WHO ARE THE SO-CALLED DISSIDENTS AND PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE IN CUBA?

From the very triumph of the Revolution, four decades ago, the United States --which was already the most powerful imperialist power and our neighbor only 90 miles away-- has not ceased for an instant in its efforts to destroy it. This was, and still is, an unquestionable fact. Although, the truth is they have not been able, nor will they be able, to do it whatever the circumstances.

The most diverse strategies and tactics have been used, from the most brutal

--placing the world on the verge of a nuclear war-- to the most subtle, in order to destroy us from outside or from within. Money, probably its most powerful weapon, has been of no avail. They discovered, early enough, that neither the Cuban people nor the men or women that lead what is now a historic revolutionary process, can be bought. The ideological weapons have crashed against ideas and convictions that have proven to be invincible.

Today our neighboring country is a lot more powerful. It is the hegemonic superpower that reigns in this unipolar world. After the socialist block and the USSR collapsed, Cuba was left alone in the struggle defending its trenches, without giving an inch. Some of its fellow citizens, those ideologically weaker and less capable of withstanding the rigors of such a heroic struggle, have given up; others, the more experienced and tempered in the struggle, have multiplied their morale, their strength and their convictions. New and valuable young combatants and cadre join our undefeated revolutionary ranks.

In this edition we shall expose the current US policy and give proof of the incredible and dirty methods used by the United States against Cuba, which are sometimes very subtle, quite often underestimating and contemptuous, frequently uncouth and awkward, most of the time shameless, and always arrogant and overbearing.

For many months now, the Revolution has been the target of an intense slander campaign given the inevitable need to arrest and try four unpatriotic citizens for their increasingly shameless counterrevolutionary actions, in close contact with US government officials and the counterrevolutionary Mafia in Miami.

As usual, the United States is the main promoter and organizer of these campaigns whose targets can be found both inside and outside of Cuba.

Internationally, its objective is to weaken the influence and the growing prestige of Cuba in its heroic and invincible resistance against the monstrous economic war launched by the United States against our people. They try to justify this war before the world public opinion that condemns this criminal policy and before its domestic public opinion, increasingly opposed to the shameful crime committed against the Cuban people for 40 years now. Also, to multiply the obstacles to the economic relations and development of the country subjected, from the very beginning of the Special Period, to new laws, amendments, political tactics and subversive tracks.

In the domestic arena, their objective is to shamelessly promote destabilization and subversion. To that end, it allocates substantial funding and technical means to broadcast thousands of radio and TV hours each week aimed at our people. It lies, misinforms, launches subversive political slogans and promotes the most diverse forms of economic sabotage, theft and crime in an attempt to demoralize our courageous and militant people.

To carry out their subversive domestic plans, they pay agents, organize and finance groups and promote leaders who are only known abroad and totally unknown in Cuba. In the years of Giron [the Bay of Pigs], the Escambray, the dirty war and the October [Missile] Crisis, they supported more than 300 organizations to place bombs, carry out sabotages and organize armed bandits. Today, they try to procreate dozens of small groups, which they back, encourage, advertise, guide and finance.

These groups are so well financed that their domestic counterrevolutionary activities have become a trade, an easy way of life. A new category of loafers has been designed, without any patriotic values, social or human ideals whatsoever, without any idea of justice or of the present world realities. These people do not work, earn a living or produce anything but intrigues, vain illusions, cheap empty demagogy; they repeat slogans and lies supplied from abroad and get their pay-check for the very sad work of slandering their homeland, and blemishing the glory and heroic sacrifice of their people. Mechanisms have been set in place to contribute to the glorification of such characters abroad through the mass media. They have also had the cooperation of some foreign journalists accredited in our country and certain press agencies whose mission in Cuba is sending abroad all the intrigues, slanders and indecencies that their paid agents dish out. These are people without any other ideology than annexation, a parasitic lifestyle and the dream of living in any of the increasingly unsustainable consumer societies. A new nobility title has been created for them, that of "dissidents".

