Archive for June 6th, 2013

Love and Pain in the History of the Five Cuban Fighters

June 6, 2013

(Irma, René’s mother and Mirtha )

Mirtha Rodríguez talks intensely with the passion of someone who has a kind and deep feelings for his beloved family members and friends. It is difficult not to accept the words pronounced by this woman who has not stopped imagining that his son will be returning to Cuba to conclude a history of love and pain.

This woman, who has already the color of her hair completely grey and loves the tango genre and artists like Libertad La marquee, Hugo del Carril and Carlos Gardel, among others, looks her memories into the past and present and looks into the present to see the future as if she was remembering occasions of her life without regrets and having the conviction of having done what she had to do on every moment of it and continues to do it.

Mirtha de la Santísima Trinidad Rodríguez is the real name of Antonio Guerrero mother, who is one of the heroes of the Cuban Republic and a Cuban antiterrorist fighter that is currently incarcerated in US prisons for having monitoring terrorist groups which were conspiring against his nation.

During more than 15 years of her son imprisonment, Mirtha, has never hesitated not even a single minute despite being thousands of kilometers from the motherland in respect of defending the cause of her son through true arguments and contributing with thousands of elements to make the people of good will aware about the case of the Cuban Five antiterrorist fighters taking into consideration that René, Fernando, Ramón and Gerardo are all considered by her as sons.

As usual, she comes after having being requested her presence on the Radio Rebelde station in its program entitled La Luz en lo Oscuro (literally, the light in the darkness), then as if she was at her own house, she answered a series of questions with the typical sincerity from a mother who has never stopped thinking of her beloved son each single second of her existence.

“Each single time that I travel overseas I say and insist a lot on the case of Gerardo Hernández given the fact that he was the one who experienced the most vicious attack from the US judicial system and we have to keep fighting for bringing the truth into light inside the own US people about the outrage and crime that has been committed against that man who had been given two life-imprisonment sentences even without proofs, let alone evidences againt him. Therefore, the US government has tried to punish Cuba through the case of Gerardo.” Mirtha Rodríguez said.

Mirtha was the only woman from a family with seven siblings. She could get to know her name until she decided to get married and it was then when she knew about a change that not even her only family knew: Her name might be Mirtha Rita de Casia Rodríguez; however, behind her first name and inscription appeared the words De la Santísima Trinidad. The anecdote causes her to laugh at present, but she expresses the fact that when that happened, then all hell broke loose between her parents because they were not expecting that surprise.

Life was not either good with her when she became a widow and her daughter Marucha was 15 years old and Tony, who was the youngest, was 13 years of age. It was something dramatic as happened right on her birthday. The pain always was present in her until her family members decided to celebrate her birthday by recovering that tradition.

“The three of us got really united, so she and her two children made a pact of love, unity and respect that has lasted until nowadays.” This really kind woman, who talks slowly and clear and is a magnificent communicator, Mirtha Rodríguez highlighted.

“I do consider myself an optimistic, enterprising and familiar person like my son as those are one of the aspects on which we both have many similarities.” Mirtha Rodríguez pointed out.

What can be said about Tony?

“It is a truly intense sadness what is felt after knowing that he is far away and imprisoned for having defended a fair cause, but it is precisely when I have had a personal problem and I usually tend to feel really depressed that I remember his case to talk to myself the undeniable fact that if my son is capable to defend that truth by even putting at risk everything, then how come I would not be able to go ahead, It is then when I take the right path again by rejuvenating my spirit and making it even stronger.” Mirtha Rodríguez highlighted.

“When we visit the United States, we try that each single photo could transmit love. I always enjoy the occasion of the photos by my son when I have even desired to take my son with me. We usually try to have then a happy occasion and for Tony the truth is never absent.” Her mother stated.

With that same truth, Mirtha Rodríguez travels there each time she is invited to talk about the case of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters in other nations.

What does inspire you?

“I talk and use the sincerity coming from my heart and the truth about this case, including the noble way these men, young ones with many dreams and families, left everything behind for a noble and fair cause to preserve the lives of more than eleven million of compatriots, including the ones from the own US population.” Mirtha Rodríguez highlighted.

“It has been a story filled with love and pain, Olguita, as it is popularly named, had to wait over 13 years to see her husband. Adriana, on her part, has never been able to see her husband Gerardo due to the US government has never allowed it. They (The Cuban Five) took the decision about fulfilling their mission and that attitude shows their magnanimity as human beings. “Mirtha Rodríguez pointed out.

