(acn) Maintaining the same position against Gerardo
Hernandez Habeas Corpus motion, the US government has requested the Court
of the Southern District of Florida to turn down the one filed by Antonio
Guerrero, both Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly incarcerated in the
United States since 1998.
Washington also requested the prosecution not to grant further hearings
to analyze the evidences presented against Guerrero, reported the Cuban
Guerrero’s defense team will file an answer and Judge Joan Lenard will
make her decision, the article adds.
In the case of Gerardo Hernandez, the official American stance is
stated in a 123-page and three-annex document filed on Monday by DA
Caroline Heck Millar, who led the prosecution against Gerardo Hernandez in
the 2001 biased trial and asked for his two-life term plus 15 years in
In the same trial the rest of the Cuban Five were also convicted to
Meanwhile, Heck Miller refused in 2005 to charge international terrorist
Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles.
In statements March 30, Cuban Parliament president Ricardo Alarcon
reaffirmed his call that US President Barack Obama should withdraw the
false accusations against the Cuban Five and have them release from jail.
In the exercise of their right to defend their country, the Cuban Five
monitored criminal actions planned by Anti-Cuba extreme right groups
operating in Florida under Washington’s consent.
Alarcon said the Habeas Corpus motions were the only option left to
defendants after having appealed to all the instances of the so-called
American legal system.
In the case of Guerrero, whose original sentence was a life term plus
10 years in prison, it had been reduced to a 30-year term, the motion
consisted on a memorandum requesting the annulment of the process.
The document highlights that during the trial, the US government far
from providing all the evidences collected, it hid, manipulated and
According to Alarcon, the Habeas Corpus contained details of evidences
of corruption, mentioning names and amounts of money given to reporters
instructed to distort the facts to influence the public opinion against
the Cuban Five.
Archive for April, 2011
(acn) Maintaining the same position against Gerardo
An interview with the president of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón
Just 48 hours ago, the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba came to and end, a congress that, from what I have read and heard, foreshadows a country and a society that will be qualitatively different.
The president of the National Assembly and member of the Politburo of the Communist Party, Ricardo Alarcón, has granted me this interview. I know that his time is limited, so I’d like to ask him three very specific questions. The first refers to the area of the People’s Power.
Manuel Alberto Ramy (MAR): There was talk of giving a higher dose of autonomy to the people’s governments, both provincial and municipal. How would this autonomy materialize? How far would it go?
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada (RAQ): This has been a major topic in the discussion of the Guidelines, which was a major aspect of the Congress. When we discussed the reorganization of the economic system, we almost always ended in the centralization-decentralization dilemma. Of course, the cardinal focus is to go to a decentralization of management, of the management of the economy, and also of the exercise of state authority. That leads us to the role of the municipalities, upon which we have to delegate a lot more authority and a lot more power.
The municipalities will have the ability to raise funds to develop plans for production, development and social plans. This concept of territoriality was very present in the commission I was a part of. It surfaced everywhere, at every point, say in the tax system, because it is not the same for a person in Vedado to be able to rent a room in his apartment or house as it is [for someone] in Zapata Swamp. So, if they both have to pay the same taxes, you’re discouraging the possibility of economic activity in a place because of the huge differences that exist.
In all this, Ramy, I think it’s very important that we take into account the following: we are not spouting dogma; we are not saying, “Here we have a model of how socialism should be.” We are trying to reinvent it, to recast it. Therefore, everything is being looked at with a practical, pragmatic sense, as the Americans would say. Experience must be constantly revised and, as Raul said, we must keep our eyes and ears glued to the ground.
MAR: So, autonomy is a “go.”
RAQ: Yes, beginning in the provinces, but especially in the municipalities. Municipalities need to enjoy the ability and authority that they now lack. They had it before, nominally greater, but the crisis led to a process of centralization in the management of resources, in making decisions, which may have been understandable at those very complicated times, but that model cannot remain permanent.
That is why we talk about the pace, the means. It is not a question of taking measures and issuing a ukase: “Beginning tomorrow, this will not be as it was before but as it is now.”
Take the resolution that I introduced about the People’s Power and the reform of the Electoral Act, etc., and the experience in Artemisa and Mayabeque. The National Assembly decided that the structures of government in these two provinces would not be the same as the others have right now, and that we should try to experiment with both to see if from them we can extract conclusions that are applicable to the rest of the country.
For example, one of the problems most frequently discussed within the structure of the People’s Power is the issue of simultaneity of responsibilities between the president of the Assembly and the chairman of the Management Council. In other words, the mayor of the municipality, who is the president of the municipal government, is also president of the municipal assembly.
The same happens in the provinces. In the province and municipality, it is the same person, which limits the ability to control, to verify, that must be exercised by the legislature, which is the Provincial Assembly or the Municipal Assembly. In Mayabeque and Artemisa we will begin separating the two functions; we will implement other changes to the mechanisms being used now and also, of course, design much simpler structures in the administration that are associated with the need to reduce bureaucracy, administrative apparatus, etc.
MAR: The provincial and municipal bodies have many small industries, many of which present a negative economic picture. Because we have discussed other forms of property, other ways of organizing management, might we think that the creation of industrial production cooperatives is being considered at those levels?
RAQ: Yes, of course, that’s one of the possibilities in the guidelines. But there is another issue that’s also important: the separation between the functions. The Party should have nothing to do with the economic management, with the administration, with the decisions made at the company level, etc. Nor should the state or the provincial or municipal government.
In other words, we’ve got to really develop the entrepreneurial autonomy or the entrepreneurial independence. In other words, the company is directed by its director. The conduct of the business is up to the business, not to the local government, not to the local Assembly, not to the local Party. Now, apart from that, you spoke about the possibility of the establishment of cooperatives…
MAR: Industrial production cooperatives. They already exist in agriculture. Why not take them to…?
RAQ: Yes, there is nothing to stop that; on the contrary, there is talk of cooperatives First Grade, Second Grade. And there is a very important thing, Ramy, which may have been overlooked in media coverage: I think this Congress is as important for its results as for the process that preceded it, set it up and will keep it going.
This began on 9 November of last year with the publication of the Draft Guidelines, published in a massive printing. From December 1 of last year until 28 February of this year, they were discussed in more than 163,000 meetings in factories, student centers, neighborhoods, etc., and people proposed things.
I know that there was speculation outside and some people said: “Yes, but that does not matter, nobody will pay attention.” Out of these discussions, out of the proposals made by the people, 68 percent of the 291 original articles and guidelines were amended and more than 30 others were added. In the end, 311 guidelines came before the Congress.
Once in the Congress, the guidelines were again discussed by each Provincial Delegation, which in turn made proposals. And then they moved to the five committees that discussed all those proposals and again made changes to the modified text before the Congress.
To be honest with you, if you asked me now to give you the final text of the guidelines I would have to say: “Ramy, I don’t have it,” because the document I saw in my committee was changed umpteen times. And I know other committees made changes too.
I’m waiting for the Congress Secretariat to finish putting it together, after it was modified in each of the five committees, modified in a very rich debate indeed, diverse, where many agreements were made. I remember that in my committee, what was approved was not the guideline but a proposal from a province, and that’s the one that is in effect now.
Now, it does not end there. A committee is being established to implement those guidelines. At the same time, the information presented to the Congress explained what was done with all the proposals in that five-month-long debate. Some proposals are not included now, but not because they were rejected. The committee deemed that it was better to wait a while, but they’re still viable, they remain under consideration.
Besides, don’t forget that one of the resolutions of the Congress is to convene the National Party Conference on January 28 next year. That Conference may introduce new changes, new agreements, particularly in the Party leadership. The Conference will focus on the political issue, the Party’s role, its character, his style of work, but the Conference is the nation’s legislative authority. We (the National Assembly) pass the laws.
MAR: And that will happen now, this summer?
RAQ: Well, at least we’ll start in the summer. No, we are now beginning to study what we do this summer, the rules that need to be proposed and adopted in the Assembly.
MAR: One last question about the rejuvenation of the party, a topic about which much has been said. What are the ways to rejuvenate the Party, both its Central Committee, the Secretariat and the Politburo?
RAQ: Raul was very explicit when he acknowledged that there were serious deficiencies in this subject and in the role of women, blacks and mestizos in leadership positions, let’s say. The idea of octogenarians leading [the nation], presented by some international media, is not something you can say because it would not be really accurate.
Find me an octogenarian leading the Party or the Assembly or the government in any province in this country. Find me one, see if you can find a single one. In other words, there are octogenarians, there are colleagues of a certain age who continue to rank high, say, but, well, what can we do? The revolution is already 52 years old. From the beginning, an essential part of the policy promoted by the United States was the physical liquidation of the Cuban leadership, but [the Americans] failed. Because they failed, there’s a lot of us left. So what are we going to do? Self-destruct? In other words, do what the CIA couldn’t do? Why? Because that has neither head nor tail.
There’s no need to remove an octogenarian from the Central Committee simply because the Empire couldn’t kill him before. No, let them sulk. It may be that some colleagues have great historical merit and deserve all the credit from the Party. Then comes the little game from the media. True, some of these comrades are 70-some years old, some are 80, and then when you average them, the age goes up.
Okay, but why don’t they talk about those who are under 40, or those under 50? Why don’t they say that most of the Central Committee members were born after the triumph of the Revolution?
