DEFINING BETRAYAL OVER TIME
By Elías Seife
Cubans have always identified with American (U.S.) values and traditions. Cubans have been traditionally creative, individualistic, hard-working, and freedom-loving people. They share the national pastime. U.S. baseball players would play in the Cuban leagues during the winter and Cuban players would play in the U.S. major leagues. U.S. and Cuban business interests were indelibly tied due to their geographic proximity.
Cubans helped raise the millions needed for what turned out to be the decisive battle of Yorktown led by General George Washington against the British in the U.S. War of Independence. The funds were used to pay the soldiers of the Continental army and the French Armada, which was led by Admiral DeGrasse1. Cubans fought in the U.S. Civil War where prominent examples include the case of Confederate Colonel Ambrosio José González and Union Lieutenant Colonel Federico Fernández Cavada. After having served in the U.S. Civil War Fernández Cavada also fought in the 10 years war against Spain. Unfortunately this great patriot was captured and executed by the Spaniards2. In the Second World War, Cuban volunteer Sergeant Manuel Perez Garcia, under the command of Douglas McArthur, was decorated with more than 80 medals, including three purple hearts, three silver stars and three bronze stars for his valiant service in the Pacific theater 3. After thousands of Cubans fleeing Castro's communist regime found refuge in the United States and were allowed to stay and make a new life and home in this country, many later fought in Vietnam as U.S. soldiers. We can continue, but the point is simply that the United States has never had any closer ally and friend than the traditional Cuban citizen.
BUT, as much as I would like to believe otherwise, under the auspices of being called a "country of laws" (un país de leyes) by apologists of U.S. government actions against democracy and freedom for the Cuban people, there is regrettably clear evidence that the United States has not been in favor of democracy for the Cuban people, that it has not been neutral to democracy for the Cuban people, but that it has most categorically been the crucial and foremost impediment that the Cuban people have had in liberating their homeland from the communist tyranny of Fidel Castro.
I simply cannot overlook the fact that the United States, regardless of the political party in power, has hindered our efforts to free Cuba from the tyrannical rule of Fidel Castro. This document, the evidence and conjectures that it exposes, confirms what many Cubans have been saying for years, that the United States has been betraying the Cuban people, that it has been protecting the enemy, and that it has been thwarting the legitimate efforts of Cuban patriots in their quest to free their homeland. Yes, as perplexing as it may be, the United States, the home of the free and land of the brave, the nation that stands for the freedom and dignity of man, denies Cubans their right to liberate their homeland as a matter of policy.
In addition to the betrayal of the 2506 Brigade, and the Kennedy-Khruschev Pact, it is now known that the United States, through its own declassified government documents, fully recognizes and admits that they were in the business of protecting Fidel Castro's government and of pursuing and prosecuting Cubans that could be construed to be "promoting or helping to promote" the overthrow Cuba's communist government. This official admission of betrayal is so scandalous that it should make every good, proud and GOD-fearing American hide in shame, for the basic tenets upon which this GREAT country have been founded are being shaken every second that the Cuban people are being betrayed. We can say that the United States has defined the term of "Betrayal over time". Sergeant Pérez García, who I write about earlier, the highly decorated American soldier in the Second World War's Pacific Theater, years later, at 51 years of age, also volunteered and fought on the shores of Playa Girón as a member of 2506 Brigade and was left to die by the same country that he so valiantly defended 20 years earlier; he was captured and served as a prisoner of war along with his brothers in arms.4
The Hijacking Agreement
For 30 years it was classified. After years of talking about it, the United States finally negotiated a Hijacking Agreement with Communist Cuba on February 13, 1973.5 During the late sixties and early seventies criminals and radical political activists were hijacking commercial airplanes on a fairly regular basis in the United States and taking them to Cuba where they expected to escape U.S. justice. Cuba was receiving them with open arms.
