Archive for February, 2011

There will always be an Emilio.

February 27, 2011

Shortly before this interview was published he was considered the “spokesman of Ladies in White” as well as the “independent journalist” who had issued the highest number of reports for the anti-Cuban media.  His statements reveal that the US subversive policy against Cuba is still in place.
By: Deisy Francis Mexidor


Carlos Manuel Serpa with the then head of the US Interest Section Michael Parmly. Photo: Ismael Francisco

“Greetings to the audience of Radio República.  Broadcasting from Havana, this is Carlos Serpa Maceira, director of the Union of Free Journalists of Cuba…”

The surprise has been huge:  Carlos Serpa Maceira, the “independent journalist who issued the highest number of reports for the anti-Cuban media in 2009 is simply ‘Emilio’, an agent of Cuba’s State Security.

The organs of the Ministry of the Interior decided to reveal his identity, which is an irrefutable evidence of the work carried out by the counterrevolutionary groupings in the country, disclosing their mentors and the sick pursuit by successive US administrations to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.  To this end, they direct, finance, support, protect and encourage a kind of dissidence that has no legitimacy in the Island.

Where were you born?

I was born in Matanzas, in Cárdenas, the hometown of the students’ leader José Antonio Echeverría. I was born one October 10th, the same day when, back in 1868, the Father of our Homeland launched the cry “independence or death” at the ‘La Demajagua’ sugar mill.  That is why I was named after him, Carlos Manuel.

But you are specially attached to the Isle Youth, aren’t you?

I live there and my daughter was born there.  She is already 18 years old.  The Isle of Youth is part of my history and is in my heart.

In what context ‘Emilio’ was born?

‘Emilio’ is my nom de guerre inside the State Security.  That was the name of my uncle, who raised me.  I thought that by taking his name I could best honor his memory and all what he always fought for.  He fought during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Emilio, the agent, started to accomplish missions since the year 2001.

Whom did you contact back then?

I contacted the so called Comité Pinero Pro Derechos Humanos, which was then presided over by Hubert Rodríguez Tudela, who is currently in the United States.  Afterwards I joined the Fundación Isla de Pinos de Derechos Humanos y Fomento Territorial, another counterrevolutionary grouping that was based there, of which I became a sort of “spokesman”.  It was then when I started to write my first reports for Radio Marti.

Afterwards I contacted the Unión de Periodistas y Escritores Cubanos Independientes, an alleged press agency whose profile was similar to that of the aforementioned groupings.  This was headed by Fara Armenteros, who is currently residing in the United States too.

How did that contact take place?

I used to work as a state inspector.  I was first approached by some counterrevolutionary individuals, which I immediately reported to the State Security.  From that moment on a decision was made for me to engage in this mission.

How did you make it to Havana?

Given the very complexity of the missions I was carrying out, I was instructed to move to the capital of the country.  Thus I was able to expand my contacts with the counterrevolution’s world.

Based on your experience, what is your opinion about this so called internal ‘opposition’ or dissidence?

The counterrevolution has sold its soul to the devil.  They are mercenaries.  They are no patriots, nor do they have any principles.  Their minds are pinned on the dollars and on campaigning for profits.  I will give you one example:  Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez), is a man who has become extremely famous abroad.

If he says he will convene a counterrevolutionary march anywhere in Cuba, he will automatically receive money for that.

From here they report that the “demonstration” was attended by 150 or 200 persons –which is not true, because whenever he has done things like that, the only ones in attendance have been himself plus two other provocateurs.  But then, what does Antúnez do with that money? Well, he devotes himself to having an easy life.

You have such cases as Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, who receives bundles of money –and we know who is Martha Beatriz-; Elizardo Sánchez, Juan Carlos González Leyva –the latter is the executive secretary of the self-proclaimed Consejo de Relatores de los Derechos Humanos en Cuba.

González Leyva has taken advantage of his hireling condition to  obtain personal benefits.  For example, by means of the Refugees Program of the US Interest Section, he has facilitated the departure from the country for some women with whom he had an affair.  Likewise, under the pretense of recharging the phone cards of some inmates, he has asked the counterrevolutionary organizations based in Miami for money, which he then steals for himself.

It is obvious that none of these so called dissidents have any moral.  They are only moved by the lust for money.  Besides, many of those linked to these groups have even asked for the tightening of the blockade against our homeland.

They came to me once saying that they could run a blog for me and that they will name it ‘El Guayacán Cubano’.  They said to me in very clear terms that they wanted this blog to be similar to the one ran by counterrevolutionary Yoani Sánchez, so that I could gain some money  and make a living out of it.

And, how was this supposed to work?

I was explained that, through the blog, supporters will be requested to contribute some money, and they further emphasized this:  “we are going to run the blog El Guayacán Cubano, and you ask supporters to contribute some money so that you could make a living out of it.”

The person who really runs this blog is Enrique Blanco, a counterrevolutionary based in Puerto Rico, who belongs to Operación Liborio, a project aimed at financing the so called opposition from abroad.

He has uploaded several reports in the blog as if he were me.  If for any reason I was unable to attend any given activity, which would be usually associated with the Ladies in White, he would establish direct contact with them and draft the report.

Since you made reference to the information issue, how difficult it is to organize a media campaign against Cuba?

It is not difficult.  In my case I only have to get in touch with Radio Marti and they immediately call me back.  I could right now invent some piece of news and without further confirmation or verification they will air it.

