Cuba-USA relations breakthrough?

This video says about itself:

Museo Giron (The Bay of Pigs Museum at Giron) Cuba – 6th November, 2010

12 November 2010

Views in and around the museum dedicated to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, which in Spanish is Bahía de Cochinos. The Bay of Pigs Invasion (known as La Batalla de Girón, or Playa Girón in Cuba), was an unsuccessful attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support from US government armed forces, to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency in the United States. The Cuban armed forces … defeated the exile combatants in three days. The invasion is named after the Bay of Pigs, although that is just one possible translation of the Spanish Bahía de Cochinos. The main invasion landing specifically took place at a beach named Playa Girón, located at the mouth of the bay.

From Associated Press today:

U.S., Cuba Seek To Normalize Relations

12/17/2014 9:58 am EST Updated: 13 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — The United States and Cuba will start talks on normalizing full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades, American officials said Wednesday. The announcement comes amid a series of new confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American Alan Gross and the freeing of three Cubans jailed in the U.S.

President Barack Obama was to announce the policy changes from the White House at noon Wednesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said the U.S. and Cuba were moving toward normalized banking and trade ties. He also said the U.S. was poised to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months. …

Gross, 65, was on an American government plane bound for the U.S. Wednesday morning after being released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the Obama administration. As part of the secret negotiations to secure his release, the U.S. was releasing three Cuban jailed in Florida for spying.

Obama administration officials have considered Gross’ imprisonment an impediment to improving relations with Cuba.

Cuba was also releasing a non-American intelligence “asset” along with Gross, according to a U.S. official. That official and others spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be identified by name before Obama’s remarks. …

Among the expected changes as a result of the improvement in U.S.-Cuba relations is that licensed American travelers to Cuba will now be able to return to the U.S. with $400 in Cuban goods, including tobacco and alcohol products worth less than $100 combined. This means the long-standing ban on importing Cuban cigars is over, although there are still limits, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official White House announcement.

See also here.

US AGENCY for International Development (USAid) administrator Rajiv Shah announced today that he will step down from his post in February. Mr Shah, who has led the agency since 2010, said that he had “mixed emotions,” claiming to be more confident than ever in the lasting effect of our work.” However, the agency that purports to fight poverty and promote democracy has spurred outrage in recent months after it was exposed as having established a secret Twitter-like service in Cuba aimed at undermining the government and infiltrated its hip-hop scene in efforts to recruit dissidents there: here.

US-Cuba thaw: tight ties remain on economic relations: here.

The Cuban Five Return Home – Video and photos: here.

US admits failure and re-establishes diplomatic relations with Cuba – a change of tactics to achieve the same aim: here.

Behind this week’s historic rapprochement is a fear that the US will miss out on an economic bonanza as Cuba joins the ranks of the oil-producing nations. STEVEN WALKER reports: here.

In July, 1963, with the proceeds of my first book, “The Two Hundred Days of ‘8 /2′”, I used my French passport to travel to Cuba, which was already off-limits to Americans: here.

President Barack Obama, Thursday, signed into law legislation imposing a new set of sanctions against Venezuela. The action, taken just one day after he took what have been widely described as “historic” steps to “normalize” relations with Cuba, shed considerable light on the real aims being pursued in relation to the Caribbean island nation: here.

Pope’s role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock: here.

CUBAN revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has cautiously welcomed the tentative improvement in relations with the United States — but warned Washington his country “has lasted decades without raising the white flag and never will”: here.

US says future of Guantánamo Bay is not on the table in Cuba talks. After Raúl Castro called publicly for the return of Guantánamo Bay to Cuba, US officials insisted the base’s status was not being negotiated in diplomatic talks: here.

Act now: Tell Congress to lift Cuba travel restrictions, take Cuba off terrorist list & return Gitmo! Here.

Cuba to be removed from US’ list of sponsors of terrorism. February 28, 2015. The move could happen as early as April paving the way for diplomatic embassies in Washington and Havana: here.

DISSIDENT Cuban local election candidates Hildebrando Chaviano and Yuniel Lopez conceded defeat on Sunday in two Havana wards for which they had been nominated by neighbourhood meetings. They had hoped to win two of the 12,589 seats at stake in 168 municipal councils, but acknowledged that they had no chance after preliminary results showed Mr Chaviano in last place of four candidates and one of Mr Lopez’s pro-government opponents with twice his vote: here.

US plans to restore ties with Havana are doomed unless the illegally occupied Guantanamo Bay is returned to its rightful owners, the Cuban people, believes DAN SMITH: here.