Now, where is the problem? The same happens with the blacks, mestizos and women. In the case of the women, I think that in this Congress good progress was made. In the current Central Committee, more than 40 percent, 41 percent I think, are women. In the case of blacks and mestizos, the proportion here is more or less as some say. I don’t have a clear idea of the exact structure according to the skin color, but the blacks and mestizos add up to 31 percent.
I think that in both categories we have to climb, we must continue to increase. But, hey, I can assure you that I chair the parliament with the world’s highest proportion of women deputies. I think we are in second place to a Scandinavian country. Those countries, as a rule, require equal representation, therefore half of the candidates from each party must be women.
The fundamental problem is not a policy of “tokenism,” as they say in the United States, but of really promoting – on merit and personal capacity – more women, more blacks, more mestizos, not for show but to see how you promote them so they may rise to positions of leadership.
Look, much has been said. I have been following the media and the different views on the Congress. In my opinion, sometimes we lose sight of the basics. I would say that this Congress is the Congress of patriotic unity, of the confirmation of the union of the Cuban nation beyond the Party. It is not a Congress of the Party. From the beginning, the Party conceived that the documents it would approve should be discussed by everyone.
I remember the statements made by His Eminence Cardinal Ortega when he urged Catholics to participate in the debate that took place in Cuba. And they did. They had every right and were called upon to do that.
Out of this Congress comes a very important message of unity among all Cubans, beyond philosophical ideas. In the main report, Comrade Raúl raised a very important element in my view: the reference to religion, to spirituality. About that – in this society as in every other – there is a wide range, a diversity of preferences among people that has to be taken into account as part of our social structure.
Raúl referred specifically to the role, the function of the Christian churches, the Catholic Church on one hand, to which he paid homage. He said the laurels belonged to His Eminence the Cardinal in relation to a process that permitted the release of a group of people who were detained in Cuba.
He acknowledged the very important role of the National Council of Churches of Cuba, which brings together the evangelical and Protestant churches, and the Jews, who are also associated with the Council and engaged in the struggle to bring the child Elián González to Cuba, but also mentioned the Jewish Community, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the spiritualists, the religions of African origin, which are very important all of them, and calling them all believers, all those members of religious denominations or communities, the Freemasons, the fraternal organizations that have been so important in the history of Cuba, called on them to unify, to work together for a nation that belongs to everyone, not just the communists but everyone.
Another very important thing, which is a criticism that he voiced, and it has to do with this, in relation to the trend based on arbitrary decisions (because there is no rule for this) when selecting, appointing people to certain responsibilities, the usual procedure is to look for a Party member or a [Communist] Youth member.
Raúl made it very clear – and he criticized all Party organizations – that the only thing for which anyone requires militancy is to be elected to positions of party leadership, which is logical, because to become a bishop one must be a priest first. Now, to assume any responsibility in the State, the Government, the People’s Power, wherever, nobody needs to find out whether the candidate is a militant or not. You have to find out is if the candidate is a decent, honest, capable person willing to fulfill his or her responsibility.
MAR: I thank Dr. Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, president of the Cuban Parliament and member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba.
South Journal—Cuba is right when asserting that the economic, financial and commercial US blockade imposed by the United States further intensifies under the Obama administration, particularly regarding bank transactions. This subject was clearly addressed by Raul Castro in his statement at the recent Congress of the Communist Party.
What comes next is the report on another two actions, in a long list, that reaffirm the prevalence of the statement above. The first was Barclays Bank. Ireland’s Cuba Support Group opened a humanitarian assistance account to back the work being done by the Cuban personnel in Haiti, before the earthquake hit that nation.
The account was opened in the city of Dublin, and when the unions in Belfast, Northern Ireland, heard of it they decided to send a check valued at 600 pounds to that account, and they got a surprise. They received an official notification from Barclays Bank saying that since the final destination of the money transfer was a bank account of a group linked to Cuba, they could not make the transfer due to the “Trading with the Enemy Act,” which was adopted during the First World War.
What happened was not totally absurd. Since August 2010, Barclays Bank was forced to pay a 289-million dollar fine to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) with the US administration, for having violated this “Trading with the Enemy Act,” after having undertaken operations linked to Cuba.
After this, came the turn for the famous PayPal of e-Bay which carries out transfers via the Internet from one account to another, or money transfers in general. The Irish Cuba Support Group decided to keep assisting the work of the Cuban personnel in Haiti, this time after the devastating earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation.
Then, they decided to send the collected money to an account that was opened by the Cuban Mission and whose name bears the words “Cuba” and “Earthquake”. They carried out the money transfer through PayPal and when they thought that they had already sent the donation to the Cuban Mission in Haiti, they received the following notification by the US company: “…PayPal would be in violation, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, if we facilitated transactions where funds benefit Cuba.”
Here then, we have more extraterritorial sanctions, in bank transactions and under the Obama administration. It is not only related to blocking anything from reaching Cuba, but also to preventing humanitarian from reaching Haiti.
Would this be the US Blockade in the Obama style?
Below is the official notification sent by PayPal to Ireland´s Cuba Support Group.
[English version of article by journalist Reinaldo Taladrid, published on Cubadebate]
Photo: Ismael Francisco
The Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (CCP) took place in Havana between the 16 and 19 April 2011, marking the 50th anniversary of two historic events: the declaration of the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution on 16 April 1961 and the defeat of the Bay of Pigs invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles, within 72 hours, on the 19 April 1961.
The principal function of the Congress was to discuss, amend and approve the Draft Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution and then to oversee their implementation. Distributed nationally in early November 2010, these guidelines contained 291 proposals for consolidating or amending social and economic policy in twelve broad categories:
- economic management
- macroeconomic policies (including monetary, exchange, fiscal and pricing policies)
- external economic relations
- science, technology and innovation
- social policy (education, health, sports, culture, social security, employment and wages)
- industry and energy
- construction, housing and water resources
The aim is to update and improve the efficiency of the socialist Revolution in meeting contemporary challenges.
The introduction of the guidelines affirm ‘the principle that only socialism is capable of overcoming the difficulties and preserving the conquests of the Revolution, and that in the updating of the economic model, planning will be supreme, not the market.’ Socialism, it states, means ‘equality of rights and opportunities for the citizens, not egalitarianism. Work is both a right and a duty; the personal responsibility of every citizen, and must be remunerated according to its quantity and quality.’
The short-term aim of economic policy is to eliminate the balance of payments deficit, increase national income, substitute imports with internal production, improve economic efficiency, work motivation and income distribution, ‘and create the necessary infrastructural and productive conditions to permit the transition to a higher stage of development’. The long-term aim is ‘food and energy self-sufficiency, an efficient use of human potential, a higher level of competitiveness in traditional production areas, and the development of new forms of the production of goods and services of higher added value.’
In an example of real democracy, every Cuban was given access to this document and then invited to participate in an open debate about its content. Between 1 December 2010 and the 28 February 2011, 163,000 meetings were organised by work or study centres, political and residential groups. Out of a total population of 11.2 million, almost nine million people participated in these meetings (it was possible to participate more than once), over three million comments were made about the draft guidelines. The CCP membership is around 800,000 but these meetings were open to every member of society, regardless of political or organisational affiliation.
This was no mere symbolism or public relations exercise. Every opinion stated was registered, analysed and organised into 780,000 distinct recommendations. The document was subsequently amended. In his inaugural speech to the CCP Congress, Raul Castro announced that 16 guidelines had been moved to other points, 94 remained unchanged, 181 were modified in content and 36 new guidelines were incorporated. 45 proposals advocating the concentration of property were not included because they ‘openly contradicted the essence of socialism’ (Raul, 17 April).
Over half of all proposals, Raul reported, related to the chapters on social and macroeconomic policies: ‘the highest number of proposals pertained to guidelines number 162, dealing with the removal of the ration book; 61 and 62, on the pricing policy; 262, on passengers’ transportation; 133, on education; 54, related to the establishment of a single currency; and, 143, on the quality of health care services.’ The essence of these details is not the numbers involved, but what they reveal about a revolutionary leadership which has its finger on the pulse of the people. 68% of the guidelines were modified following consultation with the Cuban masses.
The CCP Congress was attended by almost 1,000 delegates who worked in five commissions to discuss the guidelines and the populations’ recommendations. As a result, a further 86 guidelines were modified and two added. The now 313 guidelines will be submitted to the National Assembly of Peoples’ Power for legislative ratification. A Standing Committee will be set up to monitor the implementation and adjustments of the guidelines over a period of five years and as objective circumstances change. The Central Committee will analyse progress in its plenary meetings at least twice a year. Raul warned that the process must be undertaken: ‘without haste or improvisation’ and always maintaining the support and understanding of the Cuban masses.
Delegates voted on membership of the Party’s Central Committee, Politburo and Secretariat. The Central Committee was reduced in size from 150 to 115 members and the Politburo from 24 to 15. The Secretariat retains seven members pending the Party’s National Conference on 28 January 2012 (birthday in 1853 of Cuban independence hero José Martí), which will ‘objectively and critically’ analyse the CCP’s work with a view to improving its political performance and the training of cadre. Elected as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the CCP, Raul described his ‘principal mission and purpose in life’ as defending, preserving and continuing to improve socialism and never allowing the return of the capitalist regime (19 April).