Recently I fabricated a whole atmosphere around the trial against a counterrevolutionary lady.  I said that on my way out from home, I had passed by the headquarters of Havana’s People’s Provincial Court and that I had seen a huge display of State Security agents.  I added that I was also able to see some foreign journalists there, although they were not able to catch sight of me…

I also ‘embellished’ the report a little bit by adding the story that the Security agents had managed to recognize me and that I had been pushed into a car and that, under severy threats, I had been driven to a nearby police station.

When I called Radio Marti the person who answered the phone wanted to get the ideas straight: “When you say you have been threatened you must be specific as to the types of threats”.  I told the person not to worry, that I would do it that way.  Thus I fabricated my piece of news.

Radio Marti does not confirm anything.  The point is to denigrate Cuba for whatever reason.  After I conveyed that information, I was asked to broadcast the report in the news shows.

In all media campaigns against Cuba, the scripts always come from abroad.  It is broadly built on lies, stories of false arrests, incidents that have never existed but are fabricated.

Which are the organizations that lend themselves to magnifying those campaigns abroad?

With absolute certainty the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and Reporters sans frontières (RSF).  These are two organizations that round the clock, seven days a week, are ready to promote any disparagement campaign against our country.

How does the Refugee Program of the US Interest Section work?

The Refugee Program of the US Interest Section is aimed at providing evidence that there is an alleged group of persons that are leaving Cuba due to politically motivated persecutions.  Most of the “internal work” carried out by the counterrevolutionary elements here is based on that.

When coming  to the Refugee Section, these persons are required to provide evidence of the harassment they are subject to by the Cuban government; they invent “arguments” to be able to get a visa.

The manipulation of the refugee category is clearly evidenced by the number of visas granted for this concept every year.  However, when many of those individuals get a resident status in the United States, they come back to Cuba as visitors without being bothered or arrested by the Police or the State Security, something that does not happen to those who are truly refugees in other countries.

In order to have a clear idea of this manipulation, intended to offer the world a distorted image of the Cuban reality, you may consider that only in the year 2009, the number of visas granted amounted to 4 646, and that in the year 2008, a total of 5 093 persons traveled to the United States.

During the provocations orchestrated by the Ladies in White in March 2010, one of those women who belonged to the Ladies in Support group told me the very first day: “Serpa, I need you to help me with some evidence, because I am scheduled for an interview at the Refugee Section next week”.  She was looking for a political “recommendation”.  They are very much after the pictures showing them in the marches, because the Refugee Program demands, among other things, that they are part of the news published by the Internet, so their work is based on that. Believe me, any of these women go there, carry some pictures…and that is considered a solid evidence by the US Interest Section.

The US Interest Section is not the only one that supports the internal counterrevolution.  What about other embassies?

Here in Havana there is a select group of embassies of the European Union member countries that are openly supporting subversion, and I can mention some.

The diplomat Jacek Padee was attached to the embassy of Poland.  He was in charge of Political Affairs and he was frequently present in these activities.

Before concluding his mission here, Mr. Padee was given the task of  picking up the videos I had taken in several locations of Cuba  to produce a documentary film about counterrevolutionary Orlando Zapata Tamayo.  He sent those videos from his computer to Pedro Corso, a ringleader of the Institute of the Historical Memory against Totalitarianism based in Miami.

The Netherlands embassy usually supplies resources to the counterrevolution, particularly stationery.  It also provides them with access to the Internet.

The embassy of the Czech Republic supplies medicines to these groupings; they summon the “dissidents” to its headquarters in order to document the human rights “violations”.  Mr. Pete Brandel, an official of the Czech embassy, had an outstanding role in these activities.  The Swedish embassy is also involved in these actions.

The Counselor of the German embassy, Volker Pellet, adopted a flagrant conspiratorial attitude in all these actions.  He took to the streets to support the Ladies in White, as part of his provocative activity. 

That is to say, in all these ill-intended plans against our people and its Revolution, some European embassies in Havana have lent themselves to this dirty game.

Regarding the way in which the US Interest Section works, I can refer to the behavior of two of their officials: Kathleen Duffy and Lowell Dale Lawton.

In one of the so called literary tea gatherings that were usually sponsored by the Ladies in White, Laura Pollán, the ringleader of the group, asked me to take a video of the moment when she is thanking the Cuban American National Foundation for the support given to the group.

I shot the video and talked to Mrs. Duffy, who told me: “I have already asked my superiors for permission”, and using her personal computer she saved the videos I shot in a thumb drive.  She opened up a Youtube account on my behalf and uploaded the video.

During the events occurred in March, Laura Pollán instructed me to convey some messages to that official, because she was the one who monitored the alleged human rights violations.

So has been the case with Lowell Dale Lawton.  He asked me to make an evaluation of the actions carried out by Ladies in White, especially after the rejection and criticisms he received from the media after his participation in those provocative actions.

Lawton has received through e-mails the photos and reports he himself has requested from me.  Exactly the day after the counterrevolutionary march organized in Miami by Gloria Estefan I visited the US Interest Section, and Lawton came up to see me at one of the Internet centers they have, saying that he wanted to speak to me alone to ask me some information about what had occurred on March 25 during the provocation orchestrated that day.  The issue of those women has been no doubt very much manipulated.  They have a green light at the US Interest Section.

