19 Jun
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Congresswoman Clarke and Cuban Espionage

Maybe you’ve heard of the Cuban Five. If you haven’t, the Cuban Five are a group of five Cuban prisoners (from whence they get their catchy name), serving time in federal prison. With the support of Castro’s government, the Cuban Five operated as an espionage group in Florida’s Cuban community, and information they provided to Cuba enabled Cuban MIGs to shoot down a Brothers to the Rescue plane operating in international airspace. Brothers to the Rescue is an aid organization that conducts aerial patrols keeping an eye out for folks fleeing the Cuban regime via raft, so that they can be rescued. Three U.S. citizens and one permanent U.S. resident died in the attack. After a lengthy trial, in 2001 the Cuban Five were convicted on 26 separate counts related to espionage. They have since engaged in numerous appeals, including a request that the Supreme Court review the case (that request was denied). The Cuban Five are now really the Cuban Four, with one of the men having served his sentence and been released.

A few weeks ago the Cuban Interest Section (Cuba’s de facto embassy in the United States) organized a protest demanding release of the Cuban Five/Four, and protesters marched in front of the White House with signs reading “Defend the Revolution” and sporting Che Guevara t-shirts. None of which would be worth much attention, although a cynical observer might note the irony of protesters engaging in pro-Cuban activity that would get them jailed in Havana were it pro-American activity.  Other than that it would be worth a collective yawn…except for the fact that the protesters were invited to a reception hosted by Yvette Clarke, Brooklyn’s own representative (pictured below), and her Chicago counterpart Bobby Rush. As one would expect, the Cuban government celebrated the reception.

yvette clarke

What is one to make of this? Our (speaking of NYC as a whole) representative hosts a reception for pro-Castro protestors sponsored by the Cuban government. The same Cuban government that is one of four nations on the Department of State’s list of nations who are State Sponsors of Terrorism, along with Iran, Syria and Sudan. The same Cuban government that allows only 3% of its citizenry to have access to the internet; that regularly jails teenagers for “pre-criminal social dangerousness;” and that ignores basic tenets of human rights, jailing and torturing opponents to the regime, whom they term gusanos.

Gusanos such as Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias, arrested and beaten for exposing that cholera medication provided by the World Health Organization was not being distributed to the Cuban people because the regime sought to downplay the seriousness of a 2012 outbreak;  Ariel Sigler Amaya, who spent a decade behind bars for protests against the government, and emerged a broken and emaciated wreck; rapper Angel Yunier Remon, imprisoned for composing lyrics against the regime; blogger Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo who has suffered beatings for blog posts critical of the Cuba’s leadership; and at least 6,000 other perceived dissidents in the last year alone, according to the Directorio Democratico Cubana.

This is what I make of it; I’m disgusted and embarrassed. Disgusted that my Congresswoman (I live in her district) would enhance the legitimacy of the Castro regime, and embarrassed that my Congresswoman would see fit to host an event in support of spies who were found guilty of espionage against the United States.

Shame on you Congresswoman Clarke.

DISCLAIMER: This post and the contents thereof are the views of only the author identified immediately above and do not necessarily represent the views of the New York Young Republican Club (the "NYYRC"), its officers or its members. The NYYRC expressly disclaims responsibility for the contents thereof and by its charter documents may not, and does not, endorse any candidate for any office, except in a general election.

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