Another resolution passed at the Congress was presented by head of the National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon to strengthen the institutions of the Peoples’ Power system of participatory democracy, giving more control to the local assemblies. This implies further changes in the political and administrative divisions of the country – a process which began on 1 January 2011 when theHavanaProvincewas divided into two new provinces: Artemisa and Mayabeque.
Raul confirmed that legislation is being formulated for the ‘purchase and sale of housing and cars…expanding the limits of fallow land to be awarded in usufruct [rent-free short term loan] to those agricultural producers with outstanding results and the granting of credits to self-employed workers and to the population at large.’ This should be understood in the context of his comment that ‘the concentration of property’ cannot be permitted because it ‘openly contradicts the essence of socialism’. Raul also reassured the population that the ration book would not be removed ‘by decree, all at once, before creating the proper conditions to do so, which means undertaking other transformations of the economic model with a view to increasing labour efficiency and productivity in order to guarantee stable levels of production and supplies of basic goods and services accessible to all citizens but no longer subsidised.’ Socialism would never use the ‘shock therapy’ of neo-liberalism, he said. ‘The social welfare system is being reorganised to ensure a rational and deferential support to those who really need it. Instead of massively subsidising products as we do now, we shall gradually provide for those people lacking other support.’ (17 April).
Other key proposals contained in Raul’s report and approved by Congress were:
1. Limit leadership roles to two terms of five years. This will open access for younger Cubans to leadership positions and strengthen the institutions of the Revolution.
Fidel Castro supported this proposal with his reflection on 18 April which stated: ‘The Party leadership should be the sum of the best political talents of our people, capable of confronting the policy of the empire that jeopardises the human species…The duty of this new generation of revolutionary men and women is becoming an example of modest leaders, studious and tireless fighters for socialism. In the barbaric era of consumer societies, to overcome the capitalist production system that fosters and promotes selfish interests among human beings is, no doubt, a difficult challenge.’
2. Increasing the proportion of women, black and mixed-race people in leadership positions. 48 of the newly-elected Central Committee are women who now make up 42%, three times the previous figure. Black and mixed race people are up to 36 – increasing the proportion by 10% to 30% (NB: around 35% of Cuban population are black or mixed race). Raul reported that:
‘The Party has been working for months toward this end with the objective of submitting a list of candidates that takes into account the necessity to have a fair representation of gender and race in the Central Committee membership…These are the children of the working class; they belong to the poorest segments of the population and have had a politically active life in students’ organizations, the Union of Young Communists and the Party. Most of these youths accumulate 10, 15 or 20 years of experience working at the grassroots level without abandoning their jobs in the professions they studied, and the majority were proposed by their respective Party cells during the process leading up to the Congress.’ (19 April)
3. Greater separation between the CCP (political and ideological leadership) and the government (management, administrative and legislative functions)
‘The fortitude of the Party basically lies in its moral authority, its influence on the masses and the trust of the people…The fortitude of the State lies in its material authority, which consists of the strength of the institutions responsible for demanding from everyone to comply with the legal regulations it enacts. The damage caused by the confusion of these two concepts is manifested, firstly, in the deterioration of the Party’s political work and, secondly, in the decline of the authority of the state and the government as officials cease feeling responsible for their decisions’ (Raul, 17 April).
4. The Cuban media has the role of clarifying debates and producing ‘objective, continuous and critical reports on the progress of the updating of the economic model’, breaking ‘the habit of describing the national reality in pretentious high-flown language or with excessive formality’ and ‘boring, improvised or superficial reports’. The media’s role is to stimulate public debate.
In his closing speech to the Congress Raul pointed out that:
‘Cubais one of the few countries in the world in which conditions exist to transform its economic model and leave the crisis behind while avoiding social trauma. First of all because our patriotic people know that their force stems from their monolithic unity, the justice of their cause and military training as well as from their high level of education and pride in their history and revolutionary roots. We shall advance resolutely despite the US blockade and the adverse conditions prevailing in the international market, which among other things, limit Cuba’s access to financial sources and expose it to the oil prices spiral that impinges on the prices of the rest of the raw materials and food.’
The annual plan finalised in December 2010 must be adjusted because the cost of imports for 2011 has risen by $800 million as a result of rising international prices.
Raul concluded that: ‘Our brothers and sisters in the Third World, especially those from Latin America and the Caribbean, who are making great efforts to transform the legacy of centuries of colonial domination, should know that they can always count on our solidarity and support… [F]raternal greetings also go to the communist parties and other progressive forces all over the planet fighting restlessly with the deep conviction that a better world is possible.’
New measures and legislation will be announced inCubain the coming months as the guidelines are implemented. Although there will be no surprises, we can expect these to be met by sensationalist exclamations about the advent of capitalism from the enemies of Cuban socialism.Cuba’s revolutionary people, lead by the CCP, will progress with patience and resolution to improve the efficiency of their system; maintaining the principles of socialism, while adapting, with creativity and innovation, to the challenging context of the global capitalist crisis.
Actor, ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘Providence’
Hey, how you doing?
What’s new? Been to Cuba lately?
Oh, that’s right, you’re only a U.S. citizen; you can’t.
You can’t. How stupid is that?
I guess they worry you’ll catch communism or something. But you know what? Canadians and Europeans go there all the time without catching … well, I guess Tea Party types say they’re already socialists, so … But hey, that’s what they say about Obama.
But really, I ask you, what’s the big deal? I went to Cuba some years back and I didn’t come back a commie, though some on Fox might argue the point.
Our group had the required dispensation for researching Cuban medical and educational needs. And the trip was very interesting. We saw some extraordinary things, learned a lot about the country, the people and the government. We saw that education is free and they encourage — and pay for — people to become doctors. As a result, Cubans have free medical care and the government provides doctors to other countries. In fact they offered to send a group of physicians here to help out after Katrina. But I guess Mr. Bush and company didn’t like the idea of free medical care.
Mr. Obama seems inclined to change things a bit, but our decades-old embargo continues to do harm — as much to us as to them, one could argue. And the politics that drive it are truly absurd. We have relationships with Vietnam and China, for God’s sake, so why do we let a group of diehard right-wing Cuban émigrés in Miami and their acolytes in Congress wave their tattered anti-communist banner and frighten us away from a productive relationship with another baseball-loving Caribbean island?
This anti-Castro obsession has led us down a rocky road for decades: a bungled invasion; illegal, embarrassing assassination attempts; nearly a nuclear war; the harboring of terrorists on our own shores; and decades of lies and hypocrisy.
It’s nuts. And it continues. Two recent examples of the utter stupidity of our ongoing cold war against Cuba include the operetta involving an actual terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, and the dark tragedy of the Cuban Five, who are not.
Posada Carilles, who once told the New York Times, “I sleep like a baby,” is, according to evidence known by our government, a CIA asset responsible for an ongoing terror campaign against Cuba, including the bombing of an airliner that cost 73 lives. Months after his publicly celebrated move to the U.S. in 2005, Posada Carriles was finally charged by the Bush Administration, not with terrorism but fraudulent entry.
The ante was raised a bit by the Obama Justice Dept. in 2009, adding perjury charges (again not terrorism) for statements he made under oath relating to hotel bombings. But after he was finally brought to trial three months ago in federal court in El Paso, Texas, under a Bush-appointed judge who, according to one report, “simply turned the floor over to the defense attorney,” Posada Carriles was acquitted of all charges and is now free to enjoy life in Miami, where anti-Castro zealots cheer him as a hero.
Compare that outrage to this one:
Because of decades of attacks against Cuba by U.S.-based anti-Castro organizations like CORU, the F4 Commandos, Brothers to the Rescue, Omega 7 and Alpha 66, which Cuba reported 10 years ago had cost thousands of lives and great damage (including hotel bombings connected to Luis Posada Carriles), five Cuban intelligence officers were sent to the U.S. to gather information about these groups in an attempt to blunt their effectiveness.
The five, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Fernando González Llort and René González Sehwerert, not only succeeded in doing so, but sent home information on the activities of the groups that the Cuban government then made known (as if it was news) to U.S. authorities.
Agents of the FBI went to Cuba in 1998 to receive the information gathered by the five, returning with reams of evidence of terrorism committed by U.S.-based groups. However, instead of acting against them, the FBI, having discerned the identities of the five, arrested them instead, hoping to charge them with espionage.
But, because all they had done was infiltrate, observe and report on the groups committing terror against Cuba, the U.S. was unable to prove the five had done anything illegal other than being unregistered agents of a foreign power. So, Bush’s Justice Dept. retrenched and charged them with “conspiracy” to commit espionage and “conspiracy” to commit murder (because the Cuban Air Force shot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes after a mission over Cuba).
Refused a change of venue, the men, now known as the Cuban Five, were convicted in a Miami court (!) and sentenced to long terms in prison (Gerardo Hernández Nordelo receiving two life sentences on the conspiracy to commit murder charge).
With their sentences overturned on appeal (a three-judge panel citing “prejudice” in Miami), reinstated and subsequently refused review, the Cuban Five have now served 12 years in American prisons for protecting their country from U.S.-based terrorism.
An international effort calling for freedom and fairness for the Cuban Five has grown up around the case. It includes Amnesty International, 10 Nobel Laureates, Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002, and many others. Former President Jimmy Carter added his voice after a recent trip to Cuba, saying,
I believe that there is no reason to keep the Cuban Five imprisoned; there were doubts in the U.S. courts and also among human rights organizations … Now, they have been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be released to return home.
So do I. In the interests of full disclosure, I am one of a group of Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban Five. For more information, www.thecuban5.org,
‘Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up!’ is
the new documentary by U.S. journalist and filmmaker Saul Landau that had
its premiere last Saturday at the Brava Theater in San Francisco, United
States, where people learned more details about the unjust imprisonment of
five Cuban antiterrorists who remain in U.S. jails since 1998.
According to a note published in the website of the International
Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 (www.thecuban5.org), the
documentary —screened on the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-backed mercenary
invasion of Bay of Pigs—includes interviews with self-confessed terrorists
Luis Posada-Carriles and Orlando Bosch, as well as recently filmed cameos
of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and U.S. actor and activist Danny Glover. It
also features archival footage of Cuba and a rare recorded interview from
prison with Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban Five —as these five men
are internationally known.
The note adds that Alicia Jrapko, from the International Committee for
the Freedom of the Cuban 5, welcomed the audience and thanked Saul Landau
for his great contribution with the making of the documentary.
“For all of us involved in the struggle to free the Cuban 5, the
documentary will be an important tool to explain the reasons why these
five men came to the United States,” she said.
Present in the audience were Gayle McLaughlin, the Mayor of Richmond
who has been very supportive of the case, John Burton, chairman of the
California Democratic Party, Tony Gonzalez, Director of the American
Indian Movement West, and Dr James Cockcroft, historian and author.
After the screening of the film, Danny Glover took the stage and gave
an inspiring and philosophical speech about how the empire is destroying
the planet and is on the verge of collapsing. A particularly moving moment
of his talk was when he mentioned that he had the honor to visit Gerardo
Hernandez with Saul Landau on three occasions. He described Gerardo as an
example of what it is to be human in the highest sense of that word.
Later on, Saul Landau responded to a number of questions from the
audience. People were made aware that just a few days ago, Luis Posada
Carriles, a man responsible for numerous terrorist actions against Cuba,
was recently acquitted by a jury in El Paso, Texas.
Responding to one of the questions from the audience, Landau mentioned
the hypocrisy of the US war on terror. “…the terrorists are free while the
anti-terrorists are locked up,” he pointed out.
Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino
and Rene Gonzalez were arrested in Miami in 1998 and given harsh and
unjust sentences for monitoring anti-Cuba extreme right-wing groups that
were planning and carrying out terrorist attacks against the Caribbean nation.
TO THE 6th CONGRESS OF THE
COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA
The opening of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba this afternoon marks a date of extraordinary significance in our history, the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of our Revolution by its Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, on April 16, 1961, as we paid our last respects to those killed the day before during the bombings of the air bases. This action, which was the prelude to the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) mercenary invasion organized and funded by the United States government, was part of its plans to destroy the Revolution and restore its domination over Cuba in league with the Organization of American States (OAS).
On that occasion, Fidel said to the people already armed and inflamed with passion: “This is what they cannot forgive us…that we have made a Socialist Revolution right under the nose of the United States…” “Comrades, workers and farmers, this is the Socialist and democratic Revolution of the people, by the people and for the people. And for this Revolution of the people, by the people and for the people, we are willing to give our lives.”
The response to this appeal would not take long; in the fight against the aggressor a few hours later, the combatants of the Ejército Rebelde, police agents and militiamen shed their blood, for the first time, in defense of socialism and attained victory in less than 72 hours under the personal leadership of comrade Fidel.
The Military Parade that we watched this morning, dedicated to the young generations, and particularly the vigorous popular march that followed, are eloquent proof of the fortitude of the Revolution to follow the example of the heroic fighters of Playa Girón.
Next May 1st, on the occasion of the International Workers Day, we will do likewise throughout the country to show the unity of Cubans in defense of their independence and national sovereignty, which as proven by history, can only be conquered through Socialism.
This Congress, the supreme body of the Party, as set forth in article 20 of its Statutes, brings together today one thousand delegates representing nearly 800 thousand party members affiliated to over 61 thousand party cells. But, this Congress really started on November 9 last year, with the release of the Draft Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, a subject that, as previously indicated, will be at the center of the debates of this meeting that is regarded with great expectations by our people.
As of that moment, numerous seminars were organized to clarify and to delve into the content of the Guidelines in order to adequately train the cadres and officials who would lead the discussions of the material by the party members, mass organizations and the people in general.
The discussions extended for three months, from December 1, 2010 to February 28 of this year, with the participation of 8, 913,838 people in more than 163 thousand meetings held by the different organizations in which over three million people offered their contributions. I want to make clear that, although it has not been accurately determined yet, the total figure of participants includes tens of thousands of members of the Party and the Young Communist League who attended the meetings in their respective cells but also those convened in their work or study centers in addition to those of their communities. This is also the case of non-party members who took part in the meetings organized at their work centers and later at their communities.
Even the National Assembly of People’s Power dedicated nearly two work sessions in its latest Ordinary Meeting held this past December to analyze with the deputies the Draft Guidelines.
This process has exposed the capacity of the Party to conduct a serious and transparent dialogue with the people on any issue, regardless of how sensitive it might be, especially as we try to create a national consensus on the features that should characterize the country’s Social and Economic Model.
At the same time, the data collected from the results of the discussions become a formidable working tool for the government and Party leadership at all levels, like a popular referendum given the depth, scope and pace of the changes we must introduce.
In a truly extensive democratic exercise, the people freely stated their views, clarified their doubts, proposed amendments, expressed their dissatisfactions and discrepancies, and suggested that we work toward the solution of other problems not included in the document.
Once again the unity and confidence of most Cubans in the Party and the Revolution were put to the test; a unity that far from denying the difference of opinions is strengthened and consolidated by them. Every opinion, without exception, was incorporated to the analysis, which helped to enhance the Draft submitted to the consideration of the delegates to this Congress.
It would be fair to say that, in substance, the Congress was already held in that excellent debate with the people. Now, it is left to us as delegates to engage in the final discussion of the Draft and the election of the higher organs of party leadership.
The Economic Policy Commission of the 6th Party Congress first entrusted with the elaboration of the Draft Guidelines and then with the organization of the discussions has focused on the following five issues:
- Reformulation of the guidelines bearing in mind the opinions gathered.
- Organization, orientation and control of their implementation.
- The thorough training of the cadres and other participants for the implementation of some of the measures already enforced.
- Systematic oversight of the agencies and institutions in charge of enforcing the decisions stemming from the guidelines and evaluation of their results.
- Leading the process of information to the people.
In compliance with the aforesaid, the Draft Guidelines were reformulated and then submitted to analysis by both the Political Bureau and the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers, on March 19 and 20, respectively, with the participation of the Secretariat of the Party’s Central Committee and the top leaders of the Central Trade Union (CTC), the Young Communist League (UJC) and the other mass organizations, approved at that level –also as a draft—and then delivered to you for its examination during three days in every provincial delegation to the Congress and for its discussion at the five commissions of this party meeting for its subsequent approval.
Next, I will offer some data to illustrate our people on the results of the discussions of the Draft Guidelines, even though detailed information will be published later.
The original document contained 291 guidelines; 16 of them were moved to others; 94 preserved their phrasing; 181 had their content modified; and, 36 new guidelines were incorporated for a grand total of 311 guidelines in the current draft.
A simple arithmetic operation with these numbers avows the quality of the consultation process as a result of which approximately two thirds of the guidelines –68% to be exact—was reformulated.
The principle that guided this process was that the validity of a proposal would not depend on the number of opinions expressed about it. This is shown by the fact that several guidelines were either modified or removed based on the opinion of only one person or a small number of them.
It is also worth explaining that some opinions were not included at this stage either because the issue deserved a more exhaustive analysis for which the necessary conditions did not exist or because they openly contradicted the essence of socialism, as for example 45 proposals advocating the concentration of property.
I mean that, although the prevailing tendency was a general understanding of and support for the content of the Guidelines, there was no unanimity; and that is precisely what was needed for we really wanted this to be a democratic and serious consultation with the people.
For this reason, I can assure you that the Guidelines are an expression of our people’s will, contained in the policy of the Party, the Government and the State, to update the Economic and Social Model in order to secure the continuity and irreversibility of Socialism as well as the economic development of the country and the improvement of the living standard of our people combined with the indispensible formation of ethical and political values.
As expected, most of the proposals made during the discussion of the Draft Guidelines were focused on Chapter VI, “Social Policy” and Chapter II “Macroeconomic Policies”; both accounted for 50.9% of the total, followed, in descending order, by Chapter XI, “Construction, Housing and Water Resources Policy”; Chapter X, “Transportation Policy”; and, Chapter I, “Economic Management Model.” In fact, 75% of the opinions expressed focused on these five chapters out of a total of twelve.
On the other hand, 67% of the proposals referred to 33 guidelines, that is, 11% of the total. In fact, the highest number of proposals pertained to guidelines number 162, dealing with the removal of the ration book; 61 and 62, on the pricing policy; 262, on passengers’ transportation; 133, on education; 54, related to the establishment of a single currency; and, 143, on the quality of healthcare services.