Furthermore, those women have so far orchestrated all of their provocations because they have felt the protection granted by the Cuban police force and the members of the Ministry of the Interior.  They know these forces would never allow the occurrence of any tragic incident, which is what these people have been looking for.

The US Interest Section follows all these actions very closely.  They not only support the subversive activities of the Ladies in White but those of all other groupings.

Right now, after the decision adopted by the Cuban government to release the counterrevolutionary inmates, I think they are lacking the proper grounds to carry out their provocative actions.  Therefore, I have realized they are very much focused on exerting pressures on some Ladies in White, among them Laura, so that they abandon the idea of leaving the country.  They are putting up a  media campaign whereby they are telling the world that Cuba is resorting to forceful deportation.

Here you can see how contradictory their policy against the Island is.  They first encourage people to emigrate  in an attempt to show  that the Revolution lacks support, and now they do not want the counterrevolutionaries they themselves fabricated and encouraged to leave  the country because then they will be left without any actors to carry out their subversive plans.

Who is really Laura Pollán?

Laura Pollán was a teacher by profession.  After she got involved with the Ladies in White she has given herself airs of prominence and lust for money.  There have been some clashes between her and the other ladies of the group for that reason.

She is a close friend of Eulalia San Pedro, known as Laly, a member of the Cuban American National Foundation.  Eulalia is the one who sends funds, on behalf of the CANF, for all the provocative actions.

By the way, when I started to work as the “journalist” of the Ladies in White, in my reports for Radio Marti and other media and Internet websites, I usually mentioned the very frequent calls made by Eulalia to Laura during every literary tea gathering, until one day, when Laura Pollán herself and Miriam Leyva, another lady who used to belong to the group, asked me (HE SMILES) not to mention any more Eulalia’s name or CANF in my reports, because that was a terrorist organization and they were afraid that any given day they could appear in the Round Table TV program.

Laura is a manipulative, very cunning person.  She has been involved in illicit businesses.  Her name appears in the VIP list of the US Interest Section, which is a guarantee that she will be received either in the morning or in the afternoon, no matter at what time she may arrive at that place.

Who provides the channel for the reception of the supplies sent to the counterrevolution?

The main channel is the US Interest Section, which has no qualms about violating the Vienna Convention.  I would dare to assert that about 80 per cent of those supplies are conveyed through the diplomats of the US Interest Section.

A lot of boxes have been sent for the Ladies in White from Miami by counterrevolutionary  Frank Hernández Trujillo, who belongs to the group in support to the “dissidence”.

The US Interest Section has distributed laptop computers and other stuff.  Curiously enough, whenever they hand over something, they require the signature of the persons who receive it, as if it were an asset borrowed from any state-owned company. As far as I know they do that because in case these persons leave the country, they are required to give back what is not theirs.

Who are the terrorists with whom they keep the strongest links?

In addition to the CANF, they keep links with Horacio Salvador García Cordero, who belongs to the so called Consejo por la Libertad de Cuba.  He works with Luis Zúñiga Rey.

They also keep links with Ángel Pablo Polanco Torrejón, who has been promoting here a counterrevolutionary project called Iniciativa Pro-Cambio, precisely under the instructions given by Horacio and Zúñiga.

Can you describe some of the facilities received by the members of the “opposition” who have access to the US Interest Section?

In my opinion, one of the most striking things is to see all what they do so that this counterrevolution has access to the Internet.  They have put up three Internet navigation centers inside the US Interest Section.  There is one upstairs in the Consulate, called Eleonor Centre, and there is also the Lincoln Centre and the Benjamin Franklin Centre.  They call them Centros de Recursos Informativos  (Information Resource Centres) of the US Interest Section, which are directed by the Press and Culture Bureau of the USIS.

There they distribute counterrevolutionary literature and, for example, they reproduce as many as 100 copies of The Miami Herald newspaper, so that it could be distributed among the counterrevolutionaries.  They also make these materials available to any person who may go there for any migration procedure.

I continue to see the US Interest Section as the “General Headquarters” from which the tactics and the strategy of the counterrevolution are designed. The members of the counterrevolution are trained and instructed there.  They are allowed to print leaflets, statements on any issue, reproduce the materials they afterwards distribute in that same place to their own officials.

What about you? How do you access the US Interest Section?

As they did with many others, I was allowed to go every Wednesday, but when they recognized me as the “journalist” of Ladies in White, they also authorized me to go there every Monday.  Sometimes I have been allowed to enter the US Interest Section and work there.

Do you currently hold any special category given by the US Interest Section?

I got a US visa.  The US government welcomed me through the Refugee Program, given my “counterrevolutionary” background.  They decided I was being “persecuted” for my work as an “independent journalist”.

In what year was that?

On November 16, 2009.  By the way, the visa was arranged by some European Union embassies here in Havana, specifically by Ingemar Cederberg, ex Minister Counselor of the Swedish embassy.

How is a “dissident” fabricated?

I am a fabricated dissident.  My case is an example of the way in which it is possible to make people abroad believe there is a “huge” opposition and proliferation of “anti-Castro” groups, as they are usually called.

In this little world, you may find me as a member, executive, spokesman…of virtually phantom groups, which exist only in papers.  However, internally, the people do not even know these groups exist because they are not rooted in society; much less do they have followers.

