Archive for August 9th, 2011

The Cuban Five and the US Supreme Court

August 9, 2011

By Arnold August

Talking about Supreme Court, how about a little history. On June 15, 2009 the US
Supreme Court announced its decision to reject the request for a revision of the
Cuban Five case. This demand for a review was carried out by millions of people
from all walks of life around the world, a record number of Friends of the
Court petitions and thousands of personalities and elected officials from
every continent. Many of these pleas also came from within the USA itself.

The US brags about its political systems as being based on the separation of
powers between the Executive (President and Vice-President), the Legislature and
the Judiciary and a resulting built-in checks and balances system. This is
supposedly a superior form of democracy based on checks and balances to avoid
abuse of power by one or the other of the three branches forming the US
government. In the US Constitution Article II Section 2 states that the US
president has the power to grant reprieves and pardons… Every indication
is that President Obama, far from using his constitutional powers to free the
Cuban Five, made it clear to the Supreme Court judges that they should rule
against revision.

This has obviously been a political case right from day one. It is even further
revealed by the Supreme Court’s decision and the shameless refusal of the
judges to publicly explain to the world the basis of their ruling. Of course the
judges are not obliged to divulge it according to the American legal system.
However, in a case such as this one which the whole world and many governments
are watching, a public explanation was necessary. We are perhaps witnessing one
of the greatest ironies in the current international political scene. The Cuban
Five are cruelly and politically persecuted for their peaceful anti-terrorist
motivations and activities. The reason? They are acting on behalf of and
supporting the Cuban government.

One of the main charges that Washington levies against Cuba is lack of
democracy, that it is does not, amongst other characteristics exhibit a
political system similar to the American one which would include checks and
balances. The Cuban system is in fact one unified revolutionary peoplesâ
political power, from the top down and from the bottom up including the
judiciary, each enjoying its own respective fields of competence. The
relationship and inter-action of all the different Cuban state levels between
themselves including the judiciary and all of these institutions in turn with
the citizens, is a feature of the Cuban type of democracy. There is no need to
get into a debate as to whether the Cuban system is more democratic than the
American model. However, if one takes into account this latest Supreme Court
episode of  US democracy in action on the one hand and my direct experience and
study of the Cuban political system on the other hand, Cuba has
no democracy lessons to take at all from the USA.

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