Undoubtedly, the ration book and its removal spurred most of the contributions of the participants in the debates, and it is only natural. Two generations of Cubans have spent their lives under this rationing system that, despite its harmful egalitarian quality, has for four decades ensured every citizen access to basic food at highly subsidized derisory prices.
This distribution mechanism introduced in times of shortages during the 1960s, in the interest of providing equal protection to our people from those involved in speculation and hoarding with a lucrative spirit, has become in the course of the years an intolerable burden to the economy and discouraged work, in addition to eliciting various types of transgressions.
Since the ration book is designed to provide equal coverage to 11 million Cubans, there are more than a few examples of absurdities such as allocating a quota of coffee to the newborn. The same happened with cigarettes until September 2010 as they were supplied to smokers and non-smokers alike thus fostering the expansion of that unsafe habit in the population.
Regarding this sensitive issue, the span of opinions is very broad, from those who suggest dismissing it right away to others who categorically oppose its removal and propose to ration everything, the industrial goods included. Others are of the view that in order to successfully prevent hoarding and ensure everybody’s access to basic foods, it would be necessary, in a first stage, to keep the products rationed even if no longer subsidized. Quite a few have recommended depriving of the ration book those who neither study nor work or advised that the people with higher incomes relinquish that system voluntarily.
Certainly, the use of the ration book to distribute the basic foods, which was justified under concrete historic circumstances, has remained with us for too long even when it contradicts the substance of the distribution principle that should characterize Socialism, that is, “From each in accordance with his ability and to each in accordance with his labor,” and this situation should be resolved.
In this connection, it seems appropriate to recall what comrade Fidel indicated in his Central Report to the First Party Congress on December 17, 1975: “There is no doubt that in the organization of our economy we have erred on the side of idealism and sometimes even ignored the reality of the objective economic laws we should comply with.”
The problem we are facing has nothing to do with concepts, but rather with how to do it, when to do it, and at what pace. The removal of the ration book is not an end in itself, and it should not be perceived as an isolated decision but rather as one of the first indispensible measures aimed at the eradication of the deep distortions affecting the operation of the economy and society as a whole.
No member of the leadership of this country in their right mind would think of removing that system by decree, all at once, before creating the proper conditions to do so, which means undertaking other transformations of the Economic Model with a view to increasing labor efficiency and productivity in order to guarantee stable levels of production and supplies of basic goods and services accessible to all citizens but no longer subsidized.
Of course, this issue is closely related to pricing and to the establishment of a single currency, as well as to wages and to the “reversed pyramid” phenomenon which as spelled out at the Parliament last December 18, is expressed in the mismatch between salaries and the ranking or importance of the work performed. These problems came up often in the contributions made by the citizens.
In Cuba, under socialism, there will never be space for “shock therapies” that go against the neediest, who have traditionally been the staunchest supporters of the Revolution; as opposed to the packages of measures frequently applied on orders of the International Monetary Fund and other international economic organizations to the detriment of the Third World peoples and, lately enforced in the highly developed nations where students’ and workers’ demonstrations are violently suppressed.
The Revolution will not leave any Cuban helpless. The social welfare system is being reorganized to ensure a rational and deferential support to those who really need it. Instead of massively subsidizing products as we do now, we shall gradually provide for those people lacking other support.
This principle is absolutely valid for the restructuring of the work force, –an ongoing process– streamlining the bloated payrolls in the public sector on the basis of a strict assessment of the workers’ demonstrated capacity. This process will continue slowly but uninterruptedly, its pace determined by our capacity to create the necessary conditions for its full implementation.
Other elements will have an impact on this process, including the expansion and easing of labor in the non-public sector. This modality of employment that over 200 thousand Cubans have adopted from October last year until today –twice as many as before– make up an alternative endorsed by the current legislation, therefore, it should enlist the support, assistance and protection of the officials at all levels while demanding strict adherence to the ensuing obligations, including tax payment.
The growth of the non-public sector of the economy, far from an alleged privatization of the social property as some theoreticians would have us believe, is to become an active element facilitating the construction of socialism in Cuba since it will allow the State to focus on rising the efficiency of the basic means of production, which are the property of the entire people, while relieving itself from those management of activities that are not strategic for the country.
This, on the other hand, will make it easier for the State to continue ensuring healthcare and education services free of charge and on equal footing to all of the people and their adequate protection through the Social Welfare System; the promotion of physical education and sports; the defense of the national identity; and, the preservation of the cultural heritage, and the artistic, scientific and historic wealth of the nation.
Then, the Socialist State will have more possibilities to make a reality of the idea expressed by Martí that can be found heading our Constitution: “I want the first Law of our Republic to be the Cubans’ cult of the full dignity of man.”
It is the responsibility of the State to defend national independence and sovereignty, values in which the Cubans take pride, and to continue securing the public order and safety that make Cuba one of the safest and most peaceful nations of the world, without drug-trafficking or organized crime; without beggars or child labor; without the mounted police charging against workers, students and other segments of the population; without extrajudicial executions, clandestine jails or tortures, despite the groundless smear campaigns constantly orchestrated against us overlooking the fact that such realities are, foremost, basic human rights that most people on Earth can’t even aspire to.
Now, in order to guarantee all of these conquests of Socialism, without renouncing their quality and scope, the social programs should be characterized by greater rationality so that better and sustainable results can be obtained in the future with lower spending and keeping the balance with the general economic situation of the country.
As you can see in the Guidelines, these ideas do not contradict the significance we attach to the separate roles to be played in the economy by the state institutions, on the one hand, and the enterprises, on the other, an issue that for decades has been fraught with confusion and improvisations and that we are forced to resolve on a mid-term basis in the context of the strengthening and improvement of institutionalization.
A full understanding of these concepts will permit a solid advance while avoiding backward steps in the gradual decentralization of powers from the Central to the local governments, and from the ministries and other national agencies in favor of the increasing autonomy of the socialist State-funded companies.
The excessively centralized model characterizing our economy at the moment shall move in an orderly fashion, with discipline and the participation of all workers, toward a decentralized system where planning will prevail, as a socialist feature of management, albeit without ignoring the current market trends. This will contribute to the flexibility and constant updating of the plan.
The lesson taught by practical experience is that an excessive centralization inhibits the development of initiatives in the society and in the entire production line, where the cadres got used to having everything decided “at the top” and thus ceased feeling responsible for the outcome of the entities they headed.
Our entrepreneurs, with some exceptions, settled themselves comfortably safe and quiet “to wait” and developed an allergy to the risks involved in making decisions, that is, in being right or wrong. This mentality characterized by inertia should definitely be removed to be able to cut the knots that grip the development of the productive forces. This is a pursuit of strategic significance, thus it is no accident that it has been reflected one way or another in the 24 guidelines contained in Chapter I, “Economic Management Model.”
As far as this issue is concerned, we cannot indulge in improvisations or act hastily. In order to decentralize and change that mentality, it is indispensible to elaborate a framework of regulations clearly defining the powers of and functions at every level, from the national to the local, invariably accompanied by the corresponding accounting, financial and management oversight.
Progress is already being made in that direction. The studies began almost two years ago for improving the operation as well as the structure and makeup of the government at the different levels. These resulted in the enforcement of the Council of Ministers Regulation, the reorganization of the work system with the State and Government cadres, the introduction of a planning procedure for the most important activities, the establishment of the organizational bases to provide the Government with an accurate and timely information system supported by its own info-communications infrastructure, and the creation of the provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque, on experimental basis and under a new structural and functional concept.
To begin decentralizing powers, it will be necessary for the cadres of the State and the companies to redeem the obvious role of contracts in the economy, as expressed in guideline number 10. This will also help bring back order and discipline to making and obtaining payments, a subject in which a good part of our economy has been getting poor grades.
As a no less important byproduct, the appropriate use of contracts as regulatory instruments of relations among the various economic actors will become an effective antidote against the extended habit of “reunionism,” that is, calling an excessive number of meetings and other collective functions, often presided by senior officials and uselessly attended by many others, only to enforce what the parties involved recognized as rights and obligations in the contract signed, and whose fulfillment they have failed to demand from those required to do so.
In this respect, it is worth emphasizing that 19 opinions, registered in 9 provinces, claimed for a reduction in the number of meetings and their duration to the minimum indispensible. This issue I intend to take up again when dealing with the functioning of the Party.
We are convinced that the mission ahead of us in connection with this and other issues related to the updating of the Economic Model is full of complexities and interrelations that, one way or another, touch on every aspect of the society as a whole. Therefore, we are aware that it is not something that can be solved overnight, not even in one year, and that it will take at least five years to implement it comprehensively and harmoniously. And, when this is achieved, it will be necessary to never stop and to continue working for its improvement in order to successfully face the new challenges brought up by development.
Metaphorically speaking, it might be said that every now and then, as the scenario changes, the country should make its own well-tailored suit.
We are not under the illusion that the Guidelines and the measures conducive to the implementation of the Economic Model will by themselves provide a universal remedy to all our evils. It will be required to simultaneously build a greater political awareness and common sense, and to be more intransigent with the lack of discipline and the violations committed by all, but primarily by the leading cadres.
This became all too evident a few months back in the flaws observed during the implementation of some specific measures –neither complex nor of great magnitude– due to bureaucratic obstacles and the lack of preparation of the local governments for the expansion of self-employment.
