Maggie Alarcón

Micheal Ratner

In ACLU, Cuba/US, Cuban 5, Julian Assange, National Lawyers Guild, Politics, Wikileaks on May 19, 2016 at 2:26 pm
"El autor, junto a Gerardo Hernandez su esposa Adriana Perez y Michael Ratner durante una de sus ultimas visitas a la Habana."

“The author with Gerardo Hernandez his wife Adriana Perez and Michael Ratner on one of Michaels last visits to Havana.”

 

By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

He came to Cuba often. The last time was in February 2015, on the occasion of the International Book Fair in which the Spanish edition of “Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away with Murder” was presented. It was the result of painstaking research and more than ten years demanding access from relevant authorities to official documents jealously hidden.

The work of Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith proved beyond doubt that the murder of Ernesto Guevara was a war crime committed by the US government and its Central Intelligence Agency, a crime that does not have a statute of limitations, although the authors are on the loose in Miami and flaunt their cowardly misdeed.
We met again in July on the occasion of the reopening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington. We were far from imagining that we would not meet again. Michael Ratner looked healthy and showed the optimism and joy that always accompanied him. On that occasion we celebrated that the Cuban Five anti-terrorist Heroes had returned home and also the fact that President Obama had had no choice but to admit the failure of Washington’s aggressive policy against Cuba.
Michael was always in solidarity with the Cuban people since as a very young person he joined the contingents of the Venceremos Brigade. That solidarity remained unwavering at all times. His participation in the legal battle for the freedom of our comrades, including the “amicus” he presented to the Supreme Court on behalf of ten Nobel Prize winners, was decisive.
A tireless fighter, for him no cause was alien. He stood always on the side of the victims and faced with courage, even at the risk of his life, the oppressors who dominated that judicial system. He also did it with rigor, integrity and love. More than a brilliant legal professional, he was a passionate fighter for justice.
He was present in 1968 at the Columbia University strike before completing his studies, and fought racial discrimination together with the NAACP. Soon after graduating he represented the victims of the brutal repression at the Attica prison. Thus he began a remarkable career –impossible to describe in just one article– which knew no borders: Nicaragua, Haiti, Guatemala, Palestine, a never ending list.
When nobody did, he undertook the defense of the hostages in the illegal naval base in Guantanamo. He convened more than 500 lawyers to do so –also for free– and achieved an unprecedented legal victory with a decision by the Supreme Court recognizing the rights of the prisoners.
Many other cases absorbed his time and energy, working in a team, without necessarily appearing in the foreground. He did not hesitate, however, to legally prosecute powerful characters like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush whose “impeachment” he tried very hard to obtain.
He also accused Nelson Rockefeller, when he was governor, and more recently Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He published books and essays in favor of legality and human rights. He was considered one of the best American lawyers and chaired the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights and founded Palestine Rights. He combined his work as a litigator with university teaching at Columbia and Yale and helped train future jurists able to follow his example.
He was the main defender of Julian Assange and Wikileaks in the United States. An insuperable paradigm of a generation that aimed for the stars, he was an inseparable part of all their battles and will remain so until victory always.

A CubaNews/Google translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

Michael Ratner

In ACLU, Cuban 5, National Lawyers Guild, Politics, Politics Relaciones Cuba EEUU, US on May 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm

ratner

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

Muchas veces vino a Cuba. La última fue en febrero del 2015, con motivo de la Feria Internacional de Libro en la que fue presentada la edición en español de “¿Quién mató al Che? Como la CIA logró salir impune del asesinato”, fruto de minuciosa investigación y más de diez años reclamando a las autoridades el acceso a documentos oficiales celosamente ocultos. La obra de Michael Ratner y Michael Steven Smith demostró de manera inapelable que el asesinato de Ernesto Guevara fue un crimen de guerra cometido por el gobierno de Estados Unidos y su Agencia Central de Inteligencia, un crimen que no prescribe aunque sus autores andan sueltos en Miami y hacen ostentación de la cobarde fechoría.

"El autor, junto a Gerardo Hernandez su esposa Adriana Perez y Michael Ratner durante una de sus ultimas visitas a la Habana."

“El autor, junto a Gerardo Hernandez su esposa Adriana Perez y Michael Ratner durante una de sus ultimas visitas a la Habana.”

Nos encontramos de nuevo en julio en ocasión de la reapertura de la Embajada cubana en Washington. Lejos estábamos de imaginar que no nos veríamos más. Michael Ratner parecía saludable y mostraba el optimismo y la alegría que siempre le acompañaron. Celebramos entonces que ya nuestros Cinco Héroes antiterroristas habían regresado a la Patria y que el Presidente Obama no tuvo otro remedio que admitir el fracaso de la política agresiva contra Cuba.