When she talks about those men, Mirtha voice failed a bit until she recovers it and said:

“Even though the price has been really high, taking into consideration the irregularities that has affected the case, their enemies will never success in breaking the moral of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters and their family members and that has been precisely their strength of spirit given that fact that despite they remain imprisoned, they continue being free through their thoughts and convictions.” Mirtha Rodríguez said finally.

Regarding Mirtha and the rest of their family members, it is valid what has said many times René: “the mothers and wives of the Cuban Five families are also heroines.”

By Demetrio Villaurrutia Zulueta, Translated by: JC Caballero –

Cuba is hardly a ‘state sponsor of terror’

June 6, 2013


The U.S. government continues to put Cuba on its international terrorism list because of flawed rationale and historical prejudice

By Keith Bolender – From

While an attentive US audience watched President Obama outline his plan to wind down America’s long war on terror last week, officials in Havana were shaking their heads in bewilderment and anger over how the issue of terrorism continues to be cynically manipulated against the island nation. What raised their ire was the recent announcement that Cuba would remain on the State Department’s controversial list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The long-awaited annual report on international terrorism from the State Department was released Thursday, and confirmed what officials had already indicated – that Cuba is staying on the list along with Iran, Sudan and Syria. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell confirmed the administration “has no current plans to remove Cuba”. The decision came as a disappointment for those who were expecting new Secretary of State John Kerry, a long-time critic of America’s counter-productive policy against the Castro government, might recommend Cuba’s removal. The fact he hasn’t demonstrates how difficult it is to change the dynamics of the antagonistic relationship between these two ideological adversaries.

Cuba was originally included on the list in 1982, replacing a then-friendly Iraq. The designation levies comprehensive economic punishments against Havana as part of the overall strategy of regime change that includes a decades-long economic embargo, unrelenting propaganda, extra-territorial application of American laws.

For it’s part, Cuba calls its continued inclusion on the list “shameful” and pandering to a small community of former Cuban citizens who now live in Florida. Cuba also asserts that the US has actually undertaken actions on the island that have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians.

An official of the country’s foreign relations department, MINREX, who asked to remain anonymous, complained:

“It is ridiculous that the United States continues to include Cuba on an arbitrary list of states that sponsor terrorism, while it is Cuba that has suffered so much from terrorism – originating from the United States.” The so-called terrorism against Cuba began shortly after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. In the early 1960s a covert CIA program known as Operation Mongoose led to the killing of teachers, farmers, government officials and the destruction of agricultural and non-military industrial targets. Other incidents involved attacks on villages, biological terrorism including the introduction of Dengue 2 that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 children in 1981, and a 1997 bombing campaign against tourist facilities in Havana and Varadero that killed Canadian-Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo and injured dozens.

The most infamous act of terrorism occurred with the bombing of Cubana Airlines in 1976, killing all 72 on board. One of the two recognized masterminds, former CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles, has a long history of suspected terrorist activities against his former homeland; at one point bragging to the New York Times of his involvement in the hotel bombings. Posada continues to live a quiet life in Miami, considered a hero among many of the first generation exiles whose anti-revolutionary fervor has yet to diminish. The other architect of the Cubana Airlines bombing, Orlando Bosch, died peacefully in Miami a few years ago. As a result of these terrorist activities, the Cuban government sent intelligence officers to Florida in the 1990s to infiltrate Cuban-American organizations in an effort to thwart further acts. The agents, known as the Cuban Five, were uncovered by the FBI and are serving long prison terms.

While Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism remains unchanged, other countries that might be considered more deserving, such as North Korea and Pakistan, aren’t on the list. What makes it all the more galling for the Castro government are the arguments the United States has advanced to justify Cuba’s inclusion – the most egregious stemming from the charge Cuba was not sufficiently supportive of the US war on terror or the invasion of Iraq, and was unwilling to help track or seize assets allegedly held by terrorists. A 2004 State Department report asserted that “Cuba continued to actively oppose the US-led coalition prosecuting the global war on terrorism.” In reality, the Cuban side has consistently denounced all forms of terrorism, including the recent Boston Marathon bombings that brought quick condolences from the island leadership.

Other rationales over the past 30 years to keep Cuba on the list have ranged from its support for left-wing rebels in Latin America, its relationship with the former Soviet Union, treatment of political prisoners and allowing members from alleged terrorist organizations such as Columbia’s FARC and Spain’s separatist Basque movement ETA to reside on the island. Even when those issues were resolved, including the dissolution of the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago, Cuba found its unmerited designation had not changed.