It is worthwhile reiterating that our cadres must get used to working with the guiding documents issued by the institutions empowered to do so and abandon the irresponsible habit of putting them on ice. Life teaches that it is not enough to issue a good regulation, whether a law or simply a resolution. It is necessary to also train those in charge of its implementation, to monitor them and to check their practical knowledge of the issue. Let’s not forget that the worst law is that which is not enforced or respected.
The system of Party schools at the provincial and national level, along with the unavoidable reorientation of their syllabus, will play a protagonist role in the preparation and continuous recycling in these subjects of Party and government cadres as well as the company executives with the aid of the educational institutions specialized in this area of knowledge and the valuable input of the members of the National Association of Economists and Accountants, as it was the case with the discussion of the Guidelines.
At the same time, and with the purpose of effectively arranging in order of importance the introduction of the required changes, the Political Bureau agreed to bring to the Congress the proposal of establishing of a Standing Government Commission for Implementation and Development, subordinated to the President of the Council of State and Ministers which, without affecting in any way the powers invested in the corresponding Central Government Organs, will be responsible for monitoring, checking and coordinating the actions of everyone involved in this activity, and for proposing the insertion of new guidelines, something that will be indispensible in the future.
In this token, we feel it is advisable to remember the orientation included by comrade Fidel in his Central Report to the First Party Congress, nearly 36 years ago, about the Economy Management System that we intended to introduce back then and failed due to our lack of systematization, control and discipline. He said “…that the Party leaders but foremost the State leaders turn its implementation into a personal undertaking and a matter of honor as they grow more aware of its crucial importance and the need to make every effort to apply it consistently, always under the leadership of the National Commission created to that end…,” and he concluded: “…to widely disseminate information on the system, its principles and mechanisms through a kind of literature within reach of the masses so that the workers can master the issue. The success of the system will largely depend on the workers knowledge of the issue.”
I will not tire of repeating that in this Revolution everything has been said. The best example of this we have in Fidel’s ideas that Granma, the Official Party organ, has been running in the past few years.
Whatever we approve in this Congress cannot suffer the same fate as the previous agreements, most of them forgotten and unfulfilled. Whatever it is that we agree upon in this or future meetings must guide the behavior and action of Party members and leaders alike and its materialization must be ensured through the corresponding legal instruments produced by the National Assembly of People’s Power, the State Council or the Government, in accordance with their legislative powers and the Constitution.
It’s only fair to say very clearly, in order to avoid misinterpretations, that the agreements reached by congresses and other leading Party organs do not become law in themselves. They are orientations of a political and moral nature, and it is incumbent on the Government, which is the body in charge of management, to regulate their implementation.
This is why the Standing Commission for Implementation and Development will include a Judicial Subgroup made up by highly qualified specialists who will coordinate with the corresponding organs –with full respect for institutionalization— the legal amendments required to accompany the updating of the Economic and Social Model, simplifying and harmonizing the content of hundreds of ministerial resolutions, legislative decrees and legislations, and subsequently proposing, in due course, the introduction of the relevant adjustments to the Constitution of the Republic.
Without waiting to have everything worked out, progress has been made in the legal regulations associated with the purchase and sale of housing and cars, the modification of Legislative Decree No. 259 expanding the limits of fallow land to be awarded in usufruct to those agricultural producers with outstanding results and the granting of credits to self-employed workers and to the population at large.
Likewise, we consider it advisable to propose to this Congress that the first point of the agenda of every plenary meeting of the next Central Committee, to be held no less than twice a year, is a report on the status of the implementation of the agreements adopted in this Congress on the updating of the Economic Model, and that the second point is an analysis on the fulfillment of the economic plan, be it from the first semester or from the running year.
We also recommend the National Assembly of People’s Power to proceed in the same way during its ordinary sessions with the purpose of strengthening its protagonist role as the supreme organ of the State power.
Starting from the deep conviction that nothing that we do is perfect and that even if it seems so today it will not be tomorrow under new circumstances, the higher organs of the Party and the State and Government Powers should keep a systematic and close oversight on this process and be ready to timely introduce any adjustments called for to correct negative effects.
It’s a question of being alert, with our feet and ears to the ground, and when a practical problem arise, whatever the area or the place, the cadres at the different levels must act swiftly and deliberately avoiding the old approach of leaving its solution to time, since we have learned from experience that the problems grow more complicated as time goes by.
In the same token, we should cultivate and preserve a fluid relationship with the masses, devoid of formality, that would allow for an efficient feed-back of their concerns and dissatisfactions so that the masses can indicate the pace of the changes to be introduced.
The attention paid to a recent misunderstanding on the reorganization of some basic services shows that when the Party and the Government, each in its own role, with different methods and styles, act promptly and harmoniously on the concerns of the people providing clear and simple explanations, the people support the measure and their confidence in their leaders grows.
The Cuban media in its various formats should play a decisive role in the pursuit of this goal with clarifications and objective, continuous and critical reports on the progress of the updating of the Economic Model so that with profound and shrewd articles and reports written in terms accessible to all they can help building in our country a culture about these topics.
In this area of work it is also necessary to definitely banish the habit of describing the national reality in pretentious high-flown language or with excessive formality. Instead, written materials and television and radio programs should be produced that catch the attention of the audience with their content and style while encouraging public debate. But this demands from our journalists to increase their knowledge and become better professionals even if most of the time, despite the agreements adopted by the Party on the information policy, they cannot access the information timely nor contact the cadres and experts involved with the issues in question. The combination of these elements explains the rather common dissemination of boring, improvised or superficial reports.
Our media has an important contribution to make to the promotion of the national culture and the revival of the civic values of our society.
Another crucial issue very closely related to the updating of the Economic and Social Model of the country and that should help in its materialization is the celebration of a National Party Conference. This will reach conclusions on the modification of the Party working methods and style with a view to ensure, for today and for the future, the consistent application of article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic setting forth that the Party is the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation and the top leading force of the society and the State.
Initially, we had planned to call that Conference for December 2011; however, given the complications inherent to the last month of the year and the advisability of having a prudent reserve of time to adjust details, we are planning to hold that meeting at the end of January 2012.
Last December 18, I explained to the Parliament that due to the inefficiency of the Government Organs in the discharge of their functions, the Party had spent years involved in undertakings that were not its responsibility, and compromised and limited its role.
We are convinced that the only thing that can make the Revolution and Socialism fail in Cuba, risking the future of our nation, is our inability to overcome the mistakes we have been making for more than five decades and the new ones we could make.
The first thing we should do to correct a mistake is to consciously admit it in its full dimension but the fact is that, although from the early years of the Revolution Fidel made a clear distinction between the roles of the Party and the State, we were inconsistent in the follow-up of his instructions and simply improvised under the pressure of emergencies.
There can be no better example than what the leader of the Revolution said as early as March 26, 1962, by radio and television, explaining to the people the methods and functioning of the Organizaciones Revolucionarias Integradas (ORI), which preceded the Party. He said: “…the Party leads, it leads through the entire Party and it leads through the public administration. An official must have authority. A minister must have authority; a manager must have authority and discuss as much as necessary with the Advising Technical Council (today, the Board of Directors), discuss with the working masses, discuss with the Party cell, but it is the manager who makes the decision, because it is his responsibility…” This orientation dates back 49 years.
There are very well defined concepts that, in substance, remain completely valid regardless of the time that has passed since Lenin formulated them, almost 100 years ago, and they should be taken up again, bearing in mind the characteristics and experiences of our country.
In 1973, during the preparations of the First Party Congress, it was defined that the Party must lead and supervise with its own ways and means, which are different from the ways, means and resources available to the State for exercising its authority. The Party’s guidelines, resolutions and provisions are not legally binding for all citizens; it is the Party members who should abide by them as their conscience dictates since there is no apparatus to force or coerce them into complying. This is a major difference about the role and methods of the Party and the State.
The fortitude of the Party basically lies in its moral authority, its influence on the masses and the trust of the people. The action of the Party is based, above all, on the honesty of its motives and the justice of its political line.
The fortitude of the State lies in its material authority, which consists of the strength of the institutions responsible for demanding from everyone to comply with the legal regulations it enacts.
The damage caused by the confusion of these two concepts is manifested, firstly, in the deterioration of the Party’s political work and, secondly, in the decline of the authority of the State and the Government as the officials cease feeling responsible for their decisions.
The idea is to forever relieve the Party of activities completely alien to its nature as a political organization; in short, to get rid of managing activities and to have each one do what they are meant to do.
These misconceptions are closely linked to the flaws of the Party’s policy with the cadres, which will also be analyzed by the abovementioned National Conference. More than a few bitter lessons are the legacy of the mistakes made in this area due to the lack of rigorous criteria and vision which opened the way to the hasty promotion of inexperienced and immature cadres, pretending otherwise through simulation and opportunism, attitudes fostered by the wrong idea that an unspoken premise to occupy a leading position was to be a member of the Party or the Young Communist League.
We must decidedly abandon such practice and leave it only for responsibilities in the political organizations. Membership in a political organization should not be a precondition for holding a leading position with the State or the Government. What the cadres need are adequate training and the willingness to recognize as their own the Party policy and program.
The true leaders do simply not crop up in schools or from favoritism; they are forged at the grassroots level, working in the profession they studied in contact with the workers and rising gradually to leadership by setting an example in terms of sacrifices and results.
