Category Archives: human rights

El terrorismo en cualquiera de sus manifestaciones es criminal y detestable


Terrorismo es igul a muerteAnte los recientes actos terroristas que tuvieron lugar en Barcelona y otros lugares del mundo, debemos recapacitar  que cualquier acción de esta índole es reprochable, porque nada ni nadie puede justificar  el atentar contra personas inocentes.

Quienes fueron víctimas de esta acción terrorista en la Rambla de Barcelona, eran personas que nada tenían que ver con aquellas a quienes sus ejecutores deseaban castigar, aunque no se justifica  el crimen mediante el terrorismo, aún cuando sea contra quienes merecen ser juzgados por actos criminales.

Es condenable cualquier acto terrorista, que en la inmensa mayoría de los casos causan la muerte de personas inocentes, como ha sucedido en Barcelona.

Veamos que expresó el presidente  de EE.UU. Donald Trump, mientras se encontraba de “vacaciones de trabajo” en su club de campo en Bedminster (Nueva Jersey):  “Haremos lo que sea necesario para ayudar. ¡Sed duros y fuertes, os queremos!”, y en un segundo mensaje por Twitter hizo alusión apuntando al terrorismo islámico y mencionando al general John Pershing (1860-1948) . “Estudien lo que el general Pershing de Estados Unidos hizo a terroristas cuando los capturó. ¡No hubo más terror radical islámico en 35 años!”, escribió Trump. Según un episodio negado por historiadores, Pershing ejecutó a 50 prisioneros musulmanes en Filipinas con balas untadas en sangre de cerdo. Esta cita del  presidente revela su pensamiento fascista, además de no ajustarse a los hechos históricos que menciona.

Vale la pena reflexionar que lo ocurrido en la región de Cataluña no es la única forma de terrorismo que se lleva a cabo en el mundo, sabemos que también hay terrorismo de Estado, cuyas consecuencias son mucho más graves, no porque lo sucedido en Barcelona u otro lugar  deje de serlo, si no porque el terrorismo de estado está dirigido contra naciones y sus pueblos.

Solo hay que ver la hipocresía y el doble rasero del actual presidente de los EE.UU. y parte de su gabinete, al censurar lo ocurrido en Barcelona y manifestar su “solidaridad” con el pueblo español, mientras es aliado de países como Israel que comete genocidio contra Palestina, y el propio EE.UU. ha realizado recientemente bombardeo a una base aérea en Siria, violando todos los preceptos internacionales; amenaza con utilizar las armas contra Venezuela, solo por el hecho de que los dirigentes y el pueblo de este último país, no se someten a los dictámenes del Imperio.

Claro que es condenable la acción terrorista en Barcelona o en cualquier otro lugar del mundo, nadie tiene derecho a realizar actos de este tipo, en que mueren personas inocentes que solo pretendían tener un rato esparcimiento, y con seguridad por sus mentes no pasó que tendrían un final tan triste.

Hay que combatir toda clase de acciones encaminadas a cejar vidas humanas, no hay nada que pueda justificarlas.

Se  hace impostergable seguir denunciando al imperio norteamericano y sus aliados para que dejen de perturbar la paz en otros territorios ajenos, como en países del Oriente Medio y de América Latina, aún está latente la amenaza de  agresión armada a Venezuela, donde la mayoría de sus ciudadanos desean construir su presente y futuro  sin injerencia extranjera.

Lamentablemente, ante acontecimientos de este tipo, se emprenderá una cruzada contra los ciudadanos de origen musulmán, y aunque los autores de estos hechos terroristas puedan ser de corte islamita, no hay por qué  catalogarlos a todos por igual, y mucho menos discriminarlos y realizar actos de violencia ni xenofobia, porque los  propios musulmanes han sido  víctimas del terrorismo islámico.

Abogar por la paz en todo el mundo es  una imponderable, así como  el cese de las injusticias y crímenes genocidas, el injerencismo; que deje de imponerse la ley del más fuerte.

Veamos algunos datos que se refieren al terrorismo, pero que excluyen el terrorismo de estado, todos son achacados mayoritariamente al fundamentalismo islámico y como territorios más afectados  Asia y Africa.

Según  un informe publicado por la Universidad Austral de 2017, en los primeros cinco meses de este año, el mundo ha asistido a unos 388 ataques terroristas en 52 países, que les costaron la vida a unas 3.205 personas. Se señala que el 71% fueron realizados por los fundamentalistas islámicos.

