INFORMATION ON THE CAUSES FOR THE ARREST OF CZECH CITIZENS IVAN PILIP AND JAN BUBENIK, AND THE EXTENSIVE HISTORY OF CONSPIRACY AND INTERFERENCE ON THE PART OF THE CZECH GOVERNMENT AND ITS DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIVES IN CUBA, WHICH DEMONSTRATE THE CLOSE AND DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN THIS POLICY AND THE LATEST INCIDENT.
The Government of the Czech Republic, as part of its ongoing campaign to cast doubt on the charges made by Cuba, continues to maintain that Cuba’s accusations against two Czech citizens caught in the act of promoting subversion within our country are false.
Acting out of ignorance, prejudice or ill intent, representatives of other countries have echoed the false claims made by the Czech government, and have voiced uninformed opinions whose content and nature are damaging to the people and the Government of the Republic of Cuba.
What is the true story?
On January 12 of this year, authorities from the Cuban Immigration Division in Ciego de Ávila, Republic of Cuba, arrested Czech citizens Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenik. Although they had entered the country as tourists, they violated that status following instructions from the U.S.-based counterrevolutionary organization Freedom House to hold conspiratorial meetings with members of small subversive groups in that province.
The involvement of Freedom House in the most recent Cuban program set up by the U.S. Government, under section 109 of the Helms-Burton Act, adopted in 1996 to destabilize our Revolution through the promotion of internal subversion, began in 1997 with the "Transition Project", which received generous financing from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to the tune of 500,000 dollars. This was followed by a further 275,000 dollars in 1999, which was doubled to 550,000 in the year 2000. The first program gave rise to the establishment of an anti-Cuban organization called "Center for a Free Cuba", headed by CIA agent and former Freedom House Cuban Project director Frank Calzon. The Center has already received over a million dollars from USAID for the same purposes.
One of the fundamental goals of Freedom House current project is to identify and recruit politicians, journalists and community activists from central-eastern Europe experienced in the so-called "democratic transitions," which is how they describe the overthrow of revolutionary governments. These recruits are then sent to Cuba to undertake destabilizing and subversive actions.
USAID publicly acknowledged in June of 2000 that Freedom House had organized a visit to Cuba by four journalists, four members of parliament, two economists and an academic from Eastern Europe, all of whom were trained in subversive tactics and paid with U.S. government funds. This is exactly what they have just done with Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenik, as we have been able to confirm.
Ivan Pilip was formerly Minister of Finances in his country, and is currently a deputy in the Czech parliament. As for Jan Bubenik, he is a member of the so-called "Czech Pro-Democracy Foundation" and was one of the leaders of the anti-socialist movement in Czechoslovakia.
They both arrived in Cuba on January 8, 2001 through the José Martí International Airport in Havana, on flight CBE-7538 from Cancun, Mexico, following a two-day stay in the United States of America.
Investigations have revealed that Ivan Pilip has connections with a number of Freedom House officials, including Robert (Bob) Pontichera, Director of Programs in the organization. It was Pontichera who proposed covering the costs for Pilip to travel to Cuba, accompanied by a friend, in order to contact certain individuals and deliver to them the means necessary to carry out the U.S. government’s program of subversive activities.
It has been verified that Pilip and Bubenik arrived in New York earlier in January and met with Robert Pontichera for dinner on January 6. Pontichera informed them that the people they would be meeting with in Cuba were opponents of the Cuban government, and that they were expected to speak with them and obtain information about the political, economic and social situation on the island. He gave them a list with the names and addresses of these individuals and 1400 dollars to cover their accommodation, food and car rental costs, for which they would have to show receipts.
The Freedom House representative also gave the two Czechs a laptop computer with various accessories, diskettes and CDs to be handed over to the people they would be meeting with in our country.
He also advised them that on their return from Cuba they should meet with the Freedom House representative again to report on the results of the visit and the information obtained, which is why the itinerary for their return trip was Havana-Cancun-Miami-Washington, where they would stay for several days.
He also warned them that the names of the individuals they were to contact in Cuba should be entered into an electronic organizer under a secret code, so that the authorities would not have access to this information even if they were arrested.
The investigations into the Czech citizens’ stay in Cuba reveal that upon arriving in Cuba, they rented a car from a tourist car rental agency, with the license plate number T-005267. Then they drove through the provinces of Matanzas, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spíritus, like regular tourists visiting the country’s central region, continuing on January 11 to the province of Ciego de Ávila, the place of their first rendezvous according to the list of individuals given to them in the United States, all of whom live in the central and eastern regions of the country.
Once in this province, they visited two known counterrevolutionaries, with whom they discussed the issues indicated by Robert Pontichera and attempted to obtain information to pass on to Freedom House. The list of names and addresses was protected by electronic means.
