Cheney protested in West Point, Cuban Five struggle is present
by Jack Smith
On Saturday, May 26, 850 people came to protest at the West Point Military Academy in Highland Falls, NY, where Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at the graduation ceremonies. The focus of the demonstration was opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the protest rally the first speaker was Donna Goodman, of the Caribbean and Latin America Support Project, who spoke in defense of the Cuban Five and to protest the U.S. government’s protection of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles (Goodman's speech is reproduced below).
The protestors marched at 10 a.m. on a route that took them past the huge iron gates blocking the entrance to the Academy, which was guarded by police on one side and soldiers on the other. The march ended back at the park, where the rally continued for another two hours.
Among other speakers were Brian Becker, national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition; Deborah Sweet, leader of World Can’t Wait; and Ann Wright, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army who resigned in protest after 16 years just a few hours before the Washington’s unjust invasion in 2003. She spoke in detail about Washington’s desire to denationalize Iraqi oil in order to control it.
The event was organized locally and endorsed by 47 different groups, mostly from the Hudson Valley, and several national groups, including ANSWER, War Resisters League, WCW and the like.
A rightwing gathering of 50 people tried to disrupt the anti-war protesters with their sound system, from the right-wing militaristic “Gathering of Eagles,” but they were far outnumbered by the 850 anti-war rally.
Bush aide rejected in Amherst commencement
In another important anti-war activity yesterday, students and faculty overwhelmingly rejected the presence of Andrew Card, former Bush chief of staff, who gave the commencement speech at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, yesterday. Dozens of videos on YouTube show hundreds of students and professors with a paper sign on their robes, with Card’s name and the universal NO symbol. Card’s voice was drowned out by loud chants against the war.
Speech by Donna Goodman, of the Caribbean and Latin America Support Project (CLASP):
"If you harbor a terrorist, you are as guilty as the terrorist."
How many times have we heard these words spoken by Bush as he and his administration wage a war of brutal terror against the Iraqi and Afghani people, round up and detain innocent people without trial and subject them to torture?
And yet the United States government is protecting the most notorious terrorist in the Western Hemisphere, and refusing to try him for his real crimes.
That terrorist is Luis Posada Carriles, and because his target is Cuba, he is protected by the Bush-Cheney administration.
Posada's resume includes the 1976 bombing of a civilian Cubana airliner over the Caribbean, killing all 73 people aboard. This was the first time in world history – not 9/11 -- that a plane was used as a weapon in an act of terrorism.
Posada was tried and convicted in Venezuela for this attack but escaped from prison in 1985.
Posada was responsible for the 1997 terrorist bombings of hotels in Havana, in which an Italian tourist was killed, and a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000. He has a long history with the CIA's operations against Cuba and the people's movements in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Two years ago, Luis Posada Carriles entered the United States illegally. It was only after a public outcry, in the U.S. and around the world, that the Bush-Cheney government detained him, charging him with nothing more serious than immigration violations, although U.S. authorities have long had all the evidence they need to try him as a terrorist.
Earlier this month, instead of extraditing Posada to Cuba, against whom his terrorist actions were directed, or to Venezuela, where he escaped from prison, a federal judge freed Posada. The Bush-Cheney administration has the power under the Patriot Act to detain him indefinitely, and could even extradite him to Venezuela. Instead it has chosen to protect him.
While Posada walks free in Miami, five Cuban nationals who prevented Cuban exile groups in Miami from committing terrorist acts against Cuba are serving draconian prison sentences in the United States.
The Caribbean and Latin America Support Project, an endorser of this protest, is active in the movement to prosecute Posada Carriles and Free the Five. Our protest today against the Bush-Cheney war on terrorism is connected to our defense of the Cuban people and the people of the rest of Latin America against terrorism and invasion by our government.
Bush and Cheney, If you harbor a terrorist, you are a terrorist. Prosecute Posada! Free the Cuban Five!