Maggie Alarcón

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

La última bandera

In Politics Relaciones Cuba EEUU on August 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

bright-sun

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

La ceremonia para levantar en su Embajada en La Habana la bandera de los Estados Unidos fue la noticia del día en todo el mundo el pasado 14 de agosto. Era lógico que así fuese pues era quizás la expresión más visible del giro en la política norteamericana después de la decisión de restablecer las relaciones diplomáticas anunciada simultáneamente por los Presidentes Raúl Castro y Barak Obama el 17 de diciembre de 2014. Fue, como dijo John Kerry, el primer Secretario de Estado que visitaba Cuba en setenta años, un día histórico.

Que correspondiese a Kerry presidir tal acto era en cierto sentido también una manifestación de la justicia histórica. Desde sus años juveniles cuando al regresar de la guerra condecorado se puso a la cabeza de los veteranos que buscaron poner fin a la agresión contra el pueblo vietnamita hasta su larga carrera como Senador por Massachusetts, Kerry siguió una trayectoria coherente con lo que en su país se define como “liberalismo”. Su papel había sido determinante en el establecimiento de relaciones con Viet Nam y fue en el Senado una de las voces más críticas del bloqueo a Cuba y del uso de los fondos federales para “promover la democracia” en la isla.

Cincuenta y cuatro años atrás al cerrar su Embajada Washington creía que los días de la Revolución cubana estaban contados. Cuando tomó esa decisión, en enero de 1961, avanzaban sus planes para la invasión mercenaria que Cuba derrotaría en abril en menos de 72 horas en Playa Girón. Fracasado aquel plan intensificó sus acciones para asfixiar a la isla mientras elaboraba proyectos aun más agresivos que incluirían incluso el empleo de sus propias fuerzas armadas.

Consiguió que todos los gobiernos de América Latina, excepto México, rompieran también sus relaciones diplomáticas y cerraran sus misiones en la capital cubana. El golpe de estado que derrocó al Presidente Joao Goulart en Brasil fue elemento decisivo en el plan anticubano y dio paso a la larga noche de las dictaduras militares con su carga terrible de sangre, luto y dolor. Los pueblos latinoamericanos y sus democracias fueron víctimas directas de la pretensión yanqui contra la isla. Desde los años sesenta del pasado Siglo el derecho de Cuba a su independencia y la defensa de la democracia en el Continente han sido partes inseparables de una misma lucha.

Aunque fuera otra su intención tenían sentido las referencias a la democracia que repitió en su discurso el Secretario de Estado. Para aislar a Cuba Washington impuso hace medio siglo las peores tiranías. Ahora se vió obligado a reconocer a Cuba porque todos los demás ya lo habían hecho. La ruptura en el pasado marcó el inicio de una etapa sombría. El restablecimiento de las relaciones con Cuba ahora es ante todo la admisión de la derrota y la necesidad de buscar nuevos caminos. Al izar su bandera Estados Unidos no está indicando a nadie lo que debe hacer. Es al revés. Se está sumando a todos los demás. La enseña de las barras y las estrellas era la única bandera que faltaba y ahora, finalmente, se suma a la voluntad democrática del Continente.

Mucho ha cambiado esta parte del mundo desde aquellos tiempos en que la hegemonía norteamericana era acatada sin chistar.

Hace años ya que La Habana es una de las pocas capitales del planeta donde están presentes, con sus misiones diplomáticas y sus banderas, todos los demás países independientes del Hemisferio Occidental incluyendo todos y cada uno de los estados insulares caribeños. Más aun, sólo aquí hay una representación del pueblo de Puerto Rico cuya Misión Diplomática aunque opera bajo la responsabilidad de su movimiento patriótico es punto de encuentro frecuente de los visitantes puertorriqueños que son muchos y de todas las tendencias políticas sin excepción.

Queda mucho por andar en la senda de la “normalización” de las relaciones. Tal cosa es inconcebible mientras exista el bloqueo económico, continúe la usurpación de territorio cubano en Guantánamo y Estados Unidos mantenga su política injerencista. Tampoco resulta concebible en un contexto en que Washington pretende subvertir a gobiernos populares y progresistas en América Latina.

Ojalá Washington pueda aprender las lecciones de la Historia. Sus enseñanzas son muy claras para quien quiera verlas. Después de todo pocas veces brilló tanto el sol en La Habana como en la mañana del 14 de agosto.

