The problem gets even more complicated because the person leading Cuban special services organization, espionage and counterespionage devices, is President Raul Castro’s son, Alejandro Castro Espin.
By Pedro Campos (Cubaencuentro)
HAVANA TIMES — Nobody could expect Washington to sit with its arms crossed in the face of such an attack.
If Cuban special services were the protagonists, relations between both countries would nosedive, with unclear consequences; but accepting FBI collaboration efforts in situ suggests that the Cuban government doesn’t feel directly responsible for the attack.
If the incident was the result of special services forces belonging to a Cuban ally it would be another story, but it would also be a very complicated situation, as the Cuban government has to ensure the safety of all diplomats, in keeping with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In such a case, Cuba would have to take very severe measures against this ally, in order to satisfy the US and international community as best they can, the latter also keeping a close eye on Cuba’s reaction to these incidents.
Generally-speaking, any study of international relations will show you that diplomatic bodies and special services respect each other as a rule; for the simple reason that everyone knows that they are open to reciprocity.
The international relations of those who committed this blunder will pay a very high price.
One thing is the accepted activity of espionage and counterespionage efforts, which, while not recognized, is something which all States practice. It’s a very different thing to cause physical harm to a diplomat or foreign intelligence official.
The problem gets even more complicated in Cuba’s case because the person leading Cuban special services, espionage and counterespionage efforts, is President Raul Castro’s son, Alejandro Castro, who has also been responsible for signing security agreements with Russia and is the person who, at the same time, was leading secret negotiations with Barack Obama’s government so as to reestablish diplomatic relations.
Assuming, in the best case scenario for Cuba, that the harm caused to US and Canadian diplomats had been committed by a third country, who had acted without Cuba’s security forces’ knowledge, these and especially Alejandro Castro would be in a very delicate situation as a result of their incompetence to protect foreign diplomats.
In any other country in the world, a similar situation, caused by actions or neglect, would cost quite a few high-ranking officials their jobs. But in this case, we’ll have to see how far resignations and dismissals go, if there are any, since the Head of State’s son is involved.
If they aren’t sanctioned, the President himself will end up involved and held responsible in the eyes of the international community, who won’t be able to accept such behavior against diplomats from other countries. From now on, Cuban officials could be victims to violations of the Vienna Convention themselves.
In any case, if a plausible explanation isn’t found, this incident could end up in a diplomatic crisis not only between Cuba and the US, but between Cuba and the attacking country, between the US and this other country and between Cuba and the US’ international allies.
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations stipulates in Article 29: “The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.”
This matter is currently in progress. Its sensitivity for international relations, not only between the US and Cuba, but for its consequences for the rest of the international diplomatic community, compels Cuba to fully explain these events and to take concrete measures against the country that inflicted this harm.