By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 3 – A US Federal judge awarded the mother of “political prisoner” Oscar Rodriguez Saludes a total of US $27.5 million to be paid by the Cuban Communist Party and government for emotional damages due her son’s jailing in a crackdown against “dissidents” in 2003.
The US claims Rodriguez -who received a 27-year sentence- was working as an independent journalist at the time of his arrest in a round up that involved dozens of persons.
Rodriguez and the others who were detained, convicted and sentenced were accused of working for the US government and Miami-based terrorists.
This case like numerous others against Cuba in US courts was carried out without a defense. Activist anti-Cuban revolution judges have used such suits as a platform for allocating huge sums to the plaintiffs to try and complicate any efforts to improve bilateral relations.
The two countries have not had diplomatic relations for nearly a half century. However, since President Obama took office in January there has been hope on both sides of the Florida Straights that progress could be made to get beyond the Cold War leftover.
Meanwhile, each year Cuba accuses the US government of undermining its economy with a blockade that has caused over US $90 billion in damages over the last half century. The UN General Assembly voted last year 185-3 demanding the US end the blockade.
The vote, taken every year since 1992, continues to be ignored by the US government.