In this regard, I think that the Party leadership, at all levels, should be self-critical and adopt the necessary measures to prevent the reemergence of such tendencies. This is also applicable to the lack of systematic work and political will to secure the promotion of women, black people and people of mixed race, and youths to decision-making positions on the basis of their merits and personal qualifications.
It’s really embarrassing that we have not solved this problem in more than half a century. This shall weight heavily on our consciences for many years because we have simply been inconsistent with the countless orientations given by Fidel from the early days of the revolutionary victory and throughout the years, and also because the solution to this disproportion was contained in the agreements adopted by the transcendental First Party Congress and the four congresses that followed. Still, we have failed to ensure its realization.
The solution of such issues that define the future will never again be left to spontaneity but rather to foresight and to the unwavering political intention of preserving and perfecting socialism in Cuba.
Although we kept on trying to promote young people to senior positions, life proved that we did not always make the best choice. Today, we are faced with the consequences of not having a reserve of well-trained replacements with sufficient experience and maturity to undertake the new and complex leadership responsibilities in the Party, the State and the Government, a problem we should solve gradually, in the course of five years, avoiding hasty actions and improvisations but starting as soon as the Congress is over.
This will advance further with the strengthening of the democratic spirit and collective work of the leading Party, State and Government organs as we guarantee the systematic rejuvenation of all of the Party and management positions, from the grassroots to the comrades with the highest responsibilities, including the current President of the Council of State and Ministers and the First Secretary of the Central Committee elected in this Congress.
In this regard, we have reached the conclusion that it is advisable to recommend limiting the time of service in high political and State positions to a maximum of two five-year terms. This is possible and necessary under the present circumstances, quite different from those prevailing in the first decades of the Revolution that was not yet consolidated when it had already become the target of continuous threats and aggressions.
The systematic strengthening of our institutions will be both a premise and an indispensible guarantee to prevent this cadre renovation policy from ever jeopardizing the continuation of Socialism in Cuba.
The first step we are taking in this direction is the substantial reduction of the list of leading positions that required approval from the municipal, provincial and national levels of the Party while empowering senior leaders in the ministries and companies to appoint, replace and apply disciplinary measures to a large part of their subordinated cadres with the assistance of the corresponding Cadres Commissions, where the Party is represented and has a voice but which are presided by the manager who makes the final decision. The view of the Party organization is appreciated but the single determining element is the manager, and we should preserve and enhance their authority in harmony with the Party.
As to the internal functioning of the Party, which will also be examined at the National Conference, we think it is worthwhile reflecting on the self-defeating effects of old habits completely alien to the Party’s vanguard role in our society. These include the superficiality and excessive formality characterizing the political-ideological work; the use of obsolete methods and terminology that ignore the instruction level of the Party members; holding excessively long meetings and often during working hours –which should be sacred, especially for the communists– sometimes with inflexible agendas dictated by the higher level in disregard of the context where the Party members develop their activities; the frequent calls to formal commemorations where still more formal speeches are made; and, the organization of voluntary works on holydays without a real content or adequate coordination that cause spending and have an upsetting and discouraging effect on our comrades.
These criteria also apply to emulation, a movement that lost through the years its capacity to mobilize the workers’ collectives and became an alternative mechanism for distribution of moral and material incentives not always justified with concrete results, and in more than a few occasions gave rise to fraudulent information.
Additionally, the Conference will analyze the Party’s relations with the Young Communist League and the mass organizations to break with routine and schematic approaches and to allow each of them to recover their raison d’être under the present conditions.
To sum up, comrades, the National Conference will focus on enhancing the role of the Party as the main advocate of the interests of the Cuban people.
The realization of this objective definitely requires a change of mentality, avoiding formality and fanfare both in ideas and in action; that is, to do away with the resistance to change based on empty dogma and slogans and reach for the core of things as the children of La Colmenita Theater Company brilliantly show in the playwright “Abracadabra.”
It’s the only way in which the Communist Party of Cuba can become, for all times, the worthy heir to the authority and unlimited confidence of the people in their Revolution and their only Commander in Chief, comrade Fidel Castro Ruz, whose moral contribution and undisputable leadership do not depend on any position and that as a soldier of ideas has not ceased to fight and help with his enlightening Reflections and other actions the revolutionary cause and the defense of Humanity from menacing dangers.
With respect to the international situation, we shall use a few minutes to assess the predicament of the world at this point in time.
There is no end in sight to the global economic crisis affecting every nation because it is a systemic crisis. The powerful have directed their remedies to protecting the institutions and procedures that originated it and to depositing the terrible burden of its consequences on the workers of their own countries, and particularly of the underdeveloped countries. Meanwhile, the climbing prices of foods and oil are pushing hundreds of millions of people into destitute poverty.
The effects of climate change are already devastating and the lack of political will of the industrial nations prevents the adoption of urgent and indispensible action to avoid the catastrophe.
We live in a convulsive world where natural disasters follow one another like the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Japan while the United States wages wars of conquest in Iraq and Afghanistan that have taken the lives of more than one million civilians.
Popular movements in Arab nations are uprising against corrupted and oppressive governments allied with the United States and the European Union. The unfortunate conflict in Libya, a nation subjected to a brutal military intervention by NATO, has given that organization a new pretext to go beyond its originally defensive limits and expand worldwide the threats and war actions undertaken to safeguard its geostrategic interests and access to petroleum. Likewise, imperialism and the domestic reactionary forces connive to destabilize other countries while Israel oppresses and massacres the Palestinian people with complete impunity.
The United States and NATO include in their doctrines the aggressive interventionism against the Third World countries aimed at plundering their resources. They also impose to the United Nations a double standard and use the media consortia in an increasingly coordinated way to conceal or distort the events, as it befits the world power centers, in a hypocritical mockery intended to deceive the public opinion.
Despite its complex economic situation, our country maintains its cooperation with 101 Third World nations. In Haiti, after 12 years of intensive work saving lives, the Cuban healthcare personnel have been working with admirable generosity, since January 2010, alongside collaborators from other countries facing the situation created by the earthquake and the cholera epidemic that ensued.
To the Bolivarian Revolution, and to comrade Hugo Chávez Frías, we express our resolute solidarity and commitment, conscious of the significance of the process undertaken by the fraternal Venezuelan people for Our America, in the Bicentennial of its Independence.
We also share the hopes of the transformation movements in various Latin American countries, headed by prestigious leaders who represent the interests of the oppressed majorities.
We shall continue helping the integrationist processes of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the South Union (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CLACS) currently involved in arrangements for the celebration of its foundational summit on July this year, in Caracas. The establishment of this entity was the most extraordinary institutional event in our hemisphere during the past century, since for the first time all of the countries south of the Rio Bravo were meeting on our own.
We are encouraged by this increasingly united and independent Latin America and the Caribbean, whose solidarity we appreciate.
We shall continue advocating International Law and supporting the principle of sovereign equality among the States as well as the right of the peoples to self-determination. We reject the use of force and aggression, the wars of conquest, the plundering of the natural resources and the exploitation of man.
We condemn every form of terrorism, particularly State terrorism. We shall defend peace and development for all peoples and fight for the future of humanity.
The US Administration has not changed its traditional policy aimed at discrediting and ousting the Revolution. On the contrary, it has continued to fund projects designed to directly promote subversion, foster destabilization and interfere in our domestic affairs. The current administration has taken some positive but extremely limited actions.
The US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba remains in force and intensifies under the current administration, particularly with respect to financial transactions. It ignores the almost unanimous condemnation of the blockade by the international community that for 19 consecutive years has advocated its removal.
Although apparently, as evidenced in the recent visit to the Palacio de La Moneda in Santiago de Chile, the United States leaders do not like to remember history when dealing with the present and the future, it is worthwhile indicating that the Cuba blockade is not something of the past. Therefore, it is our obligation to recall the content of a secret memorandum, declassified in 1991, where Deputy Undersecretary of State for Inter American Affairs Lester D. Mallory wrote on April 6, 1960: “Most Cubans support Castro…There is no effective political opposition (…) The only possible way to make the government lose domestic support is by provoking disappointment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardships (…) Every possible means should be immediately used to weaken the economic life (…) denying Cuba funds and supplies to reduce nominal and real salaries with the objective of provoking hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.”
Mark the date of the memorandum: April 6, 1960, almost an exact year to the day of the Playa Girón invasion.
This memorandum was not an initiative of that official. It was part of the policy aimed at overthrowing the Revolution, like the “Covert Action Program against the Castro Regime,” approved by President Eisenhower on March 17, 1960, using all the available means, from the creation of a unified opposition, psychological warfare and covert intelligence operations to the training in third countries of paramilitary forces with the capacity to invade the Island.
The United States fostered terrorism in the cities, and that same year, before the Playa Girón attack, promoted the establishment of counterrevolutionary armed-gangs, supplied by air and sea, that robbed and murdered peasants, workers and young teachers, until they were finally annihilated in 1965.
In Cuba, we will never forget the 3,478 dead and 2,099 incapacitated by the policy of State terrorism.
Half a century of hardships and suffering have gone by in which our people have put up a resistance and defended their Revolution, unwilling to surrender or to besmirch the memory of the fallen in the past 150 years, from the onset of our struggles for independence.