I’ll be more explicit:  I am the national coordinator of the cultural and civic project Julio Tang Texier, financed from Miami by the terrorist Ángel de Fana Serrano, who belongs to the organization Plantados por la Democracia, who has already served a 20 years imprisonment sentence in Cuba for organizing terrorist activities.  But right now, he likes to make out he is a pacifist, an alleged “human rights” advocate.

I am the director of the independent library Ernest Hemingway; the director of the Union of Free Journalists of Cuba –an “organization” that is made up by another five persons, all of them strongly interested in leaving the country.  That “Union of Free Journalists” is also financed from Miami, in this case by the Directorio Democrático Cubano (DDC).

I was the representative of Brigada 2506 , through which I received  a mobile phone and funds for the organization of provocative actions in our homeland and…well…I am the correspondent of the magazine Misceláneas de Cuba, which is printed in Sweden and is directed by counterrevolutionary Alexis Gaínza.

I have been appointed spokesman and member of the board of the so called Frente Nacional de Resistencia y Desobediencia Cívica in Cuba, whose economic support comes from the DDC, Mujeres Anti Represión (MAR) por Cuba and other groups based in Miami which are part of the self-proclaimed Asamblea de la Resistencia.

As if this were not enough, I was given the task of serving as the national liaison of presumptive Opposition Governments which are directed by Enrique Blanco from Puerto Rico, the one that runs my blog.

That is how a “dissident” or a member of an alleged opposition is fabricated.  Today they hide under the guise of independent librarians, independent journalists, “human rights” advocates”…

What do you think is the main strength of the Cuban Revolution?

It is that unity that has existed between the people and its Revolution; that unity around our invincible Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and Raúl; the soundness of the ideas that we have historically defended.

At some point I thought that while it is true I could not be a combatant of the Rebel Army, or a member of the clandestine struggle against Batista, and I did not take up a weapon to fight the mercenaries who landed through Bay of Pigs, or was not a militia detached to his trench during the Missiles Crisis, nor I had the opportunity to fight in Angola of Ethiopia, life had given me  the opportunity to accomplish this mission and being in the line of fire for the defense of our people.

No doubt, there are still those who continue underestimating us, but one thing is very clear: The Cuban State Security organs have been, are, and will continue to be present at the right time and place.  The enemies of the Revolution, inside and outside our country, have not just learned the lesson, because always, when least expected, there will be an Emilio.

Recuadro:  Tita, your father is not a traitor.

Since I started to do this work, I have lost many friends.  Therefore, when I was told that my identity would be revealed I first felt very happy, because that was a gift for my daughter Tita.  She would know that her father is not a traitor.

I remember once, when she was younger, Rolando Jiménez Posada, a counterrevolutionary who is in prison right now, came to see me at my home.  My daughter came across the idea of taking a piece of chalk and writing on the floor of the car porch a phrase that read: “Freedom for the Five Heroes”; and Jiménez Posada told me: “Tell me something: Is that what you are teaching your daughter?”

My friends will know now that I never changed sides.  But at the same time I am sorry that my identity is revealed because thanks to my work I was able to promote to important positions inside the counterrevolution and I could have continued to be of some use.

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Antonio Guerrero Sends Message to Cuban Local Weekly

February 25, 2011

 Antonio Guerrero, one of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters imprisoned in the United States sent a message to the Adelante weekly, of the province of Camaguey, commemorating the beginning of the 1895-98 Cuban war of independence marked on February 24.

The weekly published the letter in which Guerrero described the intervention of the U.S. in the war as a very painful and costly end for the Cuban people.

Guerrero recalls in his letter how Washington fabricated pretexts to fight the weakened Spanish army in the island when the war was practically won by the Cubans in 1898 and occupy the country.

He said people should recall the history of imperial wars to understand the current situation in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and other countries of Africa and the Middle East.

Guerrero also suggested that everyone should read Fidel Castro’s reflections on these topics and noted that news channels controlled by the mainstream media serve only to create confusion and a state of opinion responding to the interest of the powerful.

He also encouraged Adelante’s readers to read chronicles by attorney Jose Pertierra about the trial of Posada Carriles –accused of lying and not of terrorism–, who, Guerrero said “sleeps” during the hearings and then walks lively along the halls of the Court with his fellow terrorists.

The Cuban Five were arrested in the U.S. on September 12, 1998 for warning Cuba over criminal actions planned by Florida-based organizations under Washington’s consent.

Case against Luis Posada Carriles takes welcome turn

February 24, 2011

By Wayne S. Smith

Astonishing! And just when many of us were convinced that the trial of Luis Posada Carriles was simply a farce. After all, wasn’t the U.S. government just trying this arch terrorist for perjury, for lying about the way he entered the United States (illegally of course), leaving aside his myriad terrorist activities?

But no. U.S. prosecutors have now presented evidence of terrorist acts he committed against Cuba, and in Cuba. He’s still not being tried for terrorism; rather, he’s accused of having lied about it. But the result may well be the same. If he’s convicted, he’ll spend a long time in jail. And the conviction will be tied to his acts of terrorism.

Even more incredibly, much of the evidence is being presented by Cuban officials invited by the United States to testify against him. This is really a first.

Posada Carriles is accused on three counts of perjury related to a series of bombings against various Cuban hotels between April and September of 1997, resulting in the death of an Italian tourist. He lied about them, and the United States intends to prove that the bombings, in fact, took place.
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One of the key Cuban witnesses is Major Roberto Hernandez Caballero, who was involved in the investigation of the hotel bombings back in 1997. And there are two other Cuban witnesses, a forensic doctor and another police investigator.

