A Historic Celebration for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and for Recognition of Indefaticable Career Diplomat Dr. Wayne Smith1
February 6, 2015 by Alfred
This writer attended a historical event which took place in a hotel by the Miami International Airport on Sunday, February 1, 2015.
Notwithstanding the importance of this historical event, the mainstream media has thus far not covered it and therefore it remains up to independent media and blogs such as this Argentum Post to bring occurrences such as this one to the attention of the American people.
So, as a result of a lunch time conversation of this writer with Dr. Wayne Smith, this writer decided to attend a historical event at a hotel by the Miami International Airport which was both, a celebration for the freedom of the Cuban Five, who were falsely charged with “espionage”,and then tried, convicted, and sentenced, in a miscarriage of justice, to prison time where they have been since 1998.
What the Cuban Five were actually doing in the U.S. ,was to monitor anti-Cuba terrorists which were secretly funded and trained by such organizations as the Cuban-American National Foundation. These terrorist, trained in the Everglades, operated with impunity in Florida for more than 50 years. Their campaigns of bombings, assassinations, and other attacks left 3,478 Cubans dead, and 2,099 seriously injured. Among the victims of these terrorists were European tourists in Cuba and innocent drivers and teachers who worked at the Cuban Mission in New York City.
Among some of the most notorious and horrific crimes committed by these Cuban-American outlaws, was the bombing of a Cubana airliner on the way to Barbados in 1976, which killed all aboard and that included members of the young fencing team of Cuba. The master mind of the this mass killing, Luis Posada Carriles, bragged about his role in this heinous crime, was arrested in Venezuela and tried and imprisoned, yet at some point managed to escape said prison. He returned to Miami and was never held accountable for this crime. Cuban-American terrorists were also involved in the bombing of an automobile on Sheridan Circle, in Washington D.C., which resulted in the assassinations of former Chilean ambassador to the U.S., Orlando Letelier, and his IPS American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, while her husband in the car was seriously wounded.
Cuban-American criminals were also involved in the Watergate scandalous break-in which resulted in the impeachment of President Nixon and the imprisonment of several members of his cabinet.
The sordid history of the U.S. support and downright protection of such heinous criminals is amply documented, particularly but not exclusively, the U.S. lack of law enforcement when it came to such Florida and New Jersey based terrorist organizations as Alpha 66 and Omega 7.
So, essentially what the Cuban Five were peacefully trying to do is what U.S. law enforcement was refusing to do, namely prevent U.S. based terrorism.
The trial of the Cuban Five was a farce, Miami journalists were paid to saturate the media with false reports that were highly inflammatory and very prejudicial to the Five as Radio and TV Marti, which is U.S. taxpayer supported, as they did their best to generate calumniating propaganda against the falsely accused defendants.
At long last, on August 9, 2005, a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, to its credit, unanimously ruled to overturn the unjust conviction of the Cuban Five. At that point however the corrupted Bush administration intervened and got away with a move to overturn the decision. (The full history is available at http://www.freethefive.org ).
So, fast forwarding to the last few weeks, as a result of secret negotiations which have been going on for about 2 years, and thanks to President Obama, to Pope Francis, and to many others but most importantly to years of the devoted, principled, brilliant work by our former Chief of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana from 1979 to 1982, Dr. Wayne Smith, who went on to become the director of the prestigious Center of International Policy, not only were the Cuban Five released, but after 63 years of a destructive, bizarrely counterproductive, and brutal economical embargo on Cuba and restrictions on travel to Cuba by Americans imposed by the right-wing Congressional ideologues and mostly Republican administrations, and codified into the Helms-Burton law, this state of affairs came to the beginning of its end.
Thus this event came to take place as a celebration for the freedom of the Cuban Five at that hotel by the Miami International Airport, as well as the honoring of one of most inspiring, distinguished career diplomats who has been a source of pride for all Americans who have been aware of our egregiously failed policies towards Cuba which totally isolated the U.S. , not only in Latin America, but at the United Nations where year after year, at the National Assembly level, practically all nations voted for an end to this aberration of such a defective and undemocratic Helms-Burton policy, with only the U.S., and most notably Israel, voting in support of it.
It must be kept in mind that the Cuban Five were not part of the mutual release of intelligence agents which took place between the U.S. and Cuba. The Cuban government released Alan Gross who was secretly and in violation of Cuban law, under USAID cover, smuggling into Cuba telecommunications equipment, and the U.S. released a Cuban intelligence agent named, Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, as reported by Newsweek.
The Cuban Five could not be released in exchange for Alan Gross, since they were not intelligence agents. The mainstream media, with some exceptions, tries to erroneously conflate the Cuban Five release with the Alan Gross release, for political reasons.
This event had for this writer a profound personal and emotional effect, and was a source of immense pleasure.
It also brought to mind the devoted, principled, competent, and noble efforts of another monumental career diplomat whose career was abruptly and unjustly ended by President Reagan. His name was Robert White. He was very critical of the ruthless and corrupted Roberto D’Aubuisson dictatorial government of El Salvador which was supported by the Reagan administration at a time when U.S. trained death squads killed countless innocent and unarmed peasants and union leaders, ands some Americans nuns, and included among them was legendary Archbishop Romero, who has finally been declared a “martyr”, a characterization which sets the stage for the steps of beatification and sainthood. This was an initiative of reformist Pope Francis who went ahead with this move regardless of the strong opposition of conservative bishops opposed to the progressive “liberation theology” doctrine and practices which actually dignify Christian values and teachings.
This writer also wrote a tribute to this noble foreign service officer, ambassador Robert White, on January 18. 2015.
What lies ahead now is the evolution of the Cuban revolution into a new era of normalized relations with the U.S. This should be win – win proposition provided the mutual engagement is constructive and based on a mutual respect for the sovereignty of Cuba.
The most immediate prerequisites for this consequential transition are (a) the immediate removal of all U.S. restrictions to the free travel of Americans to Cuba, (b) the immediate removal of obsolete and destructive Helms-Burton codified and failed attempts to isolate and sabotage Cuba’s economy, so that cultural, technological, scientific, and commercial exchanges can take place between the two nations, and (c) not only the closure of the Guantanamo prisoner concentration camp in occupied Cuban territory where huge numbers of innocent humans were confined to without charges and were at times tortured for as long as a decade and longer in some cases, but a complete vacating of the U.S. naval base on land whose lease in 1903 expired in 2003.
In the area of narco-trafficking between Colombia and Miami, a secret collaboration between Cuba and the U.S. has existed for quite some time and was improved by the Bill Clinton administration, since while Cuba is narco-trafficking free territory, its more remote coastline was used as drop off points by Colombian narco-traffickers whose containers of heroin would then be picked up by Miami based speed boats.