Cuba: On Freedom and Political Camps

Janis Hernandez

Raúl Castro welcomes home Fernando Gonzalez. Photo: Estudios Revolucion.

HAVANA TIMES — Freedom is one of the most precious of human rights and, of its many different forms, freedom of conscience is doubtless one of the most valuable civil rights we can aspire to. I therefore convey my respects to those who endure prison for their ideas, whatever their political views may be.

On Thursday, former Cuban agent Fernando Gonzalez Llort was released from prison, arriving in Cuba on Friday. He is the second of the Cuban Five who, having completed his sentence in a US prison has returned to the island.

Nearly 16 years after his arrest, the Cuban State Security agent was welcomed at the Jose Marti airport by President Raul Castro and a retinue of high government officials.

Following a military salute, the men embraced in a classic, “mission accomplished” moment. This is the manner in which the original mission will continue to be accomplished by these five men who, owing to a strategic error of the Cuban government, which provided information to the FBI, ended up blowing their cover and being caught.

In my opinion, neither side has ever properly told this story. US authorities handed down excessively cruel convictions and the trial wasn’t very transparent. Cuban authorities, on the other hand, have always wanted to conceal their status as spies with the euphemism of “anti-terrorist activists.”

The truth of the matter is that these men have been and continue to be prisoners of conscience. The political differences between Cuba and the United States are the true reason behind their long convictions.

On Friday, Gonzalez was finally able to hug his aged mother and his wife. He is free, enjoying the greatest and most valuable right a person can have. Magalis Llort and Rosa, his wife, are also Ladies in White. They are not, however, attacked on the streets. Ultimately, it is a question of freedom and what side you stand on.

Janis Hernández

Janis Hernandez: I don’t seek to change the world, much less give recipes on how it should or shouldn’t be. I don’t have the gift of oratory or that of the letters. I’m not an analyst or a philosopher. I am just an observer of the things that happen around me and I feel obligated to speak about my country without a muzzle, just write and that’s what I do in my diary.

12 thoughts on “Cuba: On Freedom and Political Camps

  • March 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Readers of these Comments, please take note of the style of arguementation. The articles present opinion and observatons, sometimes with a few varifyable facts. The Comments are gnerally split between those praising or trying to add to the content of the articles and those who want the Cuban revolution and government to vanish and see little or no culpability for Cuba’s or other peoples’ problems in the actions and policies of the US government and international corporations.

    You may know the cliche, “History is written by the victor.” When I and others have tried to put our opinions on Cuba today and the past into a context that includes the US actions designed to overthrow the Cuban socialist government, we are usually accused of hating the US and seeing no wrong with the Cuban effort.

    For example, as an American who hates war, oppression, and especailly covert, illegal and murderous activities designed to control indigenous and other peoples fights against oppression, my primary responsibility starts with the government my taxes go to and which claims to act in my name. Therefore when I saw the US government, local and national support segregation, I was apposed to it. Problem I was a child and most (white) adults didn’t want to change anything. I was taught “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” These things gradually began to be less accepted, but during that time, the US government crushed unions, held women back, ignored or punished the poor and sent troops, money and clandestine forces to dictatorships all around the world. Eventually, the people in the countries the US was happy to rip off, got it together and rebelled. They often tried socialism, but starting in the 1800’s wealthy and powerful interests in government an industry knew they had to make sure none of these “reds” succeeded. My grandfather, innocent of world politics and unemployed, earned a few dollars supporting the slaughter of “rebels” in the Philippines. Other Teagues were on all sides of the many struggles in the US, Europe and elsewhere. Few were in charge of any of this and many were victims too. A very few profited and most took a long time to figure out how they were being used and lied to. They were told God was on the side of the rich and the rulers and anyone who resisted was either a devil or a dangerous foreigner. Fortunately these many lies are less effective with the young of the world.

    I’ll skip to the present and point out that yes, the US government officials and the Pentagon would like you to believe only the bad guys use terror. We (meaning the US government etc.) never do. We didn’t terrorize the (fill in the blanks) because it is only as Moses says below, the weapon of the weaker force. Nonsense. That definition rationalizes all the wars, invasions, slaughter, and general and specific terror that sadly US taxpayer money continues to pay for.

    Drones and torture are not just convenient assassination weapons, they are intended to terrorize and do. The US governments violent acts against Cuba have always meant to terrorize. And there are many on the Right in the US who would be happy to unleash any of the many terror weapons the US has used and continues to use around the world – whenever they think they can get away with it.

  • March 10, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Oh, please. The Cuban Five are the real terrorists. One of the spies gave the order to shoot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996. Also, leave COINTELPRO out of this. That program doesn’t exist anymore. Meanwhile, your beloved Cuban Communist empire has been trying to dominate the Western Hemisphere today in 2014. Get your facts straight.

  • March 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

    So the Brothers to the Rescue is a terrorist organization in your totalitarian mind? The Cuban Five are spies. They were seeking to harm U.S. interests. You are a Communist propagandist who doesn’t like to learn from facts.

  • March 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    You seem confused about the meaning of words “terrorist activities”. It is widely accepted that terrorism is a tool used by a lesser power to provoke “terror” among both combatants and non-combatants of a greater or larger power. Terror is typically used because direct military or police action is not practical or is unlikely to achieve the desired results. The use of military drones is not “terrorism”. You may disagree with their use but to mischaracterize US drone use as terrorism is intellectually beneath intelligent debate. The US does not target public train stations or marathon races to fight our enemies. You are also wrong to say it is “legal” for paramilitary or civilian groups to plan military assaults. It is a complex issue to prosecute Americans allegedly planning activities to take place outside the US. Finally, there is a difference between a suspected “terrorist” walking the streets and one is has been convicted based on a fair trial. Again, you obvious anti-US bias clouds your judgment.

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