This is a case we will all watch with fascination. A first of its kind, so to speak.

Posada Carriles is of course an arch terrorist, who is believed to have been involved in plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, in the downing of a Cubana airliner with the loss of 73 lives back in 1976, and in various other acts of violence. And in most of those past episodes, he is thought to have had the sympathy if not the active support of various U.S. agencies.

If he is now brought to justice by representatives of the U.S. government, it may suggest that a new, and prouder, day has dawned.

Wayne Smith served as Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana from 1979 until 1982 and since then has been on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University, involved in Cuban affairs. Since 1992 he has also been Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C. , where he directs the Cuba program.

RADIO CADENA AGRAMONTE (Cuba)
Trial of Posada Carriles Resumed, Attorney’s Motions Denied

Havana, Cuba, Feb 23.- The trial of Luis Posada Carriles in El Paso, Texas, resumed with a testimony by Cuban official Roberto Hernandez.

Judge Kathleen Cardone finally denied Posada Carriles’ attorney’s request to either have the trial annulled or have three of 11 charges accusing Posada of lying to immigration officials dismissed, Juventud Rebelde reported.

Judge Cardone had suspended the trial about two weeks ago to analyze the motions plagued by lies presented by Posada’s lead attorney Arturo Hernandez.

Even though the Judge admitted that Hernandez was right in that the prosecutor had intentionally delayed documents that would supposedly exonerate his client, she decided to resume the process without accepting the attorney’s request.

Cuban official Roberto Hernandez, who participated in the investigations of the 1997 bombings against hotels in Havana masterminded by Posada Carriles, resumed his testimony that had also being objected by the defense.

Hernandez showed pictures of the damages made by the bombings in the hotels Chateau, Neptuno-Triton and Copacabana, where Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo was killed. The images show the stain of blood that belonged to the young Italian.

Posada Carriles, who hired, paid for and trained the Central American mercenaries who planted the bombs, had previously admitted his responsibility in the events in an interview to Ann Louise Bardach for the New York Times.

However, he denied such statements before immigration authorities in 2006, which is the reason why he is currently tried, that is, for laying about his role in the terrorist acts rather for being the actual mastermind of such crimes.

Posada Carriles has also confessed being the author of the blowing of a Cuban airliner en route from Barbados to Cuba in 1976, in which all 73 people aboard were killed.

He is also guilty of several murders in Venezuela, for which that nation has repeatedly requested his extradition. (acn).

Day 20 in the Trial of Posada Carriles

February 21, 2011

El Paso Diary: Day 20 in the Trial of Posada Carriles
Judge Cardone
By JOSÉ PERTIERRA

Judge Kathleen Cardone continued the case of Luis Posada Carriles in El Paso until next Tuesday, February 22, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. The defense attorney, Arturo Hernández, moved last week to dismiss counts one through three of the indictment: those having to do with his client’s false statements about the bombs that exploded in Havana in 1997. This morning, the judge was supposed to have announced her decision regarding that motion, but she surprised everyone by deciding to delay the case another seven days to “deliberate calmly.”

Good morning

Both the defense and the prosecution met yesterday behind closed doors with Judge Cardone. This is a judge who enjoys many such meetings, even some ex parte, meaning that she meets first alone with the defense and later with the prosecutors (or vice versa). Although it is permitted, this is rare during criminal litigation.

Today’s hearing lasted less than ten minutes. The judge entered the courtroom with a worried expression on her face. After a dry “good morning,” she asked the attorneys, “Are you ready for the jury?” No one said no. It would have been logical for at least one of the attorneys to ask about the pending motion for dismissal, yet none did. They remained at ease at counsel table—like characters in a chronicle of a case foretold.

The members of the jury filed in and walked slowly toward their seats. When they were all situated, Judge Cardone told them, “Oftentimes there are complicated matters that require a lot of thought, and I still have some legal matters to resolve.” She apologized for the delay and told them, “I want you to know that I don’t take these steps lightly.” She then continued the case until Tuesday, February 22nd. The judge reminded the jurors that they could not read or listen to news about the case nor conduct research about it on the Internet. Her smile appeared strained as she dismissed the jury until next week.

The jurors filed out of the courtroom with no clue about the legal controversy that had precipitated yet another delay in the case. Judge Cardone rose, and without looking at the faces of the attorneys still in the courtroom or saying a word, opened the door to her chambers and made her exit.

The FBI cables

Things came to a head after Luis Posada Carriles’ attorney lodged objections. Arturo Hernández asserted that the prosecution had not shared two declassified FBI cables that would have exculpated Posada Carriles. The first, dated September 24, 1997, reported that an FBI informant had said that Fidel Castro was responsible for the bombs exploded in Havana. From this FBI “source,” Attorney Hernández deduced that “the bombing campaigns were the opportunistic brainchild of Fidel Castro, then absolute dictator of Cuba, and his intelligence services, for the purpose of deflecting attention away from the upcoming visit of Pope John Paul II.”

The U.S. government attorneys, alleged defense counsel, had failed to turn over this FBI report to him until only a few weeks ago, which resulted in him not having had time to subpoena the author of the document or identify the source that provided the information so that both might be brought to El Paso to testify.

The prosecutors responded to these arguments yesterday. In a pleading filed with the court, they discounted the credibility of the source that provided that information to the FBI, because “the United States has conferred with the FBI Agent who wrote the September 25, 1997 document, who stated that the document was based on the statements of an uninformed source who was biased against Cuba.”