Pero nada  se dice de cómo en el 2014, en los 51 días de agresiones israelíes, iniciadas  contra la nación palestina en Gaza, no solo perdieron la vida al menos 2160 palestinos, sino que 11.100 resultaron heridos y las infraestructuras básicas resultaron seriamente dañadas. Acaso no tienen estas personas el derecho a la vida como los ciudadanos del primer mundo.

La filosofía sobre el terrorismo del imperio norteamericano está basada en que lo que hacen otros es un terrorismo censurable, pero lo que ellos hacen a través de la injerencia en los asuntos internos de otros países mediante las agresiones militares está bajo la argumentación de defender la “democracia”. Como si las muertes de miles de personas inocentes que provocan sus agresiones y la de sus aliados pudieran justificarse.

No hay terrorismo bueno, y terrorismo malo, toda acción  terrorista venga de quien venga, es condenable, pero que no se trate de ocultar la verdad haciendo un gran despliegue mediático cuando son acciones terroristas imputables a las  musulmanes, mientras que todos los bombardeos y agresiones contra la población civil de otros países por parte del imperio norteamericano y sus lacayos o aliados, quedan en el silencio, o cuando más reflejados en una nota informativa.

Hay que reflexionar en lo que ahora mismo está haciendo el gobierno norteamericano, teniendo como máximo exponente al presidente Trump, al mantener su amenaza de intervención  armada en Venezuela, solo por el hecho de que el gobierno y el pueblo de este país no se pliegan a los designios del Imperio.

No al terrorismo en cualquier de sus manifestaciones,  abogar por la paz que es lo único  que salvará a la humanidad en este mundo de hoy tan convulso y desigual.

 

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Filed under españa, human rights, terrorist, terrorista, USA

Without Any Exception Whatsoever?


by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

Oct. 23, 2009
Reprinted from CounterPunch

posada  carrilesVenezuela’s formal request for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles was well founded. There is an Extradition Treaty between Venezuela and the United States, ratified by both countries in 1922, which has been implemented for a century. Continue reading

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Filed under EE.UU., human rights, Luis Posada Carriles, terrorist, terrorista, THE CUBAN FIVE, vENESUELA

The Innocence of Gerardo


By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

gerardo_hernandez_0The meeting in London of the Commission of Inquiry on the case of the Cuban Five examined in depth the specific situation of Gerardo Hernández Nordeloand the infamous charge (Count 3 “conspiracy to commit murder”) lodged only against him. It forms the basis of his sentence, in which he must die two times in prison. He is falsely accused of having participated in the shoot-down of the two planes of the terrorist group that calls itself “Brothers to the Rescue.” Continue reading

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Gerardo Hernández: guilty as charged? Alan Gross: innocent as claimed?


 

Stephen Kimber

It should be easier to make a deal. A 65-year-old American USAID subcontractor named Alan Gross is serving 15 years in a Cuban prison for smuggling sophisticated telecommunications equipment into Cuba. Cuban officials say they’re prepared to discuss his fate without pre-conditions as a “humanitarian” gesture. But it is also clear they want to exchange him for the three members of their Cuban Five intelligence network still in prison in the United States.

There are precedents for such a swap.

In 2010, Washington acted quickly to trade 10 Russian deep-cover spies for four men the Russian government had imprisoned for “illegal contacts” with the West. There is also the example of Israel. In 2011, Israel freed more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to win the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas five years earlier.

And yet — even after a November 2013 letter signed by a bipartisan group of 66 Senators urging President Obama to “act expeditiously to take whatever steps are in the national interest to obtain [Gross’s] release,” — the U.S. Administration refuses to negotiate.

Why? Three words: Castro, Cuba, murder.

Even for those who can get past the first two, the third is often, understandably, a show-stopper.

In 2001, Gerardo Hernández, the leader of the Cuban Five, was charged and convicted of “conspiracy to commit murder” in connection with a 1996 shootdown of two civilian aircraft over the Florida Straits that resulted in the deaths of four men. He was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years in prison.

How can the United States exchange a man convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for someone the State Department continues to insist did nothing wrong?

It’s worth unpacking both sides of that conventional wisdom.

Let’s start with the case of Gerardo Hernández.

The shootdown

On February 24, 1996, Cuban Air Force MiGs shot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes, killing the four civilians aboard.

The shootdown triggered not only an international incident between the two countries but also an outpouring of rage and demands for revenge from Miami’s Cuban-American exile community.

