Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tip of the iceberg: Two Cuban diplomats expelled for conducting "influence operations"

"We feel great pride that the first, very modest draft officially submitted to serve as the basis for the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man was written by Dr. Ernesto Díhigo, an eminent professor at the University of Havana and a member of the Cuban delegation." - Guy Pérez-Cisneros

Cuban diplomats have engaged in assaults, acts of repudiation and terrorism
Today the United States announced it is expelling two Cuban diplomats and is restricting travel of members of Cuba's permanent mission to the United Nations.  Reasons cited for the expulsions and travel restrictions were that they were trying to "conduct influence operations against the United States." 

The Castro regime and their apologists will attempt to come to the defense of these diplomats that have a long track record of not being diplomatic, and on occasion behaving more like secret police, a violent mob or a mafia operation.

Cuban diplomats for more than 50 years have plotted and facilitated terrorist attacks, beaten up peaceful protesters, threatened and bitten protesters using homophobic language, and participated in the cover up of extrajudicial killings.

Consider the following partial chronology of malfeasance:

New York City (2018)
On October 16, 2018 Cuban diplomats led an "act of repudiation" at the United Nations to prevent a discussion on the plight of political prisoners in Cuba at a side event organized by the United States.

Cuban "diplomats" try to shout down side event on political prisoners
Panama (2015)
On April 8, 2015 Cuban diplomats streamed out of the the Cuban Embassy in Panama attacking civil society representatives who at the time were laying flowers at a bust of Jose Marti in a public park nearby. Several activists were injured and at least one required surgery. During the Summit of the Americas Cuban diplomats disrupted official meetings in order to block Cuban and Venezuelan dissidents from taking part, despite being officially accredited. 

Cuban diplomats assaulted nonviolent protesters in Panama
Dominican Republic (2012)
On January 28, 2012 in the Dominican Republic the Cuban ambassador physically assaulted a 70 year old Cuban exile who had screamed "Down with Fidel! Down with the Castros!" This same diplomat had been already expelled by the United States in 1995 for beating up peaceful demonstrators in New York City. 

Mexico (2012)
In January of 2012 there were reports in the media of Cuban, Iranian and Venezuelan diplomats meeting in Mexico to discuss cyber attacks on U.S. soil and allegedly seeking information about nuclear power plants in the United States. 

Cuban diplomat bit a young Norwegian woman of Cuban-Norwegian descent in 2010.
Oslo, Norway (2010)
On May 22, 2010 Norwegian media reported that Cuban diplomat, Carmen Julia Guerra, insulted, threatened, and bit a young Norwegian woman, Alexandra Joner age 19, of Cuban descent on her mother's side while she was across the street from the Cuban embassy in Oslo. She was filming a non-violent demonstration in solidarity with the Ladies in White and in remembrance of martyred Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo. The main national newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten,  photographed the young girl with bite marks on her hand.

San Jose, Costa Rica (2004)
Cuban counsel Rafael Dausá Céspedes utilized groups with ideological affinities with the Cuban revolution in Costa Rica to physically storm a pro-democracy event using physical intimidation and threats of violence to shut it down after it had started in what was an attempted act of repudiation. This led to a two and a half hour stand off. Meanwhile in another part of the same building the event went off without a hitch.  

Geneva, Switzerland (2004)
On April 15, 2004 when the United Nations Human Rights Commission  decided by a single vote to censure the communist regime for its human rights record a Cuban human rights defender Frank Calzon was physically attacked by members of the Cuban diplomatic delegation. According to Freedom House: "Witnesses said a Cuban delegate punched Mr. Calzon, knocking him unconscious. UN guards reportedly protected him from further assault by additional members of the Cuban delegation."

Paris, France (2003)
At the Cuban embassy in Paris on April 24, 2003 Cuban diplomats engaged in the brutal beating of nonviolent protesters with iron bars and threatened them with deadly force. "Not only did members of the embassy come out with iron bars to hit us, but one of them was carrying a firearm, which he loaded while outside the embassy," RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard said. "This new element is extremely serious. It is unacceptable that persons linked to a foreign embassy should commit such offences on French territory."

Washington, DC (2000)
On April 14, 2000 nonviolent protesters gathered in front of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington DC. In the early evening, a band of about 10 Cuban diplomats, alleged to have been drinking took off their coats, ties and jewelry, began screaming obscenities and yelling threats, and indiscriminately attacked 20 peaceful protesters  with fists and sticks, even injuring a Secret Service officer. Among the Cuban diplomats engaged in the violent assault, according to one of the victims, was Gustavo Machin Gomez.

