I am sure many of us have seen news reports about US bombings in Pakistan and Syria, and while some may think the blatantly illegal acts are justified on the grounds of going after “terrorists” I have yet to read anyone point out a similar example but one where the table is turned and the moral credibility is larger.
No, this will not be about Bill Ayers – though there is an apt comparison here too.
I am talking about the Cuban 5. From the website of the “National Committee to Free the Cuban Five”:
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.
They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.
The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.
But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.
The Five’s actions were never directed at the U.S. government. They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any weapons while in the United States.
For decades the government of Cuba has petitioned us to put a stop to the terrorist groups operating in Miami, Florida. And to no avail.
I encourage everyone to know some relevant historical information. I am talking about the Monroe Doctrine and how early to mid-1800 policy makers coveted Cuba and felt it would fall into our hands through “political gravitation”, and how the fruit “ripened” with the Spanish-American War and how it was less about liberation and more about domination (déjà vu), and how the Platt Amendment largely achieved that (which is why we have our notorious base in Guantanamo Bay), and how decades of dictatorship caused the people to rebel and how we responded to the successful overthrow of the Batista dictatorship and the terrorist operations that followed (i.e. Bay of Pigs invasion, Operation Mongoose, Ed Lansdale, etc.) and how we have been ignoring the world on the overwhelming opposition to the embargo (more than 99% of the world’s governments support lifting the embargo). There is much we should understand when putting this incident into perspective.
Recently there was the case of Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban terrorist who used to work for the CIA and has been allowed to stay in the US. Of course he is welcomed as a hero in Miami.
There is a simple point to this: we must free these men. They have done nothing we would not do if put in a similar position. Considering the context of all of this – that we are aiding terrorists in our own country, that we have ignored formal requests to stop it, that we use our unmatched political power in the UN to cover our crimes, that we imprisoned Cuban agents who infiltrated the terrorist groups and then passed on the information they uncovered to our government in the hopes that we would disrupt the terrorist groups activities, and that we are simultaneously bombing, injuring and killing hundreds of peoples over what we claim is a similar justification: to disrupt terrorist activities – there is no other option but to free these men and become a civilized member of the international community. If we cannot tolerate a foreign government infiltrating known terrorist groups on our soil then we should cease our illegal cross-border bombing-raids in foreign countries (as well as our illegal wars and occupations).
I want to end with a thought experiment. Regarding everything I said above:
What would we think if the tables were turned?
What if it was our country that has long been coveted by a foreign government that seeks to dominate us?
What if it was our country that was “liberated” only to be put under control of the “liberator”?
What if it was our country that rose up against the dictatorship that the foreign government was propping up and overthrew them?
What if it was our country that was punished for this act of defiance?
What if it was our country that was punished with decades of terrorism?
What if it was our country that had its pleas and requests ignored while the terrorists attacking us lived freely and comfortably only 90 miles away?
What if it was our country that finally sent in spies to infiltrate the terrorist organizations and handed over the uncovered information to the belligerent government that has been punishing us for decades?
What it was our countrymen who were imprisoned for this brave act while the known terrorists continued to live freely and comfortably?
What kind of justice would we demand?
If you can read these questions and sympathize then support the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. You don’t have to like the Cuban government. You just have to like justice.
National Committee to Free the Cuban Five