The “Blanco” Effect

In Politics on August 12, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Margarita Alarcon Perea

In my most recent post of last week, I commented on how diplomacy was a means to achieve goals of mutual respect and understanding vis a vie representations from government to government. This was related specifically to Secretary of State John Kerry’s upcoming visit to Havana and a piece that was in the news then.

Today, Cuba and the US are pretty much all over the news again. You have Richard Blanco who has been asked to write and read a poem on the 14 of August in Havana when the flag raising ceremony will take place; and then you have at least one senator and two members of the House of Representatives that are “upset” about the fact that the White House has let it be known that there will be no Cuban dissidents invited to the ceremony. They are so “upset” that they have gone from holding press conferences to putting out public statements on the topic.

Once again, there are members of the Cuban American community who are out of touch. President Obama spoke on the 17th of December of last year. He made it very clear that his aim was to fix a situation that had been broken for far too long, he then said he’d reestablish diplomatic relations.

These relations should be established taking certain criteria into account. I agree with this, and these criteria could be, say, the Vienna Accords, Geneva Convention, basic historic diplomatic game plays, I don’t know, common sense, maybe?

This Friday’s event in Havana like the one on the 20th of July in Washington D.C, signifies that two governments have decided to accept one another and work towards a better reality. It also means that the peoples of both those nations will finally have a chance to pursue the type of life their predecessor’s didn’t: one of mutual respect and understanding. Latin America is no longer anyone’s “backyard” and hopefully the United States with the recent game changing acts of this administration will be laying down the basis for future US relations in the region no longer being seen as “us against them”, but rather “all of us together”, or at the very least in President Raul Castro’s words today “coexisting in a civilized manner”.

It fascinates me though and gives me a lovely sense of pride that of the two main news items today regarding Cuba and the US and the Embassy, there is one regarding a person of Cuban origin who has the common sense lacking in so many others.

Thank goodness for the sanity of so many on both sides of the straights. Thank you Richard Blanco, engineer, diver, intellectual, poet, Cuban and American. I won’t be there on Friday but I am sure you will do both your nations proud.

Also published in The Blog – Huffington Post

International Diplomacy/ Diplomacia Internacional

In Cuba/US, Politics on August 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Diplomacy jeff

Margarita Alarcón Perea

Full Definition of DIPLOMACY as found in Merriam-Webster
1: the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations
2: skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility
3: the work of maintaining good relations between the governments of different countries
4: skill in dealing with others without causing bad feelings

On July 20th, 2015, the Cuban flag was raised for the first time in over half a century at what will once again be the site of the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba to the United States of America. On that same day normal diplomatic activities began across the Florida Straights at the reinstated Embassy of the United States of America to the Republic of Cuba.

No longer will there be an Interests Section. No longer will the Czech Republic or the Swiss need to bother with the issues of either nation across the Atlantic. With the re-opening of both these embassies; Cuban in DC and US in Havana, both countries began what is known as “a diplomatic relationship of one nation’s government with another,” key word here being “government”. To put it bluntly: these shall be diplomatic representations to governments, something that takes place when one country’s government recognizes the legitimacy of another country’s government, again, key word: “government”. When you are a serious diplomat you do not establish open parallel relationships with peoples or groups of peoples who are openly intent on undermining the legitimate government to which you have presented letters of credit! It’s really as simple as that.

Diplomacy is not meant to create chaos or disrespect. Quite to the contrary, it was created, and has been practiced for centuries, in order to build proverbial bridges, to prevent hostilities and bring about order in as peaceful a manner as possible. So please, more respect to both countries. And above all, more respect to the peoples of these two nations who have spent the better part of more than half a century struggling in a peaceful manner in order to reach this point in history.

Also published in the Huffington Post

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Diplomacia

1   Disciplina o conocimiento de las relaciones entre los estados

2   Conjunto de personas e instituciones que se ocupan del estado de las relaciones con los demás Estados.

3   Corrección y amabilidad interesadas o habilidad en el trato.

El pasado 20 de julio del año 2015 se izó la bandera cubana por primera vez en más de medio siglo en la sede de lo que volvería a ser a partir de ese día la Embajada de la República de Cuba ante los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica. Ese mismo día comenzaron las actividades normales de sede diplomática en el edificio que se encuentra frente al malecón habanero, reanundano sus actividades como representación diplomática de los Estados Unidos ante la República de Cuba.

Ya no hay más sección de intereses. Ya ni los checos ni los suizos tendrán más que atender los asuntos de cada una de estas naciones al otro lado del Atlántico según correspondiera. Cuando se abrieron las dos embajadas, la cubana en Washington DC y la estadounidense en La Habana, ambas naciones comenzaron lo que se denomina “la representación diplomática de cada nación ante el gobierno de la otra,” siendo clave en este caso la palabra “gobierno”. Básicamente y gramática simple: son representaciones diplomáticas ante los GOBIERNOS, lo cual equivale a que cada cual reconoce la legitimidad del otro. No son representaciones diplomáticas ante grupos de disidentes en cualquiera de los dos países. Por tanto, los diplomáticos cubanos NO deben hacer una vida paralela con grupos que aspiran a derrocar o acabar con el gobierno legitimo de EEUU (insisto, del partido que sea) y los diplomáticos estadounidenses no deben reunirse con miembros de la disidencia en Cuba.

La diplomacia no debe servir como arma para crear el caos sino por el contrario, debe ayudar a evitarlo. Por favor, más respeto tanto para una nación como para la otra. Y sobre todo más respeto para los pueblos de los dos países que a lo largo de más de medio siglo han estado luchando de manera pacífica y respetuosa por llegar a este punto en la historia.

Cuba and the United States: a new era?

In Blockade, Cuba/US on February 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm

By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

On December 17, by freeing the five Cubans imprisoned for more than 16 years in the United States, President Barack Obama put an end to an excessively prolonged injustice and, at the same time, gave a change of direction to history.

By recognizing the failure of the anti-Cuban policy, restoring diplomatic relations, abolishing all restrictions within his reach, proposing the complete lifting of the blockade and the beginning of a new era in relations with Cuba –all in one speech– he broke all predictions and surprised everyone, including the brainiest analysts.
The hostile policy established by President Dwight Eisenhower(1953-1961), before the current President was born, was the rule applied–only with secondary sharing s– by Republican and Democratic administrations alike. It was eventually codified in the Helms-Burton Act, signed by Bill Clinton in 1996.

In the early years they practiced it quite successfully. In 1959, at the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the US was at the zenith of its power and exercised unchallenged hegemony over much of the world and especially the Western Hemisphere. This allowed it to secure the exclusion of Cuba from the Organization of American States (OAS) and granting the almost total isolation of the island. Cuba could count only with the help of the Soviet Union and its partners in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), formed by the Warsaw Pact countries.

The collapse of “real socialism” created in many the illusion that this would bring the end of the Cuban revolution.

They anticipated the advent of a long period of “uni-polar” dominance. Drunk with victory, they failed to assess correctly the depth of what was happening: the end of the Cold War opened up new spaces for social struggle, and presented capitalism with increasingly difficult challenges.
The fall of the Berlin Wall prevented them from seeing that, at the same time, in February 1989, Venezuela was shaken by a social uprising called “el Caracazo“, a sign  indicating the start of new era in Latin America.

Cuba managed to survive the demise of its former allies and its resistance was instrumental in the profound transformation of the continent. Years ago it became obvious that the policy designed to isolate Cuba was a failure. Such a policy ended up isolating the United States as its current Secretary of State, John Kerry, has recognized.

A new relationship with Cuba was indispensable for Washington. It needed to rebuild its ties with a continent that is no longer in its backyard. Achieving this is crucial now because, despite its power, the US cannot exercise the comfortable leadership it had had in times gone by.

There is still much to achieve with this new relationship. First of all, it is necessary to completely eliminate the economic, commercial and financial blockade as demanded with renewed vigor by important sectors of US business.

But normalizing relations would especially imply learning to live with the differences, and abandoning old dreams of domination. It would mean respecting the sovereign equality of states, a fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter, which, as history shows, is not liked by the powerful.

Regarding the release of the five Cuban prisoners, all US presidents without exception, have widely used the powers exclusively granted to them by Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution. This has been so for more than two centuries without anything or anyone being able to limit them.

This constitutional paragraph empowers the President to suspend the enforcement of sentences and grant pardons in cases of alleged crimes against the United States.

In the case of the Five there were more than enough reasons for executive clemency. In 2005, the panel of judges in the Court of Appeals quashed the process against them –defining it as “a perfect storm of prejudice and hostility”– and ordered a new trial.

In 2009, the full meeting of the same Court found that this case had nothing to do with espionage or the national security of the United States. Both verdicts were adopted with unanimity.

