OP/ED: Why Does Amnesty International Love Castro’s Spies But Hate Alan Gross? 4

Having previously served as a volunteer Caribbean Specialist with Amnesty International USA, I have great respect for the organization’s work on behalf of human rights. Regrettably, the same cannot be said for the efforts of AI’s London-based headquarters.

On its website, AI professes to toil “to end grave abuses of human rights.  Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion…..”(http://www.amnesty.org/en/who-we-are). That is, unless your name is Alan Gross or if you are a Cuban spy who committed espionage against the United States. Despite Gross’ years-long imprisonment by Cuba, AI has proven itself capable of only devoting two sentences to this injustice in its 2012 Annual Report (http://www.amnesty.org/en/ region/ cuba/report-2012).

In contrast, its 2011 Annual Report devoted the paragraph “Unfair Trials” exclusively to convicted Cuban spy-murderer, Gerardo Hernández. Amnesty’s coverage focused on a defense team appeal “based, in part, on evidence that the US government had secretly paid journalists to write prejudicial articles in the media at the time of trial, thereby undermining the defendants’ due process rights. In October, Amnesty International sent a report to the Attorney General outlining the organization’s concerns in the case.” (http://www.amnesty.org/en/region /usa/report-2011).

AI’s bias is even more apparent in its October 13, 2010 press release which called for the US Attorney General to review the case of the five spies (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/ info/AMR51/096/2010/en). This press release accompanied a disturbingly inaccurate, unbalanced and prejudicial 22-page report by the spy-loving London office (http://www.amnesty .org/en/ library/info/AMR51/093/2010/en).

Earlier, on March 25, 2009, AI released an Appeal For Action under the headline:  “Unjust Punishment:  Cuban Wives Denied Visas for Ninth Time” (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library /info/AMR51/041/2009/en). In this plea to its membership, AI falsely claimed “The reasons cited for the denials are based on claims that both women are threats to national security. Yet neither woman has faced charges in connection with such claims, nor has any credible evidence been produced to substantiate the allegation.” The disingenuous appeal was followed on March 26th with the press release:  “Miami Five wives again denied visas to visit their husbands”  (http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/miami-five-wives-again-denied-visas-visit-husbands-20090326). Unfortunately for London, this Havana-promoted lie about the two wives had been exposed nine months earlier in the US State Department media release:  “The “Cuban Five: Cuban intelligence operatives often misrepresented as political prisoners” (June 9, 2008) http://www.docstoc.com/docs/14807527 /The-%E2%80%9CCuban-Five%E2%80%9D.

Details about spy-wife Adriana Perez’s espionage training had not yet come to light when AI released its January 17, 2007 public statement, “Unnecessarily punitive — Amnesty International calls for temporary visas to be granted to two wives of the Cuban Five” (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/013/2007/en/869da977-d3ba-11dd-a329-2f46302a8cc6/amr510132007en.html).  As a result, we can partially forgive their zealous action. However, René González’s wife — Olga Salanueva, had been “outed” as a Cuban spy years earlier operating under the alias Ida González. Two publicly available sources which Amnesty researchers somehow overlooked were Kirk Nielsen’s February 2001 story, “Inside The Wasp’s Nest,” Miami New Times, http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2001 -02-22/news/inside-the-wasp-s-nest/ and Estrecho de Traicion: La Historia de la Fatidica Union entre Ana Margarita y Juan Pablo Roque, a Spanish-language book published in 1999 by Ana Margarita Martínez with Diana Montané.

Human rights are an important issue:  one not to be undermined by sloppy research and ideologues. Amnesty International members have worked too long and too hard for its global efforts to be damaged by well-intentioned but misguided and dishonest Castro apologists in London. Headquarters should admit its error and immediately remove all its “Cuban Five” materials from the internet. Additionally, London should follow the lead of other human rights organizations and finally become an advocate for the release of Alan Gross.

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4 comments

  1. OPINION NO.19.2005 (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA). MAY 27, 2005
    WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTIONS.
    UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.
    http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/category,REFERENCE,UNCHR,THEMREPORT,,45377af20,0.html
    PAGES 60-65
    ……………
    5. The Working Group considered this case during its fortieth session and decided, in
    accordance with paragraph 17 (c) of its revised methods of work, to request additional
    information. It has received responses both from the Government and the source.
    6. The Working Group believes that it is in a position to render an opinion on the facts and
    circumstances of the cases, in the context of the allegations made and the response of the
    Government thereto, as well as the observations by the source.
    ……………
    8. It was reported that these five persons were arrested in September 1998 in Florida on
    charges of spying for the Government of Cuba. They did not offer resistance at the time of their
    arrest. It was also reported that they were denied the right to bail and were held for 17 months in
    solitary confinement. During the 33 months they spent in preventive detention, they were unable
    to communicate among themselves or with their families.

  2. Rafael,

    I am sorry to contradict your last statement that “during the 33 months they spent in preventive detention, they were unable to communicate among themselves or with their families”.

    While it is true that for obvious reasons they were unable to communicate among themselves, in the case of René González I have an interview granted by his wife, Olga Salanueva, to Russia Today, a television channel that broadcasts in English, Spanish and Arabic, in which she says that during the period of solitary confinement which indeed lasted 17 months, she was allowed to visit him. However, René González´s daughters were denied such rights.

    This is what Olga Salanueva says in the above mentioned interview.

    “Bueno, han sido muchos los momentos difíciles.El arresto fue un momento muy difícil. Fue muy inesperado en la forma que se produjo, muy cruel. Después, los primeros tiempos, cuando ellos fueron llevados a las celdas de castigo. Fueron incomunicados con el mundo exterior. Yo podía ir a verlo, pero, sin embargo, las niñas no”.

    This is what Olga Salanueva said and taking into account the fact that she rehearsed with her State Security case officers whatever she was supposed to say when meeting the foreign press, I think that Anmesty International guys are real dupes who allowed themselves to be taken for a ride by Castro´s supporters in London or the States.

    If it helps you change your convictions I can let you have the full interview. I am a community TV producer in Israel where I broadcast a half hour monthly program in Spanish and I have taken up Allan Gross as a hostage of the Cuban government.

    Anyway I am interested in your reply and comments.

    Sincerely,
    Sergio Klein
    Jerusalem
    October 12, 2012

  3. Muy creul el arresto,HIPOCRITAS! Y cuando el DI Cubano y el MININT arrestan gentes?Estos si golpean y toturan a los presos en sus campos de Interrogacion de Villa Marista,Dejen el descaro ya!

  4. This is nothing more than the double agenda that Admnesty International show the world,if they are so concern about Human rights violations why don’t they travel to Cuba and interview the Cuban Political prisoners.Why don’t they spend their time inspecting the Cuban political system and the Cuban political prison system?This group as a Pro-communist Organization they see the only things they want to see upon convenience and Political Agenda,they complaint about the Cuban 5 spies and the way they are treated,the 5 spies are living a decent life compared to the Cuban political prisoners incarcerated in Cuba.Why don’t this Organization brings to the public all the tortures conducted by the communists in Villa Marista? Why don’t they Investigate the Castro MININT For Crimes against humanity?Everyone mention the Jewish Holocaust but they turn their backs on the Cuban Holocaust and murder of Cuban political prisoners and dissidents by the MININT,this is an event that is happening every day and the world simply don’t care.

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