If in the performance of their activities at the service of a foreign power they go too far and as a result of this they are penalized they become "prisoners of conscience". This, even when they have acted in flagrant violation of the laws under which our people fulfill, and will continue to fulfill, the compelling duty of saving the achievements of the Revolution and defend the most sacred interests of the nation and the people. They are not moved by their conscience; they are moved by an instinct.

The opening of the Revolution and the possibility for the members of the Cuban community abroad and citizens who live in our country to enter and exit the island anytime is abused by imperialism, which tries to accomplish its purposes amid the difficulties and great sacrifices imposed by the severe blockade and the economic warfare. The same thing happens with tourism, investments shared with foreign capital, the possibility of receiving family remittances from abroad, unlimited, unrestricted communications and other exchange facilities.

Last Monday, the trial against these four archetypes was held. To such events of a domestic nature where Cuban nationals are tried for their counterrevolutionary activities, it is not common procedure to admit --and we did not admit-- the foreign press. On the other hand, several members of the press temporarily or permanently accredited in our country, contributed largely, as we shall see, to the conspiracy and the slander campaigns against Cuba. In this global and agitated world of unipolar hegemony, fraught with monopolistic contradictions, the information transnationals in ferocious competition obviously seek for news, but not necessarily for the truth. The Cuban Revolution has always been more interested in the truth than in the news.

Our pages are not commonly used to publish the adventures and doings of such delinquents. This time, however, we have thought it fitting to dedicate some space to them, as they serve to prove, denounce and unmask the United States policy against Cuba.

Granma has obtained substantial information from experts, prosecutors and people attending the hearings, as well as documents and material evidence that were submitted; also precise details on the proceedings and the events tried by the Court last Monday.

The trial exposed with absolute clarity all that was hidden behind the activities of the four defendants: Vladimiro Roca Antunez, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello,

Felix Antonio Bonne Carcasses y Rene de Jesus Gomez Manzano, who were unable to rebut any of the accusations.

The counsels for the defense were themselves faced with the difficult task of confronting the seriousness of the offenses and the heavy evidence presented. Therefore, they cleverly focused their defense on legal technicalities questioning the correspondence between the proven facts and the type of crime defined in the article of the Penal Code wielded by the prosecutor in her brilliant accusation on behalf of the people, that is, whether the actions in question were seditious or not. In all truth, the defendants were not accused of sedition but of inciting it.

What did the imperialist do as soon as they were arrested?

In the first place, as might be expected, a huge international publicity campaign was mounted in favor of the four "peaceful dissidents" and "prisoners of conscience" unfairly arrested.

Aside from publicity campaigns, the US Administration usually exerts all types of pressures every time somebody who works for them is in this kind of trouble as a result of its activities. And they are all the more active the greater the interest and importance they attach to the activities of such people. They often ask political personalities having relationships or friendly ties with Cuba to intervene in favor of the rapidly known and even famous and innocent "prisoners of conscience".

From the moment these four Cuban nationals were arrested, the State Department would send every Western personality of certain seniority travelling to Cuba a list of "prisoners of conscience" always headed by these four individuals, asking the visitor to exert pressure for their release. This is an invariable part of the United States' dirty game. Some visitors would do it with a greater or lesser degree of embarrassment. Our government has remained firm and unmoved.

Experience has increasingly shown us --especially in this case, as you shall see further on-- that the generosity shown by the Revolution does not always bear its best fruits. Its open humanitarian spirit is taken for an obligation to make concessions in the face of the imperialists economic warfare and blackmail. They, in turn, never accept the liberation of a Puerto Rican patriot sentenced to long years of imprisonment or the commutation of the death penalty of an Afro-American, a non-white American or a Latino, and these are almost without exception the only persons sentenced to this penalty in the United States.

To understand this story, one needs to go back to a document published in Miami in May 1992 signed by a group of the best known counterrevolutionary and terrorist organizations acting against Cuba from the United States. It is entitled "OPEN LETTER TO FOREIGN INVESTORS" and it states the following:

"At the right moment, we shall take all the necessary measures to promote and guarantee due protection of private investments in a democratic Cuba and we shall also consider, with due responsibility, the legitimate obligations of the international debt. But it is our position that any investment made in Cuba, under the present circumstances, shall not deserve the protection of the laws to be passed by a future Cuban government to protect private property. We maintain that these investments are to be considered part of the national heritage, and as such, we could freely make use of them. The investors are to bear in mind that, in many cases, they participate in "joint ventures" or sign agreements with entities or bodies that will most probably cease to exist."