The prosecution added, “the FBI eventually conducted a more thorough investigation of the Havana bombings, which did not reach the conclusion that the Cuban government was in any way involved in planning the bombings.”

Posada Carriles’ lawyer also complained in his motion that the government had failed to disclose to the defense a second FBI report that contains “extremely important exculpatory material.” Arturo Hernández summarized the document dated November 18, 2004 as having stated that the “Castro regime had undertaken a plan to assassinate the Defendant in the year 2004.”

This, Hernández, “is evidence of extreme bias against the accused by the Castro regime.” In its response yesterday, the prosecution discounted this FBI report as simple conjecture from an unreliable source, and further cited as an example a third FBI report dated May 11, 1999 that says that the government of Guatemala—not Cuba —had organized the attempt made on Posada Carriles’ life in the 1980s.

The prosecution characterized all three FBI reports as “unreliable, unfounded conjecture.” Consequently, wrote the prosecution in its response to Posada Carriles’ attorney, the reports are not relevant to the case.

Posada Carriles’ complaints about the Cuban inspector

Another of the complaints from Posada’s defense attorney is that the Cuban inspector who testified last Wednesday, Roberto Hernández Caballero, is allegedly a Cuban counterintelligence agent. We don’t know if this is true, because the judge abruptly interrupted the prosecutor’s direct examination of the inspector and the question had not been posed to him yet.

But in their answer to attorney Hernández’s motion to dismiss, the prosecutors did challenge the defense’s underlying major premise. “The defendant’s entire premise is based on his argument that the fields of criminal investigation and counterintelligence are somehow contradictory.” The prosecutors pointed out, “In fact, in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is responsible for investigating counterintelligence matters and has a Counterintelligence Division within its National Security Branch. It is certainly possible that a foreign government could also assign counterintelligence duties to its FBI agents.”

Trial or travesty?

Judge Cardone said that next week she will rule on the defense motion and decide whether to dismiss the counts related to the defendant’s role in the bombs that exploded in Havana in 1997. If she throws out those charges, none of the three Cuban witnesses will testify, and the trial against Posada will be reduced to whether the defendant lied about his manner of entry into the country: whether he came by boat or by pickup truck—a true travesty.

Cardone

The case is now in the hands of Judge Kathleen Cardone. She was born in New York in 1953 and moved to Texas to attend law school at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She graduated from St. Mary’s in 1979.

In Texas judges are elected to their positions unless a vacancy occurs, at which time the governor appoints the judge. In 1995, a vacancy in Texas’ Judicial District 383 arose, and the governor at the time—George W. Bush—named Kathleen Cardone to the post. Her tenure was short, however, because she had to submit to an election the next year and lost. Judge Cardone went back to work as an attorney and began teaching at a local community college. She also became an aerobics instructor.

Governor Bush, however, had not forgotten her. In 1999, state officials created Texas Judicial District 388, a new judicial district, and Governor Bush quickly named Cardone to fill the slot. Judge Cardone’s joy was again short-lived, however. The next year, she had to stand for election to retain her seat on the bench and the voters defeated her once more.

Perhaps out of gratitude to George W. Bush for having placed so much faith in her, in 2000 Kathleen Cardone made a $500 contribution to Bush’s presidential campaign. Her candidate of choice was declared the winner of that controversial election and became the next president. On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush named Cardone the federal judge in El Paso: the third time he had given her a judicial position. Since federal judgeships are lifetime appointments, Judge Cardone need never again worry about losing another election.

In a 2004 article about Texas judges who lost state elections but later received a lifetime appointment to the federal bench—Judge Cardone mentioned among them—University of Houston professor Robert Carp is quoted as saying, “Judgeships often go to people who have served the party in some way. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon or situation for someone who moves to the federal bench to have some political ties.” (Joe Black, “Judge who lost election in line for a lifetime job,” Houston Chronicle, Washington Bureau, May 20, 2004, 12:17 a.m.)

Barely four years after President George W. Bush named Cardone a federal judge, the case of Luis Posada Carriles fell on her doorstep. And on May 8, 2007 (less than five months after the case had begun), Judge Cardone dismissed it. She ruled that the government had deceived and entrapped Posada Carriles—and that it had done so to get him to make false declarations so that the government could later indict him for perjury. Judge Cardone was scathing in her criticism, “The Government’s tactics in this case are so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice. As a result, this Court is left with no choice but to dismiss the indictment.”

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes the federal court in El Paso, reviewed the record on appeal. The Court remanded the case for trial, ruling that Judge Cardone had committed reversible error by dismissing the case. “…There simply is no basis for the district court’s conclusion,” wrote the appeals court in its 35-page decision issued on August 14, 2008.

Two questions

Once again the case is at a critical juncture. Judge Cardone has already dismissed the indictment once. Is she inclined to do so again?

If she throws out the indictment—or any of the counts therein—Judge Cardone would have to be certain that the Court of Appeals would not find grounds for reversing her decision again and level still more criticism against her reasoning. She would need to find solid legal ground for a decision to dismiss. Could this be the reason she needs more time to deliberate?

José Pertierra practices law in Washington, DC. He represents the government of Venezuela in the case to extradite Luis Posada Carriles.

Translated by Machetera and Manuel Talens. They are members of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity.

