Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede recently pointed out the all too blatant hypocrisy that swirls around the Bush administration’s “war on terror” and how it is conveniently forgotten when it comes to Cuba.
In a July 10 article he wrote: “Bodies were still being pulled from the wreckage when U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) issued a statement condemning what she called the ‘barbaric’ terrorist attack in London.
“‘The targeting of innocent lives is insidious and shows the utter disrespect that perpetrators of terror have for humanity,’ the Miami Republican declared. ‘Those who committed this callous act must know that our determination to neutralize terrorism is unshaken and that we will not yield in the face of such perfidy.’
“Strong words,” the columnist writes. “But where was the congresswoman’s outrage when she came to the defense of Luis Posada Carriles, a man who bragged about masterminding a series of hotel bombings in Havana that killed an Italian tourist? A man suspected of blowing up a Cuban airliner?”
DeFede concludes that the anti-Castro gang in South Florida, who support terrorists Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, are guilty of political opportunism at the very least. “The nobility of your cause cannot be a justification for terror, because every terrorist believes that what he is doing is right.
“Which is why the only way to fight terrorism is to condemn it in all its forms and not just when it is politically convenient,” he concludes.
How to prevent terrorist attacks?
As targets of U.S.-supported terrorists bent on destroying the socialist nation, Cuba appealed to the U.S. government numerous times to clamp down on these violent individuals and groups. Yet, self-proclaimed terrorists like Bosch and now Posada Carriles find safe harbor in South Florida — the home of most of these terrorist groups and training camps.
Cuba has endured terrorist attacks for more than 40 years. They have claimed the lives of more than 3,470 people, injured more than 2,100 and caused untold damage to Cuban agriculture and economy. So what is a country like Cuba to do in order to protect itself? Cuba took matters into its own hands and decided to fight terrorism through peaceful means. It sent five of its patriotic sons to watch right-wing extremist terrorist groups in South Florida.
When they uncovered important information concerning these groups, the Cuban government shared it with the FBI at a special meeting in 1998. Instead of acting on the information, the FBI arrested the five anti-terrorists, Ramón Labaniño, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, René González, collectively known now as the Cuban 5. Victims of an unfair trial, they are now serving harsh prison sentences in U.S. jails.
A powerful film
Bernie Dwyer, an Irish filmmaker and Radio Havana correspondent, toured the U.S. earlier this year promoting “Mission against Terror,” a 48-minute documentary about the Cuban 5, co-directed by Dwyer and Cuban television producer Roberto Ruiz Rebo.
Dwyer traveled to 22 U.S. cities showing the film. She “wasn’t sure” what kind of reception she would get. “I thought there would be more hostility,” Dwyer told the World. But even in Miami, the bastion of anti-Cuba terrorist groups, she was welcomed. “I was surprised by how little Americans knew about the terrorist attacks against Cuba.”
The power of “Mission against Terror” is two-fold: It documents the many terrorist attacks against Cuba which are not well known to U.S. audiences and it shows, through interviews with the families of the Cuban 5, how deeply patriotic it was for them to decide to give their lives in the fight against terrorism.
Dwyer opens the film with an elegant Afro-Cuban couple dancing to Cuban music. This is a serious topic, she said, “but there is life going on in Cuba — music, delight, love, revolution — I wanted to get that across too.”
A moving interview with Rosa Aurora Freijones, wife of Fernando, captures a heart-stopping moment when she speaks of her fear she will never have children since Fernando is in jail and her “biological clock is ticking.”
“It was a long interview, and she opened up to us,” Dwyer said.
“Mission against Terror” is available on DVD. It’s great for house parties to stimulate the fight to free the five Cuban anti-terrorists and spark discussion on how to prevent and end terrorism. To order the video contact local “Free the Five” committees listed at www.freethefive.org.