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 7, 2014 at 10:44 am

    The USA CREATED the environment in which the BTR planes were shot down .
    The flights were made as part of the U.S.’s propaganda war on Cuba’s revolution and the planes were launched from U.S. territory .
    Secondly BTR flights I would imagine were intended to save the “balseros” who took to unsafe craft to float to Florida because of the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot) clause of the CAA .
    This WFDF Clause was part and parcel of the U.S propaganda effort to defame the revolution and the victims who risked their lives are all dupes and victims in that war being used by the GOUSA and the BTR crowd to get capitalism back into Cuba.
    The BTR pilots were not Boy Scouts,. They were and are part of a U.S. war on the people of Cuba.
    If you’d like to award them some medals for service to humanity, for their part in that immoral imperial war, go to it.
    You must realize that there were a great many good Germans who fought for the Nazis but we don’t thank them for what they did.
    The BTR are on the wrong side of imperialism and history .

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:27 am

    You can read my response to Disinformed Consent above .
    Given the 100+ year old interventionist foreign policy of the U.S., given that they assisted in the invasion at Playa Giron, given that they are attempting to economically crush Cuba it is just plain STUPID on your part to imagine that the GOUSA is not openly aware of all these counter-revolutionary (read: anti-socialist) and does not give them large amounts of financial aid AND free and protected operating bases from which to launch their often terrorist attacks on Cuba.
    The U.S. openly gives $14 million dollars to opposition political arties in Venezuela to overthrow a democratically elected government there.
    To ignore U.S. foreign policy history, to ignore the 54 year old embargo, to ignore the hotel, plane and plantation bombings, the Bay of Pigs invasion and all that to say that the U.S. is not up to its ears in helping the Florida based terrorist groups is …well ignorant .
    As for the New York Times.
    Please understand that the NYT is good for wrapping fish and training puppies.
    It is not a source for reliable information as regards foreign affairs as their lying Iraq war coverage should have told you years ago.
    I invite you to read Mark Weisbrot’s article at today’s ZNet entitled: ” NYT Violates Standards Of Basic Economics And Journalistic Procedures” . You can also Google it anytime.
    Weisbrot’s article clearly demonstrates what I’ve been telling you for a while now and that is that your primary source for information is not telling you the truth .

  • March 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

    If you do not believe that the government of the USA was, is and will be knowledgeable of all the Cuban counter-revolutionary movements located in the United States , you’re a fool.
    The US has something like SIXTEEN intelligence services and doubtless have infiltrated all groups with any significant terrorist capabilities .
    When I was an activist back in the 60s and 70s the group I was affiliated with was infiltrated by COINTELPRO, a government spy program aimed at LEGAL protestors. If they had that capability then with far fewer intelligence services and fewer terrorist-type threats, than now, they sure know what just about any and every subversive armed group is up to.
    In the case of the Cubans, I have no doubt that as in Venezuela they are giving these groups millions in aid as well as allowing them to carry out what are internationally recognized acts of terrorism executed from U.S. territory.
    The Cuban Five were out to fight terrorism against their country that originated in the U.S.
    History will not only absolve them, it will make them heroes.

  • March 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

    What world do you live in? Cuba actively shares intelligence information with Russia (specifically the GRU) and the Chinese. The Red Avispa network attempted to pass coded reports on activities at Boca Chica naval air station, such as plane counts, base remodeling, or changes of command. Attempted to infiltrate Southern Command Headquarters in Doral Florida and were directly responsible for the shoot down of two civilian Cessna planes in International waters

    …full knowledge and approval of the USA? Please!!!

    I guess as usual there are no facts you can’t twist and change to fit your warped world view.

  • March 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

    You never cease to amaze. You write ¨with the full knowledge of and approval of the government of the USA .¨ This is patently false. In fact, for failing to register as a foreign agent, the original 12 Cuban spies known as the ¨Wasp Network¨ committed their first of many federal offenses, I do join you in admonishing the writer to confirm her facts however, She is also very incorrect when she writes, ¨the trial wasn’t very transparent.¨ There were quite a few stories printed in the New York Times, among other international media, and the trial was open to the public. Can´t get more tranparent than that!

  • March 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Janis Hernandez
    Janis, it is good to observe and important to comment, but since you are commenting on more than what you personally observed, it would be good to do more research. The long and complicated story of the “Five” and all the individuals and government agencies involved has long been in the world press and in great detail. If you take a moment and look at US government and military history, you will see that there are thousands of examples of terrorist actions against many countries. In fact, the US president has declared that even US citizens will be assassinated by drones in violation of the US constitution if they meet several criteria – which only the US president gets to fully determine. Then there are the long series of actions designed to punish the citizens of Cuba and many other countries for being in violation of US policies! Terrorism by anyone’s definition is putting civilians at risk for political reason. That is US policy in many instances and it is just what the “Five” were trying to prevent. In Florida and other US states, it is legal for clandestine civilian groups to prepare for and practice militarily assaults against Cuba and other countries as long as they are disliked by the US. Self-admitted and proud terrorists walk the streets legally in the US, as long as their past and present terrorism are against a country or regime the US dislikes. If you were unaware of these facts, perhaps you should check them out. If you just can’t believe the US would allow these things to happen, I can’t do much except to suggest you look up the past and current budgets and laws targeting these sorts of actions.

  • March 3, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    and continue on about how their “anti-terrorists activities” were involved in 2 Cuban MIGs shooting down 2 unarmed American Cessnas in international airspace (Brothers to the Rescue incident).

    Do you think that was one of those “with the full knowledge of and approval of the government of the USA ” events?

  • March 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    “Cuban authorities, on the other hand, have always wanted to conceal their status as spies with the euphemism of “anti-terrorist activists -”
    Excuse me BUT the Cuban Five were in the U.S. specifically to infiltrate counter-revolutionary terrorist groups operating out of the U.S. and with the full knowledge of and approval of the government of the USA .
    They were not spying in the sense that they were seeking out U.S. military secrets to harm the United States. They were after information about these U.S. based terrorists so that they could prevent or neutralize future TERRORIST attacks .
    “Anti-terrorist activists ” are EXACTLY what they were .
    Please , get your facts straight.

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