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Gross: What Happened Between March and August?
Regarding this issue, since March fourth to date the international media, especially based in Miami, Washington and Madrid, are concentrating on Havana, the Gross trials and legal challenges.
For those who may be puzzled by the Supreme Court decision, it would be useful to examine briefly what has happened in the United States — not Cuba — between March fourth until now in order to perhaps shed some light onto the Supreme Court's confirmation of the lower court's resolution. In this five-month period, the Obama Administration has on many occasions repeated its policy of interfering in the internal affairs of Cuba under the guise of "democracy promotion". For example, the Congress has recently ratified once again the decision to spend $20 million in the next year explicitly dedicated to subversion in Cuba, including the type of activities that Gross had carried out and for which he has been arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced. On many occasions the Obama Administration in collaboration with their mercenaries on and off the island did not reduce, but rather reinforced, their provocative activities against the sovereignty of Cuba, one of the legal principles violated by Gross as a US agent contractor.
While Obama visited Chile on March 21, 2011, not long after the original trial and sentencing of Gross, the US President spoke about the need to defend "democracy and human rights within our borders [USA and Chile], let us recommit to defending them across our hemisphere.... And yes, that includes the people of Cuba."
How do readers think that the Cuban government and judiciary had taken this? By adding insult to injury, Obama stated in an interview to a Chilean newspaper as a prelude to his visit to Santiago de Chile that "The Chilean experience, and more particularly its successful transition to democracy and its sustained, growing economy, is a model for the region and the world."
When the news was released on August fifth regarding the Cuban Supreme Court decision, it was the same day that those of us who follow the news through Telesúr and other alternative media were able to bear witness to how the Chilean police violently attacked the students and professors demanding education, economic and political rights. There were according to official sources 874 arrests and hundreds wounded. Is this the example that Obama meant of Chile being a model of democracy and economic development for Cuba? The scenes of Chilean state brutality resembled more the emblematic steps (Escalanita) of the University of Havana before the January 1, 1959 Triumph of the Revolution, when the US-backed Batista dictatorship unleashed their forces so many times against the youth, professors and workers. Many students were killed in these assaults in Havana, but so far at the time of writing in any case, there have been no deaths in Chile during the course of the current confrontations.
Despite the demands to Obama from around the world declared by Nobel Prize winners, individual parliamentarians, parliaments and personalities for the release of the Cuban Five, what has Obama done between March fourth and today? He has done nothing, and we are heading into a most crucial period for the soon-to-be concluded Habeus Corpus process for Gerardo Hernández Nodelo, with nothing yet positive in sight at this time. The Cuban Five are imprisoned since 1998 because they attempted to curb US-backed terrorist interference in the internal affairs of Cuba.
Given all these provocations and repeated confirmations from the White House and the US Congress that they have every intention to continue their program of attempting to subvert Cuba's constitutional order, how else can the Cuban government and judicial authorities react? They have no choice but to make it clear that they will continue to defend their sovereignty as it is the right of every country to do so, big or small.
Alan Gross and his family should blame their own government for their predicament. The White House got him into it in the first place. By carrying out the same policies against Cuba since March fourth to date, it has given no reason for the Cuban judiciary to decide otherwise.
The Cuban Five
Talking about Supreme Court, how about a little history. On June 15, 2009 the US Supreme Court announced its decision to reject the request for a revision of the Cuban Five case. This demand for a review was carried out by millions of people from all walks of life around the world, a record number of “Friends of the Court” petitions and thousands of personalities and elected officials from every continent. Many of these pleas also came from within the USA itself.
The US brags about its political systems as being based on the separation of powers between the Executive (President and Vice-President), the Legislature and the Judiciary and a resulting built-in checks and balances system. This is supposedly a superior form of democracy based on checks and balances to avoid abuse of power by one or the other of the three branches forming the US government. In the US Constitution Article II Section 2 states that the US president has “the power to grant reprieves and pardons...” Every indication is that President Obama, far from using his constitutional powers to free the Cuban Five, made it clear to the Supreme Court judges that they should rule against revision.
This has obviously been a political case right from day one. It is even further revealed by the Supreme Court’s decision and the shameless refusal of the judges to publicly explain to the world the basis of their ruling. Of course the judges are not obliged to divulge it according to the American legal system. However, in a case such as this one which the whole world and many governments are watching, a public explanation was necessary. We are perhaps witnessing one of the greatest ironies in the current international political scene. The Cuban Five are cruelly and politically persecuted for their peaceful anti-terrorist motivations and activities. The reason? They are acting on behalf of and supporting the Cuban government. One of the main charges that Washington levies against Cuba is lack of democracy, that it is does not, amongst other characteristics exhibit a political system similar to the American one which would include checks and balances.
The Cuban system is in fact one unified revolutionary peoples’ political power, from the top down and from the bottom up including the judiciary, each enjoying its own respective fields of competence. The relationship and inter-action of all the different Cuban state levels between themselves including the judiciary and all of these institutions in turn with the citizens, is a feature of the Cuban type of democracy. There is no need to get into a debate as to whether the Cuban system is more democratic than the American model. However, if one takes into account this latest Supreme Court episode of US democracy in action on the one hand and my direct experience and study of the Cuban political system on the other hand, Cuba has no “democracy” lessons to take at all from the USA.