(...)

"We believe it is important that the international community of investors know of our intentions and that those who are planning to invest in Cuba fully realize the political responsibility of their actions and the risks this may entail. We know that our stance is backed by political groups inside Cuba which, for obvious reasons, cannot add their signatures to this document."

It is signed, among others, by five of the major terrorist organizations: Independent and Democratic Cuba, the Cuban American National Foundation, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Directorate, the Rebel Army in Exile and the former Club Association of Cuban Prisoners and Combatants .

Furthermore, in a letter dated 15 October 1994, sent to foreign investors in Cuba by the well-known Cuban American National Foundation, it was stated that:

"(...) we would like to inform you that your investments or trade activities in Cuba are considered an act of collaboration with a totalitarian system" (...) "Furthermore, your investments totally contradict, impair and disregard the property rights of the former land, building or business owners.

"All democratic organizations opposed to the present Cuban regime, inside or outside Cuba, agree that the financial or other resources invested in Cuba shall become, in a post-Castro Cuba, part of the national heritage and be placed at the disposal of the new government to use them in the best interests of the new republic."

"(...)your business, trade or economic activities in Cuba, besides being illegal,(...) are considered immoral(...) "It is up to you to withdraw or not to invest in the Island and await a safe opportunity in a democratic Cuba. Otherwise, you shall have to face the consequences (...)"

This letter was signed by the notorious Jorge Mas Canosa, then chairman of the CANF.

In addition to these actions, in a letter dated 10 April 1997 in the City of Havana, signed by Vladimiro Roca Antunez, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Félix Bonne Carcasses and Rene Gomez Manzano, and sent to all foreign businessmen, they stated:

"The moment is closing in when a transition towards democracy will take place in Cuba. Therefore, measures should be taken to prevent that the present investment of capital may be considered, in that near future, as a form of complicity with the suffering of the Cuban people."

As can be seen, there is an exact, almost word-for-word coincidence between the paragraph taken from the letter of the above mentioned individuals and the letters from the terrorist organizations in Miami and the Cuban American Foundation, signed by Mas Canosa, with the perfidious objective of hindering the development and the economy of the country in the midst of the Special Period.

On 10 April 1997, in an "APPEAL TO ALL FELLOW COUNTRYMEN IN EXILE", issued in the City of Havana, and signed by Vladimiro Roca and the other three members of the group, it is stated that:

"[...] The debate on whether it is advisable or not to send aid to relatives and friends in the country is still going on [...] We intend to express our opinion on how these remittances may be contributing to silencing the voices of many who within the county are against the communist regime.

"Most of the times, aid is sent by people who went into exile because they were against the system and those who receive it here share their ideas; however, obtaining such additional income has led many to pretend indifference towards the national crisis.

"In the face of this reality, we want to call upon those who, in spite of criticism, give economic support to their loved ones living in Cuba. We call their attention to the fact that, if besides sending the money, they would appeal to the recipients to engage in a peaceful struggle for change, this would dramatically increase the number of those who in Cuba have chosen that path.

"If some of those who receive aid would leave the so-called 'mass organizations' and stop pretending a support for the regime they do not feel. Also, if they would stop attending the political rallies called by the government and not take part in the 'communist elections' where nothing is elected, even if voting is not compulsory, that would bring an invaluable support to the peaceful struggle for a change within our country".

[...]

"It is precisely our brothers and sisters in the exile sending aid, who should prevail on their relatives and friends so that they understand this simple reality and act accordingly.

[...] "Fraternally, "Felix A. Bonne Carcasses "Rene Gomez Manzano

"Vladimiro Roca Antunez

"Martha B. Roque Cabello."

It did not take long for the extremist mob in Miami to react to this call.

