From Hugo J. Byrne

Dear President George W. Bush:

Have you ever read about the scandal that prompted Julius Caesar's divorce? It happened in ancient Rome at a time just before its dramatic transition from Republic to Empire. There was a Roman religious ceremony attended only by the wives of the Patricians. For that ritual no men were allowed inside the temple. Some of the wives succeeded in secretly sneaking in a man dressed as a woman. Their trivial action was only meant to be playful, if iconoclastic.

When the scandal became known, it was apparent that Caesar's wife was one of the pranksters. Caesar, who was a rising military and political star at the time, did not react immediately, but after the incident subsided from the public interest he repudiated his wife and sued for divorce. Surprised, Caesar's wife asked for her husband's reason. The future Emperor's response was: "Caesar's wife should not only act according to her status, but must appear to act in a like manner."

When Federal agents raided Santiago Alvarez's office and home, taking him into custody some days ago, everybody in the Cuban American community assumed this action was taken to placate Castro. Castro demanded Alvarez arrest, together with the many other items of his evil agenda vis-à-vis the U.S. government in a $136,000.00 worth New York Times advertisement page, and in a 6 hour long tirade from Havana.

Even if these events are not related -as may be the case- the suspicion of U.S. government being eager to please or being afraid of the international misbehavior of the most dangerous anti-American Tyrant in history is very hard to dismiss. If true, the long and hard series of inconsistencies and betrayals by the U.S. government to those among the most patriotic and loyal American citizens would have reached another shameful milestone. I for one do not want to believe it, otherwise I would not be wasting my time and ink writing this letter.

Let me remind you of certain very hard facts in recent history: For almost 47 years Cuba had been subjected to a most barbaric and cruel totalitarian regime. If you consider the size of the Cuban population, Castro has killed, imprisoned and exiled on a per capita basis more victims than Sadam Hussein. Using the same criteria, Castro is revealed as one among the worst tyrants of the Millennium, comparable to Hitler, Stalin or Mao. It is not necessary for you to take my word on that sad subject. Just review the historical record.

History demonstrated Castro's willingness to engage in terrorism without any respect or regard to frontiers or boundaries of sovereign nations. On this subject Castro is no different from Bin Laden. Had the United States ignored his duplicity in October 1962, this nation would have been at least partially destroyed by nuclear missiles deployed on Cuban soil at Castro's own request. His immense hatred of the U.S. and its political institutions is an absolute understatement.

Castro's totalitarian rule is backed by his continuous violence against the Cuban people. Against that backdrop, Mr. President, do the people have a right to self-defense? Are Cuban Americans lesser humans on this planet or do we have the right and the duty to help our brothers in Cuba to also enjoy certain inalienable rights, like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Santiago Alvarez and Luis Posada are prisoners in this country because they chose to fight for the life, liberty and happiness of the Cuban people. Do you think the United States has a responsibility toward the Cuban nation created by historical and geographical ties? Was the U.S. Congress wrong when in 1898 decided that Cuba "is, and by right should be free and independent"?

Did Washington and Madrid behave ethically when they excluded a Cuban delegation at the signing of the Paris Treaty ending the Spanish-American War of 1898? Did the Kennedy administration take the honorable path by denying the Cuban Brigade the promised air support at Bay of Pigs in April of 1961? Did the U.S. acted properly by extending a guarantee to the Soviets on Castro regime's safety in October 1962?

Mr. President, no nation in history has ever attained liberty without some degree of help from outside powers. This nation is not an exception to this rule. Without a French Army led by General Rochambeau and a French Fleet commanded by Admiral De Grasse, General George Washington could never have surrounded and defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. De Grasse defeated a British fleet -posed to evacuate Cornwallis- at the battle of Chesapeake Bay. Honoring that feat the U.S. Navy always has named one major active vessel as "Admiral De Grasse".

Ironically, De Grasse's Fleet's last port of call before the Battle of Chesapeake Bay was the port of Matanzas City, a wide bay in the north coast of Cuba, sixty five miles east of Havana and my hometown. France and Spain were at that point in history allies in helping the American Revolutionary War against Britain. It was the generous contribution of the people of Havana to the Marquis of Saint-Simon that allowed General Washington to pay his long neglected troops.

Saint-Simon, one of the captains of the French fleet was sent by De Grasse from Matanzas to Havana aboard the frigate "Aigrette" to request economic aid from then Spanish Colonial Governor Juan Cajigal. The help -raised from private donations- reached the incredible amount for that time of one million ducats (the equivalent of $25 million). The people of Havana had suffered over one year from British occupation during the Seven-Year War, and anti-British feelings were still running high. Thanks to the Cuban people of colonial times De Grasse's fleet was able to refurbish its munitions and supplies for the Battle of Chesapeake Bay and George Washington was able to pay his destitute soldiers.

Castro and his client Hugo Chávez are now openly and blatantly intervening and destabilizing almost every other nation in South and Central America. Their main objective at this time is to neutralize Colombia, besieged by the collusion between communist insurgency and the cocaine industry. President Alvaro Uribe, the only U.S. ally in the area, seems to be the last obstacle to the final conquest of Latin America by the totalitarian rabble they command. You Mr. President do not need to be reminded of the final objective of this nefarious couple.

With the background of this most unsettling scenario it is mind boggling to witness Federal agents engage in persecuting and imprisoning those Cuban exiles whose only crime is to wage an uphill struggle against America's Public Enemy #1. Luis Posada was twice judged by unfriendly Venezuelan Courts and found not guilty -for lack of evidence- of the fatal bombing of a passenger plane off the coast of Barbados in 1976. Then Venezuelan President Carlos Perez kept Posada in prison, bowing to Castro's pressure until Posada's escape.

There is absolutely nothing the American public would or should fear from men like Luis Posada or Santiago Alvarez. Posada is a little older than I am, but I have followed very close his heroic quest for freedom. Alvarez is from Matanzas, and I have been a friend of his family since my early childhood. Our parents were very close friends and we served in the same unit in the U.S. Army. I do not think Santiago would need me as a character witness any time soon -he has more notable friends- but I would gladly do just that.

If the accusation of "terrorist" by Castro and his like should be sufficient to order the arrest of anybody in the U.S., I should wait for the visit of federal agents at any time soon. In December of 2003 "Gramma International" accused me of "terrorism". Castro's despicable rag made that accusation because of a letter that I among half a dozen Cuban American activists in L. A. sent to then Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso. The letter, given to the Panamanian local Consulate, requested freedom for Luis Posada and three other Cuban patriots, then in a Panamanian prison, again victims of Castro's intrigue.

You see Mr. President, for tyrants like Castro or Chavez, anybody opposing their criminal rule is a "terrorist". For that reason alone I appeal to your sense of justice, as well as your best political judgement. The Cuban community was paramount on your election victory in Florida in 2000 and decidedly contributed greatly to your reelection in 2004. Persecution and incarceration of those defending freedom and offering the best of them to that noble cause during your watch is beyond absurdity.

There is no difference between U.S. soldiers or marines fighting for freedom in Iraq and Cubans facing death and braving terror and repression in their quest for liberty. Alienating freedom-loving Cuban-Americans could do great damage to the permanent interest of the U.S. and the cause of freedom.

That can only promote a dangerous division between the exiled community and your administration. Castro's tyranny would be the only party to gain by that action. I am afraid that is precisely what Santiago Alvarez's arrest could largely achieve.

In the name of freedom, dignity and Humanity release Santiago Alvarez and Luis Posada!

Hugo J. Byrne

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