President Obama, after spending most of his time in office pursuing foreign policies similar to those of George Bush, has now discovered diplomacy. While he hasn’t stopped US military intervention overseas, including his signature drone strikes, he has brokered two historic deals: one with Cuba to begin the process of normalizing relations and the nuclear deal with Iran that he is now struggling to pass through Congress: here.

TWO of the heroic Miami Five used to get copies of the Morning Star while they were in prison, they told a packed crowd at the Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday. Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez were in Durham to thank British trade unionists for their consistent campaign of support during the Five’s unjust imprisonment in the US: here.

45 thoughts on “Cuba-USA relations breakthrough?

  1. Will become subject to American banking and banking scams stock exchange corruption, control by devaluation, a military expected to do the dirty work in countries America do not like, and will lose its moral fibre such as its health system, it will become just another materialistic depraved laundering service with casinos. All for the controlling 1%.


    • It is too early to say yet whether this rapprochement will turn out to be a victory for the Cuban government or for the United States government. The Cuban government had said many times before that they wanted to improve relations, but hardliners in Washington sabotaged that.

      The Cuban Five are home now.

      Republican Party politicians in the USA are furious at Obama for this.

      Maybe some White House strategist thought it was not practical to have confrontations in the Middle East, in Ukraine, in Africa, in the Pacific (‘pivot to Asia’); and against Cuba (and, implicitly, against many other Latin American countries) all at the same time.


  2. Dear fellow progressive:

    Yesterday we celebrated a long-awaited, long-overdue moral and diplomatic victory in our relationship with Cuba. I have met with Alan Gross many times during trips to Cuba, and I am overjoyed that he is reunited with his family.

    The release of Mr. Gross and the impending normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations are momentous turning points for both nations, brought about by tremendous leadership on the part of President Obama and all who were involved in the negotiations. We progressives know that positive change comes through dialogue and cooperation, values we will continue to embrace as these reforms are enacted.

    Going forward, I will continue to press my colleagues to lift the 54-year-old trade and economic embargo — a move that can only be accomplished by Congressional action. And I look forward to working with the President on other fundamental policy changes, including removing travel restrictions for all Americans.

    You can support action on these issues by joining the Progressive Fund.

    Progressives will need to raise a united voice in support of finally ending the embargo. I hope you will join me.

    Barbara [Lee]

    Member of Congress


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  5. Fri Jan 2, 2015 6:24 pm (PST) . Posted by:

    “Williams Camacaro” bosanovanuevoyazul

    A Consistent Imperial Strategy

    Rapprochement Between the United States and Cuba and Sanctions Against Venezuela


    In a historic address on December 17, 2014 on “Cuba policy changes”President Barack Obama declared, “our shift in policy towards Cuba comes at a moment of renewed leadership in the Americas.” This “renewed leadership,” in our view, seeks to gradually undermine socialism in Cuba, check waning U.S. influence in the region, and inhibit a growing continental Bolivarian movement towards Latin American liberation, integration, and sovereignty. To be sure, normalization of relations with Cuba and the release of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero were long overdue, and the reunification of Alan Gross with his family was an important and welcome gesture. The rapprochement between the United States and Cuba and the simultaneous imposition of a new round of sanctions by the U.S. against Venezuela, however, do not signal a change in overall U.S. strategy but only a change in tactics. As President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro remarked in a letter to President Raul Castro “there is still a long road to travel in order to arrive at the point that Washington recognizes we are no longer its back yard…” (December 20, 2014).From Embargo to Deployment of U.S. Soft Power in CubaiThe Obama gambit arguably seeks to move Cuba as far as possible towards market oriented economic reforms, help build the political community of dissidents on the island, and improve U.S. standing in the region, and indeed in the world. In a Miami Herald op-ed piece(December 22, 2014), John Kerry (Secretary of State), Penny Pritzker (Secretary of Commerce) and Jacob J. Lew (Treasury Secretary) wrote that normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba will “increase the ability of Americans to provide business training and other support for Cuba’s nascent private sector” and that this will “put American businesses on a more equal footing.” Presumably the op-ed is referring to “equal footing” with other nations that have been doing business for years with Cuba despite the embargo. The essay also indicates that the U.S. will continue its “strong support for improved human-rights conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba” by “empowering civil society and supporting the freedom of individuals to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly.” Such a version of “empowering civil society” is probably consistent with decades of U.S. clandestine attempts to subvert the Cuban government, documented by Jon Elliston in Psy War on Cuba: The declassified history of U.S. anti-Castro propaganda(Ocean Press: 1999). It is also in line with more recent efforts, through USAID funded social media (phony Cuban Twitter) and a four year project to promote “Cuban rap music” both of which ended in 2012, designed to build dissident movements inside Cuba. In December 2014, Matt Herrick, spokesman for USAID, defended the latter unsuccessful covert program saying, “It seemed like a good idea to support civil society” and that “it’s not something we are embarrassed about in any way.” Moreover, a fact sheet on normalization published by the U.S. Department of State mentions that funding for “democracy programming” will continue and that “our efforts are aimed at promoting the independence of the Cuban people so they do not need to rely on the Cuban state” (December 17, 2014). The Cuban government, though, has a different take on the meaning of “independence of the Cuban people.” They emphasize “sovereign equality,” “national independence,” and “self determination.” In an address on normalization, Raul Castro insisted on maintaining Cuban sovereignty and stated “we have embarked on the task of updating our economic model in order to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism” (December 17, 2014). Obviously the ideological differences between Washington and Havana will shape the course of economic and political engagement between these two nations in the months and years ahead.Rapprochement Between the U.S. and U.S. Isolation in Latin AmericaThrough normalization of relations with Cuba, the U.S. also seeks to end its increasing isolation in the region. Secretary of State John Kerry, in his Announcement of Cuba Policy Changes, remarked that “not only has this policy [embargo] failed to advance America’s goals, it has actually isolated the United States instead of isolating Cuba” (December 17, 2014). In October 2014, the United Nations General Assembly voted against the U.S. Cuba embargo for the 23rd year in a row, with only the U.S. and Israel voting in favor. The inclusion of Cuba in the political and, to a certain degree, economic life of Latin America, has also been part of a larger expression of Latin American solidarity that clearly repudiates regional subordination to Washington. Since the sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena (April 2012), the U.S. has been on very clear notice by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) that there will be no seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama in April without Cuba, a condition to which Washington has ceded.The flip side of Washington’s growing “isolation” has been the critically important regional diversification of diplomatic and commercial relations between Latin America and the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the construction of alternative development banks and currency reserves to gradually replace the historically onerous terms of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The financial powerhouse of the BRICS nations is China. Over the past year, China has sent high level delegations to visit CELAC nations and in some cases these meetings have resulted in significant commercial agreements. As a follow up, there will be a CELAC–China forum in Beijing in January 2015 whose main objective, reports Prensa Latina, “is exchange and dialogue in politics, trade, economy and culture.” These ties with BRICS and other nations are consistent with the Chavista goal that the Patria Grande ought to contribute to building a multi-polar world and resist subordination to any power block on the planet. By bringing a halt to its growing isolation, Washington would be in a better position to increase its participation in regional commerce. The terms of economic engagement with most of Latin America, however, will no longer be determined by a Washington consensus, but by a North—South consensus. The Obama gambit, though, appears to be trading one source of alienation (embargo against Cuba) for another (sanctions against Venezuela).Obama’s Gambit: Pushing Back the Bolivarian Cause at its Front Line–VenezuelaThe Obama administration’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, while a welcome change of course, can be seen as a modification in tactics to advance the neoliberal agenda as far as possible in Havana while ending a policy that only serves to further erode U.S. influence in the region. Such diplomacy is in line with what appears to be a major U.S. policy objective of ultimately rolling back the ‘pink tide’, that is, the establishment, by democratic procedures, of left and center left regimes in two thirds of Latin American nations. It is this tide that has achieved some measure of progress in liberating much of Latin America from the structural inequality, social antagonism, and subordination to transnational corporate interests intrinsic to neoliberal politics and economics. And it is the continental Bolivarian emphasis on independence, integration, and sovereignty that has fortified the social movements behind this tide.The Obama gambit, from a hemispheric point of view, constitutes a tactical shift away from the failed U.S. attempt to isolate and bring the Cuban revolution to its knees through coercion, to an intensification of its fifteen year effort to isolate and promote regime change in Venezuela.The reason for this tactical shift is that Venezuela, as the front line in the struggle for the Bolivarian cause of an increasingly integrated and sovereign Latin America, has become the biggest obstacle to the restoration of U.S. hegemony and the rehabilitation of the neoliberal regime in the Americas.If this interpretation of U.S. hemispheric policy is near the mark, Obama’s grand executive gesture towards Cuba is immediately related to the context of Washington’s unrelenting antagonism towards Chavismo and, in particular, to the latest imposition of sanctions against Caracas. The reason for this is quite transparent. It has been Venezuela, more than Cuba, during the past fifteen years, that has played the leading role in the change of the balance of forces in the region on the side of sovereignty for the peoples of the Americas, especially through its leadership role in ALBA, CELAC, UNASUR and MERCOSUR, associations that do not include the U.S. and Canada. Argentine sociologist Atilio Boron, in an interview with Katu Arkonada of Rebelión (June 24, 2014), points out, “It is no accident…that Venezuela in particular is in the cross hairs of the empire, and for this reason we must be clear