Regarding the other main charge of “conspiracy to commit murder”, made only against Gerardo Hernandez, his accusers acknowledged that it was impossible to prove this slander. They even tried to withdraw the accusation in May 2001 in an unprecedented action, taken by none other than the prosecutors under President George W. Bush (2001-2009).

For five years, Hernández had been expecting some response from the Miami court. He had made repeated requests for the court to release him, or review his case, or order the government to present the “evidence” used to convict him, or agree to hear him, or ask the government to reveal the magnitude and scope of the official financing of the massive media campaign that had created the “perfect storm”.

The Court never responded. Nothing was said by the mainstream media about the unusual legal paralysis. It was obvious that this was a political case and could only be resolved by a political decision. No one but the president could do it.

Obama showed wisdom and determination when, instead of just using his power to release any person, he courageously faced the underlying problem. The saga of the five was the result of an aggressive strategy and the wisest thing was to end both at the same time.

Nobody can ignore the significance of what was announced on 17 December. It would be wrong, however, to ignore the fact that there is still a road to travel that can be long and tortuous.  It will be necessary to move forward with strength and wisdom.

 

 A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs4281.html

The US and the speck in your neighbor’s eye

In Cuban 5, Politics, US on March 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm

 

By Fernando Ravsberg

Originally published in Spanish in Cartas desde Cuba 

 

Cuban-American congresswoman,  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), surprised many by recently questioning the US justice system when she said it was “extremely disappointing” that the courts had freed one of the 5 Cuban agents, after serving his sentence.

She doesn’t explain what else they could have done, maybe an alternative would have been to send him off to the US Military Base in Guantanamo Bay, where he would have had no legal rights or lawyers to reclaim him, nor would he have been subject to a judicial process..

But it would have been diplomatically incorrect to have done so on the same week that Washington was publishing their list of nations that violate human rights. Every year it highlights the name of Cuba, without mentioning Guantanamo, although that is where the largest number of political prisoners on the island is concentrated.

Secretary of State Kerry didn’t say anything either in spite of the fact that his President opposes the existence of that prison camp and promised to close it down during his first year in office, a time frame long overdue.

The violation of human rights by some does not justify that others do the same. It is absurd that the nation which possesses the most infamous prison in the world, due to the lack of rights offered those detained there, write up a list of violators world wide and not include itself.

But wait, there is more. Beijing also published a report on human rights where the US does appear,  accused of “having perpetrated 376 drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, killing 929 people, most of whom were civilians, various children among them.”

It is always easier to see the speck in your neighbor’s eye than the log in your own or in the eyes of “friends”. Thus the governments most vehemently denounced in the US report happen to be “enemies” of Washington, while the human rights violators that are “friends” are barely mentioned.

It wasn’t by coincidence that it was in the US where they said that you can protect an “SOB” as long as he’s “our SOB.” The statement is the best example of a double standard used by the international community and a disservice to the struggle for human rights the world over.

Now things are getting more complicated because the Russian Defense Minister announced that his country is negotiating with Cuba the possibility of establishing Russian military bases on the island. In case anyone has any doubts that they are serious, the next day a Russian navy warship anchored in Havana harbor.

The  students of the University of Computer Sciences (UCI) must be trembling. What if the Russians were  to reclaim their teaching facilities? The current site where the school of higher education resides was previously the Soviet base known as Lourdes, used for  spying on US communications.

It will be difficult for Washington to protest a Russian military presence in Cuba when they maintain a base on the island and subject the rest of the world to illegal eavesdropping, including its European and Latin American allies.

Things have gone so far that the EU and Brazil have agreed to lay a submarine telephone cable between the two continents one which the US will not have access to, and thus avoid the temptation of spying on the official communications of other nations.

Some analysts wonder whether the world will return to a new “Cold War” and nobody knows how all this will be framed within the efforts of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, to turn the region into a “Peace Zone.”

Latin America has been free of nuclear weapons for a long time. This year, at the CELAC summit, it decided that all disputes must be resolved peacefully and in the future may well close foreign military bases to avoid getting involved in other nation´s conflicts.

In Cuba´s case, if Washington were to agree to return the Guantanamo Naval Base it would then have the moral authority needed to demand that Havana not allow the installation of military units of other countries on its territory.

This would then be tantamount to a dream come true for two presidents. It would put an end to the military occupation of Guantanamo, a constant  demand made by Raul Castro, and Barack Obama would fulfill his promise of eliminating the prison that has brought the United States so much criticism.

 

Note: AjiacoMix regrets that this past Thursday marks the first time in seven years that a post from  Cartas desde Cuba does not appear on the BBC site.