Senior Cuban diplomat engaged in violent physical assault of US citizens in 2000
Mexico City, Mexico (1996)
On March 8, 1996 a group of Mexican students belonging to various universities,  a federal representative of the PAN Cristián Castaño Contreras, and a Cuban journalist were brutally assaulted by officers and employees of the Cuban embassy during a peaceful demonstration outside of the embassy. The attack left many injured. The Cuban embassy staff even attacked a student displaying a Mexican flag and tried to destroy it. The behavior was reminiscent of a Rapid Response Brigade in Cuba used to beat down dissidents in the island.

New York City, USA (1994)
 The United States expelled two Cuban diplomats on April 12, 1995, for having assaulted people last August (1994) protesting in front of Cuba's mission to the United Nations. The diplomats, Edmundo Suarez Hernandez, a counselor, and Saul Hermida Griego, an attache, and their families were told are to leave by midnight Sunday.  On August 30, 1994 protesters chained themselves to the Cuban Mission door. Cuban diplomats attacked them with sticks, screaming, "Cuba Our Way!" Two diplomats wielded a crowbar and ax handle. More than a dozen police officers suffered injuries. Four Cuban Mission employees were arrested on assault charges. All four were released after claiming diplomatic immunity.  US officials said it's unusual for diplomats to be expelled for violent behavior.

Cuban diplomats implicated in 1969 bombing plot in New York City

New York City, USA (1969)
Black Panther plot to bomb five Manhattan department stores on April 3, 1969 during the Easter shopping rush was broken up by the indictment of 21 members of the militant group on April 2nd. The Chicago Tribune reported that they had planned to "set off bombs in the midtown stores of Macy's Alexander's. Bloomingdale's, Korvette's and Abercombie & Fitch. The bombings were to be accompanied by gunfire in the crowded stores." They had also planned to dynamite the tracks of Penn Central railroad at six location and bomb a police station in the Morrisania section of the Bronx to divert police from the railroad bombings. On April 10, 1969 Andrew Tulley reported in the Reading Eagle that that the Communist Cuban mission to the United Nations has become a financial and propaganda headquarters for promoting revolution by black militants and white radicals. ... Specifically, it was said, these include the Black Panther Party. The United States denied re-entry visas to two Cuban U.N. diplomats ..."as a normal reaction to evidence that the Cuban mission is engaged in extensive subversive activities.

Cuban diplomats planned terror attack in New York City in 1962
New York City, USA (1962)
Cuban diplomats Elsa Montera Maldonado and Jose Gomez Abad, a husband and wife team at the Cuba Mission in New York City, who in reality were State Security agents who plotted to murder large numbers of Americans. Both were expelled for their role in a planned terrorist attack on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1962 which sought to detonate 500 kilos of explosives inside Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Bloomingdale’s and Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.

Cuban diplomats Guy Pérez-Cisneros, Ernesto Dihigo played crucial role for UDHR

It was not always this way. Seventy years ago, a democratic Cuba helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and establish the UN Human Rights Commission.

Cuba’s last democratic president, Carlos Prio Socarras, was elected in free and fair elections and assumed office on Oct. 10, 1948. President Prio respected human rights, and this was reflected by the actions taken by his diplomats at the founding of the UN.

Cuba, Panama, and Chile were the first three countries to submit full drafts of human rights charters to the Commission. Latin American delegations, especially Mexico, Cuba, and Chile inserted language about the right to justice into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in what would become Article 8.

Cuban delegate Guy Pérez-Cisneros addressed the UN General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948 proposing to vote for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Cuban Ambassador celebrated that it condemned racism and sexism, and also addressed the importance of the rule of law:
“My delegation had the honor of inspiring the final text, which finds it essential that the rights of man be protected by the rule of law, so that man will not be compelled to exercise the extreme recourse of rebellion against tyranny and oppression.”
This democratic Cuba was overthrown on March 10, 1952 by Fulgencio Batista and hopes of a democratic restoration frustrated by the Castro brothers in 1959.

Guy Pérez-Cisneros died of a stroke in 1953.

Ernesto Dihigo, like Pérez-Cisneros, left the diplomatic corps following the 1952 coup, but returned as Cuba’s Ambassador to the United States in January of 1959 retiring in 1960. He left Cuba in 1989 and died in Miami in 1991.

Democrats should share this history with Cubans on the island to demonstrate that civil and political rights are an intrinsic part of a shared Cuban heritage that in 1948 made world history and that the regime in the island today would like erased.

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