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From papadop@peak.org Fri May 4 11:48:02 2001
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 10:52:16 -0500 (CDT)
From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org>
Subject: Castro thoughts on being arrested like Pinochet
Article: 119364
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

“I believe in the extraterritoriality of the honor and dignity of persons”

Statement by Cuban President Fidel Castro, Granma (Havana), 28 April 2001

President Fidel Castro responds to a statement by Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, who on being asked by the Dominican press if he would dare to arrest President Castro, responded that “only an international court can do so,” and admitted having received files containing charges against the Cuban president “I am well aware that the Cuban-American mafia was behind that business, with a lot of hope invested in it,” states Fidel.

THE Notimex news agency reports that in response to a question from a journalist from the Dominican daily Liston Diario, as to whether he would dare send Fidel Castro to prison, Spanish Judge Garzon stated: “Proceedings cannot be taken against serving heads of state for any kind of crime, and the standards of the 1969 treaties and the immunity of heads of state are valid. Only an international court has the right to do so.”

According to the report, Garzon said that he did not know if Castro had been frightened by Pinochet's detention, but recalled that the Cuban leader had a meeting in Spain and, instead of the scheduled time, had left within a few hours.

The magistrate admitted having received files containing accusations against the Cuban leader, but stated that he had not studied them in depth, given that action was not viable on account of the limits imposed by international principles. Other agencies cabled more or less the same news.

Garzon has given his response and expressed his opinion. Now it is for me to give mine.

In relation to the files sent to Judge Garzon, I am well aware that the Cuban-American terrorist mafia was behind that business, with much hope invested in it.

I do not have, nor did I have, the least concern about Mr. Garzon. Quite simply, I am not under his jurisdiction, nor that of Spanish law.

There is no international principle that grants authorization for trying a citizen from another country who is not resident in or has not committed any misdeed in Spain. National Spanish laws are not extraterritorial in nature, just as the Helms-Burton Act cannot be, nor other U.S. national laws. That would only serve as a dangerous weapon in the hands of the most powerful states against small countries rebelling against their interests. The leaders of any revolutionary movement, however ethical their conduct and however just their cause, who are not to the liking of U.S. imperialism, could be brought to trial in this way, according to its whim in line with its national legislation and the arbitrariness of its judges, often venal and corrupt.

The universal hatred aroused by Pinochet and the repugnant crimes of the Argentine military government, with its tens of thousands of tortured and disappeared persons, cannot be a justification to grant the United States and its NATO allies the extraterritoriality of their laws and judges.

At the Ibero-American Summit in Porto, on the day when I met early in the morning with King Juan Carlos of Spain, someone gave me the news that Pinochet had been arrested in the UK. I thought: “How strange, when Pinochet was the one who most helped the British during the Malvinas war!”

After the summit, I traveled by road to Spain to fulfill a friendly invitation from Mr. Juan Carlos Rodroguez Ibarra, president of the government of the Autonomous Community of Estremadura. He received us with much hospitality and warmth in the capital, Merida, where we arrived after midnight. We slept there.

The following day, after visiting the National Museum of Roman Arts and the ruins of an amphitheater, among other sites of historical interest, in response to questions from journalism on the issue of Mr. Pinochet's arrest in Britain and possible trial in Spain, I said:

“From the moral point of view, the arrest and trial is just.”

“From the legal point of view, the action is questionable.”

“From the political point of view, I think that it is going to create a complicated situation in Chile, given the form in which the political process has developed in that country.”

Further on, I added:

“Pinochet did not act alone. The U.S. president, his government and the state leadership took the decision to overthrow Allende from the day he was elected. They assigned plentiful funds to the plan, gave instructions to prevent, by any means, first his taking office and, second, to try and overthrow him throughout the whole subsequent period.”

I was definitely in favor of Pinochet being tried and sanctioned in Chile.

I understand perfectly the sentiments of those who have seen so many crimes against peoples, committed with absolute impunity. It has been rather traditional in the political history of Latin America. The Cuban people have suffered it more than once. But when the Revolution triumphed, the war criminals -- as the people had been promised -- were judged and sanctioned in an exemplary manner, with the exception of those who, after torturing and murdering tens of thousands of Cubans, found refuge in the United States. The ill-gotten gains of the embezzlers were confiscated. It was the first time in the history of Latin America that such correct and orderly justice was applied.