We can argue today whether the planes were in Cuban or international airspace when they were shot down. Or debate whether the shootdown was a reasonable response to Brothers’ provocation.

But none of those legitimate debates has anything to do with the central issue: What role, if any, did Gerardo Hernández play in the shootdown of the planes? Could he have known in advance the Cuban military was planning to shoot down the aircraft? Would he have had any control over, influence on, or role in the Cuban military’s plan to bring down the planes?

Hernández and the shoot down

During much of the time leading up to the shootdown (from October 1995 to January 26, 1996), Gerardo Hernández was on vacation in Cuba. Another agent, identified in trial documents as Manny Ruiz, took his place and remained in Miami until at least mid-March 1996. Ruiz, a major and Hernández’s superior in the Cuban intelligence command structure, controlled the decoding program required to communicate directly with their bosses in Havana until after March 14, 1996 — 17 days after the shootdown.

On January 29, 1996, Havana sent a high frequency message to Ruiz: “Superior headquarters,” it said, “approved Operation Scorpion in order to perfect the confrontation of counter-revolutionary actions of Brothers to the Rescue.” The message said Havana needed to know “without a doubt” when Brothers leader José Basulto was flying and “whether or not activity of dropping of leaflets or violation of air space.”

Although prosecutors would later claim these documents showed Hernández played a role in Operation Scorpion — the basis of the conspiracy to commit murder charge — the documents clearly show this message was addressed to Ruiz, not Hernández.

Two weeks later, on February 12, a second message concerning Operation Scorpion was sent to field agent René González and signed using the code names for both Ruiz and Hernández. Hernández says he “did not write or send the message of February 12.”

There are a number of reasons to believe him. For starters, the message adopts almost precisely the same wording as the January 29 message, including repeating two errors Ruiz might not have caught but Hernández surely would.

The message cryptically instructed González to “find excuse not to fly” on future Brothers missions. The reality was that González had stopped flying with Brothers more than two years earlier. Hernández would have known that.

The message also referred to González as Iselin, one of his two code names, but one which Hernández did not use in any of his other messages to him.

And what did “perfect the confrontation” mean? Judge Phyllis A. Kravitch — in her 2008 dissent from a decision of the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals — pointed out: “There are many ways a country could ‘confront’ foreign aircraft. Forced landings, warning shots, and forced escorted journeys out of a country’s territorial airspace are among them — as are shoot downs.”

Would Cuban State Security have told Hernández in advance it planned to shoot down the planes? That’s highly unlikely. Cuban intelligence is incredibly compartmentalized; information is shared on a need-to-know basis only. Hernández, a mid-level field intelligence agent, would have had no need to know.

During this time, Hernández did have other important mission responsibilities. He was in charge of Operation Venecia, an unrelated plan to help another agent inside Brothers, Juan Pablo Roque, to re-defect back to Cuba. Operation Venecia was successful — Roque flew out of Miami on February 23, 1996.

On March 1, the Cuban Intelligence Directorate sent a message of congratulation to its agents in Miami: “Everything turned out well,” it said. “The commander in chief visited [Roque] twice, being able to exchange the details of the operation. We have dealt the Miami right a hard blow, in which your role has been decisive.”

The message did not refer to either Operation Scorpion or Operation Venecia. Instead it offered “our profound recognition” for Operation German. Based on the context of the message and the fact that Roque’s code name was “German,” it seems clear this message refers to Roque’s defection. During the trial, however, prosecutors argued the message congratulated Hernández for his role in the shootdown.

Prosecutors also claimed Hernández’s promotion to Captain in Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior on June 6, 1996, represented another acknowledgment of his key role in the shootdown. But June 6 is the anniversary of the founding of Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior, the date on which routine long-service promotions are granted to qualifying MININT employees. Having completed four years as lieutenant, Hernández had automatically been promoted.

As Judge Kravitch concluded in her appeal dissent, prosecutors “presented no evidence” to link Hernández to the shootdown. “I cannot say that a reasonable jury — given all the evidence — could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernández agreed to a shoot down.”

The charge

Which brings us to the issue of why prosecutors decided to charge Hernández with conspiracy to commit murder. It was not one of the original charges laid after the Cuban agents were arrested on September 12, 1998. Prosecutors only added it seven months later, on May 7, 1999.

Why the delay?

FBI agents had penetrated the Cuban network as early as December of 1996, and decrypted and translated the relevant messages well before the arrests.