The United States found that it was necessary and that it served its interests to negotiate a reciprocal agreement that would make the Cuban regime return hijackers of U.S. aircraft back to the United States. As with all agreements, they are only signed if it serves the interests of both sides. The United States was the first to approach Cuba so Cuba was in a position to ask for concessions or something in return for their cooperation.
It turns out that Cuba wanted the United States to agree to pursue, and prosecute any person that tried to organize any expedition from anywhere in the world to overthrow their government. They also wanted that the agreement to be signed be retroactive, requiring that the United States prosecute any person that had previously organized expeditions or conspiracies to overthrow the Cuban government.
In the Second Provision of the 1973 Hijacking agreement the United States finally agreed to punish with the most severe punishment their laws allowed for any individual that "conspires to promote, or promotes, or prepares, or directs, or forms part of an expedition from its territory or any other place carries out acts of violence or depredation against aircraft or vessels of any kind or registration coming from or going to the territory of the other party or who, within its territory, hereafter conspires to promote, or promotes, or prepares, or directs, or forms part of an expedition which from its territory or any other place carries out such acts or other similar unlawful acts in the territory of the other party."6 If José Martí, Emilio Nuñez, Horacio Rubens and many other Cuban founding fathers would have been living today they would all be serving life sentences in the United States for numerous weapons charges and illegal expeditions.
The Nixon administration through Secretary of State William Rogers was able to secretly negotiate and finally assure the Communist Cuban regime that they were going to be in the enterprise of protecting them from any outside threat whether it be from U.S. territory or elsewhere.
Of course this U.S. agreement was highly illegal by all international standards, it was immoral and it was despicably treasonous to the Cuban people. The United States was making the world and the freedom loving Cuban people believe that Cuba was the enemy of the United States and that it was doing everything in their power to promote the return of democracy to Cuba when in reality the dictatorship, which was already being protected by the Soviet Union, was now also being protected with all the resources of the United States of America. Cuba and the United States were allies. In 1978, five years after it was signed, a year that still has not been declassified, this agreement was due to be either allowed to expire or be renewed. Technically, this agreement could still be valid and may still be in effect.
This document is a continuation and further confirmation of the document published in January 2000 called "The United States, Cuba and Mass Data Transit"7, where public documents proved that the United States provided Cuba with top U.S. communications experts Sy Goodman, and Larry Press to help in the communications restructuring of Cuba's post-Soviet era. "The United States, Cuba, and Mass Data Transit" clearly revealed how U.S. company Sprint International was providing Cuba with voice and internet capabilities until at least the year 2002. This study (http://www.autentico.org/oa09473.php) showed how the United States had been systematically violating its own laws and policies with regards to Cuba, not to mention the fact that it showed the reprehensible fact that the United States and Communist Cuba were on friendly terms.
While it may not be mentioned in other national and local news outlets and while it may be brushed aside by the current U.S. administration, today, tomorrow or in some years, history will acknowledge the injustice committed against the Cuban people. Claiming ignorance of the betrayal perpetrated by the United States would be like President Kennedy's attempt to explain that he was unaware of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk approaches Castro:
It turns out that Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and their respective administrations were willing and actively trying to negotiate with Cuba. A telegram from Rusk to the United States Ambassador in Chile clearly shows what the true intentions of the United States really were with respect to Cuba. Regrettably the United States was not so much interested in democracy for Cuba. Rusk freely admits that his Government (Johnson Administration), as did the former Kennedy administration, were receptive to having Cuba "find its way back to the Hemisphere" even if they continued being a Communist dictatorship, even after they had executed thousands of innocent people, incarcerated thousands of political prisoners, confiscated billions of dollars in private property and established a totalitarian regime such as had never been seen in the Western Hemisphere.
In his memorandum to the Ambassador he sends the message very clearly when he states: "I said that the internal organization of Cuba is not the crucial obstacle".8
· President Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs failed invasion, negotiated the infamous Kennedy-Khruschev Pact with Nikita Khruschev who was the Soviet leader during that time. In this arrangement with the Soviets, Kennedy agreed to not try to overthrow the Cuban regime and to not help, fund, or promote such an activity.
· Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, through the declassified admission of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, both believed that Cuba's "internal organization was not a crucial obstacle for the United States". It is important to add that this policy thinking was all the more damning in light that the Castro regime in 1965 had proven to the U.S. that their "internal organization" was terrorist in nature. The New York police department was able to foil a plan devised by Ernesto "Che" Guevara that attempted to destroy the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument and the Liberty Bell.9 Today, in 2006, the United States State Department still catalogues Cuba as a terrorist state.
· After several years of negotiating President Richard Nixon, through his Secretary of State William Rogers was able to finally negotiate the secret Hijacking Agreement with Cuba on February 13, 1973.10 Many Cubans were and are still being prosecuted in the United States for weapons violations and are systematically stopped by the U.S. from receiving any kind of international support from friendly nations. The U.S. has used all of its resources to prevent the Cuban exile community from liberating their homeland.
· President George HW Bush sent communications experts to Cuba in 1991 to advise them on how to proceed with restructuring their national communications infrastructure after the fall of the Soviet Union, evidence that there was high technology transfer between friendly countries.
· President Bill Clinton signed the Helms-Burton Law only after 4 Brothers to the Rescue pilots were assassinated by the Castro regime when their two Cessna small engine planes were shot down by Russian MIG fighter jets over international waters. Two of the killed pilots were U.S. citizens, and one was a veteran of the Vietnam War. There was no military response by the United States in what could have only been catalogued as an act of war against the United States by Castro who used military aircraft to kill and destroy U.S. citizens and civilian aircraft. After signing the Helms-Burton Law, Clinton never implemented Title 3 of this Law.
· President George Walker Bush has also refused to apply Title 3 of the Helms Burton Law. After 47 years of communist rule George W. Bush's government is proposing that Castro accept a peaceful democratic transition. Why would Castro want to all of a sudden wish to be democratic? Why would Castro provide for a transition to democracy? Castro and his followers have no need for democracy; they have everything they could ever want, complete power and control of Cuba and its people on the island. Democracy is not an option for Castro and his regime. They all know they will be tried for their crimes. This U.S. policy of supporting a "peaceful transition" mocks the Cuban people's desire for freedom. It is offensive to our intelligence and it is an utterly disgusting farce. The only way to achieve democracy for Cuba is unfortunately by force, and yes, there may be violence involved. The United States never expected Saddam Hussein to accept a "peaceful transition to democracy", and I am sure they do not expect Castro to do so either. And for those who may believe that the Castro regime is "on the ropes" economically, and that the inevitable downfall will arrive after his death, history says that Castro and his cronies have somehow always been able to count on the financial and moral support of the enemies of the United States. First the Soviet Union, now Venezuela, China, and Iran. And if finally the embargo is lifted, the biggest prize of all; the United States would be subsidizing Cuba, a terrorist tyranny 90 miles away from U.S. shores.
· The 3 U.S. Presidents I left out, namely Ford, Carter and Reagan all came after the Hijacking Agreement was signed and did nothing to indicate that their administrations deviated from the policy that was officially established on that 13th day of February 1973; To deny the Cuban people their freedom in exchange for returning hijacked aircraft.
The actions taken by our friends, our hosts, the country of our and of our children's citizenship, in denying the Cuban people to seek their freedom is shameful and scandalous. It has been a long time since 1973; many people have died for their principles along the way. Many have seen their dreams disappear, and their families torn apart. I can only hope that the United States will finally see that it is not only honorable to support our efforts, but that a free, democratic, and sovereign Cuban republic has always been in their best interest.
The United States, land of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, is a place where in theory advancing an idea or argument regarding your government is not only encouraged but is your duty, for otherwise it would not be a "government of people, by the people, and for the people".
1. Battle of Yorktown, José Adán Rodriguez, Guaracabuya, Official publication of the Friends of Cuban the Nation, http://www.amigospais-guaracabuya.org/oagja001.php (in spanish)