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

  • It’s true. Gitmo was established under a treaty passed by Congress. To close that naval base requires Congressional action.

  • 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

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