The US government has not ceased to give sanctuary and to protect notorious terrorists while extending the suffering and unfair incarceration of the heroic Cuban Five antiterrorist fighters.
Its Cuba policy lacks credibility and moral basis. In order to justify it, baseless pretexts are used, which grow obsolete and then change depending on Washington’s interests.
The US government should not have doubts that the Cuban Revolution will be stronger after this Congress. If they want to cling on to their policy of hostility, blockade and subversion we are prepared to continue to face it.
We reiterate our willingness to engage in a dialogue and to take on the challenge of having normal relations with the United States as well as to coexist in a civilized manner, our differences notwithstanding, on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs.
At the same time, we will permanently give a priority to defense, following Fidel’s instructions as expressed in his Central Report to the First Congress, when he said: “While imperialism exists, the Party, the State and the people will pay utmost attention to defense. The revolutionary guard will never be careless. History teaches with too much eloquence that those who forget this principle do not survive the mistake.”
In the present scenario and predictable future, the strategic conception of “the Popular War” remains absolutely valid, thus it is constantly enriched and improved. Its commanding and leadership system has been reinforced and its capacity to react to various exceptional situations has increased.
The defensive capacity of the country has reached a higher dimension, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Using our own available resources, we have improved the technical condition and maintenance as well as the preservation of the armament and carried on the production effort and especially the modernization of the military technology taking into account its prohibitive world market prices. In this area, it is fair to recognize the contribution of scores of military and civilian institutions, proof of the enormous scientific, technological and productive potential created by the Revolution.
The degree of preparation of the national territory as the theater of military operations has been significantly boosted; the fundamental armament is protected, the same as a substantial part of the troops, the commanding organs and the people.
A communication infrastructure has been established to ensure the steady functioning of the commanding posts at all levels. All of the material reserves have been raised with better distribution and protection.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces, or put another way, the people in uniform shall continue to constantly improve and preserve the authority and prestige earned with their discipline and order in the defense of the people and of Socialism.
We shall now deal with another no less significant issue of our times.
The Party must be convinced that beyond material needs and cultural interests our people hold a diversity of concepts and ideas about their own spiritual necessities.
Our National Hero José Martí, a man who synthesized that convergence of spirituality and revolutionary sentiments, wrote many pages about this subject.
Fidel addressed this topic quite early, in 1954, when still in jail he evoked Renato Guitart, one of the martyrs of the Moncada: “Physical life is ephemeral; it inexorably passes; the same as many and many generations of men have passed, as our own lives will shortly pass. This truth should teach every human being that the immortal values of the spirit stand above them. What is the meaning of life without the spirit? What is life then? How can death take those that understand this and still generously sacrifice their lives to good and justice!”
These values have always been present in his ideas, and so he insisted on them in 1971, at a meeting with catholic priests in Santiago de Chile: “I tell you that there are ten thousand times more coincidences of Christianity with Communism than there might be with Capitalism.”
And, he returned to this idea as he addressed the members of the Christian churches in Jamaica in 1977. He said: “We must work together so that when the political idea succeeds the religious idea is not separate and does not appear as the enemy of changes. There are no contradictions between the purposes of religion and the purposes of socialism.”
The unity of the revolutionary doctrine and ideas with regards to faith and its followers is rooted in the basis of the nation, which in asserting its secular nature promoted as an unwavering principle the unity of the spirituality with the Homeland bequeathed by Father Felix Varela and the teachings of Luz y Caballero, who categorically said: “I would chose to see the fall of not only the institutions created by man –kings and emperors—but even the stars from the firmament rather than see falling from the human breast the sentiment of justice; that sun of the moral world.”
In 1991, the 4th Party Congress agreed to modify the interpretation of the statutes that limited the admission to our organization of revolutionaries with religious beliefs.
The justice of this decision has been confirmed by the role of leaders and representatives of various religious institutions in the different facets of the national life, including the struggle for the return to our Homeland of the child Elián, in which the Cuba Council of Churches played a particularly outstanding role.
However, it is necessary to continue eradicating any prejudice that prevents bringing all Cubans together, like brothers and sisters, in virtue and in the defense of our Revolution, be them believers or not, members of Christian churches; including the Catholic Church, the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, the evangelicals and protestant churches; the same as the Cuban religions originated in Africa, the Spiritualist, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist communities, and fraternal associations, among others. The Revolution has had gestures of appreciation and concord with each of them.
The unforgettable Cintio Vitier, that great poet and writer, who was a deputy to our National Assembly, used the force of his pen and of his Christian and deeply revolutionary ethic, so profoundly rooted in Martí’s, to leave us warnings for the present and the future that we should always remember.
Cintio wrote: “What is in danger, we know it, is the nation itself. The nation is by now inseparable from the Revolution that has been a part of it since October 10, 1868, and it has no other alternative: it is either independent or it is no more.
“If the Revolution were defeated, we would fall in the historic vacuum that the enemy wants for us and prepares for us, and that even the most basic people perceive as an abyss.
“It is possible to arrive at defeat, we know, through the intervention of the blockade, of internal decay, and the temptations imposed by the new hegemonic situation in the world.”
After stating that “We are at the most challenging time of our history,” he admonished: “Forced to fight the irrationality of the world to which it fatally belongs; always threatened by the sequels of dark age-old blights; implacably harassed by the most powerful nation on Earth; and also a victim of imported or indigenous blunders that history shows have never gone unpunished, our small island constricts and dilates, systole and diastole, as a glimmering of hope to itself and to others.”
Now, we should address the recently concluded process of releasing counterrevolutionary prisoners, those that in challenging and distressing times for our Homeland have conspired against it at the service of a foreign power.
By sovereign decision of our Government, they were released before fully serving their sentences. We could have done it directly and take credit for a decision that we made conscious of the fortitude of the Revolution. However, we did it in the framework of a dialogue based on mutual respect, loyalty and transparency with the senior leadership of the Catholic Church, which contributed with its humanitarian labors to the completion of this action in harmony; in any case, the laurels correspond to that religious institution.
The representatives of the Catholic Church expressed their viewpoints, not always coincidental with ours, but certainly constructive. This is at least our perception after lengthy talks with Cardinal Jaime Ortega and the Chairman of the Episcopalian Conference Monsignor Dionisio García.
With this action, we have favored the consolidation of the most precious legacy of our history and the revolutionary process: the unity of our nation.
In the same token, we should mention the contribution of the former minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, Miguel Angel Moratinos, who facilitated the humanitarian efforts of the Church so that those who wished to travel abroad or accepted the idea could do so with their families. Others decided to remain in Cuba.
We have patiently endured the implacable smear campaigns on human rights, coordinated from the United States and some countries of the European Union that demand from us no less than unconditional surrender and the immediate dismantling of our socialist regime while encouraging, orienting and assisting the domestic mercenaries to break the law.
In this regard, it is necessary to make clear that we will never deny our people the right to defend their Revolution. The defense of the independence, of the conquests of Socialism and of our streets and plazas will still be the first duty of every Cuban patriot.
Days and years of intensive work and great responsibilities lie before us to preserve and develop, on solid and sustainable basis, the independent and socialist future of our Homeland.
So far, the Central Report to the 6th Party Congress
Thank you, very much.
By Manuel Alberto Ramy
When referencing what is known as cadre politics, President Raul Castro, who continues to speak during the Communist Party Congress, has touched on, among other things, two important issues: the rejuvenation of cadres, political as well as administrative and of the state, without excluding the Council of State president and its ministers; as well as the First Secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party (PCC).
Raul Castro has suggested that the responsibilities of the First Secretary of the PCC and the president of the government and state should be limited to two five-year terms. He insisted that this cadre politics should be started as soon as the congress is finished.
This proposal will be debated during the Congress that was started today.
Evidently Castro, who will most likely officially be elected First Secretary, takes the first step towards the inevitable generational changing of the guard.
Matanzas, Cuba, Apr 14 (acn) “A retreat place”, a book of 18 poems written
between January 26 and February 12 in 2010 by one the Cuban Five, Antonio
Guerrero, was launched at the Playa Giron Museum, in the Cienaga de Zapata
Those poems were written by Guerrero to describe in a diary form his
seclusion in the Oklahoma Federal Transfer Center where his spent time
isolated in the Security Housing Unit (SHU).
In the short preface Guerrero describes how he narrated the long hours
spent in “solitary” using small pencils and little pieces of paper. This
time the poems were edited by Alfredo Zaldívar and the book contains
illustrations specially made by Johann Trujillo for this edition of the
Matanzas publishing house.
During the ceremony, the participants denounced the unjust imprisonment of
Guerrero and his companions, Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramón
Labañino, and Fernando Gonzalez, in the United States. Relatives of these
five Cuban antiterrorists were present at the launching.
Guerrero´s mother, Mirtha Rodriguez, said she was honored to be at the
museum that treasures items related to the Cuban victory over mercenary
forces 50 years ago in bay of Pigs.
She told the people gathered in the ceremony that in her latest visit to
her son in Colorado penitentiary she found him optimistic and that the
Five are proud to be part of history and the times they are living.
The Cuban Five, as they are known internationally, have spent over 12
years in US prisons after a biased trial where they were condemned to long
unfair sentences for monitoring anti-Cuban terrorist organizations.