Monday, April 22, 2013

Cuba: A Forum on Human Rights Pt. 2

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

While discussing the human rights situation in Cuba and the totalitarian regime that has ruled over the island for the past 54 years it is also important to mention its impact on human rights and political stability outside of the island. The Cuban government has had close relationships with major international drug traffickers and Cuba has served as a transhipment point to the United States.

During the Vietnam War, the Cuban government sent advisers to Vietnam who tortured U.S. prisoners of war between 1967 and 1969 in what became known as The Cuban Program in an effort to demonstrate to the Vietnamese how to most effectively break the will of American soldiers.

The Cuban government also engaged in actions in Africa with close allies who have been tried in absentia for genocide and found guilty such as Ethiopia's Mengistu Haile Mariam in a slaughter in which the Castro brothers were also complicit.

On March 1, 1982 the Cuban dictatorship was placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism less than three months after the US State Department confirmed that the Castro regime was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government. 

Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence that demonstrates that as early as the 1960s and up to the present date that the dictatorship in Cuba has been and remains a state sponsor of terrorism. International terrorists such as Carlos the Jackal were not only inspired by Fidel Castro but also trained by Cuban government agents and later defended by close allies such as Hugo Chavez.

The Cuban government's state security service in addition to monitoring and terrorizing Cubans in the island has also been successful overseas in penetrating U.S. intelligence agencies, the State Department, and has spied on U.S. military installations.

Ana Belen Montes was a high ranking analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the military version of the CIA, who drafted the report that provided an assessment of the threat that Cuba poises to the United States. She also had access to intelligence on Latin America that she passed along to her Cuban handlers that led to the death of at least one American on March 31, 1987 and his name was Gregory A. Fronius. The FBI arrested her on September 20, 2001 before they could identify and capture her Cuban handlers because in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks they feared that the intelligence that she would provide Cuba could end up in the hands of the Taliban or Al Qaeda. 

Montes had been a spy for the Cuban government since 1984. She had drawn attention to herself during the February 24, 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shootdown and that prompted the investigation that led to her downfall. 

Walter Kendall Myers and his wife Gwendolyn spent thirty years spying against the United States for Fidel Castro. Kendall Myers was a high-ranking analyst for the U.S. State Department with top-secret clearance who had been recruited in 1978 by Cuban intelligenceHis wife would pass her husband's acquired information on to their Cuban contacts. Kendall Myers was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison and his wife got a shorter sentence.

The CIA's first defector was Philip Agee who died in Cuba in 2008 at the age of 72. He had defected to Cuba in 1973 and made public the identity of 250 alleged CIA officers and agents.  It was the Cubans and not the KGB who had successfully recruited him.

The Cuban government infiltrated a network of spies into the United States that it called the WASP network with the objective of spying on U.S. military installations, spying on Cuban exiles, identifying locations to store weapons and explosives on U.S. territory and planned to first terrorize then assassinate a man they identified as a CIA agent living in Bal Harbour, Florida using a mail bomb. They had a role in the February 24, 1996 shoot down and the head of the spy network was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder for his role in the death of the four men who had been killed.

Despite this repressive machinery there are Cubans who nonviolently and in a transparent manner have confronted this brutal dictatorship and are risking their lives today for a free Cuba tomorrow.

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