One of the most bitter promoters of the economic war against Cuba and of the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, federal Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart from Florida, in a conversation with Luis Fernandez, anchorman of Radio Marti's program "Rueda de Prensa", warmly praised the work of the group that issued the Appeal to have the recipients of remittances from the United States do at least three things in return:
 
 

· Look for ways in which to help domestic "dissident groups". · Stop playing the government's game.

· Try to produce a low turnout in the elections.

In an interview done by Vladimiro Roca with journalist Alvaro de Insua for Radio Marti's program "Las noticias como son", on May 5, while celebrating

the anniversary of the first press conference given by the group, the following dialogue took place:

Journalist of the counterrevolutionary radio station: "Vladimiro Roca, President of the Social Democratic Party, is the main promoter of a call to abstain from voting. What role do Cuban exiles play in this call?"

Vladimiro Roca's answer: "One of our first actions was issuing the Appeal to our Brothers and Sisters in Exile. We are asking those sending remittances to the Cubans here to, please, abstained from voting to further speed up democratization, that is, to put pressure on them through the sending of remittances. If I am sending you money, you are better off than the others. Do something to make this change! It is a very easy thing to do: to abstain, not to vote."

The Cuban government has authorized remittances that it never accepted before the Special Period because they are a source of social differences and inequities. It is outrageous that now these "dissident groups" intend to subject the relatives sending remittances and their recipients to such offensive conditions and demands and also say that most of the recipients think like they do and should stop pretending otherwise.

Again on May 15, 1997, the group publishes in the American mass media a DECLARATION expressing:

"Several weeks ago, our working group made known its basic position on the elections announced for the coming months and urged our fellow countrymen and women to avail themselves of their right to not vote. We believe this is the most proper action at the present moment, because the government uses the votersí turnout as a measure of the support it allegedly enjoys. Also because unscrupulous individuals may manipulate the election results, counting as valid the annulled ballots, because voting is tantamount to legitimizing a process that --not being pluralistic-- only a communist system would consider legitimate, and we would be too naive to compare it with that existing in truly democratic countries.

The other alternative for those who do not agree with the government policy, that of annulling their ballot, actually requires no calls or campaigns from the opposition, since it will happen spontaneously among those who, against their will, feel compelled to vote."

In July 1997 they issued an "APPEAL TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE" where they stated: "Our working group reiterates the call it made urging the citizens not to vote, an action that does not infringe any resolution. We know it is not easy, because in spite of not being compulsory, the authorities have a thousand ways of exerting pressures on the citizens to vote, to be able to present afterwards a high turnout rate as an alleged evidence of support to the system. We are aware that those who hold jobs or enjoy some advantage are afraid to lose them; that those with children under age are afraid of impairing their future in some way if they do not act the way government expects them to. But we also trust that the people will overcome fear and make use of this small possibility to demonstrate that they want a peaceful change." Further on they stated: "There is hardly any need to say that we urge those who do not share the views of the system and, in spite of this, go to the polls, to annul their ballots writing the word 'NO'. However, we must warn them that, since there will be no representatives of the opposition nor international observers in the electoral college, we have the well founded conviction that part of the annulled votes may be changed or manipulated by unscrupulous individuals, something they would be unable to do with those who abstain." Because of its vileness, no comment is required concerning this material and the alleged possibility of null votes being changed or manipulated in elections where the polls are guarded by children and the votes are counted in front of whoever wants to be present, as is known by millions of citizens in this country who have voted in 12 elections --including a referendum-- since 1976: 23 years without a single known case of fraud.

The very idea that a Cuban child may suffer the consequences of his father not voting is simply revolting.

On July 11, 1997, Rene Gomez Manzano sent a letter to Mr. Frank Calzon, that we transcribe below:

"Mr. Frank Calzon

"1318 18 St. N.W.

"Washington DC 20036

"Phone (703) 998-8384

"(202) 296-5101

"Dear Frank:

"I avail myself of this pleasant occasion to send you warm greetings.