The work assigned to Pilip and Bubenik is nothing new to our country. This is simply the latest in a long list of interfering and destabilizing actions conducted by the Czech Republic against the Cuban revolutionary process.
For more than a decade, there has been close and systematic monitoring in Cuba of the subversive activities of Czech diplomats in step with instructions from intelligence agencies and other institutions in the United States passed on through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
These conspiracies began in 1989. In 1987, an extensive espionage network handled by officials in the above-mentioned U.S. Interests Section in Cuba had been dismantled. As the Interests Section restructured its forces, means and methods, it called on the diplomats of other countries for assistance, and it was precisely at this point that the Embassy of what was then Czechoslovakia became an instrument of the U.S. Interests Section and its main center of subversion.
In addition to this, for the first time on March 3, 1990, the U.S. Administration assigned the Czech government the task of cosponsoring a loathsome draft resolution condemning Cuba at the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. It was a hard-fought battle, but the United States managed to get the resolution passed thanks to the unanimous support of its NATO allies.
From then on, the Government of the Czech Republic has maintained an openly hostile stance towards Cuba. At that point, our country was not only heroically withstanding a genocidal blockade, but also suffering an extremely hard and prolonged special period, the result of the loss of its traditional markets and suppliers, with no support from abroad whatsoever. The general assumption back then was that our country would not to able to withstand such a grueling test. During those years, the Czech government stepped up its conspiring with the United States and its support for that country’s aggressive policy towards Cuba, as reflected by its unconditional backing of the hostile stance of successive U.S. administrations. The Czech Republic earned itself the questionable honor of being the first former socialist country to adopt this traitorous line in its foreign policy.
Between March and December of that year 1990, the Czech official took part in a series of provocation in Cuba. These included sponsoring counterrevolutionary groups inside Cuba and providing material assistance, technical and financial support and political backing to them, as well as active proselytizing in intellectual and academic circles.
There was also the incident plotted in connivance with U.S. diplomats, when Czech officials helped a counterrevolutionary group to illegally enter the Czech embassy; this illegal entry was in fact planned and fostered from within the Czech embassy itself, and led to similar illegal acts in other diplomatic missions.
Also in late December of 1990, and obviously in coordination with the United States, the Government of what was still Czechoslovakia decided to suspend its representation of Cuba’s interests in Washington which it had had for 29 years, beginning January 3, 1961, when the United States severed relations with Cuba as a prelude to the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, which took place three months later, on April 17 of that year.
It should be recalled that one of the first measures adopted by the post-socialist Government in Prague was the arbitrary and brutal decision to unilaterally rescind the agreements signed by Cuba and the former Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia, a move which put that country in league with the U.S. blockade against the island. This was accompanied by the closure of the Czech Cultural Center in Havana and the organization of an anti-Cuba seminar in the very capital of Czechoslovakia attended by numerous so-called "Czech dissidents", including Pavel Bratinska and President Havel himself, who warmly welcomed such counterrevolutionaries as Más Canosa, the head of a mob-style terrorist organization created by the United States, and Carlos Alberto Montaner, among others of the same ilk.
Subsequently, throughout the year of 1991, the Czech officials were observed to take a very active part in support of internal counterrevolution. New acts of provocation were organized from within the embassy, and in 1992 a team of Czech officials began to arrive in Cuba to undertake this kind of subversion in a more organized and systematic manner.
This is how subversive activities unfolded over the years 1989, 1990 and 1991. The information obtained throughout those years on the aforementioned officials shows the intensive efforts made from within that diplomatic mission against Cuba in the service of the U.S. Government. There is also more than sufficient proof of how the services offered by the Czech embassy in Cuba have been used by the anti-Cuban mob in Miami, particularly the Cuban-American National Foundation --organizer of numerous plots to assassinate the Head of the Cuban State and Government-- and the previously mentioned Freedom House.
The illegal and clearly subversive and counterrevolutionary actions conducted by a group of Czech diplomats based in our country over recent years have been fully verified.
The most visible of these officials was Petr Mikyska, who arrived in our country on August 7, 1992 and remained here for four years and two months. He first came to Cuba as a third secretary in charge of consular affairs in the then Embassy of Czechoslovakia; it was his first diplomatic posting.
In January of 1993, with the division of the former Czechoslovakia, he was appointed acting Chargé d’Affairs at the embassy of the Czech Republic in Cuba.
Within a few months of arriving in our country, he began to have progressively increased contact with various counterrevolutionary leaders, and became one of the most active diplomats involved with these elements, to whom he systematically provided political and material support for their activities.