There are several possible explanations for the decision to escalate the case by tacking on the murder charge.

  • Although prosecutors in 1998 boasted the FBI broke a “very sophisticated” spy ring, journalists and commentators quickly focused on just how unsophisticated the operation seemed. Critics had begun to dismiss the case as “second-rate.” That changed, of course, as soon as the murder charge was added.
  • The FBI was under fire from exile leaders in Miami for failing to charge anyone in connection with the shootdown. Soon after the 1998 arrests, Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart called on the Clinton administration to charge the arrested agents “for the murder of four members of Brothers to the Rescue” — even though no evidence then connected them to the incident.

The trial

The conspiracy to commit murder charge became the central focus of the seven-month trial.

Did the prosecution present a compelling case?

Theydidn’t believe so. At the conclusion of the trial, they filed a last-minute emergency petition to prevent the jurors from voting on the murder count. During her instructions to the jury, Judge Joan Lenard had outlined the level of proof required to convict Hernández of conspiracy to murder. In a petition to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal on May 25, 2001, the prosecutors threw up their hands. “In light of the evidence presented in this trial,” the petition declared, the judge’s instruction “presents an insurmountable hurdle for the United States in this case, and will likely result in the failure of the prosecution.”

The Appeal Court rejected their petition, but the jury convicted the Five on every single count, including conspiracy to murder.

The jury

Which brings us to the jury, and the political climate in Miami at the time of the trial.

There is a traditional hostility among Miami’s exile community to anyone associated with the Castro government. But the climate was even more toxic in the lead-up to the trial:

  • Elian González, a Cuban boy, had washed up on Florida’s shores in November 1999. After an emotional and legal tug of war between his father in Cuba and his extended family in Miami, he was returned to his family in Cuba, ratcheting up the anger toward Cuba among many in Miami.
  • Although much of the Miami media would have been reflexively anti-Cuban in the best of circumstances, we now know some virulently anti-Cuban journalists and commentators, including some who wrote about the case before and during the trial, were secretly paid thousands of dollars by the U.S. Government through the Board of Broadcast Governors.
  • There was still anger and frustration among many in Miami because no one had been charged for the shootdown of the planes two years before, with some officials suggesting indicting Fidel Castro; Gerardo Hernández, it is fair to suggest, became the best available substitute.

Before and during the trial, the defence applied for a change of venue because of the climate of hostility in Miami. Those requests were all turned down.

In the years since their convictions, however, a number of respected international organizations have raised questions about whether the accused got a fair trial.

Amnesty International, in a 2010 report concluded: “A central, underlying concern relates to the fairness of holding the trial in Miami, given the pervasive community hostility toward the Cuban government in the area and media and other events which took place before and during the trial. There is evidence to suggest that these factors made it impossible to ensure a wholly impartial jury.”

Added the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in a 2005 report: “The climate of bias and prejudice against the accused in Miami persisted and helped to present the accused as guilty from the beginning. ”

Amnesty International also questioned “the strength of the evidence on which Gerardo Hernández was convicted of conspiracy to murder… [Amnesty] believes that there are questions as to whether the government discharged its burden of proof that Hernández planned a shoot-down of BTTR planes in international airspace, and thus within US jurisdiction, which was a necessary element of the charge against him.”

To repeat, once again, the opinion of Judge Kravitch, prosecutors “presented no evidence” to link Hernández to the shootdown. “I cannot say that a reasonable jury — given all the evidence — could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernández agreed to a shoot down.”

The case of Alan Gross

If it’s obvious the case against Gerardo Hernández is not as clear cut as the State Department would have us believe, neither is the case for Alan Gross.

On December 3, 2009, Cuban authorities arrested Gross and later charged him with “acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state.” He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Although the State Department continues to describe him as a humanitarian do-gooder attempting to help Cuba’s small Jewish community connect to the Internet, the facts are more complex.

Cuba’s 1,500-member Jewish community has generally good relations with the island’s government. And they already had Internet connections. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a global Jewish news service, would report later: “the main Jewish groups in Cuba denied having any contracts with Alan Gross or any knowledge of his project.”

In 2008, Gross had signed a one-year deal with Development Associates International, a USAID-connected firm, to import communications equipment into Cuba, set up three WiFi hot spots — one each in Havana, Camaguey and Santiago — and train Cubans to use them. He was paid $258,264.

