_ by Stephen Kimber

On December 31, 2011, the Washington Post published an editorial demanding the return of Alan Gross, an American government contractor sentenced to 15 years in Cuban prison for illegally bringing telecommunications equipment into the country.

In the editorial, the Post claimed Cuba saw Gross as a "potential bargaining chip" to win the release of the Cuban Five, a group of Cuban intelligence agents sentenced to harsh prison terms in the U.S. for "conspiracy to commit" espionage.

"There is no equivalence, moral or otherwise, between the illegal espionage of the Cubans and the conduct of Mr. Gross. The five Cubans were sentenced to long prison terms in 2001 for, among other things, operating as undeclared foreign agents and infiltrating U.S. military installations in South Florida. All are acknowledged intelligence officers, unlike Mr. Gross, a would-be humanitarian who got himself caught up in the U.S.-Cuban dispute over U.S. efforts to promote civil society on the island."

René González, the only one of the Five to be released from prison—but who is still currently forced to serve his parole in the U.S.—has written a powerful, thoughtful response to the editorial (see below).

He's encouraging others to read the Post's editorial and write their own letters to the editor to challenge the inaccuracies in the piece and to push the American media to finally report completely and fairly on the case of the Five.
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From: René González


Mailing address: undisclosed for personal safety.


Relation to the issue: I'm one of the Cuban Five


mentioned in the editorial.


Telephone: undisclosed for personal safety.


_ Dear Editor:

Your editorial regarding the case of Alan Gross -and in passing the one of the Cuban Five- is so charged with factual inaccuracies that it can only be explained -at least in part- by the astonishing decision by the American media to not publish anything of the longest "espionage" trial in the history of the country, which ended up on such harsh sentences that would suggest a danger to the US that everybody on the planet should have been aware of. I won't burden you with all the inaccuracies and will only refer to a few of them.

It is true that it is illegal for Cuba to connect to the Internet. After all, the whole country is banned by the US government to hook up to the underwater cable that runs parallel to the Cuban coast, just north of the island. It strains credibility that the Washington Post wouldn't be able to find the truth about such a simple factual matter. That the same government that prohibits the whole island to connect to the web then devices a clandestine operation to decide which Cubans will have the privilege to circumvent the very prohibition that he imposes on the country's citizenry can hardly be considered of a humanitarian character.

That the Jewish Cuban community had anything to do with that operation has been the most often repeated lie of the last two years. The cynicism of having played the Jewish card on this case lies on somebody else other than any Cuban official, and has been the basis of the mayor disinformation on this issue. It would surely be easy for the Washington Post also to find out the truth by simply contacting the people that the editorial cites as having visited Mr Gross in prison: The Cuban Jewish leaders, whose community enjoys every benefit when it comes to communications that a country under so much limitations in that regard can give them.

Well before the arrest of Mr Gross the Group on Arbitrary Detentions of the United Nations Humans Right Commission, Amnesty International, more than a hundred Brithish MP's, ten Nobel price winners, the entire Mexican Senate, 56 Canadian MP's and thousands of personalities, political and civil organizations all over the world called for an end to the vindictive and arbitrary treatment of the Five. It would have taken any news outlet, including the Post, to just read the decision of the Appellate panel on the 11th Circuit -August 5, 2005-, where the terrorist activities against Cuba which we were watching on are listed, to explain why so many people support us.

That also explains the reasons of my incapacity to give you my mailing address or telephone number. After all, during my sentencing, the prosecutors asked the Judge

-who granted it- that "the defendant should be prohibited from associating with terrorists or to visit places where it is known that terrorists, people who promote violence or organized crime figures meet". They forgot, nevertheless, to offer me the same protection against the terrorists, who enjoy any freedom to come after me if they only new my location.

Some times bad actions have unintended consequences, and this applies now. Every one of those who decided to spill on the five of us his hatred towards the Cuban government, now has put that same government on a position when it would be impossible for him to exercise the generosity that -to take just an example- was exercised with the Bay of Pigs invaders. I have nothing personal against Mr Gross and wish him well, but it is not wise -as suggested by the editorial- to think that the recycling of the same arrogance and lies will do him any good. It doesn't make sense to mistreat somebody and at the same time demand generosity from him. That logic should come to an end, the sooner the better for our two peoples.

I respectfully suggest that there is still time for the Post to take this matter seriously. Open a real debate on all this issues and don't keep going down the same worn out path that goes nowhere.

It reads in the Bible that "the truth will set you free". That might apply to Mr Gross today.

Respectfully submitted.