During his stay in Cuba, he was also seen to have close ties with U.S. Interests Section officials, precisely for the purpose of giving support to the counterrevolutionaries. He had particularly close relations with Christopher Sibilla, the second secretary of the U.S. Interests Section at the time who was also deeply involved in the activities of these counterrevolutionary groups, and later with Robin Dianne Meyer, that is, Sibilla’s successor.
The latter was widely known for her open instigation of counterrevolutionary groups to commit subversive actions. She kept up this illegal activity until 1996 when due to her unacceptable behavior she was denied an extension of her visa.
The work of these American diplomats and their close ties with Mikyska were part of the strategy aimed at economically subsidizing the counterrevolutionary activities of their allies within the country.
One of Mikyska’s assignments in Cuba was to meet with members of the tiny counterrevolutionary groups on an almost daily basis, in the embassy or at his home. He offered them all kinds of assistance, participated in numerous meetings and other activities organized by these individuals, and even promoted the realization of such meetings at the embassy itself, thereby inciting actions against the domestic order.
On October 16, 1993, Petr Mikyska took active part at a conspiratorial meeting in San Antonio de los Baños, in the province of Havana, aimed at the inception of a new counterrevolutionary group.
From that stage on, the Czech diplomatic mission became a focal point from which slanderous accusations against Cuba were transmitted through the embassy’s communications systems to subversive radio stations in the U.S. territory, or forwarded to engross the dossier of anti-Cuban lies created by the United States at the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.
It has also been duly confirmed that said Czech diplomat made over 20 trips to Miami to meet with leaders of counterrevolutionary organizations based there.
He had been recruited during a trip to Miami on April 15, 1993 by the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cuban-American National Foundation, José Francisco Hernández Calvo, himself a notorious terrorist, a founding member of the CANF, and member of its paramilitary group closely linked to various plots to assassinate President Fidel Castro. Among those plots there was one to be executed by the four known terrorists held in Panama since mid-November of 2000, whose extradition Cuba continues to actively pursue.
It should be recalled that José Francisco Hernández was also involved in the plot to assassinate President Fidel Castro that was to be carried out by a counterrevolutionary commando based in the United States and detained en route to Margarita Island, Venezuela, where the 7th Ibero-American Summit was set to take place in 1997. One of the weapons seized from the commando was a 50-caliber semi-automatic assault rifle with a telescopic infrared sight, registered in the name of this notorious terrorist and leader of the Cuban-American National Foundation. Nevertheless, Hernández was not even included in the trial of the would-be assassins, who were eventually acquitted by a venal and corrupt judge and jury in a parody of justice.
From that year on, acting on instructions from the Cuban-American National Foundation, Mikyska served on numerous occasions as a provider and liaison officer between leaders of this group in Miami and subversive elements in the country, thus becoming a hired mercenary for the anti-Cuban terrorist mob based in the United States.
Exploiting his diplomatic immunity, Mikyska repeatedly and illegally brought into Cuba printed propaganda produced abroad by these counterrevolutionary organizations. Likewise, he supplied groups inside the country with other means, such as tape recorders, communications equipment and large amounts of cash.
He also gathered sensitive information on our country and passed it on to leaders of the CANF, which was in fact a deliberate act of espionage and a blatant violation of his diplomatic status. In carrying out these subversive actions against Cuba, he also used the embassy’s communications systems to contact counterrevolutionary leaders in Miami.
On February 12, 1994, Mikyska met in Mi Cayito, a section of Santa María del Mar Beach east of Havana, with counterrevolutionaries from within Cuba linked with the Cuban-American National Foundation to whom he handed over thousands of copies of subversive propaganda and stickers with the logo of this organization and the so-called Democracy and Freedom Movement. These had been delivered directly to Mikyska by terrorist Luis Zúñiga Rey, another Foundation leader who lives and operates in the United States. This was obviously an illegal supply; an action fit for an agent, not a diplomat.
In June of 1994, on his return from vacations, Mikyska said that the Cuban-American National Foundation had covered the costs of his stay in Miami and medical treatment there for his pregnant wife.
To avoid further elaboration on Mr. Mikyska’s sinister record, suffice it to say that in 1996 he attended the Annual Convention of the Cuban-American National Foundation, as a special guest. His insolence was truly boundless; but, actually, his activities were tolerated while his movements were carefully observed and thoroughly documented.
The Czech diplomats who have succeeded Mr. Mikyska have maintained the same stance and links with subversive groups in Cuba, with the Cuban-American mob in Miami, and with the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, acting as liaison between CANF, Freedom House and the subversive groups in our country. There is solid proof that they have all supplied these groups with cash, computers, subversive propaganda produced in the United States, and instructions.
They have used the Czech diplomatic mission in Havana as a cover for their illegal acts, and their diplomatic status as a cloak of immunity to attack the Cuban Revolution.
