Photo by Juan A. Ocasio; Ricardo Alarcon, center, at a recent conference in Cuba

Photo by Juan A. Ocasio; Ricardo Alarcon, center, at a recent conference in Cuba

Havana Billboard 'We demand justice, jail for the Terrorist'; Posada is pictured

Havana Billboard 'We demand justice, jail for the Terrorist'; Posada is pictured

Inside New York City’s Church of the Intercession on Monday, September 19th, 2005, hundreds congregated to enthusiastically welcome Ricardo Alarcon, President of Cuba’s National Assembly. “Cuba Speaks for Itself: An Evening of Solidarity” was organized by dozens of local and national organizations, such as ANSWER, IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Venceremos Brigade, New York Free Mumia Coalition, International Action Center, WBAI-Cuba In Focus, Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, US/Cuba Labor Exchange, and many others.

After a warm welcome by leaders of these organizations, including the Reverend Lucius Walker (Pastors for Peace) and Bonnie Massey (Venceremos Brigade), Mr. Alarcon lauded both organizations for the decades of support and solidarity that they have offered to the Cuban people. Alarcon highlighted the tragedy of New Orleans, stressing that while solidarity was shown by these groups to the Cuba, the victims of Hurricane Katrina needed to see that same solidarity from their very own government. He reiterated that Cuba was still willing to send 14,000 doctors to help in the efforts to assist those victims needing medical attention and that they will continue to wait to see if the offer will be accepted.

Assembly President Alarcon spoke about the recent gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, reminding everyone that 5 years ago world leaders came to an agreement to reduce world poverty by 50% in 15 years. He stated that last week’s meeting of world leaders did not do what it was supposed to do: they did not discuss the progress toward meeting that original pledge that is now supposed to be met in 10 years. Instead of discussing the elimination of poverty, certain countries hijacked the discussions and manipulated the agenda to focus on the reform of the UN. Although he considers the reform of the UN as an important issue, Alarcon passionately exclaimed that the issue of eliminating poverty demands immediate attention and demands to be discussed at such gatherings of Presidents, Ministers, Kings, and other government leaders.

Mr. Alarcon stated that he was alarmed at the announcement of a new doctrine proposed by the United States, that of the “responsibility to protect.” Under this doctrine, a reformed UN could intervene anywhere in response to a country’s internal conflict, war, or natural disaster. Cuba’s position is that it is the responsibility of every government to deal with its own conflict, war, or natural disaster, and not for the UN or the US to use this as an excuse for intervening in the affairs of other countries.

The United States also proposed, he continued, that the Human Rights Commission be reorganized, as they feel it had too many members. Mr. Alarcon’s analysis was that this means that the US wants to be able to further control this body into expressing its political will. “Instead of having a democratic body, where all countries vote equally and have their say”, the US wants to have reduced membership on the Commission, and institute strict eligibility criteria and controls, and use the Commission as tool towards intervention. Alarcon declared that “the United States simply wants to reinforce its influence and control over the United Nations.”

A document was secretly drafted, he said, containing these reforms. “There was no mention of underdeveloped countries”, he stated. There was no mention of development, disarmament, nuclear or otherwise, and no mention of the word “peace.” None of this was discussed publicly and there was no open participation of the general membership of the United Nations. It was all done in secret by a handful of countries and it was up to each country to accept it or denounce it. He denounced that the American people have no idea what their leaders are up to in the halls of the UN.

Mr. Alarcon praised Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for a major speech he gave where he denounces the document. Alarcon declared that the current world order is based on deceiving the people; all is subordinate to this war on terror, while Iraqis are being killed and American soldiers are being killed for a war based on lies, and while true terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles are given shelter and protection in the United States.

Posada Carriles, former-CIA operative and fugitive of Venezuelan justice, has boasted of many anti-Cuba terrorist actions over the last three decades, including the bombing of a civilian Cuban airliner. He snuck into the US early this year and was picked up by immigration authorities who are determining the legality of his permanence in the United States (not his admitted crimes).

The Cuban leader detailed the history of the notorious Miami-terrorist, saying that Posada Carriles has stated that he is being treated well by American authorities while awaiting his immigration hearings to continue; meanwhile, thousands of Mexican, South American, and other Latin Americans are aggressively and cruelly deported from the United States simply for attempting to secure a job and a better life for their families. Posada Carriles, instead of being arrested or extradited, is going through an immigration hearing process during which is given preferential and comfortable treatment by American authorities. Alarcon demanded that Posada be extradited to Venezuela, from which Posada escaped during his trial there. Alarcon mentioned that newly declassified documents show that the CIA knew that Posada and Bosch were planning to blow up the civilian airliner 3 months before they made it a reality. “Their own documents names these two men as the masterminds of this crime and it shows how the American Embassy in Caracas worked to get them out of the country to avoid trial.” The United States is violating the UN Resolutions that it itself introduced as well as other international conventions, like the Montreal Convention which mentions airline piracy/terrorism and obligates countries to either extradite or try terrorists caught in their territory.

While terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch (who was pardoned for his terrorist activites by his friend George H.W. Bush even though he was openly involved in murder of pro-Cuba activists and Chilean government diplomats) walk freely, five Cubans are sitting in American prisons for their efforts to prevent terrorism in Cuba. These five men, who infiltrated violent terrorist organizations in Miami, were arrested by American authorities, tried, convicted, and sentenced, some for life. Even those who received life were given parole conditions that prohibit them from frequenting places where terrorists are known to congregate, a ridiculous condition that highlights that the government knows that terrorists are active in Miami. Even though the Appeals Court overturned their convictions last month, the authorities still have not released them from prison, making them five kidnapped Cubans at this point.

In closing, Mr. Alarcon borrowed a baseball analogy of one of the Cuban Five (“you know how much we Cubans love baseball”): “the game is tied at 0-0, and we are up to bat. If the US government decides to retry the Five, they should remember that we are up to bat.” While talking about Bosch and Posada Carriles and the documents that show their complicity in terrorist actions, Alarcon stated that they knew what documents to present into evidence and what people to call as witnesses, implying that they would use the Americans’ own documents against them as well as calling people like Bosch and Posada as witnesses during a new trial to expose the truths of US involvement and of the need for Cuba to infiltrate terrorist groups as a defense mechanism.

Finally, he said he’s often asked what will happen in Cuba after Fidel. He stated that first of all Fidel is in extraordinarily good health. Second he says that after resisting US aggression, the loss of the support of the USSR, and the following incorrect assumption that socialism was dead, that Cuba feels the satisfaction of having new generations of leaders rising up the ranks now who are more steadfast than the Revolutionary generations. He stated that these new generations are doing the work of the Revolution better than his generation, and that this is precisely what a revolution is all about.

Amid rhythmic cries from the audience of “Viva Cuba Revolucionaria!”, the National Assembly President closed by reiterating his solidarity with the American people, saying that “amor con amor se paga” : love received is paid back with love, as well as with the solidarity and friendship of the Cuban people.

Que Viva Cuba!