"A recent graduate from the Mother Country came some days ago to see me in your behalf. As he said he was interested in economic issues, his specialty, I put him in contact with Martha Beatriz.

"He gave me two hundred dollars [200.00 USD] from Mrs. Bette" [the same person who had brought a computer from Mr. Calzon] "I am very grateful and will be very appreciative if you tell her so.

"As you may surely know, some weeks ago we received invitations from Ambassador Groth" [Special Rapporteur against Cuba that the United States had been able to impose on the Human Rights Commission in Geneva] "to visit him in New York in August. I don't think we will have that possibility, since it is a known fact that the Cuban government does not grant that type of 'exit visa' but we are going through the procedures anyway. I wish Iím wrong and have the pleasure of personally greeting you and other friends from those northern lands.

"Thank you again, I embrace you,

"Rene

"Rene Gomez Manzano."

Sheer annexation!

Who is Frank Calzon?

Calzon, of Cuban descent, was recruited by the CIA while studying in Georgetown University. He was a member of the "Abdala" terrorist and counterrevolutionary organization and later became Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation. When he had to resign due to conflicts with the top ringleader, he became director of the program "Transition for a Free Cuba" sponsored by the so-called Freedom House Foundation.

As was widely publicized, on October 6, 1995, President Clinton personally handed him, before the press, half a million dollars to supply computers, fax machines, literature and money to the groups opposing the Cuban state inside Cuba. This action took place five months and six days before the President of the United States signed the Helms-Burton Act.

In August 1997 Norman Dorn, an envoy of Frank Calzon, was arrested in Cuba and deported to the United States. He was bringing technical supplies and instructions for the petty groups in Cuba and was found in the possession of a computer, short wave radios, several cameras and two thousand dollars in cash. This, after he had distributed lots of money and equipment to several groups, among them that of Vladimiro Roca.

As a consequence of this scandal, towards the end of 1997 Calzon left Freedom House and created a new organization under the name of "Center for a Free Cuba". He immediately received 400,000 dollars from the United States government.

The group has received really important financial and technical resources. Even though none of its members has worked for years, their living standard is much higher than that of ordinary citizens. One of them, without shedding a drop of sweat, supports four different houses, as a Sultan "dissident" of a kind funded by the US Treasury.

When asked where that money come from, they refuse to give a straight answer. They talk about donations from friends and exiled comrades in arms.

On June 27, 1997, during a press conference with foreign journalists held by the group in Martha Beatriz Roque's house to issue another document, the old traitor Hubert Matos --secretary general of "Cuba Independiente y Democrática", one of the most aggressive terrorist organizations active against our country, involved in assassination attempts against leaders of the Revolution, sabotages and attacks against economic facilities in our country literally stated:

"It is a very objective document with very precise remarks.

" On behalf of Cuba Independiente y Democrática, we fully endorse it."

In the same program, speaking with Martha Beatriz, he said euphorically and enthusiastic: "You can expect our solidarity in every sense of the word."

This press conference in Havana was part of a teleconference arranged by Radio Marti with two other groups of journalists in Miami and Washington.

Next to Hubert Matos was Jose Basulto, ringleader of "Brothers to the Rescue", one of the providers of funds in four digit figures for the very 'patriotic' personal expenses of 'dissident' Vladimiro Roca.

Upon his arrest, a cap and a T-shirt with the emblem of the "Democracia" movement were found in his residence; an affectionate memento for Vladimiro from the old terrorist Ramon Saul Sanchez, head of this counterrevolutionary group and organizer of the Ďflotillasí carrying out sea provocations in the limits of Cuban territorial waters, which they have repeatedly violated.

It is worth saying that when he was 24 years old this Mr. Ramon Saul Sanchez headed a terrorist organization with the idyllic name of "Youths of the Star". It was part of a group of counterrevolutionary organizations called CORU --unified by the CIA under the direction of Orlando Bosch-- of which Ramon Saul Sanchez became second in command.

It must be highlighted that this organization, subordinated to the CIA, carried out very serious acts of terrorism against our country. Among them:

· 1976. April 6, two fishing vessels, Ferro-119 and Ferro-123, are assaulted by pirate speedboats from Florida, killing fisherman Bienvenido Mauriz and causing great harm to the vessels.

