By Miguel Fernandez
Piero Gleijeses, a professor of U.S. Foreign Policy at the Faculty of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, has launched a far-fetched self-promotion campaign using the Cuban Five.
For selling his latest book: Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the Struggle for Southern Africa (University of North Carolina Press, 2013), Gleijeses has written a letter to President Obama calling for the immediate release of the Cuban Five. His point is that they are “political prisoners” sentenced by an “operetta court” for “a crime” committed by Fidel Castro: the humiliation of the U.S. You can easily guess what follows: a summary of Gleijeses’s book focused on Castro’s intervention and its impact on the survival of Angola, the independence of Namibia, and the demise of the apartheid in South Africa.
It has nothing to do with the case of the Cuban Five, but Gleijeses devoted more than three quarters of his letter to “the struggle for Southern Africa.” He simply abstains from dealing with the case beyond deeming it as a judicial misjudgment full of well-known juridical flaws. Thus, Gleijeses has wrongfully applied the so-called method of “ascending from the abstract to the concrete.”
What’s really well-known is that Castro ordered his intelligence services to infiltrate the U.S. and the Cuban Five were part of a network trying to gather intelligence from Southern Command (Miami) and the military bases at Boca Chica (Key West) and MacDill (Tampa). They were detected and their communications intercepted and deciphered. This provided the prosecution a prima-facie case of conspiracy to commit espionage.
Instead of a viable defense, the defendants attempted to justify that two unarmed small planes Cessna were lawfully shoot down over Cuban jurisdictional waters by a MiG-29 jet fighter. There wasn’t a quantum of proof and the incident had nothing to do with conspiracy to commit espionage, but two third of the time at the trial were used by the defense for such a frivolous purpose.
Only after the conviction, the counsel of Gerardo Hernandez — the only defendant charged with conspiracy to commit murder because of the shoot down — realized this charge should have deserved a separate trial. Let’s see how long would it take for Gleijeses to realize that using the Cuban Five’s agitprop is an intellectually destitute manner for promoting an academic work.