Archive for June 13th, 2013

Cuban Americans denounce Cuba’s “terrorism” designation in letter to Obama

June 13, 2013


WASHINGTON, DC – Sixty Cuban Americans from across the United States released an open letter to the Obama Administration strongly disagreeing with the position of Cuban-American legislators from Florida on retaining Cuba on the State Department’s list of “state sponsors of terrorism.” The signers state that the Cuban-American legislators from south Florida do not represent them or their views on Cuba, or the views of the majority of Cuban Americans. “The removal of Cuba from this serious tool of U.S. foreign policy is long overdue,” maintain the signers.
Their full statement follows.

June 11, 2013

President Barack H. Obama
The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State

We, the undersigned, are Cuban Americans opposed to the statement by three Cuban-American members of Congress, sent to Secretary of State John Kerry on April 29th, regarding keeping Cuba on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. See: Their expressed views do not represent those of the majority of Cuban Americans.

We feel strongly that the original reasons for adding Cuba to that list no longer exist. If you apply the criteria described by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in taking North Korea off the list in 2008 – no support for terrorism in the last twenty years – the removal of Cuba from this serious tool of U.S. foreign policy is long overdue.

We also believe that removing Cuba from the terrorist list would advance the process of other mutually-beneficial bilateral communications between Cuba and the United States. This is of the utmost importance to the United States. The Boston marathon tragedy highlights the importance of international cooperation against terrorism. The issue must not be politicized. As proud Americans, committed to the security of our nation, we urge the State Department to conduct a serious professional evaluation of Cuba’s presence on this list. Dealing with terrorism requires policy and leadership divorced from politics and distractions.

Removing Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list will enable the United States to look at the current challenges and opportunities posed by Cuba. The island is a country in transition, not a national security threat. Recently Cuba has provided new opportunities on the island for private enterprise, the removal of travel restrictions, an open market for housing and cars, among other things. Although we know there is much more to be done, it is imperative that the United States maintain an open line of communication with Cuba while this transition continues to evolve.

Thus, we firmly denounce the statement by the three Cuban-American members of Congress, who have falsely claimed to represent all Cuban Americans. Recent polls in the Cuban-American community, and in the nation as a whole, demonstrate that current policy is not the wish or position of the Cuban-American community, or of the American citizenry in general. A summary of recent polls may be viewed here:,

We, therefore, request that you take into consideration the views of the majority of our community and our nation regarding this important issue, and not just the views of two or three members of Congress. They do not represent us.

We are including links to several documents and articles that we hope will inform any decision about the mistaken inclusion of Cuba on the terrorist list.

Congressional Research Service:,

Arturo Lopez-Levy in Foreign Policy in Focus:,

Former U.S. diplomat in The Hill:,

Los Angeles Times:,0,2494970.story,

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA-2) in the Boston Globe:,

Brookings Institute:,

We thank you for taking the time to hear us – and for taking our views into consideration.


