FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Face of Impunity

by RICARDO ALARCÓN De QUESADA

This is the third part in Ricardo Alarcón’s series on the Cuban Five. Click here to read part one and here to read part two.

As they recognized during voir dire, the kidnapping of Elian González and its consequences for the community was very much in the minds of those chosen to be jurors at the trial of the Cuban Five a few months after the six year old boy was rescued by the federals.

Like everybody else they had followed the events related to Elian which saturated the news. The faces of the kidnapers, their promoters and supporters, as well as others involved in the scandal have become quite familiar to the jury members. The faces, and two features of the Elian drama with a unique character and a direct connection with the process of the Five Cubans.

First, the perplexing behavior of every Miami public official, from its Federal Congressmen, the Mayor and the City Commissioners to firemen and members of the police force, who openly refused to obey the law and did nothing to put an end to the most publicized case of child abuse ever to occur. And, secondly, but not less astonishingly, that nothing happened to a group of individuals that so clearly had violated the law with the abduction of a child and the violence and disturbances they spread over the town when he was saved by the federal government. Nobody was prosecuted, arrested, or fined. No local authority was dismissed, substituted or invited to resign. The Elian case demonstrated how anti-Castro impunity reign over Miami.

When the jurors sat first at the Court room to do their citizens duty they were probably surprised. There, live, were the “Miami celebrities” that they have been so accustomed to watch, day and night, on local TV. And they were together, sometimes smiling and embracing each other, as old pals. The kidnapers and the “law enforcement” guys hand and glove with the prosecutors (those valiant people who never show up when a little boy was being molested in front of the media)

The jurors spent seven months in that room looking at, and being watched by the same people so acquainted to them who now were at the witness stand, at the public area or at the news corner, the same people they will find frequently at the parking lot, at the building entrance, at the corridors. Some now and then proudly showing the attire used at their last military incursion to Cuba.

The jurors heard them explaining in detail their criminal exploits and saying time and again that they were not talking about the past. It was an odd parade of individuals appearing in a Court of law and recognizing their violent actions against Cuba that were planned, prepared and launched from their own neighborhood.

There, making speeches, demanding the worst punishment, slandering and threatening the defense lawyers.

The judge did what she could to try to preserve calm and dignity. She certainly ordered the jury, many times, not to consider certain inappropriate remarks, but by so doing their prejudicial and fearsome effects could not be erased from juror’s minds.

The consequences were obvious. The Court of Appeal panel’s decision stated it in clear terms: “The evidence at trial disclosed the clandestine activities of not only the defendants, but also of the various Cuba exile groups and their military camps that continue to operate in the Miami area. The perception that these groups could harm jurors that rendered a verdict unfavorable to their views was palpable”. (Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal, No. 01-17176, 03-11087)

Bur there was more. After hearing and seeing the abundant evidence of terrorist acts that the defendants had tried to avert, the Government succeeded in defending the terrorists by having the Court inexplicably agreeing to take from the jury the right to exonerate the Five on the basis of necessity which was the foundation of their defense.

The heart of the matter, in this case, was the need for Cuba to protect its people from the criminal attempts of terrorists who enjoy total impunity on US territory. The law in the United States is clear: if one acts to prevent a greater harm, even if he/she violates the law in the process, he will be excused from any criminality because society recognizes the necessity –even the benefit- of taking such action.

The United States, the only world superpower, has interpreted such universal principle in a manner leading to war in faraway lands in the name of fighting terrorism. But at the same time it refused to recognize it to five unarmed, peaceful, non-violent persons who, on behalf of a small country, without causing harm to anybody, tried to avoid the illegal actions of criminals that have found shelter and support in the US.

The US government, through the Miami prosecutors, went even farther, to the last mile, to help those terrorists. They did it very openly, in writing and with passionate speeches that curiously were not considered newsworthy.

That was happening in 2001. While the Southern Florida prosecutors and the local FBI were very busy harshly punishing the Cuban Five and protecting “their” terrorists, the criminals preparing the 9/11 attack had been training, unmolested, in Miami for quite some time. They should have had a good reason to prefer that location.

RICARDO ALARCÓN de QUESADA is president of the Cuban National Assembly.

 

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada has served as Cuba’s UN ambassador, Foreign Minister and president of the National Assembly.

February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
Ajamu Baraka
Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance
Shamus Cooke
Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?
John Hazard
The Pope in Mexico: More Harm Than Good?
Joyce Nelson
Trudeau & the Saudi Arms Deal
Zarefah Baroud
The Ever-Dangerous Mantra “Drill, Baby Drill”
Anthony DiMaggio
Illinois’ Manufactured Budget Crisis
Colin Todhunter
Indian Food and Agriculture Under Attack
Binoy Kampmark
Warring Against Sanders: Totalitarian Thinking, Feminism and the Clintons
Robert Koehler
Presidential Politics and the American Soul
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: The Banality of Evil on Steroids
Cesar Chelala
In Microcephaly in Children Caused by the Zika Virus or by Pesticides?
February 10, 2016
Eoin Higgins
Clinton and the Democratic Establishment: the Ties That Bind
Fred Nagel
The Role of Legitimacy in Social Change
Jeffrey St. Clair
Why Bernie Still Won’t Win
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off
Chris Martenson
The Return of Crisis: Everywhere Banks are in Deep Trouble
Ramzy Baroud
Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
Sheldon Richman
End, Don’t Extend, Draft Registration
Benjamin Willis
Obama in Havana
Jack Smith
Obama Intensifies Wars and Threats of War
Rob Hager
How Hillary Clinton Co-opted the Term “Progressive”
Mark Boothroyd
Syria: Peace Talks Collapse, Aleppo Encircled, Disaster Looms
Lawrence Ware
If You Hate Cam Newton, It’s Probably Because He’s Black
Jesse Jackson
Starving Government Creates Disasters Like Flint
Bill Laurance
A Last Chance for the World’s Forests?
Gary Corseri
ABC’s of the US Empire
Frances Madeson
The Pain of the Earth: an Interview With Duane “Chili” Yazzie
Binoy Kampmark
The New Hampshire Distortion: The Primaries Begin
Andrew Raposa
Portugal: Europe’s Weak Link?
Wahid Azal
Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism
February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail