USA/Cuba and the Mote in Another’s Eye

Fernando Ravsberg*

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Miami anti-Castro politicians want the US courts to not release Cuban agents even when they have served out their sentences.

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban-American congresswoman from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, surprised many by questioning the US Justice system when she said: “it is extremely disappointing” that the courts release one of the five Cuban agents, even after he served his sentence.

She does not explain what else they could have done, perhaps the alternative would have been send him to the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, where prisoners are in state of permanent limbo with no legal rights nor being put on trial.

But it would be undiplomatic to do this the same week that Washington published its list of human rights violators. Like every year, it highlights the name of Cuba, without mentioning Guantanamo, although that is where the largest number of political prisoners on the island is concentrated.

Secretary of State Kerry said nothing about it even though the President opposes the existence of the prison camp and promised to close it during his first year in office, a term that expired a long time ago.

Violations of the human rights of some does not justify those committed by others, but it is amazing that the possessor of the most famous prison in the world, due to the lack of rights of its prisoners, puts out a global list of offenders to which it is not included.

The US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been the main source of international criticism of Washington, owing to the human rights violations of its prisoners.
The US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been the main source of international criticism of Washington, owing to the human rights violations of its prisoners.

But there’s more; Beijing also released a report on human rights in which the US does appear.  It is accused of having “committed 376 attacks with drones in Pakistan and Yemen, killing 926 people, mostly civilians, including several children.”

It is always easier to see the speck in your neighbor’s eye than the trunk in your own or in the ones of “friends”. Thus the governments most vehemently denounced in the US report happen to be “enemies” of Washington, while the human rights violators that are “friends” are barely mentioned.

It wasn’t by coincidence that it was in the US where it was said that you can protect a “SOB” as long as he’s “our SOB.” The statement is the best example of double standards used by the international community and a disservice to the struggle for human rights in the world.

Now things are getting more complicated because the Russian Defense Minister announced that his country is negotiating with Cuba the possibility of establishing Russian military bases on the island. And just so nobody doubts that they are serious, the next day a Russian navy warship anchored in Havana harbor.

The University of Computer Sciences (UCI) students must be trembling, just in case it occurs to the Russians to claim back their teaching facilities, where the Soviet base of Lourdes had been dedicated to spying on the communications of the US.

The Russian military negotiates its return to Cuba and the U.S., with a base in Guantanamo, has no moral authority to protest.
The Russian military negotiates its return to Cuba and the U.S., with a base in Guantanamo, has no moral authority to protest.

It will be difficult for Washington to protest a Russian military presence in Cuba when they maintain a base on the island and subject the rest of the world to illegal eavesdropping, including its European and Latin American allies.

Things have gone so far that the EU and Brazil have agreed to lay a submarine telephone cable between the two continents that the USA will not have access to, and thus avoid the temptation to spy on the official communications of other countries.

Some analysts wonder whether the world will return to a new “Cold War” and nobody knows how all this will be framed within the efforts of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, to turn the region into a “Peace Zone.”

Latin America has been free of nuclear weapons for a long time. This year, at the CELAC summit, it decided that all disputes must be resolved peacefully and in the future may well close foreign military bases to avoid getting involved in other’s conflicts.

In the case of Cuba, if Washington agreed to return the Guantanamo Naval Base it would then have the moral authority needed to demand that Havana not allow the installation of military units of other powers on its territory.

Such would allow for a dream come true for the two presidents. It would put an end to the military occupation of Guantanamo, always demanded by Raul Castro, and Barack Obama would fulfill his promise of eliminating the prison that has brought the United States so much criticism.
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(*) A Havana Times translation of the original posted in Spanish by BBC Mundo.


12 thoughts on “USA/Cuba and the Mote in Another’s Eye

  • March 17, 2014 at 11:25 pm
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    It’s true. Gitmo was established under a treaty passed by Congress. To close that naval base requires Congressional action.

  • March 17, 2014 at 10:34 am
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    Be real Moses, your not in Cuba by force…. Well when you are ask to leave a country and you don’t leave, that is by force. Even if the all mighty USA does not like your government

  • March 17, 2014 at 10:26 am
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    Does not matter who the PRESIDENT of the US at the time is…. Your statement that “can’t close with out approval of congress” Really….

