BROTHERS TO THE RESCUE SHOOTING
Cuban spymaster now claims Brothers to the Rescue shooting was outside Cuban airspace
Imprisoned spymaster Gerardo Hernandez has broken ranks with the Castro government, asserting that Havana's shoot-down of U.S. civilian planes happened in international airspace.
BY JAY WEAVER
Aiming to place the controversial killings in Cuban territory was a linchpin of the defense at the trial of five Cuban spies, one of whom was convicted of murder conspiracy.
But now, spymaster Gerardo Hernandez, serving a life sentence, has made a startling about-face: In a last-ditch appeal, he suddenly agrees that the Feb. 24, 1996, MiG assaults on two Brothers to the Rescue planes happened over international waters.
With that argument, Hernandez is fundamentally contradicting the stand of the regime he has sworn his loyalty to, and which has declared him a modern-day hero of the revolution.
Brothers co-founder Jose Basulto finds the move ironic. Now, he said, Hernandez ``wants to distance himself from the Cuban government -- to save himself.''
In his appeal, Hernandez, 45, contends that his trial attorney, Paul McKenna, mishandled his defense at a 2001 Miami federal trial by focusing so much on the shoot-down location.
That strategy overshadowed evidence that Hernandez purportedly did not know in advance about the deadly Cuban plot over the Florida Straits, the appeal asserts. Evidence of his advance knowledge was crucial to proving his role in the murder conspiracy. ( Read More Click Here )
Moisés Naím (Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) examines the similar succession processes of five countries that includes Cuba in El País via The National Interest:
Another common denominator in these five countries is the fundamental role that the armed forces play in the succession process. All of these governments depend on the military to retain their grip on power…Raúl Castro is not only Fidel’s brother but for decades he was the head of the armed forces.
Autocrats that look to extend their mandate beyond their death by leaving in power their son or brother run afoul of this adage. They are keen to ensure that their evil legacy lasts longer than one hundred years. In some cases, and to the detriment of their long-suffering societies, they will succeed. In others, the body—that is, society—will not resist the extension of the evil, that is, more of the same bit with a different leader.
Tags: autocrats, Cuba, Egypt, Fidel Castro, North Korea, Raul Castro, Saudi Arabia, succession processes, Thailand