· April 22, a bomb at the Cuban embassy in Portugal kills two comrades and seriously wounds several others, completely destroying the premises.

· July 5, the Cuban mission to the UN is attacked with explosives causing important material damage.

· July 9, a bomb in Jamaica's airport explodes on the cart carrying the luggage to a Cubana Airlines plane a moment before such luggage was transshipped. That is, it was out of sheer luck that a Cubana plane did not explode in the air on that July 9.

· July 10, a bomb explodes at the British West Indies offices in Barbados representing Cubana Airlines in that country.

· July 23, a technician from the National Fishing Institute, Artagnan Diaz Diaz, is murdered in an attempt to kidnap the Cuban consul in Merida.

· August 9, two staff members of the Cuban Embassy in Argentina are kidnapped and they have never been heard of again.

· August 18, a bomb explodes in the Cubana Airlines offices in Panama, causing considerable damage.

· October 6, the most heinous of crimes: A Cubana Airlines plane explodes in the air carrying 73 persons on board.

How peaceful the intentions and how beatific the friends of Vladimiro Roca and his band of four "dissidents" who are today called "prisoners of conscience"!

On June 3, 1997, the head of the Cuban Bureau at the State Department, Michael Ranneberger, arrived in Cuba. After requesting permission for "internal work in the Interest Section", he asked to have contacts with Party and Government officials, which were granted to him.

Right away, his attention actually moved away from the internal affairs of the Interests Section to focus wholly on the internal affairs of Cuba. That is why, on June 17, 1997, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a strong official protest, some of whose paragraphs are quoted below:

"Mr. Ranneberger, in open interference, held several meetings with leaders of illegal counterrevolutionary groups where he called for internal subversion and an attempt to disrupt the constitutional order of the Republic of Cuba. He promised economic aid and material and logistic support of over 1 million US dollars to these ends and incited to acts of civil disobedience, political abstention and foreign mediation in electoral processes in Cuba.

"Likewise, these counterrevolutionaries were instructed by Mr. Ranneberger on how to proceed both inside and outside the country. He encouraged one of them to promote his figure and urged him to play a leading role in the mercenary submission to the United States government aggression against Cuba.

"The Ministry has also known that Mr. Ranneberger held meetings with representatives of foreign companies based in Cuba, which he tried to exert pressure on and dictate the practices they should follow in their business in Cuba."

On June 9, when Mr. Ranneberger had not yet concluded his visit to Cuba that lasted until the next day (June 10), Vladimiro Roca puffed up with the encouragement of such a distinguished visitor who made him the immense honor of receiving him for over two hours together with Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Felix Bonne Carcasses, Rene Gomez Manzano and other counterrevolutionary leaders, including Osvaldo Paya and Odilia Collazo, contacted Radio Marti, which broadcast a very serious announcement: his support to the internationalization of the Cuban blockade. Joyful and compromising and, perhaps, without fully appraising the content and scope of his assertion, the station broadcast the following in Vladimiro's own voice: "I can tell you that for me it was a very good meeting, because it was held in a really warm atmosphere; it was an easy, quiet atmosphere and, above all, for the issues we discussed. What impressed me most was the way Mr. Ranneberger told us about the United States government policy towards Cuba and his efforts to conciliate a common policy with European and [Latin] American countries, which we supported, since it is necessary to definitely take the Cuban issue out of Cuba. It should no longer be perceived by the world as a United States - Cuba confrontation, a confrontation between two governments; it must begin to be perceived as a problem not just between the government and the opposition but also the Cuban people inside Cuba. That was one of the most important things to me, and so we ratified our position in support of this policy. The other thing was telling him what we are doing as the opposition inside Cuba to speed up the democratization process in the country. We told him not only of the international forum we announced and other activities, but also the call for electoral abstention that you know we made. Actually Mr. Ranneberger showed great interest in knowing the details of what we were doing. It was a very good meeting and above all highly respectful; this shows that the Cuban opposition is internationally acknowledged and respected. Actually this was a tremendous incentive to further our struggle in trying to democratize our country as soon as possible. I repeat that it was a very successful meeting and I believe that it will bear good results in the future for Cuba and for us. At the end, the interviewer said:

"This was dissident Vladimiro Roca on the importance of the meeting held by a group of Cuban dissidents with Michael Ranneberger, State Department Cuban Bureau official, who received them."

