Monday, December 27, 2010


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.

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Since Cuban Air Force pilots obliterated two planes ferrying four Miami men in 1996, Cuba's leaders have strongly disputed U.S. and United Nations findings that the fatal shoot-downs happened in international airspace.
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 )

I recently purchased a copy of military strategist Edward Luttwak’s The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire.
Luttwak was interviewed last year at UC Berkeley in the following video.

[H/T: Zenpundit]
23 December 2010 at 0054 by Armando F. Mastrapa 3d | Permalink

The January 2011 issue of Joint Defense Quarterly has a piece on Chinese soft power in Latin America.
21 December 2010 at 1649 by Armando F. Mastrapa 3d | Permalin

 Five Political Corpses in 2011

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.
Members of the Cuban dissident group Ladies in ...

Members of Cuban dissident group Ladies

Members of the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White demonstrate during their weekly march in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010. The 'Ladies in White' is an organization created by wives and mothers of Cuban political prisoners.… Read more »
(AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

Cuba’s plan to shop talent may not help MLB

Cuba to free 2 more political prisoners

December 24, 2010|By the CNN Wire Staff

Cuba is releasing two more political prisoners who will be sent straight from prison to exile in Spain, the Roman Catholic Church said Friday.
The two men are not part of a group of 52 prisoners President Raul Castro pledged to free in an agreement brokered last July. Eleven of those dissidents, jailed during a government crackdown in March 2003, remain behind bars.
Miguel Angel Vidal Guadarrama and Hector Larroque Rego will be released soon, said a statement from the archbishop of Havana.

Both men's names appear on an online list of prisoners complied by the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation based in Havana.
Vidal was sentenced to 15 years in jail on charges of terrorism and Larroque received 22 years for burglary, illegal possession of weapons, piracy and attempted illegal exit from Cuba, according to the commission.
The Cuban government has often labeled jailed dissidents as "mercenaries" in the pay of foreign governments including the United States.
But Human Rights Watch has documented a systemic pattern of repression in Cuba and said in a report that the communist nation's "laws empower the state to criminalize virtually all forms of dissent."