María Isabel Alfonso, PhD, CAFÉ (Cuban Americans for Engagement), Jackson Heights, NY
Maria T. Aral, President, A Better Choice Travel, Miami, FL
Annie Betancourt, Coral Gables, FL
Elizabeth Cerejido, Independent Curator & Art Historian, Miami, FL.
Elena R. Freyre, Foundation for Normalization of US/Cuba Relations, Miami, FL
Arturo Lopez-Levy, University of Denver*, Denver, CO
Vivian Mannerud , President, Airline Brokers Co. Inc. , Fort Lauderdale, FL
Joe Perez, J. Perez Associates Inc., Long Beach, CA
Silvia Wilhelm, President, Cubapuentes, Inc.*, Miami, FL
Antonio Zamora, Foundation for the Normalization of US/Cuba Relations, Miami, FL
Sir Knight Jorge Ignacio Fernandez, Deputy Grand Knight, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Knights of Columbus, Buckingham, PA; Founder & President, Hope for Cuba Foundation, New Hope, PA
Eddie B. Levy, Jewish Solidarity, Miami, FL
Xiomara Almaguer-Levy, Cuban American Defense League, Miami, FL
Hugo M. Cancio, President & Founder, Generacion Cambio Cubano, Miami Lakes, FL
Luly Duke, Founder and President, Fundacion Amistad, New York, NY
Flora González Mandri, Cambridge, MA
Alvaro F. Fernandez, Progreso Weekly and Miami Progressive Project, Miami Beach, FL
Ed Canler, Chattanooga, TN
Alex Lopez, President, Interplanner, Washington, DC
Aileen Ortega, Coral Gables, FL
Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies, Iliff School of Theology*, Denver, CO
Samuel Farber, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Brooklyn College of CUNY*, NY
Sandy Waters Milord, Filmmaker/Photographer, Washington, DC
Joaquin E. Casamayor, Houston, TX
Félix Masud-Piloto, DePaul University*, Chicago, IL
Ibis Gomez-Vega, DeKalb, IL
Myra Mendible, Fort Myers, FL
Romy Aranguiz, Worcester, MA
Andres Ruiz, Worcester, MA
Terry A. Maroney, Professor of Law; Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society, Vanderbilt University*, Nashville TN
M. Isabel Medina, New Orleans, LA
Alan A. Aja, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Brooklyn College (City University of New York)*, Brooklyn, NY
Edmundo Garcia, periodista (journalist), La Tarde Se Mueve, Miami, FL
Amaury Cruz, V.P., Foundation for the Normalization of U.S.-Cuba Relations*, Miami Beach, FL
Melinda Lopez, Bedford, MA
Ana Karim, Charlotte, NC
Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of California*, San Francisco, CA
Dr. Lillian Manzor, Miami, FL
Iraida H. López, Professor, Ramapo College of New Jersey*, Leonia, NJ
Enrique Sacerio-Gari, Bryn Mawr College*, Rosemont, PA
J. Tomas Lopez, Professor of Art and Art History, Head of Electronic Media, Univ. of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
James Buckwalter-Arias, Associate Professor of Spanish, Hanover College*, Madison, IN
Alberto R. Coll, Professor, DePaul University College of Law*, Chicago, IL
Andrés Gómez, editor, Areitodigital Magazine, Miami, FL
Flavio Risech, Associate Professor, Hampshire College*, Amherst, MA
Manuel R. Gómez, DrPH, Washington, DC
Michael Misa, Tampa, FL
Roberto Fernandez Rizo, Actor, Escritor y Educador, Lexington, VA
Marlene J. Looney, Downingtown, PA
Daniel James Perez, Encinitas, CA
Daniel Matthew Egol, Briarcliff Manor, NY
Katia Martinez, West Palm Beach, FL
Raul Morejon, West Palm Beach, FL
Dr. Alberto N. Jones, President Caribbean American Children Foundation, Palm Coast, FL
Luis A. Molina, Cuban-American Artist/Philadelphia-Cardenas Friendship Assoc., Philadelphia, PA
Luis Rumbaut, Attorney, Washington, DC
José Pertierra, Attorney, The Law Office of José Pertierra, Washington, DC
Beth Boone, Artistic and Executive Director, Miami Light Project, Miami, FL
Delvis Fernandez, Cuban American Alliance, San Luis Obispo, CA
Aidil Oscariz, Miami, FL

*For purposes of identification only

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( taken from ProgresoWeekly )

Ramón Labañino : I’ve Been, and I Am, a Fortunate Man

June 13, 2013

From the low-security prison in Ashland, Kentucky, Cuban anti-terrorism fighter Ramón Labañino sent this message dedicated to all the people he loves on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday.

_1-Ramón con dos de sus hijas y Elizabeth-g

Yes, it’s true, I’m a man of 50 summers and I want to dedicate these words of love to all the people I love:
If I look back to these “short years of my life” I can say so many beautiful things – I always stick to beauty, the sin of dreamers.

In 50 years I’ve had the fortune of meeting a special woman who loves me and I love her, who accompanies me with fierce loyalty and tender sweetness. To her I owe my gratitude for making me who I am in so many ways and she knows it.

In 50 years I’ve had the fortune of having three beautiful daughters who are sweet, loving and tender, whom I love crazily just as they love me. To them I owe my eternal gratitude for making me the father I am.

In 50 years I’ve had the fortune to meet and fight next to four exceptional brothers. To them I owe my gratitude for being with me in this determined struggle for Cuba, and for mankind.

In 50 years I was born and have grown in a humble and loving family that has given me the bliss of meeting new families, big families that are with us in this just struggle. To them I owe my gratitude for making me the son I am, the brother I strive to be, the human being that thinks with love and acts for love.

In 50 years I’ve met sisters and brothers from the entire world who are like blood of our blood, who run at our side, who fight side by side with us. To them I owe my gratitude for their eternal company, for the solidarity.

And also in 50 years of life, life has given me the fortune of serving my people, this Revolution that is made from the soul to the infinite. To her I owe everything I am: the son, the father, the comrade, the friend, the patriot, the man.

For all these things I can say today that in the first 50 years of my life I’ve been, and I am, a fortunate man.

Thanks to Life!

That’s how I celebrate my birthday today.

Ramón Labañino Salazar
Labañino Palmeiro Family

The mysteries of U.S. policy

June 13, 2013


By Jesús Arboleya Cervera

HAVANA – Throughout history, it has been quite common for the American security and intelligence services to demonstrate an “absolute incapacity” to investigate those events that directly affect that country’s policy.

In the case of Cuba, one such example is the “mystery” that still surrounds the convenient explosion aboard the battleship Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898, which served as an excuse for U.S. intervention in the war against Spain and the subsequent occupation of the island.