that the battle of Venezuela is our Stalingrad. If Venezuela succumbs before the brutal counter offensive of the United States…the rest of the processes of change underway on the continent, whether very radical or very moderate, will end with the same fate.” The latest U.S. sanctions against Venezuela can be viewed as one component of this counter offensive. It is to a closer look at the sanctions bill, signed into law by the president on December 18, 2014, that we now turn.The “Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014” (S 2142) not only targets Venezuelan officials whom U.S. authorities accuse of being linked to human rights abuses by freezing their assets and revoking their travel visas (Sec. 5 (b) (1) (A) (B)), it also promises to step up U.S. political intervention in Venezuela by continuing “to support the development of democratic political processes and independent civil society in Venezuela” (section 4 (4)) and by reviewing the effectiveness of “broadcasting, information distribution, and circumvention technology distribution in Venezuela” (section 6). One of the instruments of this support for “democratic political processes” has been the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Sociologist Kim Scipes argues that, “the NED and its institutes are not active in Venezuela to help promote democracy, as they claim, but in fact, to act against popular democracy in an effort to restore the rule of the elite, top-down democracy” (February 28 – March 2, 2014). Independent journalist Garry Leech, in his article entitled “Agents of Destabilization: Washington Seeks Regime Change in Venezuela,” (March 4, 2014) examines Wikileaks cables that indicate similar efforts have been carried out in Venezuela by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) during the past decade. Hannah Dreier (July 18, 2014), reported that “the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, a government-funded nonprofit organization, together budgeted about $7.6 million to support Venezuelan groups last year alone, according to public documents reviewed by AP.” The sanctions bill (S 2142), then, in light of these precedents, contains provisions that suggest an imminent escalation in the use of soft power to support the political opposition to Chavismo in Venezuela, though such funding has been banned by Caracas.The current U.S. sanctions against Caracas are consistent with fifteen years of U.S. antagonism against the Bolivarian revolution. The measures send a clear signal of increased support for a Venezuelan political opposition that has suffered division and discord in the aftermath of their failed “salida ya” (exit now) strategy of the first quarter of 2014. The sanctions also undermine any near term movement towards normalization of relations between the U.S. and Venezuela. It is no surprise that provisions of the law that targets Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations have gotten some limited traction inside this South American nation, with the executive secretary of the Venezuelan opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), Jesús Torrealba, openly supporting this measure. This is probably not going to get the MUD a lot of votes. According to a Hinterlaces poll taken in May, a majority of Venezuelans are opposed to U.S. sanctions. There has also been a swift repudiation of sanctions by the Maduro administration and the popular sectors. On December 15, 2014, in one of the largest and most enthusiastic gatherings of Chavistas in the streets of Caracas since the death of Hugo Chavez, marchers celebrated the fifteenth year anniversary of the passage by referendum of a new constitution (December 15, 1999) and vigorously protested against U.S. intervention in their country. Even dissident Chavistas appear to be toning down their rhetoric and circling the wagons in the face of Washington’s bid to assert “renewed leadership” in the region.There is no doubt that the Maduro administration is under tremendous pressure, from left Chavistas as well as from the right wing opposition, to reform and improve public security and deal effectively with an economic crisis that is being exacerbated by falling petroleum prices. What the government of Venezuela calls an “economic war” against the country has domestic and well as international dimensions. Although there is no smoking gun at this time that exposes a conspiracy, some analysts interpret the recent fall in oil prices as part of a campaign to put severe economic pressure on Iran, Russia and Venezuela, countries whose fiscal soundness relies a great deal on petroleum revenues. For example, Venezuelan independent journalist, Jesus Silva R., in his essay entitled “The Government of Saudi Arabia is the Worst Commercial Enemy of Venezuela,” argues that the Saudis and Washington are complicit in the “economic strangulation, planned from the outside, against Venezuela” (December 22, 2014). Whatever the cause of falling petroleum prices and despite the domestic challenges facing Caracas, it will most probably be the Venezuelan electorate that decides, through upcoming legislative elections, whether to give Chavismo a vote of confidence, not outside intervention or a fresh round of guarimbas and terrorist attacks perpetrated by the ultra right. For the large majority ofVenezuelans reject violence and favor constitutional means of resolving political contests.U.S. Sanctions Against Venezuela Evoke Latin American Solidarity with CaracasThe good will generated by rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba has already been tempered by the almost simultaneous new round of sanctions imposed by Washington against Venezuela. It is important to recall, perhaps with some irony, that it was precisely the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s establishment of fraternal ties with a formerly isolated Cuba that drew, in particular, the ire of Washington and the virulent antagonism of the right wing Venezuelan opposition. Now it is Latin American and to a significant extent, international solidarity with Venezuela that may prove to be a thorn in Washington’s side. On December 12, 2014, ALBA issued a strong statement against the Senate passage of the sanctions bill, expressing its “most energetic rejection of these interventionist actions [sanctions] against the people and government of the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela.” The statement also warned “that the legislation constitutes an incitement towards the destabilization of…Venezuela and opens the doors to anticonstitutional actions against the legal government and legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro Moros.” The communiqué also expressed solidarity with Venezuela adding that the countries of ALBA “desire to emphasize that they will not permit the use of old practices already applied to countries in the region, directed at bringing about political regime change, as has occurred in other regions of the world.” MERCOSUR issued a statement on December 17, 2014 that “the application of unilateral sanctions…violate the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and does not contribute to the stability, social peace and democracy in Venezuela.” On December 22, the G77 plus China countries expressed solidarity and support for the government of Venezuela in the face of “violations of international law that in no way contributes to the spirit of political and economic dialogue between the two countries.” On December 23, the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations stated that it “categorically rejects the decision of the United States Government to impose unilateral coercive measures against the Republic of Venezuela…with the purpose of weakening its sovereignty, political independence and its right to the self determination, in clear violation of International Law.” It is also important to recall that n October 16, 2014 the UN General Assembly elected Venezuela (by a vote of 181 out of 193 members) to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council withunanimous regional support, even crossing ideological lines. This UN vote came as a grave disappointment to opponents of the Bolivarian revolution and reinforced Venezuelan standing in CELAC. In yet another diplomatic victory, as of September 2015, Venezuela will assume the presidency of the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations for a three year term. Clearly, it is Washington, not Venezuela that has already become an outlier as the Obama administration launches its “renewed leadership in the Americas.” If these immediate expressions of solidarity with the first post-Chavez Bolivarian government in Venezuela are an indicator of a persistent and growing trend, then by the time of the upcoming seventh Summit of the Americas, April 10 – 11, 2015 in Panama, President Obama can expect approbation for Washington’s opening to Havana, but he will also face a united front against U.S. intervention in Venezuela and anywhere else in the region.Note: Translations by the authors from Spanish to English of government documents are unofficial. Where citations are not present in the text, hyperlinks provide the source.

    William Camacaro MFA. is a Senior Analyst at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs and a member of the Bolivarian Circle of New York “Alberto Lovera.”Frederick B. Mills, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy at Bowie State University and Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.


  6. Fellow progressive:

    The announcement in December that the United States would open diplomatic relations with Cuba signaled the possibility of many more monumental foreign policy changes. Now, we must get to work making those changes a reality.

    Sign my petition to tell Congress: End the embargo!

    Diplomatic relations are a start, but for this change to be meaningful we must open the border. Americans and Cubans must be able to travel freely – this is a basic human right. And allowing cross-border trade in goods and services will be a boon to both countries’ economies.

    The time is now. Let’s build some momentum. Tell Congress we can’t wait: End the embargo!

    Thank you,

    Member of Congress

    Paid for by Barbara Lee for Congress, 409 13th Street, 17th floor. Contributions are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. The Barbara Lee Progressive Fund is part of Barbara Lee for Congress, and the same contribution limits apply.


  7. Dear fellow progressive:

    The DNC has passed our resolution supporting policy changes in U.S.-Cuba relations. The resolution was submitted by the Congresswoman at this year’s winter meeting, which concluded last weekend.

    The resolution states, in part:

    “… that the Democratic National Committee supports efforts by the U.S. Congress to modernize travel and economic policies relating to Cuba while pursuing meaningful improvements in human rights and freedoms.”