  • March 17, 2014 at 9:51 am
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    You really live in an alternate universe.
    If you seriously believe that the U.S. is about doing good in the world , it is necessary for you to totally ignore the over 70 interventions into sovereign nations by the U.S. over the past 100 years. in which they certainly were NOT invited in.
    You are either lying or ignorant of history.
    Which is it ?.
    Anyone who believe Moses to be correct in this matter need only go to the “Killing Hope” website and read the introduction to the book and perhaps one or two of the free chapters .
    Anyone who wants an objective view of things can and will read these things ..
    Many cannot and will not because their minds are closed.

  • March 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm
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    It is sad to hear or see, how easily humans are willing to do things to justify their preconceived notions, even when, they know nothing about what they are talking about.

    Personally, I have been related to the tragic and infamous existence Guantanamo Bay Cuba or GITMO since 1943, when my family relocated to Guantanamo from a United Fruit Sugarcane plantation, in search of a better world.

    If president George W. Bush had not failed HIS 101 of his country, he would not have made the blunder of putting GITMO in the spotlight and few outside Cuba, would ever learn about the trail of abuse, torture and murder, that characterize this enclave.

    Thanks to the cruel incarceration and torture of supposed Talibans for the past 10 years, many have learned through “Guantanamo, an American History” by Jonathan M. Hansen or “Guantanamo, The Bay of Discord” by Roger Ricardo, that as early as December 1940, Lino Rodriguez a Cuban construction worker was murdered on GITMO. Lorenzo Salomon was accused of embezzlelment, arrested, tortured during 15 and murdered in 1954.

    Manuel Prieto, another Cuban employee at GITMO, was arrested, accused of being an agent of the Cuban government, was tortured and killed on January 12, 1961.

    Another Cuban civil service employee on GITMO, Ruben Lopez Sabariego was arrested by the Military Intelligence Service, who notified his wife 18 days later, that his broken body was found in a ditch. Likewise, Rodolfo Rosell, a fisherman, was captured, kidnapped, tortured and his mutilated body was found adrift in his fishing boat on August 23, 1963.

    US Marines shooting at Cuban flags and military sentry box, murdered border guard Ramon Lopez Pena in 1964, Luis Ramirez Lopez in 1966 and wounded Luis Ramirez Reyes, Antonio Campos and Andres Noel Larduet.

    Will it be necessary to add to this horror story, the leasing of 45 square miles of one of the world best natural bay for $4,000.00 a year, while the guns of Teddy Roosevelt and the Platt Amendment hung over the heads of the puppet Cuban government they had placed in power in 1902?

    Should anything more be said, about the corrupting effect that the presence of GITMO imposed upon everyone living in Guantanamo, with the creation of the largest Red Light District in Cuba, nepothysm, kick-backs, rape, sexually transmissible diseases, racism and the constant threat of being “Black Balled”?

  • March 15, 2014 at 8:11 pm
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    Male dominated nuclear family? LOL. You obviously don’t know my wife!

  • March 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm
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    We are not in Cuba by force. The US signed a treaty with Cuba that requires mutual agreement to dissolve. My open statement still stands.

  • March 14, 2014 at 3:11 pm
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    Clearly your open statement is not true because its been pretty clear that Cuba don’t want them in Gitmo and they don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon.

    Also, your comment about “peace through strength” has to be a Poe; you simply cannot be seriously implying that the US government is peaceful by any stretch of mind (military interventions, destabilization operations, dirty wars, drone killings and a long etc. don’t talk about peace in any meaningful way.

    That aside, I don’t have anything about most military personnel serving in the US army. For the most part, they are just the cannon fodder used as pawns by the politicians to achieve their own goals, I honor ALL soldiers fighting for a worthy ideal regardless of the side as long as they subscribe to the rules of war.

    Also, your assessment is a little bit naive. There is a lot of resentment towards the US in a seizable portion of the world and I know for a fact that US citizens traveling in troubled areas usually “disguise” themselves as Canadians to avoid been targeted.

