more than enough information, arguments and legal documentation demonstrating the rigged nature of these proceedings.
What to say about their conditions in these close to 5,000 days and nights? The confinements in the "hole," the prolonged periods of no communication, the difficulties in contacting their legal representatives, the unjustified separations from their families… How low the representatives of the empire have fallen with their merciless treatment of the Five, converting their imprisonment into a political vendetta against an entire people!
But they have not succeeded in the attempt to destroy their will, in spite of the pressure and the abuse. In spite of the unjust sentences and the inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment to which they have been subjected, the Five have maintained an exemplary conduct without making the least concession to their convictions, giving an unsurpassable example of dignity and steadfastness.
Now another injustice is being committed, an additional reprisal. Tomorrow René González will be released after having served the brutal and unjust sentence imposed on him. But he has been denied the right to return to Cuba to be reunited with his wife, daughters and parents.
Behind this decision of Judge Joan Lenard is the government of the United States, which is viciously persecuting our anti-terrorist fighters while, on the other hand, maintaining its history of protecting terrorist individuals and organizations located in its territory, responsible for the death, pain and suffering of thousands of Cubans.
In the person of René, a new injustice is being committed against the Five. Forcing him to live alongside terrorist elements in Miami, truly unpunished killers, is to endanger his life. We hold the U.S. government responsible for the consequences of this brutal and foolish decision, in particular for René’s physical integrity.
The judge’s additional requisite preventing him, after his release, from "associating with or visiting specific places where individuals where individuals or groups such as terrorists…are known to frequent," is absurd. It is illogical, because it obliges René to live precisely where these groups or individuals are flourishing and acting with total impunity. This demonstrates that the government of the United States knows who the terrorists are and where they are.
What government body will update René on those places where terrorists currently meet? Has the government, at the same time, banned them from approaching René? With this requisite, ratified once more by the judge, the government of the United States is acknowledging the presence of terrorists in its territory with a long record of criminal acts against Cuba, and is once again revealing the double standards of its much-trumpeted and hypocritical "war on terror."
We reiterate, as was clearly stated in the editorial published in Granma, the official organ of our Party, on September 28: "Although it is impossible to undo the injustice after so many years of unwarranted imprisonment and political attacks, the only minimally decorous action the government of the United States could take at this point would be to grant René permission to immediately return to Cuba, to put an end to the vengeful sentences imposed on Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio and Fernando, and to allow the return of all Five to their homeland."
The unjust and inhumane treatment meted out to our five compañeros, Heroes of the Republic of Cuba, who fought to protect the Cuban people – and also American people – from terrorism is fully known. International solidarity with them has grown year after year. Heads of state and government, other high-ranking government officials, 10 Nobel Prize laureates, outstanding figures, organizations and social movement from all over the world have added their voices and actions to the demand of freedom for the Five.
This struggle will be greater still every day. Now is the time to condemn, with all our forces, the additional punishment being imposed on René González, and to demand of President Obama that he end the injustice for once and for all, that he permit René’s immediate return to Cuba and that he use his constitutional authority to end the vengeful sentences handed down to Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio and Fernando.
This is the sentiment of millions of Cuban women and men, who will not cease for an instant until we see them all here, alongside their loved ones and their people. As compañero Fidel said in the Reflection which he titled "The supervised shame of Obama," the unyielding resistance of Cuban patriots is symbolized by our five heroes. They will never give in! They will never surrender!
Today, commemorating the 35th anniversary of the abominable sabotage of the Cubana airliner off the coast of Barbados, and honoring all Cuban men and women who lost their lives or have been left disabled as a consequence of state terrorism unleashed by an imperial power against this heroic people, we demand justice!
Glory to our heroes and martyrs!
Freedom for the Five!
¡Patria o Muerte!
Translated by Granma International
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