That equipment included BGANS (Broadband Global Network Systems, which function as a satellite phone bypassing the local phone system and can also provide Internet signals and be used to establish its own WiFi hotspot, allowing it to operate undetected by government servers) and at least one specialized sophisticated SIM card, capable of preventing satellite phone transmissions from being detected within 400 kilometres. Such SIM cards are not available for general sale in the U.S. and are most frequently used by the CIA and the Defense Department.Despite U.S. travel restrictions, Gross made five visits to Cuba in 2009 alone. He never informed Cuba of his mission, and invariably flew into the country on a tourist visa. To smuggle his equipment into the country without arousing suspicion, Gross sometimes used unsuspecting members of religious groups as “mules.”

In December 2009, Gross had been scheduled to deliver a BGANS device to a Havana university professor who’d been using a similar U.S.-supplied device to send information on “the Cuban situation” to his handlers in the United States. He was actually a double agent working for Cuban State Security. Gross was arrested.

When Cuban authorities arrested Gross, they uncovered a treasure trove of reports back to his bosses in Washington in which he acknowledged the dangerous nature of the work he was doing. “This is very risky business in no uncertain terms,” he wrote at one point, adding that “detection of satellite signals would be catastrophic.”

Conclusion

So if Alan Gross is not quite as innocent as claimed, and Gerardo Hernández is not as guilty as judged, where does that leave us?

The truth is that — whatever their violations of the laws of the countries in which the two men were arrested — both Alan Gross and Gerardo Hernández are two more human victims of more than 50 years of failed American policy toward Cuba.

Their continued incarcerations represent — for both sides — a major impediment to improving relations between the two countries.

The Cuban government has expressed a willingness to discuss Alan Gross’s fate without pre-conditions. It is past time for the United States, which is ultimately responsible for Alan Gross’s failed mission in Cuba, to do the same.

http://stephenkimber.com/gerardo-hernandez-guilty-as-charged-alan-gross-innocent-as-claimed/

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5 X los 5 en el ICAP de Granma


Noemi Rabaza Fernández
6 Junio 2014 – 11:00am

Como cada día cinco, en reclamo de LIBERTAD para nuestros luchadores antiterroristas: Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino y Antonio Guerrero, nos reunimos una vez más en el patio de la sede del Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos en Granma, en nuestro habitual espacio “5 por Los Cinco”, que este mes unió su voz a la de miles de amigos de todo el mundo, quienes protagonizan en Washington DC la Tercera Jornada de Denuncia y Solidaridad “Cinco días de acciones por Los Cinco”.
Jóvenes, estudiantes, trabajadores, combatientes, juristas, artistas, trabajadores del ICAP y pueblo en general, se dieron cita en este fraternal encuentro, para manifestar su apoyo a la importantísima Jornada, que desde este miércoles ha convertido a la capital de los Estados Unidos en el epicentro del Movimiento Internacional que apoya la justa causa de Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando y René.
Con la participación especial del amigo chileno Juan Ñanculef Huaiquinao, profesor e investigador de la cultura Mapuche, y su esposa, levantamos nuestras voces para exigir que se les haga Justicia a Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio, y también a sus hermanos de lucha, Fernando González y René González, quienes felizmente se encuentran hoy en Cuba, pero no debemos olvidar que cumplieron hasta el último minuto sus injustas y arbitrarias condenas.
También recordamos que esta Jornada “Cinco días de acciones por Los Cinco”, comenzó en una fecha de especial significación, pues este cuatro de junio el Héroe de la República de Cuba, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, arribó a su cumpleaños número 49; y ¿qué mejor manera de festejarlo que exigiendo su inmediata liberación? ¿Qué mejor forma de agasajar a Gera que peleando sin descanso por su derecho a vivir, y a regresar a su país junto a aquellos que lo aman y a su pueblo?
Artistas y participantes recordamos igualmente que, junto a los cumpleaños de Gerardo y Ramón, junio trae otra fecha muy especial: el Día de los Padres; fecha en la cual debemos recordar que durante más de 15 años, CINCO padres, tíos, hermanos, cinco amigos, han estado ausentes a la celebración. Ese día, debemos tener presente que ni Ramón ni Tony podrán ser abrazados por sus hijos; y que por otro año más, a Gerardo se le escapa el sueño de ser Padre.
Recordemos ese Día, que como consecuencia de sus injustas condenas, aunque ya están en Cuba, René no podrá regocijarse en la mutua felicitación con su padre, ni con su hermano; y Fernando perdió para siempre la posibilidad de tener hijos con su amada Rosa Aurora.

Imágenes:

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