The best known of all those “mysteries” is the one connected with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Although the crime was committed in the light of day, amid a gathering of people, and filmed by an amateur cameraman who happened to be in the site, and although the alleged assassin was immediately arrested and surprisingly murdered hours later by a mafioso who was allegedly “overcome” by the crime, the extensive investigations carried out by the FBI, Congress and a number of people interested in the affair have never explained how the regicide was committed, much less identify the individuals truly responsible for it.

The same has happened with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. At first, the security services demonstrated an impressive efficiency, perhaps much too impressive to be credible.

The investigators quickly identified the perpetrators, determined their membership in the Al Qaeda organization directed by Osama bin Laden and began a worldwide offensive that, before culminating in the also mysterious assassination of its leader – whose corpse was inexplicably not exhibited as a trophy but buried at sea – derived into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a high-technology antiterrorist crusade that includes the use of satellites and drones designed to kill anyone anywhere.

Today, many people ask questions as basic as whether the Muslim fanatics, who could barely fly an old Cessna, were capable of piloting enormous passenger airliners; whether Osama was capable of organizing such a sophisticated operation from the Afghan cave where U.S. authorities said he was hiding; whether the impact of an airliner could bring down the World Trade Center as it did; whether a plane really crashed into the Pentagon, and who piloted the third plane, if that suicide crash really occurred.

Adding to the doubts, former U.S. senator Bob Graham, a member of the Joint Congressional investigation of those events, has accused the FBI of obstructing the investigation by concealing information about a possible connection in Florida with the attacks.

The news, first reported in 2011 in, includes a recently declassified FBI report that identifies a Saudi family living in Sarasota with “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks in 2001.”

According to Graham, “the fact that the FBI did not present \[to the Joint Investigation] documents that included ‘many connections’ between Saudis living in the United States and individuals associated with the terrorist attacks \[…] hindered the ability of the Investigation to complete its mission.”

Graham also said that the heads of the Investigation, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, as well as its executive director, Philip Zelikow, were not aware of the FBI investigation in Sarasota. Graham claimed that the FBI’s deputy director, Sean Joyce, kept him from talking with the special agent in charge of the Sarasota investigation.

Graham is demanding to see the files on an FBI investigation of Esam Ghazzawi, former aide to a high-ranking Saudi prince. Now, if the former senator really wants to investigate in depth the events of Sept. 11, there are other, more compromising leads involving not a Sarasota family gone missing but the Bush clan, whose ties to the Bin Laden family are public knowledge.

According to investigators Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin (“George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography,”, the oil company Zapata Offshore, presided by George H.W. Bush and funded by Eugene Meyer and his son-in-law, Philip Graham, then owners of The Washington Post, was a CIA front for the training in Cay Sal Bank of the terrorist groups organized by the CIA, within the context of the anti-Cuban Operation Mongoose in 1962.

When Tarpley and Chaitkin tried to investigate that connection in 1981, they learned that the Zapata Offshore documents for 1960-66 had been destroyed “by mistake” in the archives of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That company also enjoyed, from the mid-1960s, the use of capital from the Bin Laden family and those contacts extended to the former president’s son, George W. Bush, when the latter created the oil company Arbusto, in Texas. The sources state that it was George H.W. Bush who facilitated the CIA’s contacts with Osama bin Laden, in order to augment the Taliban operations against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

George H.W. Bush’s history is itself a “mystery.” Because of his involvement in the CIA activities against Cuba, he was included in the investigation of the Kennedy assassination, which did not prevent his later appointment as director of the agency.

As Vice President to Ronald Reagan, Bush Sr. was investigated without any consequences in the Iran-Contra scandal. As President of the United States, he decreed a pardon for the infamous Cuban-born terrorist Orlando Bosch, who had been responsible, along with Luis Posada Carriles, of blowing up a Cuban passenger plane over Barbados in 1976, precisely when Bush Sr. worked as espionage czar.

The Bush family relationship with the Bin Ladens did not end with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. On the contrary, according to a report based on U.S. sources written by Chilean journalist Christian Buscaglia and published in the newspaper El Mirador on May 2, 2011, the joint interests of the Bush clan and the Bin Ladens, as well as those of other important personages linked to the Republican Party, the Pentagon and high U.S. finance, still lead to the Carlyle Group consortium.

Among the companies that form the powerful corporation are The Bin Laden Group, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. companies United Defense Industries, Raytheon and Arbusto Energy Oil Co., owned by the Bush clan.

The consortium’s business include control of petroleum, the production of arms and the reconstruction of what arms destroy, so it is a major beneficiary of the wars in the Middle East, before and after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Evidently, the FBI has more than enough reasons to investigate these connections, but no one in U.S. politics will call it to task for not doing it. The major information media will surely silence what should be the disclosure of the “mystery” of the century, leaving us all among the paranoids and ill-intentioned inventors of constant conspiracy theories who are interested in questioning the democratic and ethical virtues of the system.

Progreso Semanal/ Weekly authorizes the total or partial reproduction of the articles by our journalists, so long as source and author are identified.

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