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Friday, April 17, 2009


Cuba's "political prisoners"

There's talk of a prisoner exchange of Cuban "political prisoners" with the Cuban Five, the five Cubans who have been in U.S. prisons for more than ten years for acting to stop terrorism by infiltrating and informing on the right-wing terrorist groups in Miami. I make note of this from AP:
The U.S. could balk at Castro's offer to free about 200 political prisoners held on the island, along with their relatives, and send them all to the United States in exchange for five Cubans serving long sentences on espionage charges. On the list are several people convicted of violent acts, including two Salvadorans sentenced to death for Havana hotel bombings that killed an Italian tourist. Cuba currently has a moratorium on the death penalty.
Is it not amazing how AP can write with a straight face about Cuban "political prisoners" and note in the very same paragraph that some of the people on the list have been convicted of such violent acts as hotel bombings and murder?

As I wrote back in February:

The U.S. government, and the Miami right-wing Cubans (not to mention a plethora of pundits etc.) always accuse Cuba of holding hundreds of "political prisoners." It's pretty much taken as simple fact. But the fact is that, unlike the hundreds of political prisoners who are in Cuba in a place called Guantanamo (and the thousands elsewhere around the globe), every single person in a Cuban prison has been charged with violating an existing law, tried, convicted, and sentenced.

But here's something that will really open your eyes about the nature of those "political prisoners." Elizardo Sanchez is one of the most famous of Cuban "dissidents" and heads the self-importantly titled "Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation." This group (which probably consists of little more than Sanchez) claims it has "documented 205 political prisoners" in Cuba. And who are two of the people on that list? Two Salvadorans sentenced to death for a series of Havana hotel bombings that killed Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo in 1997 and wounded 11 others. Yeah, "political prisoners." I can't speak to the crimes of the other 203 people on Sanchez' list, but those two alone speak volumes about the political nature not of the prisoners, but of the list.

Incidentally, the person who organized those bombings, and hired those Salvadoreans, is Luis Posada Carriles, today walking the streets of Miami, still protected from extradition to Venezuela to stand trial for the murder of 73 other people in the mid-air bombing of Cubana Flight 455 in 1976.

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