Sometimes when it comes to Cuba, the divide between words and deeds Â or non-deeds Â is too great. That’s no surprise, of course, but there comes a point where silence is not golden, and lies need to be exposed. That’s especially true about Cuba. U.S. imperial rulers work hard to keep Cuba below the radar of public awareness.
Take, for example, President Obama’s speech in Oslo. He says: “The promotion of human rights cannot be about exhortation alone. At times, it must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy.” That’s a non-deed in regard to Cuba. “I also know that sanctions without outreach Â and condemnation without discussion ÂÂ can carry forward a crippling status quo.” To square words with deeds, Obama could drop sanctions on Cuba or reach out and/or discuss.
Inaction can be malevolent. Gerardo Hernandez is one of the Cuban Five prisoners thrown into U.S. jails over eleven years ago for defending their country against U.S. terrorism. Convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, he is serving a life sentence, one of two. Gerardo is said to have informed Cuban defenders that planes flown by the Brothers to the Rescue in 1996 had left southern Florida (and were picked up by Cuban radar) presumably to enter Cuban airspace, as they had done repeatedly. Cuban fighter jets attacked, killing four pilots.
Who conspired? Florida CBS4 news service last month claimed Washington could have prevented the deaths by blocking the Brothers to the Rescue from flying. Material from declassified federal documents and interviews documented U.S. government awareness of Cuban warnings and U.S. failure to warn the anti-Cuban Brothers to the Rescue. “We wouldn’t have flown that day had we known,” JosÃ© Basulto, the group’s head, told the interviewer.
The deed to match the words of these declassified documents would be to undo Gerardo’s conviction. The U.S. President, moreover, has the authority to release him and the four other Cuban Five prisoners.
Then there is the old story of the U.S. government as terror perpetrator while fighting a so-called anti-terrorist war. Documents released in October by the National Security Archives (NSA) confirm Luis Posada Carriles’ ties with the CIA and the Cuban American National Foundation. They complement documents released earlier demonstrating arrangements by Posada and Orlando Bosch to bomb a Cuban airliner in 1976, in the process killing 73 passengers and crew members.
The deed that would fit is extradition of Posada, as requested, to Venezuela, where the bombing plot was hatched. Posada and Bosch live comfortably in Miami. Recent reminders of violent crimes of previous administrations bring up the possibility of a response from the present, supposedly anti-terrorist U.S. government. U.S. intelligence documents published last month by the Spanish Daily El Mundo show prior knowledge by the CIA, U.S. State Department, and Spanish intelligence services of the attack 20 years ago by El Salvadoran soldiers that killed kill seven Jesuit academicians, their housekeeper, and her daughter. The killers were U.S.-trained. A report released in Puerto Rico earlier this month, again based on declassified U.S. intelligence documents, confirmed FBI knowledge of preparations by right wing Cuban-Americans to kill Puerto Rican independence leader Juan Mari BrÃ¡s. In the end, terrorists killed his son Santiago Mari Pesquera on March 24, 1976. Jean-Guy Allard, writing in the Cuban Granma newspaper accuses the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and its former General Secretary Armando Valladares of CIA connections. Valladares, jailed in Cuba as a Batista informer and saboteur, became a Reagan appointee to the UN. His departure from New York earlier this year came about following revelations that the Foundation had supported a plot to assassinate Bolivian President Evo Morales foiled last April by Bolivian police. Valladares moved on to Honduras where he has helped prop up the Roberto Micheletti coup regime.
With these revelations, President Obama has the opportunity of doing the right thing about violent crimes from the past, as he was supposed to have done regarding the Guantanamo prison and torture.
His likely failure to do so, however, will not surprise. His job description as custodian of imperial dominion is demanding. The first rule: spare nothing by way of lying, legal slipperiness, and hypocrisy in serving the cause.
Dec. 12, 2009