Porque Michael fue siempre solidario con el pueblo cubano desde que muy joven integró contingentes de la Brigada Venceremos y esa solidaridad la mantuvo sin flaquezas en todo momento. Fue decisiva su participación en la batalla legal por la libertad de nuestros compañeros incluyendo el “amicus” que presentó a la Corte Suprema a nombre de diez ganadores del Premio Nobel.

Incansable luchador para él ninguna causa fue ajena. Se puso siempre del lado de las víctimas y encaró con valor, aun a riesgo de su vida, a los opresores que dominan aquel sistema judicial. Y lo hizo, además, con rigor, entereza y amor. Más que un brillante profesional del derecho fue un apasionado combatiente por la justicia.

Estuvo presente en 1968 en la huelga de la Universidad de Columbia y antes de concluir sus estudios combatió la discriminación racial junto al NAACP. Recién graduado representó a las víctimas de la brutal represión en la prisión de Attica. Inició así una trayectoria admirable imposible de describir en un artículo y que no conoció fronteras: Nicaragua, Haití, Guatemala, Palestina, y un largo etcétera.

Michael Ratner en el Club Nacional de Prensa de EEUU junto a la actriz y activista Vanessa Redgave.

Michael Ratner en el Club Nacional de Prensa de EEUU junto a la actriz y activista Vanessa Redgave.

Cuando nadie lo hacía asumió la defensa de los secuestrados en la ilegal base naval de Guantánamo, pudo incorporar a más de 500 abogados que lo hicieran también gratuitamente y alcanzó una victoria jurídica sin precedentes con la decisión de la Corte Suprema reconociendo los derechos de los prisioneros. A muchos otros casos también dedicó su tiempo y energías, trabajando en equipo, sin aparecer necesariamente en primer plano. No vaciló sin embargo en encausar legalmente a personajes poderosos como Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton y George W. Bush cuyo “impeachment” trató afanosamente de conseguir, y acusó también a Nelson Rockefeller cuando era Gobernador y más recientemente al Secretario de Defensa Donald Runsfeld. Publicó libros y ensayos a favor de la legalidad y los derechos humanos. Considerado uno de los mejores abogados norteamericanos presidió el National Lawyers Guild y el Center for Constitutional Rights y fundó el Palestine Rights. Conjugó su labor como litigante con la docencia universitaria en Columbia y Yale y ayudó a la formación de futuros juristas capaces de seguir su ejemplo.

Era el principal defensor en Estados Unidos de Julian Assange y Wikileaks. Paradigma insuperable de una generación que quiso conquistar el cielo fue parte inseparable en todas sus batallas y lo seguirá siendo hasta la victoria siempre.

December 17th and the Voice of Reason

In Cuba, Cuban Americans, History, Politics on December 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm

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Margarita Alarcon Perea

December 17th marks the anniversary of the first year of the release of Alan Gross, the return of three Cuban prisoners unjustly jailed in US prisons and for the first time presidents from both Cuba and the United States live on their respective television networks speaking about the same thing and both on the same page.

Last year Raul Castro and Barack Obama got their acts together and decided to do something that for far too long had been silenced, they gave voice back to reason and spoke of restoring relations between their two countries.

Since that day, which on all accounts was joyous albeit an enormous surprise, much has happened in the form of restoring the diplomatic side of the relations, but not much else. Watching the debate the other night I fear much more needs to be done before November of 2017. Yet I am hopeful.

At least Cuba wasn’t mentioned openly. So maybe the two pseudo Cuban contenders for their party’s nomination have since figured out that siding with irrationality by actually bolstering the notion of how they would turn back all that has happened since last year’s televised speeches or the less Latino hopeful candidates criticizing the current President of the United States for having “given so much in exchange for nothing” or ranting about how if he were to come down to the Caribbean’s largest island before leaving office might be indicative of nothing less than …say, treason? Of course, this is an exaggeration on my part, but heck, he was accused of not being “American” enough for almost two straight years!

In any case, it’s been a year already. The secretary of State has opened the long closed Embassy, the Stars and Stripes waves every day, morning, noon, and night. US tourists are coming down nonstop, Cuban Americans are devising ways of investing on the island in the most intuitive and inventive fashion ever. So I guess, Cuba won’t be part of the debates in the near electoral future.

Maybe the candidates have figured out that the voice of reason silenced for so long is now the shout of logic that just won’t keep quiet, lest they lose those historically beloved 28 electoral votes.

 

Originally posted on the Huffington Post

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