The most notorious of these diplomats have been Robert Kopecki, the second secretary and press and cultural attaché; Petr Pribik, acting Chargé d’Affairs; and Jan Vytopil, second secretary and press and cultural attaché. The current first secretary of the Czech Embassy, Petr Kavan, has maintained and continues to maintain contacts with members of the small counterrevolutionary groups based in our country.
In addition to these activities against Cuba displayed by Czech diplomats in Havana, there are the Czech government’s disgraceful actions on the international arena, where it acts as an accomplice and a servile participant in the most loathsome anti-Cuban maneuvers.
The defeat of the anti-Cuban draft resolution submitted by the United States at the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1998 led the United States to seek out an ally in its efforts to destroy the Cuban Revolution. It needed a country that would subserviently lend itself to posing publicly as the main promoter of such new abominations. That role was offered to and accepted by the Government of the Czech Republic.
Thus, during the sessions of the Commission on Human Rights in 1999, it was the Czech Republic that submitted a new anti-Cuban draft resolution, although it became obvious during the Commission’s debates that it was, in fact, the Government of the United States, and primarily U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright --at the time an "honorary citizen" of the Czech Republic-- that was responsible for all the arrangements, blackmail and arm-twisting that got the resolution adopted.
Last year history repeated itself again when the Czech Republic played its role as the main instrument of the United States. Thus, despite the fact that the U.S. ambassador met with other diplomats to put pressure on them, and U.S. Government leaders woke up colleagues in other countries in the wee hours of the morning to blackmail and coerce them, it was the Czech Republic that appeared as the initiator and promoter of the anti-Cuban resolution.
Actually, as of the end of the year 2000 and early 2001, Czech diplomats have been courting allies around the world. We have learned, and their own press has reported, that for fear of failing this time around, they are attempting to recruit followers for their Yankee masters, in order to repeat, once again, their dirty maneuvering in Geneva.
It was precisely from the moment that Mr. Vaclav Havel took power in the Czech Republic that that country was transformed into a docile instrument of U.S. imperialism in its vendetta against Cuba.
As for the arrest of the two Czech citizens sent to Cuba by Freedom House, Mr. Havel has made the mistake of speaking against our country, with the aim of insulting and slandering the people whose courage, heroism and commitment to the truth are beyond his understanding. The day will come when the world learns the truth about these "democrats and defenders of human rights," if they are ever remembered at all.
The Czech government forgets that Cuba is a sovereign country that does not allow its laws to be violated with impunity. Cuba has every right and full jurisdiction to prosecute and punish those who commit crimes within the territory of the Republic, as it is the case with Mr. Pilip and Mr. Bubenik.
The argument has been put forward that Mr. Pilip is a deputy in the Czech Parliament, but Mr. Pilip traveled to Cuba as a tourist, and not as a parliamentarian. Therefore, according to international law, as reflected in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and on the Convention on Special Missions, he is not entitled to diplomatic immunity, because he qualifies as neither a diplomat nor a member of a special mission. Moreover, to qualify for the latter status, also in accordance with international law, he would have to have had the consent of the Cuban State, which is not the case.
We have irrefutable proof of the claims made in this report on the behavior of the aforementioned Czech diplomats and the two Czech citizens, Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenik, currently under arrest. Cuba only makes statements and concrete denunciations when it is ready to prove them to the international public or in a court of law.
It should be very clear that no self-respecting country could tolerate actions that impinge upon its sovereignty, that violate its laws, and that threaten its security, integrity and independence.
The Cuban people, which have confronted the U.S. Administrations for over four decades, have earned the respect and admiration of many peoples around the world for their fighting spirit, their steadfastness, their principles and their dignity. Therefore, they will not tolerate interference or pressures of any kind, no matter where they come from.
Let no one be misled into believing that Cuba can be intimidated!
All those who may attempt to discredit Cuba or join in the aggression against it would do well to realize first that we are determined to defend ourselves, and that we will continue do so, as we have throughout 42 years, with unparalleled courage in the face of the major and most aggressive imperialist power in the history of mankind.
The lofty morale and the political strength attained by our people would not permit it to act out of a desire for revenge against any other people or citizens of the world. Above all else, we cherish the truth and defend our honor. Let the events that took place be honestly acknowledged, and our people be offered a deserved apology. This would accomplish more than all of the lies and slander; more than all of the pressures; more than NATO and all of its bombers and missiles; more than the power of all the wealthy countries and their money put together.
If an honorable solution is truly sought for the incident created, it can be found in the admission that we are in the right and in appealing to our generosity. But, let nobody make the mistake of questioning our truth or putting our determination to the test.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba
January 23, 2001