  • March 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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    The current deployment of US Special Forces, in particular, and military personnel, in general, on foreign soil anywhere around the world is at the invitation of the host country. The US military personnel stationed around the world proudly represent the American ideal of peace through strength. If, as an American, you feel ashamed about the service of these brave and mostly young people, then that is your right. But I assure you that most Americans who see these servicemen in uniform in airports around the world feel a sense of pride regarding the sacrifice these soldiers make to keep the world safe and free. Polls come and go and results are far too easily manipulated. What is undeniable is that when tragedies around the world occur, most people look to the US for help. The recent tragedy of the missing Malaysian airlines flight #370 is sadly a case in point. This country requested help from the US. This is not based on a poll but on reality. BTW, any illusions I may have about President Obama are under labor of any sort.

  • March 14, 2014 at 10:33 am
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    You’re laboring under the illusion that the man you voted for is somehow more moral than any of his predecessors or that he has objectives other than what those predecessors held .
    Obama was nominated by the “unelected dictatorship of money” to maintain the status quo and as a center-right thinker, he is doing just that.
    Sure , you got taken in by his smooth talk, promises and probably , most of all his skin color and now feel obliged to defend that decision.
    But be honest will you, you love capitalism which is totalitarian, you are religious and all religions are totalitarian, you love the president who heads a de facto totalitarian ” dictatorship of money” and I assume you love the idea of the male-dominated nuclear family.
    With that way of thinking, you must support imperialism and the criminal, immoral , murderous activities that are inherent in imperialism since the days of the Roman Empire.
    Facilities like Guantanamo and the many other “black ( secret) prisons” around the world are what U.S. foreign policy are all about and although you can’t admit it because of the obvious immorality that admission would evidence on your part , you’d most likely like to expand those sort of activities .
    Oh and BTW , your guy Obama increased the number of Special Forces (Imperial Shock Troops) deployments from the 60 nations under right-wing George W. Bush to the still increasing 134 nations as of the present under Mr.Hope and Change .
    That’s 70% of all the countries in the world.
    Yeah , sure , Obama wants to close Guantanamo .
    On that note, I recently inherited a fortune from a Nigerian prince who also won a huge lottery and I’d like to share it with a good Christian person like yourself.
    If you’ll just e-mail me your Social Security # , your bank account number and credit card number ( be sure to include the end date and secret codes, I’ll deposit a big piece of that money in your bank.

  • March 14, 2014 at 5:28 am
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    He doesn’t have to close the base, just the illegal prisoner camp. Is not really that hard, is a matter of presenting charges to all the inmates and formally prosecute them in either a civilian or military court.

    The bottom line is that US is supposed to be under the rule of law and the x-ray camp proves otherwise. Lets be clear: I’m not even talking about torture and “enhanced interrogation” methods here. but about the simple fact that many people have been imprisoned there for more than a decade without trial.

    Thats an abomination under US constitution and the president SHOULD have at least TRIED to correct the situation. Sadly, thats barely one more of his many failures, dumped together with unlawful assassination of people all around the world (including US citizens!) and all the NSA related crap. Even his “biggest achievement ever” was a political assassination and should have been avoided. Notice that I’m not saying that Bin Laden did not deserve to die, what I’m saying is that he should have been apprehended, tried and executed as the vermin he was following the foundational precepts of the US.

    Also thats a nice fallacy you got in the end: you don’t need to have a time machine and travel to the ancient Egypt to have an opinion about a pharaoh. You simply gather as many known facts as you can an form an opinion based on those and make clear that said opinion is tentative an open to revision if more facts arise.

  • March 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm
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    Fernando, unlike Raul Castro, President Obama is not a dictator and can’t close
    Guantanamo without the approval of Congress, a distinct and equal branch of
    government in the US. I seriously doubt that Russia will establish a military
    base in Cuba over the objection of the US. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is one of 435 members of the House of Representatives elected to speak only for the citizens of her Florida congressional district. She should not be given more power than her office merits. Her opinions regarding the US justice system and its failings are her own and should be taken in context. I am always disappointed when Cuban writers, who have never traveled to the US, presume to opine on social and political issues in the US with so little valid information.

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