    This is a tremendous step forward for our efforts to end the embargo. We’re so proud that our fellow Democrats took a strong stance in advocating for historic change and are applauding the President for these changes. That’s exactly what we should be doing.

    Stand with us by signing our petition to end the embargo:

    For progress,

    Team [Barbara] Lee


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  11. Ana Belen Montes : The FMC 25037-016 spy

    Hernando Calvo Ospina

    Besides having a sweet face, perennial smile and good manners, she was extremely discreet. While she lived alone in a simple apartment north of Washington, she rose to become first class analyst at the Pentagon (senior analyst), specializing in Cuba. She had access to virtually everything the intelligence community gathered on the island…

    Her father, of Puerto Rican origin, was a US Army doctor stationed in the former West Germany. That is why she was born there.

    In 1979, at age 22, the University of Virginia granted her a degree in international relations. She later obtained a master’s degree. In September 1985 she was accepted at the Pentagon’s Intelligence Agency (Defense Intelligence Agency, DIA). Because of her competence she was sent to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, where she worked as a specialist in intelligence research. In 1992 she joined the Pentagon as an Analyst. Under a fictitious position, she was placed for a while in the diplomatic mission in Havana to “study” Cuban military. In 1998, the DIA sent her back to the island to “observe” the developments surrounding the visit of Pope John Paul II.

    Besides having a sweet face, perennial smile and good manners, she was extremely discreet. While she lived alone in a simple apartment north of Washington, she rose to become first class analyst at the Pentagon (senior analyst), specializing in Cuba. She had access to virtually everything the intelligence community gathered on the island. She knew what the Defense Department knew in relation to the Cuban military activities. Because of her rank, she was a member of the super secret “interagency working group on Cuba,” which brings together key analysts from federal agencies such as the CIA, State Department and the White House itself.

    As the popular axiom says : parents make children but not consciousness. Ana Belen Montes was arrested on September 21, 2001. A Federal Court accused her of “conspiracy to commit espionage” and handing to Cuba “classified information so she could defend herself.” In several occasions she had successfully passed a lie detector test. Her arrest provoked a profound impact on the US’ intelligence community. She was the highest ranking spy in the history of that nation. “One of our crown’s jewels,” said a Pentagon general.

    The DIA counterintelligence officer responsible for the investigation, characterized Ana Belén’s action as “exceptionally serious.” He said that the information she handled was so delicate, that he was not even allowed a minimal access. He also stated that in all sixteen US security agencies it was asserted that what Montes did was not an exception. It was paranoia : they had the certainty that the Cuban intelligence service had numerous “moles” inside them.

    In documents declassified by the US Justice Department, one may find traces of Ana Belén’s journey. They show for example, that on December 1984, in the middle of the cold war, she traveled to New York with another Puerto Rican woman, who was already working for the security of the island. In a restaurant, they met with a Cuban official, identified in the indictment as “M.” He worked as a diplomat in the Cuban Mission to the United Nations. The documents go on saying that on March of the following year, they left to Madrid. They then went to Prague with false passports delivered by another Cuban. From there, to Havana. There, they received espionage training, which included the coding and decoding of messages for transmission through high frequency radio. Retracing their steps, they entered the United States on April 13, 1985.

    In September of that year, Ana Belén obtained employment as intelligence analyst at the DIA. Through her hands began to move classified national defense information of the United States. The investigation does not specify what [information] she shared with the Cuban government for 16 years. A vast amount of time in which the counter-intelligence of the first world power was breached.

    Irony of life : her sister Lucy meanwhile, an FBI official, was receiving a special award for her work on the discovery of Cuban agents …

    On October 16, 2002 Ana Belén was sentenced to 25 years, narrowly eluding the death sentence. She is confined in the prison of the Federal Medical Center, FMC, which is located within the premises of the Fort Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Texas, a center intended for women offenders with mental health problems. She is subjected to a regime of extreme isolation : she can only receive the visit of his father and brothers ; she cannot relate to any of the detainees ; cannot talk on the phone, or receive newspapers or watch tv ; no one can inquire about her health. She only exists as the prisoner FMC 25037-016.

    Before hearing the sentence, the accused read a short text where she expressed phrases like these : “I engaged in the activity that brought me before you because I obeyed my conscience rather than the law. I believe our government’s policy towards Cuba is cruel and unfair, profoundly unneighborly, and I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it…. We have displayed intolerance and contempt towards Cuba for most of the last four decades. We have never respected Cuba’s right to make its own journey towards its own ideals of equality and justice…. I can only say that I did what I thought right to counter a grave injustice.


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