Vladimiro's usual procedure in promoting his counterrevolutionary propaganda abroad included the frequent use of interviews and statements to Radio Marti, which was totally at his disposal. In just six months he spoke 71 times on this counterrevolutionary radio station --a US government official radio station-- for an average of one statement every 2.5 days, broadcast four times a day if it was a news item, and twice a day if it was an opinion segment. Add then 24 statements by Beatriz; 13 by Gomez Manzano; and 12 by Bonne Carcasses, for a total of 120 statements in a single period (January 1-June 1, 1997). These statements were reproduced by other mass media in the United States and by the international press.

At a given moment the group, still unsatisfied with these feats and strongly encouraged by its close relations with United States government officials, made the decision to hold press conferences in Vladimiro's or Martha Beatriz's house, happily and joyfully attended by a group of foreign journalists, usually the same people. This way they had the satisfaction, on relevant instances like this, to hold previously arranged simultaneous teleconferences for broadcasting all sorts of infamous documents and statements abroad.

The Revolution was supposed to put up with this shameful provocation; the power of the empire, its allies and its media was not to be challenged.

  Michael Kozak, Head of the US Interests Section in Havana, who made repeated personal visits to Vladimiro was also the first to congratulate him after an aggressive press conference. The distinguished "dissident" was so familiar with the United States Interests Section that on February 25, 1997, he wrote the following note to Interests Section official Steve Rice:

"Dear Steve:

"I need ten copies of the document Iím sending you. Of course, one or more copies are for you; I only need ten.

"Something else. Mr. Marcos Lopez, based in Miami, who acts as a courier for us and CCIS, is here and has a small problem he would like to discuss with an Interests Section official. I would be extremely grateful if you could arrange an interview with the consul before March 5. If the answer is "yes" call me and tell me what day he should be there.

"I also need some extra copies of the 'Support Plan...' It is in high demand and Iím trying to send it to as many people as possible.

"Fraternal and warm greetings from
"Vladimiro Roca."

The interventionist attitude of the United States Interests Section could not be more provocative. First of all, the motto was maximum protection for its well-paid and materially encouraged accomplices.

At every trial against these crimes the Section summons a small group of its wage-earning "dissidents" and sends to the place American officials who overtly and shamelessly try to provoke a confrontation with the authorities and the people, something that various foreign journalists accredited in Cuba would gladly witness to take pictures and publish them. Wherever there is the least possibility of creating a conflict, a Yankee official is always there with a camera. These is standard procedure for a hegemonic superpower which is militarily powerful, morally weak and politically too awkward. It is like a reckless and impotent giant that will never overcome a small adversary. Evidence in hand, its behavior must

be denounced to the world opinion. They insist on ignoring our peopleís talents, its capacity to fight, its high morale, determination and courage.

The most irritating insult to the history of our Homeland took place exactly eight days after Mr. Ranneberger's visit. In a declaration signed by the four of them, extensively broadcast by the international media, in referring to the main report of the Fifth Party Congress they literally said:

