Tag Archives: jose basulto

Rene González and Alan Gross: speed and bacon

Disparates – (español)


I suppose the Latin American term for an apples and oranges comparison is peras y manzanas.  [Pears and apples.]  Somehow it doesn’t have quite the same ring.  In Spain, the expressions are funnier.  No hay que confundir el culo con las témporas. [No need to confuse the ass with the temporal bones].  No confundir churras con merinas.   [Don’t confuse the sheep that produces itchy wool with the sheep that makes merino].

But at the moment, thinking of Rene González and Alan Gross, I prefer the Spanish no mezclar la velocidad con el tocino [don’t mix up speed and bacon], because it’s an expression that highlights the absurd, and nothing is more absurd than the comparisons that are being marketed by the mainstream U.S. press on behalf of the State Department about these two men. Continue reading


The Habeas Corpus Appeal of Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five: he had no advance knowledge about Brothers to the Rescue shoot down

No evidence exists that Hernández had any advance knowledge whatsoever regarding Cuban Air Force shoot down of Brothers to the Rescue planes – inferences made at trial were “tragically, utterly false”español


“Gerardo Hernández never did receive due process of law either on the part of the prosecutors or his own defense.”
Leonard Weinglass

Gerardo Hernández

Attorneys for Gerardo Hernández, a Cuban citizen serving two consecutive life sentences plus 15 years in the maximum security wing of the US Federal Penitentiary at Victorville, California have filed his final appeal in the US legal system. The evidence supporting his right to a new trial is staggering.

Hernández is one of ten Cubans who, like the Russian agents arrested in the summer of 2010 in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, were arrested by the FBI in Miami in 1998 and charged with failing to register as agents of a foreign government, as well as  conspiracy to commit espionage. Unlike the Russians, who were swiftly deported and never faced a trial, five of the arrested Cubans quickly pled guilty and were rewarded with reduced sentences and green cards, while the remaining five, including Hernández, were thrown into separate solitary confinement cells for nearly a year and a half to await their court date. All the evidence for, against, and irrelevant to their cases was locked away by federal authorities under cover of national security. The government’s manipulation of the evidence is one of the issues raised in the appeal. Continue reading

Teaching the Miami Herald to read: Gerardo Hernández’s habeas corpus appeal

On Sunday, December 28, Jay Weaver filed a story for the Miami Herald about the habeas corpus appeal for Gerardo Hernández, one of the “Cuban Five” who is currently serving a double life sentence in the maximum security federal prison at Victorville, California.  The article was subsequently translated for publication in the Herald’s Spanish language subsidiary, El Nuevo Herald.  The story and its headline (“In about-face, Cuban spy says planes were shot down over international waters”) made the sensational claim that in his appeal, Hernández had made a 180 degree turn, and is now contradicting the Cuban government’s position regarding the events of February 24, 1996, when two light aircraft belonging to the Miami group “Brothers to the Rescue” were shot down by Cuban fighter jets after being led toward Cuban airspace by their commander, José Basulto.

Sensationalism certainly attracts readers.  But it is not a substitute for a well-researched story, or the truth.  A careful reading of Hernández’s appeal does not lead to the conclusion stated by Weaver or the Herald.  I will write further about this in upcoming posts.  For now, these are my comments at both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald (Spanish below). Continue reading

Wilfredo Cancio’s sleepless nights over the Cuban Five

Wilfredo Cancio’s Desperate Effort to Keep Gerardo Hernández Down español


Really, the desperation is the saddest part.

The recent news about Gerardo Hernández being sent to the “hole” in the federal prison at Victorville, abruptly pre-empting the lab tests that had been ordered for him by the prison’s doctor after a 3 month wait, has raised alarm in certain circles in Miami.  Not out of any particular concern for humane treatment of prisoners, however.  To the contrary, the fear seems to be that Hernández, Miami’s trophy captive from the absurd trial of the Cuban Five staged there nearly 10 years ago, may be slipping away as part of a U.S.-Cuba prisoner exchange.

Wilfredo Cancio Isla, a Miami Cuban who, after a 10 year peregrination through Miami’s anti-Castro obsessed media has finally landed at a blog called CafeFuerte [strong coffee], is participating in the campaign to destroy Hernández by incarcerating him until death, and then incarcerating him again. Continue reading

¡Matt Lawrence y Hermanos al Rescate, para el fondo del aula!

¡Matt Lawrence y Hermanos al Rescate, para el fondo del aula!

Traducido por CubaNewsInglés

Ya se acabaron las vacaciones, y Machetera por fin puede volver a atender su vasto imperio editorial y su desbordado buzón.

Como nuestros fieles lectores conocen, de vez en cuando tomo una de las cartas de la sección de comentarios y la publico por separado si merece una respuesta punto por punto. El remitente de esta carta en particular, un tal Matt Lawrence, que la envía desde una dirección de correo electrónico creada en honor al divertido nombre de su “ficticio” personaje piloto, Trig Combs, comenzó a copiar y pegar su carta no sólo para Machetera sino para otros activistas de solidaridad, y lo está haciendo en nombre de los Cinco Héroes. Copiar y pegar es pura vagancia (si uno va a defender a terroristas como Hermanos al Rescate lo menos que puede hacer es tratar de ser original), pero en fin, ese grupo nunca se ha destacado por su gran capacidad intelectual. (Nota para Lawrence: hangar se escribe con “a”.)

El principal objetivo de la carta de Lawrence parece ser pregonar su libro. Déjenme aclarar, tomando prestada la frase favorita de Obama. Eso no va a pasar aquí. Su segundo objetivo es desprestigiar a los corajudos Cinco Héroes. Eso seguro que no va a pasar aquí.

Comencemos: Continue reading

Matt Lawrence and Brothers to the Rescue, to the back of the class!

The holiday season behind us at last, Machetera can finally turn her attention back to her vast publishing empire and her overflowing mailbox.

As faithful readers know, occasionally I’ll elevate a letter from the comment section to a post of its own, if it merits a point by point response.  The writer of this particular letter, a certain Matt Lawrence, writing from an email address created in homage to the amusing name of his “fictional” pilot character, Trig Combs, has begun copying and pasting his letter not only to Machetera but to other solidarity activists writing on behalf of the Cuban Five.  Copying and pasting is sheer laziness – if you’re going to defend terrorists like Brothers to the Rescue, the least you can do is try to be original – but then again, that camp has never been known for its excess of brainpower.  (Note to Lawrence: hangar is spelled with an “a” unless it’s the kind you put in your closet.)

Lawrence’s primary purpose in writing appears to be to hawk his book.  To borrow Obama’s pet phrase, let me be clear.  That’s not going to happen here.  His secondary purpose is to smear the courageous Cuban Five.  That’s really not going to happen here.

Now let’s begin: Continue reading

Jefferson Morley’s struggle to find the truth about George Joannides and the CIA’s fight to hide it

maninmexicoFirst, a brief word of apology to Jefferson Morley, whose excellent and meticulously researched book, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA was first mentioned here almost exactly one year ago, with the promise of a review to come…like so many other worthy projects, the review ended up on the back burner (the saltmine beckons and is unusually active at present), but it has not been forgotten.  In the meantime, Machetera will say this: the book is terrific – engagingly written, carefully corroborated, it is a must-read for anyone curious about the CIA’s long reach in Mexico, particularly during the period in the fall of 1963 when the CIA did and then didn’t know about Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to Mexico City in his failed search for a Cuban visa.  So get the book, now.

Second, José Pertierra has just published an exclusive interview with Morley at CubadebateContinue reading