One long standing reason, that Havana permits refugees from American justice to find safe haven on the island, was re-invigorated with a ruling that was timed almost perfectly with the announcement that Cuba would not be taken off the terrorist list. Assata Shakur, accused of killing a New Jersey state trooper 40 years ago, was suddenly labeled as a most wanted terrorist by the FBI, with a $2m price tag on her head. Shakur, who fled to Cuba in 1979 and was given political asylum, has consistently maintained her innocence. Categorizing Shakur as a terrorist could potentially endanger her life from those wanting to collect the bounty, and has led State Department officials to utilize her changed status as justification to keep Cuba on the list.

There is no legitimate reason to use the arbitrary terrorism list as a political weapon against Cuba. To continue to do so simply exposes the State Department to charges of hypocrisy and manipulation of a serious threat based solely on ideological differences. Most importantly, it gives insult to all those who have been actual victims of terrorism.

U.S. hypocrisy

June 6, 2013


By Alvaro F. Fernandez ( Progreso Weekly )

MIAMI – Cuba called the decision embarrassing. Let me add hypocritical. As expected, the U.S. Dept. of State announced last week (May 30) that Cuba would remain on the state sponsor of terrorism list published annually and where Cuba has appeared since 1982.

As per the Dept. of State website, when a country appears on the list it has been “determined by the Secretary of State \[the country has] … repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism…

Currently there are four countries on the U.S. list: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. I don’t know about Iran, Sudan and Syria. What I am sure of is that Cuba does not belong on the list.

But it turns out that if the U.S. approves a terrorist, then they are labeled freedom fighters. Others… end up on the bully’s list.

I live in a city that provides (and provided) safe haven and aid to terrorists – persons who have publicly been honored by some of our members of congress. Goodfellas like Orlando Bosh, Luis Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo Sampol, Pedro Remon et al. Heck! Orlando Bosh was helped along the way by the Bush family, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and even Raoul G. Cantero, who later was named a Florida Supreme Court justice, appointed by – you guessed it – then Governor Jeb Bush.

But it goes beyond Miami… or what should we call the Guantanamo Bay gulag, where the U.S. does as it pleases with prisoners – including the use of torture?

For decades the U.S. has embraced our world in unique and dangerous ways. Here are just a few examples:

[*]It is the only country to drop two atomic bombs decimating two cities (and those that surrounded them) in Japan killing and shattering the lives of millions in the process.

[*]Who helped overthrow a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953? All for the almighty black gold! This disaster later led to an even bigger one – the 1979 Iranian revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

[*]The U.S. attacked small countries in Southeast Asia that had not done a thing to it. Our best and brightest determined the spread of communism around the world must be stopped. Or have we forgotten Vietnam and President Eisenhower’s Domino Theory?

[*]Agent Orange, a chemical weapon, was used in Vietnam as part of the U.S. warfare program destroying the environment and killing hundreds of thousands along the way. And later we are outraged at others who use – chemical weapons!

[*]Over more than half a century the U.S. has funded and trained those responsible for the hundreds if not thousands of terrorist forays into an island country in the Caribbean in the hopes of destabilizing and toppling Cuba’s government.

[*]President Nixon and Henry Kissinger have blood on their hands in the overthrow of Salvador Allende, a democratically elected president, in Chile in 1973.

[*]Have we forgotten that the U.S. trained and funded Osama bin Laden when he joined the mujahideen forces in Pakistan against the Soviets in Afghanistan helping to later create the world’s most wanted terrorist. And the terror of 9/11…

[*]Then there’s President George W. Bush who lied to attack Iraq by saying they possessed weapons of mass destruction. This led to the killing of hundreds of thousands and helped to create greater instability in that region of the world. By the way, they’re still looking for the WMDs…

I am sure I’ve missed or forgotten (or don’t even know about) hundreds if not thousands of U.S. adventures around the world as they strive to bring U.S. imposed freedom to others.

Then there’s little Cuba just 90 miles from Key West, an island nation that for centuries has refused to bow before the giant to its north. And for that reason they are condemned as terrorists.

As I said at the beginning, I’ll call them hypocrites.

Allow me to rephrase that: the U.S. should look at itself in the mirror the next time it decides to put together a list of terrorist countries.

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