Political faux pas or was something lost in translation? …

Ending the Cuba Travel Crisis

In Politics on December 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Time Travel - twisted clock

By Tom Hayden

There is an opportunity for President Barack Obama to begin rolling back our Cuba sanctions policy by finding a bank willing to do business with Cuba so that hundreds of thousands of Cubans can spend the holidays with their families. The main reason the Cuban Interests Section in Washington DC cannot process visas and passports is because no bank is willing to handle the financial transactions. The reason the banks are afraid is the US sanctions policy and Cuba’s listing on the global terrorism list. So the irrational US policy has come full circle: Obama’s policy of expanding and normalizing purposeful travel to Cuba is prevented by Obama’s embargo policies. It’s an opportunity to begin lifting the embargo, but chances are the administration is too timid, for now, to fully undo its own senseless policy.

Notice, however, the tantalizing convergence between Cuban and American rhetoric on the main issue:

John Kerry, Secretary of State has said, “Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans visit Havana, and hundreds of millions of dollars in trade and remittances flow from the United States to Cuba. We are committed to this human interchange, and in the United States we believe that our people are actually our best ambassadors. They are ambassadors of our ideals, of our values, of our beliefs.”

Ricardo Alarcon, former foreign minister and retired president of the National Assembly said, in relation, “In terms of changing Cuban society, the most effective ambassadors are the Cubans coming back, somebody living on the corner bringing gadgets from Miami. When they are in their dining rooms they probably are not pretending to mislead. They will say work is harder in the US. They can bring some different element here, maybe in fashion or music. So you will get a mutual influence. I don’t really see a problem with that. They have been coming back for years. So? It’s a two-way influence. For Cubans, they get a broader view of Miami, and it challenges the mentality of those Cuban-Americans who think everyone from Cuba is a terrorist. What free travel permits is a better understanding of Cuba’s realities and some benefits for the visitors, like cheaper medicines for example. For decades we have had millions of tourists from Western Europe and Canada, and they haven’t changed the country, they just come to enjoy life and relax.”

President Obama said November 8, “We have to update our policies. Keep in mind that when Castro came to power, I was just born.”

Ricardo Alarcon continued, “Now we have Esteban Laso as head of our National Assembly. He was a boy, a sugar cane cutter, in the Batista period. A little boy then; now he’s in his sixties. The misperception is that the Cuban system has been the same from the very first day; that the people who attacked Moncada are still around. Yes, a few are, but they are octogenarians. When Raul said he was getting out in five years, nobody here said, well, that’s the end.”

Alarcon said emphatically, “The main goal of immigrants is to come and go. The discussion is over.”

This irreversible process already has destroyed the argument of right-wing Cuban politicians, including Marco Rubio and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, that no one should travel to Cuba, nor spend money in Cuba, because they are subsidizing a dictatorship. Even many of Cuba’s US-supported dissidents have concluded that the blockade no longer makes sense.

If the “Cuban exiles” community is itself a dying band of octogenarians, what beyond inertia is propping up the US policy? Alarcon predicts that, “The day you don’t have a Castro, they will get into trouble because of their Helms-Burton law,” which prohibits US diplomatic recognition without the disappearance of the Castro regime and installation of a market economy. “In a few years the Cuban government will be led by other persons with other last names. But I don’t think the [passing of the Castros] will create an immediate process towards normalization. The reasons and forces behind the current policy are stronger than that.”

But, Alarcon observes, “If the anti-Castro people can go back and forth, it’s the end of the political exile movement.”

Article originally appeared on tomhayden.com (http://tomhayden.com/).

Spring is in the air

In Alan Gross, CAFE, Cuba, Cuba/US, Cuban 5 on April 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Margarita Alarcón Perea

Spring is in the air. It is a constant much like Pi, happens every March 21st whether it’s snowing or raining or bright and sunny.  Its striking  that on this same date,  March 21st, was also the birth of Benito Juarez, known as the Benemerito of the Americas, title bestowed on him by the people and government of Colombia on May 1st of the year 1865, because of his unrelenting struggle to free Mexico and gain independence.

While president of Mexico, Juarez had a maxim that lives on today in the Mexican nation: “Among individuals and nations alike, respect for the rights of other people is what constitutes peace”. This statement always comes to mind when I think of the place Cuba has held in the region since its independence from Spain in the XIX century.

