Havana Law vs Guantanamo Lawlessness

Criticism of trials of subversives misplaced By TODD RICKER 05/03/03: (AP) In post-9/11 America, we in the United States have increased our vigilance against foreign threats in order to protect the safety of our homeland and to prevent any future attacks on American soil. How ironic it is, then, that some in this country condemn other nations that try to do the same to protect themselves. Just recently, for instance, columnist M.D. Harmon wrote a very strong condemnation against the nation of Cuba for defending its sovereignty from attacks by the United States, even though the U.S. has waged a campaign of terror and destabilization against Cuba for more than 40 years. Throughout these decades, the U.S. government has planned, directed and launched military attacks, assassinations and acts of psychological and biological warfare against Cuba. It also maintains a choking blockade that has cost the tiny island country an estimated $70 billion. Yet, the people of Cuba have survived, thrived and have even exported their expertise in medicine and education to many third-world nations around the globe. The case at hand is that of the arrest and trial of 78 people in Cuba for violating Article 91 of the Cuban Penal Code, Law 62 of 1987, which, in part, states: "He who executes an action in the interest of a foreign state with the purpose of harming the independence of the Cuban state or the integrity of its territory shall incur a sentence of 10 to 20 years of deprivation of liberty or death." Some were also charged and convicted under Law 88, which, (similar to laws in Canada, the European Union, Mexico and Argentina) outlaws compliance with the Helms-Burton Act, a U.S. law that specifically seeks to undermine the sovereignty of Cuba. These laws are similar to ones in nearly every country to eliminate foreign influence in a sovereign nation's internal affairs. For example, it is illegal in the United States for a presidential candidate to receive financial support from a foreign source. Of course, it is also illegal for American citizens to be paid by foreign entities who want to destabilize and overthrow the U.S. government. Prosecutors on behalf of the Cuban government revealed in court and to the international press (including The Associated Press, Reuters News Service and others), detailed documentation that showed that the accused (so-called "journalists," "intellectuals," and "dissidents") had, indeed, been organized, paid, supplied and rewarded by James Cason, head of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other U.S. front agencies such as "CUBANET" and "CubaPress." It is worth noting that US AID alone, since 1997, has spent $22 million of U.S. taxpayers' money inside Cuba to achieve the goals of the Helms-Burton Act. As required by Cuban law, all of the accused in these trials were given access to defense attorneys of their choosing and all were given the right to an appeal. Clearly, their circumstances stand in stark contrast to those who have recently been detained by the U.S. government in its own war on terrorism. Right now, there are 600 U.S. detainees, some of whom are mere children, at "Camp X-Ray," (ironically situated in Guantanamo, Cuba) who will likely be tried in secret "military tribunals." There are also over 2,000 suspected terrorists in U.S. jails being held in secret without any access to defense attorneys. And, there are also five Cuban nationals who are in U.S. federal penitentiaries, having been convicted of nothing more than infiltrating the same Miami-based exile groups that serve as U.S. agents of terrorism against their own homeland. Scripture tells us to take the plank out of our own eye before we complain about the speck that our brother has in his. Harmon should concern himself with the abuses being perpetrated by his own government before he spends his energy speculating about the missteps of others. He should also direct his attacks based on the facts at hand, as opposed to his own personal ideology. While we in the United States work together to protect our homeland from future terrorist attacks, we should also respect the rights of other nations to do the same. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3213.htm

Created By: Padraig L Henry