Spanish language version: http://www.cubadebate.cu/especiales/2011/02/11/diario-de-el-paso-arenas-movedizas

Work for the Freedom of Cuban 5 Grows

February 17, 2011

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5  

 
2011: The Work for the Freedom of  
the Cuban 5 Grows 

 

Greetings to all our members and friends,
At the Sixth International Colloquium held last November in Holguin, the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 pledged to intensify our work to free the five compañeros who have been unjustly incarcerated inside the United States for the past thirteen years. 
  
In order to successfully undertake these many important projects we have planned for 2011, we need the expanded involvement and financial support of all of our members and friends inside the United States and around the world. All our projects urgently need economic resources to cover travel and accommodation expenses, venue rentals, publicity, printing materials, etc.
  
Will the Real TerroristsOne of our immediate projects will be helping launch the new documentary Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up, directed by Saul Landau.  This documentary will be an important tool to explain the historical background about the reasons why men like the Cuban 5 had to monitor terrorist groups in Miami.  The film is about 50 years of hostile US-Cuba relationships and includes remarkable interviews with leading Cuban exile terrorists, former FBI agents and Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban 5. The first presentation will take place on April 16, at the Brava Theater in San Francisco that has a capacity of 350 seats.    
  
Logotipo para la Exposicion
USP Victorville, H. Nordelo 2011

Another important project is to sponsor the premiere tour of an exhibit of Gerardo Hernandez’s political cartoons, Humor from my Pen,  to venues across the United States.  Gerardo’s satiric and witty cartoons will introduce a wide American audience to his striking visual talents and his sharp political messaging. On June 4th, coinciding with Gerardo’s birthday we will have an opening of his cartoons at Social Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) gallery in Venice, California. The gallery is only 100 miles away from where Gerardo is serving his long and unjust sentence.

  

 Other ongoing projects include:  

  • Organizing a conference in Washington DC with the participation of national and international personalities including intellectuals, artists, Nobel Prize recipients, legal experts, etc to call the attention about this case in the heart of the US.  This conference was one of the many projects included in the final declaration of the Sixth International Colloquium in Holguin last November;
  • Lobbying campaign directed at members of the U.S. Congress utilizing the recent report by Amnesty International on the 5 as well as other relevant materials; 

La Colmenita

  • Organizing a tour in several US cities with the internationally known National Children’s Theater Company of Cuba, La Colmenita (The Little Beehive) with their latest play that will be able to reach out to a wide audience and touch people’s heart; and
  • Placing ads in Google, Yahoo and other social media networks.
We are reaching out to you now to become an active contributor to these strategic projects for 2011.  The International Committee is a grassroots organization that depends entirely upon the contributions of its members and friends to launch our programs into action. By becoming a monthly donor you will help make these projects a reality. You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking on DONATE 
  
You can also write a tax-deductible check made out to the International Committee and mail it to:
  
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5.
P.O. Box 22455
Oakland, CA 94609
  
If you want to send a wire from another country, please write to us at info@thecuban5.org and we will send you the information on how to do the transaction.
  
We promise to keep you posted throughout the year about the development of our work.  With deep appreciation of your commitment to End the Injustice and Free the 5 Now! 
 
 
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
Join Our Mailing List 

For updated information about the case visit: www.thecuban5.org

Book of Testimonies of Victims of Terrorism Launched in Cuba Fair

February 17, 2011

The president of the Cuban parliament Ricardo Alarcon attended the presentation at the International Book Fair in Havana of a compilation of testimonies of victims of terrorism against Cuba by Canadian journalist Keith Bolender.

In the presentation of the book titled “Huellas del terrorismo. Sus víctimas hablan” (Voices from the other side), Alarcon reaffirmed the demand of victims of terrorism for those responsible for such criminal actions to be tried, referring specifically to terrorists Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles.

Alarcon said Bolender’s book enables the voices of victims of terrorism to be heard. He said the author opens doors that have been closed for a long time and brings to light people who have remained anonymous.

According to Alarcon the book is an important contribution to the battle fought in the field of communications where information is frequently manipulated.

Magaly Llort, wife of one of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters imprisoned in the United States since 1998 thanked Bolender for putting together the book and added that it will be useful to spread the truth about the cause of the Cuban Five and achieve their release.

“Huellas del terrorismo. Sus victimas hablan” published by the Jose Marti publishing house, is the translation into Spanish of the book published in English in 2010. The book contains interviews to victims and relatives of people hurt by Washington’s genocide policy against Cuba since 1959. / RHC

The Inspector From Cuba

February 16, 2011

El Paso Diary: Day 18 in the Trial of Posada Carriles – The Inspector From Cuba

By JOSÉ PERTIERRA
For the first time in the history of the thorny relations between the two countries, the United States Justice Department used a Cuban law enforcement official as well as the findings of a Cuban investigation to prosecute a former CIA agent who led a decades-long terrorist campaign against Cuba. It’s true: the U.S. Government did not charge Luis Posada Carriles with terrorism or murder, but rather with denying that he had murdered and engaged in a campaign of terror. Even so, what is happening in El Paso is historic.
http://counterpunch.com/pertierra02152011.html,

FIDEL CASTRO: WE MUST SAVE HUMANITY NOW

February 16, 2011

lchirino | URL: http://wp.me/pLgvg-dM
During a meeting with Cuban participants at the 20th Havana International Book Fair, the Cuban leader said that the answers to the dramatic problems facing the planet “cannot be postponed.”
South Journal–This is not about saving humanity in the centuries or millenniums to come: we must begin to save humanity now, said Fidel Castro during an encounter with Cuban and foreign intellectuals attending the 20th Havana International Book Fair.
During his dialog with the authors, which lasted over five hours, Fidel Castro said that “our species has not learned how to survive,” and that the answers to the dramatic problems facing the planet “cannot be postponed,” Cubadebate website reported.
During the meeting also the Cuban leader also addressed several issues of interest such as the increase of food prices, social revolutions in the Arab world, climate change, the education of youths and the crisis of international agencies.
Attending the meeting were writer Jaime Sarusky and researcher Fernando Martinez Heredia, to whom the fair has been dedicated this year.

Obama Can Loosen Cuba Policy More, Experts Say

February 16, 2011

Latindispatch.com, WASHINGTON – Advocates of prying Cuba policy a bit further open are looking to the Obama administration rather than Congress for help.
Experts gathered in Washington on Tuesday to discuss actions the Obama administration can take to improve relations with Cuba by lessening current U.S. sanctions. The panel, meeting at the Brookings Institution, focused its recommendations on executive action President Obama can take without Congressional involvement and the potential for reciprocal steps taken by Havana.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is serving as special envoy for the Organization of American States, led the discussion, outlining possible steps the leaders of both countries could take to improve relations and show “good-faith” efforts to increase economic ties between the two nations. For the Obama administration, Richardson recommended removing Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, reducing or eliminating restrictions on travel to Cuba, and allowing U.S. citizens to open bank accounts in Cuba.
Richardson said these steps may push Havana to take reciprocal steps, such as the easing restrictions for Cubans traveling abroad, and increasing cooperation with the U.S. on environmental issues.
The panel’s focus on executive-branch action reflected the diminishing of options open to President Obama after the Republicans’ takeover of the House of Representatives and increased numbers in the Senate. Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio recently filed an amendment that would restrict new airports from offering Cuba — a measure approved by Obama in January as part of a relaxation of travel and remittance policy to Cuba.
Richardson acknowledged this new political reality, but said “the Menendez-Rubio bill should not be a signal that the president should stop,” instead urging the administration to use executive orders and negotiations before dealing with larger issues requiring Congressional involvement.
Stephen Propost of the international law firm Hogan-Lovells explained the legal authority the president has in dealing with Cuba. “Significantly, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the president does have broad authority to modify the sanctions,” citing the two times the non-partisan investigative arm of the U.S. Congress reviewed executive actions taken by Presidents Clinton and Obama.
The GAO reports concluded the president maintains “broad discretion” to make additional modifications to the existing embargo. These possible modifications, like the ones suggested by Richardson, would be limited in scope and would be largely symbolic in nature.
One issue viewed as essential to easing tensions between the two nations is the release of USAID contractor Alan Gross who was arrested in Havana in December 2009. Gross has been imprisoned ever since, and Cuban prosecutors announced earlier this month that they will seek a 20-year prison sentence for “acts against the integrity and independence” of Cuba.
Such issues keep U.S.-Cuba relations highly political, but as President Obama and U.S. manufacturers seek to increase U.S. exports, the embargo has grown increasingly unpopular and its critics have grown to include the business community.
“The Chamber’s position is very simple: we oppose the embargo,” said Patrick Kilbride, speaking on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “(Our) opposition stems from the lost economic opportunity the U.S. embargo on Cuba represents,” Kilbride added.
“Cuba is a natural market for U.S. goods and services,” Kilbride said. “And Cuba fits into this pattern of markets we’re forfeiting around the world.”

Che Guevara artist wants royalties on famous picture after 43 years

February 16, 2011

ByJEAN JONES
The Irish artist whose famous image of Argentinean/Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara has graced a countless number of t-shirts, posters and other items is now making moves to claim royalties on his artwork – 43 years after he created it.
Jim Fitzpatrick, according to “The Irish Times,” has never been on the receiving end of royalties that would have come from the image’s use, but now he’s seeking to change that and donate all of the money earned to Guevara’s family and the Cuban people.
The renowned red and black portrait that Fitzpatrick created in 1968, using a photograph taken by Alberto Korda, is rated among the world’s top 10 most iconic images, right alongside the Mona Lisa and a portrait of Jesus Christ.
Now, Fitzpatrick wants to re-claim ownership of his work.
“There’s no question the image is one of the biggest in the world alongside the likes of Coke but I have never sought any royalties for it. I have decided now is the time and I am hoping to have the copyright in place when I visit Che’s wife Aleida in Cuba in September for the opening of the Che Guevara Cultural Center in Havana,” Fitzpatrick told “The Irish Times.”
His lawyer, Fianna Fail politician Michael Mulcahy, says that although the famous image is based on another photographer’s work, it still carries enough of its own unique characteristics to classify it as a Fitzpatrick original.
“People ask Jim all the time why he never took out a copyright on the picture but that’s just Jim for you. He isn’t interested in money.  Everyone has exploited the image down through the years and now Jim feels it’s time to make the image do some good around the world,” he said.
Che Guevara’s father Ernesto Guevara Lynch was of Irish descent. “The first thing to note is that in my son’s veins flow the blood of the Irish rebels,” Lynch said.
Fitzpatrick is hoping to hand the approved copyright of his image to the Guevara family on his next visit to Cuba.


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