Cuba’s rights as a nation have never been respected by other nations or individuals, ever.  After the island garnered its independence from Spain the Paris Treaty left the island at the bequest of the Government of the United States and it remained so till 1959 when the Revolution of Fidel Castro triumphed establishing a socialist government in the country. Although the Cuban Revolution brought about much needed change on a social level, educating the uneducated, bettering conditions outside of the capital and establishing universal health care as the main government strategies to help its people, the country still depended because of an embargo imposed by the US on the next best option, the Soviet Union, and again, Cuba depended on someone else and much of its sovereignty was put on hold. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union as a country and a concept, Cuba was left stranded economically, politically and even socially.

Those were very difficult times, but the social benefits that still existed on the island were still stronger than the hardship and the Cuban people continued in their strife to advance, even if alone. The embargo against the island continued as it does today, but the rest of the world began to slowly open up to Cuba, and not just because of His Holiness John Paul II desire that this be so.  Cuba had proven over the years that it had something to offer and that sovereignty and independence were not to be gambled with. Cuba has never been a satellite of the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution, although the relationship with it  and with Hugo Chavez was strong. The difference between the two moments in time is simple: during the first forty some years of the Revolution the country had to build itself up from scratch, by the time Chavez and his oil and social justice powered revolution came to power, Cuba already had sufficient bargaining chips to stand on its own and level the playing field. No longer were the stakes as lopsided as they had been in the past.

The Soviet Union is no longer around, neither is Chavez,  and his Revolution looks to be walking on unsteady ground, which is sad not only for Cuba on a personal and national note, it is also sad for the rest of Latin America as a whole. For no matter what one may opine on President Chavez, he did put the continent on the forefront and he did bring much needed changes to both the nation of Bolivar and the rest of the region. Yet the one thing that has not changed, the one thing that remains the same, is not just spring on the 21st of March. The one thing that remains the same is that on April 30th, well into spring, the secretary of state of the United States will have to submit his recommendation to the president on whether to keep Cuba on the list of terrorist nations or not.  Keeping Cuba on the list means no chance on earth of giving the president even the slightest chance of moving forward on bettering relations. Relations which if were to compare to a tennis ball, are now, and have been on the White House´s court for a number of years now.

More recently during the last Congressional visit to the island when President Raul Castro told US Congress members that a sit down with all cards on the table was in the offer.

It is true, Cuba has Alan Gross in jail. But he is being detained because he came down with an agenda to help undermine the Cuban government or regime, however you want to put it. Cuba has the same although slightly different situation in the US. Five Cuban intelligence agents are still in prison in the US. But their crime was never trying to undermine the US government to which they not only had no access, they also had no intention of doing, and quite frankly it would have been the most foolish of intentions.

The Cuban Five were in the US collecting information from US based paramilitary terrorist organizations in Miami which have been plotting, conspiring and bringing about terrorist acts against the Cuban people for over 50 years. They not only plot against Cuba and its people on the island, they also plot and have achieved to harm, destroy, terrorize and kill those who, whether Cuban or not, have the interest in forging better more rational relations with the island.  These terrorist groups have names, Omega 7, Alpha 66, Vigilia Mambisa, Brothers to the Rescue  and others. They have henchmen and they have leaders, one of which is infamously well known in Miami as one of the cities proud citizens, Luis Posada Carriles, a man who has more blood on his hands than most have running through their veins.  The Cuban Five infiltrated the US under false identities, this is true. They also infiltrated these terrorist organizations under false pretenses  But they did all of this in order to protect Cuba and those who want a normal life between Cuba and the US. News flash: they also, did most if not all of this, with the acquiescence of both the US government and the FBI.

Exchanging them for Alan Gross may not seem like the logical thing to do, but not on the US side, after all, Gross was accused of something he did do and something which is illegal not only in Cuba and the rest of the world, it is also illegal in the US: in theory, you are not allowed to openly try to topple foreign regimes in the United States of America. Heck, even Alan Gross accepts responsibility for his actions and recommends he be exchanged for the Cuban Five.

Now,  Secretary John Kerry has to decide if Cuba, an island that has never committed a terrorist act against the US or any other nation for that matter, should remain on an infamous obscene list.  Cuba deserves to be treated with the same respect it does its neighbors and colleagues in the world arena, it doesn’t set standards, it doesn’t disrespect others rights to decide, it thus, should be commended for its desire, as put by Juarez , to establish peace.

Unlike the unvarying Cherry Blossoms in DC and Pi, let’s hope Mr Kerry’s decision breaks one constant this Spring.