René González of the Cuban Five on the challenge of Cuba and the hypocrisy of Washington
I think the repression in American society is visible around the world. I am amazed when some people take lessons on human rights, on the rule of law, from the US government.
The US government has been repressive since its inception, and that has not changed. It doesn’t even mention the rest of the planet. The US government believes it has the right to decide that each country should do what is right for it – and if not, it will have to bear the consequences.
The trail of death it has left around the world in recent decades simply because a government has decided not to do the right thing for American capital is appalling – and that is what they are looking for in Cuba. To speak of repression, and to do so on behalf of the US government, is the most blatant cynicism.
I think it has a lot to do with the experience we [the Cuban Five] eu, in particular in the legal process to which we have been subjected. If one were to study the annals of American legal history one day, the trial we have been through would be there for its cynicism, for the use of lies, by a government that sees itself as the arbiter of human rights and of legality in the world.
We saw things in this trial that you don’t even see in the movies. We have seen prosecutors blatantly lie. Openly bring people to the bar for lying knowing that everyone knew it was a lie – knowing with immense confidence that the jury would believe all those lies. We have seen prosecutors blackmail witnesses, threaten them with prosecution if they testify. That is, witnesses that we took to trial for the defense, witnesses who were subpoenaed in accordance with our right of defense but who could not testify because the prosecutor stood by. with extreme calm and said if that person testified he would go after them.
At trial, prosecutors were seen threatening an American general with withdrawing his pension if he testified in favor of the defense. We have seen all kinds of violations, mockery of due process. … It had nothing to do with what we see in films where the accused has every right to defend himself.
Really, I think the trial has taught us a better understanding of why an individual like Joe Biden, who is painted, portrayed or sold as liberal and moderate, can stand in front of a camera and say no to reopening family remittances because that the Cuban government is supposed to go about making them their own. Why then can he stand in front of a camera and suddenly offer us vaccines, but insist that an international organization must come and distribute them to the population because the Cuban government – the only one in Latin America to have created a vaccine – is supposedly not going to.
You have to be cynical, you have to be hypocrite, to say such things. I don’t know if Biden is a lawyer – he’s probably a lawyer too. I think he learned from the cynicism that colors those who represent this imperialist, criminal and genocidal government. Our experience as political prisoners marked us and quickly taught us to identify such people.
The majority of the Cuban people continue to defend this revolution. I think it is a question of principles and human dignity. There is no reason to capitulate: we will continue to defend this revolution. We will have to look within ourselves, rectify what needs to be rectified. But I don’t think it’s worthy of our history, of our martyrs, of the principles that inspired this revolution, that we surrender to an empire because it wants to starve us. We will have to look for solutions within ourselves, but surrender is not an option for us.