René González Sehwerert

cubanfive.ca
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Respuesta de René al artículo del Washington Post

Estimados afectos:

Aquí les va mi traducción al español, que ya varios me han pedido. Que cará, si ya escribí el original en inglés qué más da.

Yo.

Estimado editor:

Su editorial en relación con el caso de Alan Gross -y de pasada con el de los Cinco Cubanos- está tan cargado de imprecisiones que sólo puede explicarse -al menos en parte- por la increíble decisión por la prensa norteamericana de no publicar nada acerca del juicio de "espionaje" más largo de la historia del país, que resultara en tan duras sentencias que sugerirían un peligro para los Estados Unidos del que todo el mundo en el planeta debió haber sido alertado. No lo sobrecargaré con todas esas imprecisiones y me referiré sólo a un puñado de ellas.

Es cierto que es ilegal para Cuba conectarse a la Internet. Después de todo, al país entero se le prohibe por el gobierno de los EUA conectarse al cable submarino que corre paralelo a la costa cubana, justo al norte de la isla. Es un reto a la credibilidad que el Washington Post no sea capaz de hallar la verdad acerca de un asunto factual tan simple. Que el mismo gobierno que prohibe a la isla entera conectarse a la red entonces diseñe una operación clandestina para decidir qué cubanos tendrán el privilegio de circunnavegar las mismas prohibiciones que él impone a toda la ciudadanía de la isla puede muy malamente ser considerado de carácter humanitario.

Que la comunidad judía de Cuba tenga algo que ver con esa operación ha sido una de las mentiras más repetidas de los últimos dos años. El cinismo de haber jugado a la carta judía en este caso cae sobre alguien más que no es algún funcionario oficial cubano, y ha sido la base de la mayor desinformación en este asunto. Seguramente sería también fácil para el Washington Post encontrar la verdad con sólo hacer contacto con las personas a quienes el editorial cita como visitantes de Mr Gross en la prisión: Los lideres judíos de Cuba, cuya comunidad disfruta de todos los beneficios cuando se trata de comunicarse que un país bajo tantas limitaciones en ese sentido les puede ofrecer.

Mucho antes del arresto del Señor Gross el Grupo de Detenciones Arbitrarias de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas, Amnistía Internacional, más de cien miembros del parlamento Británico, diez premios Nobel, el Senado Mexicano en pleno, 56 miembros del Parlamento Canadiense y miles de personalidades, organizaciones civiles y políticas alrededor del mundo reclamaron el fin del tratamiento vengativo y arbitrario a los Cinco. Le hubiera tomado a cualquier organización noticiosa, incluido el Washington Post, solamente leer la decision del Panel de Apelaciones del 11no Circuito -Agosto 5, 2005-, donde las actividades terroristas contra Cuba que nosotros monitoreábamos son enumeradas, para explicarse porqué tantas personas nos apoyan.

Eso también explica mi incapacidad para ofrecerles mi dirección postal o mi número de teléfono. Después de todo, durante mi sentencia, los fiscales pidieron a la jueza

-quien lo otorgó- "que al defendido debería prohibirsele asociarse con terroristas o visitar lugares en que se sabe que terroristas, personas que promueven la violencia o figuras del crimen organizado frecuentan". Ellos olvidaron, no obstante, ofrecerme a mí la misma protección contra los terroristas, quienes gozan de toda la libertad para venir tras de mí con sólo conocer mi ubicación.

Algunas veces las malas acciones traen consecuencias no previstas, y esto aplica a este caso. Cada uno de aquellos que decidieron derramar en nosotros Cinco su odio hacia el gobierno cubano, ha puesto ahora a ese gobierno en una posición en la que le sería imposible ejercer la generosidad que -para tomar sólo un ejemplo- fue ejercida hacia los invasores de Bahía de Cochinos. Yo no tengo nada personal contra el Señor Gross y le deseo el bien, pero no es sabio -tal y como sugiere su editorial- creer que el reciclaje de la misma arrogancia y mentiras le harán algún favor. No tiene sentido maltratar a alguien y al mismo tiempo demandar que sea generoso. Esa lógica debería terminar, cuanto antes lo mejor para nuestros dos pueblos.

Yo le sugiero respetuosamente que todavía hay tiempo para el Post de tomar este asunto seriamente. Abran un debate real sober todos estos asuntos y no sigan desandando el mismo camino trillado que no conduce a ninguna parte.

Dice la Biblia que "la verdad os hara libre". Esto pudiera ser aplicable hoy al Señor Gross.

Respetuosamente.

René González Sehwerert


Comite Internacional por la Libertad de los 5 Cubanos
www.thecuban5.org





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