"As the document rightly indicates 'everything started changing on July 26, 1953'. We must point out that actually on that day, for the first time in many years, mush Cuban blood was shed. Up to that moment the people who had died in the political struggle against Batista's government could be counted on the fingers of one hand. To find in Cuban history a day as sorrowful and fratricidal as this one, we would have to go decades back. In spite of being a sad date, it is taken as a holiday and marked as such what we assume is even repudiated by the very relatives of the martyrs." That is all. This is the way they explain the history of Cuba. Not a single word on the scores of prisoners murdered in a bloodbath that began that same day and lasted almost a week. No mention is made of the many Granma expedition members murdered after they were scattered following the Alegria de Pio combat. Nothing is said of the trade union leaders and other revolutionary combatants murdered in the north of the Oriente province on December 1956, an event called by the people the "Bloody Christmas". There is no mention of the massacre of every Corynthia boat expeditionary, nor of those who were also massacred in the attack against the Goicuria army barracks. Nothing is said of those murdered on March 13, 1957 after the attack on the Presidential Palace nor of the massacres of hundreds of Sierra Maestra peasants by Sanchez Mosquera's and Merob Sosa's bloodthirsty troops. They do not mention those murdered after the April 9, 1958 revolutionary strike nor the thousands of underground combatants and young people murdered in cold blood throughout Cuba by Batista's tyranny, many of whose ill-reputed victimizers took refuge later in the United States where several of them are still acting against the Revolution.

Not a single word about those who after the triumph on January 1st died in the La Coubre sabotage, in the heroic Giron combats, fighting in the Escambray mountains and in other parts of the country against bandits organized by the United States. Nothing is said about the passengers and the whole juvenile fencing team who died in Barbados in the aforementioned brutal terrorist act, whose authors were members of these same terrorist organizations with which the four "dissidents" correspond in such fraternal terms.

These wretch people should not have forgotten the construction workers who died in Grenada facing their Yankee friends invading troops.

The outrage against our internationalist spirit is also deeply offensive, insulting and hurtful to our heroic people always ready to stand in solidarity, when they said to a radio station that offends us every day by usurping no other than Jose Marti's name, that:

"Likewise, in the name of unity a sugar mill was given to Nicaragua and an airport was built in Grenada. Also, under the umbrella of the so-called 'Proletarian Internationalism' troops were sent to kill and die in different countries, something that, by the way, what they call the "semi-republic" (...)" never did. For them the hundreds of thousands of Cuban combatants who with exemplary and insurmountable spirit of solidarity carried out heroic internationalist missions are men who went there to kill and die. Cuban combatants, together with young Angolan troops, were capable of defeating in Cuito Cuanavale and Southwest Angola in the Namibian border the up-to-then fearful South African troops which already had seven nuclear weapons, thus furthering the independence of Namibia and dealing the ignominious Apartheid system a blow from which it could never recover.

They were capable of performing these feats over 12 thousand kilometers away from their Homeland.

We have contributed modestly but efficiently and selflessly to the vindication of the most long-suffering and exploited continent in the world.

Our combatants were not killers and they did not kill anyone except in combat. They never abused or executed a single prisoner. But Cuba did not send just soldiers; she also sent 26 thousand doctors and health workers, thousands of teachers, professors, engineers, constructors and other manual and intellectual workers. Countless lives were saved and tens of thousands of children were given an education.

We feel proud of this noble and generous work that shall go down in history as an outstanding example of brotherhood and solidarity.

This is our ideology and its most beautiful side.

The remains of the heroes we buried on a memorable day, whose graves located in towns and cities throughout all the Cuban provinces from where they voluntarily joined the internationalist forces, constantly receive fresh flowers carried by mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and a whole people that takes pride in them and will never forget them. Just like their cause will never be betrayed and Cuban revolutionaries are willing to die for it to the last man and shed up to the last drop of blood. The world admires them.

A country's history is its basic weapon. It has been with it that our people have defended themselves for over 130 years from the assimilation and annexation efforts of a voracious and aggressive power. Destroying that history is destroying their identity, their independence and their lives. Those wanting to do so deserve to be despised. Those who have acted so repulsively serving the interests of the power attacking our Homeland, more than breaking one or several articles of the Criminal Code are real traitors to the nation, its people and their values. They are mercenaries who for 30 coins sell out to those who have been blockading, harassing and attacking us for 40 years.

If at the time of such misdeeds, the legislation recently adopted by the National Assembly of People's Power had been in force, for only a fraction of what they have done as accessories in subversion and economic warfare, the prosecutor would surely have requested severe penalties as an adequate response to such infamous, continued and relapsing behavior.

These are the "dissidents" for whom the United States Congress has just approved "at least" two million dollars. Later they will be called "prisoners of conscience".