Everyone knows that it was the U.S. government which not only promoted the coup d'etat in Chile, but also promoted and supported the military regimes of Argentina and Uruguay, the counterrevolution in Guatemala, the dirty war in Nicaragua and the bloody repression in El Salvador. It supplied them with weapons and economic aid, trained in U.S. territory thousands of torturers in the most refined techniques for obtaining information and sowing terror. Not even Hitler's Gestapo had reached such extremes of cruelty. Those regimes disappeared more than 150,000 persons and took the lives of hundreds of thousands. It is something proven and admitted in declassified official documents. One has the right to ask oneself why no U.S. official responsible for such a criminal policy was not included in the Pinochet trial.

A legal world order with rigorous and precise rulings must be established against genocide and war crimes, an absolutely independent justice agency under the supervision of the UN General Assembly, but never under the Security Council as long as it retains the veto power, which concedes exceptional privileges to only five countries, including the hegemonic superpower -- which has made more use of it than all the other permanent members of the Council together.

Cuba has suffered an economic war which has already lasted more than 42 years, and serious crimes and acts of genocide have been committed against Cuba, such as the blockade of food and medicines, as described, established and sanctioned, even in wartime, by the treaties of 1948 and 1949, signed by both Cuba and the United States. And not only that, those treaties grant the victimized country the right to bring to trial those responsible, although an international court with faculties to do so does not exist.

The Pinochet case should serve as an example, not from the point of view of the underdeveloped and militarily weak nations constituting the overwhelming majority of the states of the world running the suicidal risk of granting the superpower and its NATO allies the privilege of being the judges of all the other countries, but to demand that the United Nations adopt the pertinent measures that would guarantee justice and protection for all the nations of the world against war crimes and acts of genocide. Cuba would be the first to support such a move.

Having stated that, I thank Judge Garzon for his judicious reply to the Liston Diario journalist. But I am not thanking him for his words or because he hasn't studied in depth the accusations filed by the Miami mafia, or because I hold the position of head of state which, according to his criterion made such legal action nonviable. However, I should clarify for him that I did not cut short my departure from Spain by one single minute. From Merida, I traveled by road to Moncloa Palace on a courtesy visit to Jose Maroa Aznar, prime minister of the Spanish government, as was elemental and had been previously agreed with him. That was the only meeting arranged in Madrid. And from Moncloa I went to the airport. It was already nighttime. Speaking frankly, I was bored with so many thruways, rivers of cars, the many traffic jams choking the Spanish capital, and such an excess of light and energy that I was not in any way tempted to tour the congested streets of Madrid. From the airport I greeted by telephone Julio Anguita, then coordinator of the United Left and a loyal friend, and left for Cuba in my beloved and old Il-62, confiding in Soviet technology.

I excuse Mr. Garzon because he does not know the Cubans, and surely has studied very little of the history of their battles against hundreds of thousands of valiant Spanish soldiers. In spite of the vast difference in troops and weapons, facing a hardened army, the Cuban patriots never fled from danger.

After the opportunistic intervention of the nascent U.S. empire, Cuba was ceded by the colonial power to the United States, and the nascent empire imposed on us a constitutional amendment which gave it the right to intervene, but now the island constitutes a free people who are defending with honor their independence in the face of the aggression, hostility and hatred of the gigantic power we have as a neighbor.

No mortal should have the illusion of being more terrible than the gods.

I have always lived, and will live the rest of my life with tranquility, because I know how to defend with dignity the rights of my people and the honor of small, poor or weak nations, and I have always been moved by a profound sense of justice. I am a revolutionary and I will die as one. If some judge or other authority from Spain or any other NATO country should attempt to arrest me at any point, making use of arbitrary extraterritorial faculties and in violation of rights that for me are sacrosanct, they should know in advance that there will be a battle, in whichever location where they attempt to do it. I believe in the extraterritoriality of honor and the dignity of persons.