The People of Cuba Versus the Government of the United States

January 11, 2015

As Cubans bring in the 57th successful year of the Cuban revolution with lively festivities across Cuba, we again print the following document from a previous issue of The Worker.

In July 1999, grassroots organizations in Cuba brought suit in a Havana Court against the U.S. government. The suit demands human damages be paid for the nearly forty years of aggression by the U.S. against Cuba.

The extensive documentation presented in the Court includes a large number of recently de-classified U.S. documents which expose the organized, terrorist activities of the U.S. government against the Cuban people. Amongst other things, these documents prove that the U.S. government armed thousands of American and Cuban mercenaries and directed them to blow up economic and social projects, engage in banditry and kill Cuban citizens. The suit documents, for example, how U.S.-organized bandit groups killed 549 Cubans between 1959-65.

Below are excerpts from the first part of the court brief presented by Cuban mass organizations. In addition to supporting Cuba’s just demand for human damages, people can learn a great deal about the history of U.S. aggression against Cuba and the terrorist methods employed by U.S. imperialism.

The People of Cuba Vs. The Government of the United States of America for Human Damages

To Be Submitted To the Civil and Administrative Court of Law at the Provincial People’s Court in Havana City.

[The Cuban mass organizations bringing the suit include the Central Trade Union of Cuba (CTC), the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the Federation of University Students (FEU), the Federation of Middle-level Education Students (FEEM), the “Jose Marti” Children’s Organization, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), and the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution (ACRC).]

The brief submitted by these organizations begins:

“Hereby, by deed we appear and according to rule we say:  That, we have come to institute a demand against the Government of the United States of America in Ordinary Proceeding on Compensation for Damages.”

“That, this demand is based on the following:  FACTS”

“That, the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959 meant for the people of Cuba – for the first time in its long history of struggles – the conquest of true independence and sovereignty, with a death toll of about 20,000 people who perished in direct and heroic combat against the forces of a military dictatorship trained, equipped and advised by the United States government.”

“The revolutionary victory in Cuba was one of the most humiliating political defeats the United States sustained after it became a great imperialist power.  This determined that the historic dispute between the two nations would enter a new and more acute stage of confrontation characterized by the implementation of a brutal policy of hostility and all sorts of aggressions emanating from the United States and aimed at the destruction of the Cuban Revolution, the recapture of the country and the return to the neocolonial domination system that it had imposed on Cuba for over a century and which it definitely lost over 40 years ago.”

“The war unleashed by the United States against the Cuban Revolution, conceived as a state policy, has been historically proven and can be fully confirmed by multiple information released in that country as of late showing a number of political, military, economic, biologic, diplomatic, psychological, propagandist and spying actions; the execution of acts of terrorism and sabotage; the organization and logistic support of armed bandits and clandestine groups of mercenaries; the encouragement of defection and migration and the attempts at the physical elimination of the leaders of the Cuban revolutionary process.”

“All this has been exposed in very significant public statements made by senior officials of the U.S. government as well as in the countless and irrefutable evidences accumulated by the Cuban authorities. Also, numerous declassified secret documents are particularly eloquent and although not all have been released those that already have suffice to fairly prove the grounds for this claim.”

“One of the documents annexed in confirmation of the events described is the already declassified “Program of Covert Actions against the Castro Regime” approved on March 17, 1960 by United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The second, entitled the “Cuban project” and introduced on January 18, 1962 by Brigade General Edward Landsdale to the highest echelons of the Unites States government and the National Security Council Special Group-Augmented contains the list of 32 covert actions to be carried out by the agencies and departments taking part in the so-called “Operation Mongoose.”

“Every hostile and aggressive action conducted by the United States government against Cuba from the very triumph of the Revolution up to the present have caused enormous material and human losses and incalculable suffering to the people of this country as well as hardships resulting from the shortage of medication, food and other indispensable means of life which we deserve and have the right to obtain with our honest labor.”

“Likewise, the political and ideological subversion which resulted in a continual, extensive and unjustified distress endured by all the people has posed constant dangers and caused damages characterized by their pervasive presence and almost immeasurable scope. This has jeopardized an accurate assessment which we are not including this time for the purpose of this demand in order to strictly limit ourselves to the content of the restitution for moral damages as prescribed by the Cuban Civil Code presently in force, although we do not renounce our right to do it in due course.”

“Pursuant to international practice, a State is responsible for the damages caused by its behavior and actions – in legislative, as well as, in administrative and judicial terms – by its agents and officials, and even for the actions of each country’s natural persons, if the corresponding authorities in said State would avoid taking preventive or suppressive measures.  Thus, it is its duty to compensate for such damages in compliance with what is universally rated as civil liability.”

“Accordingly, the United States of America, as a State represented by its government, is accountable for the damages caused to Cuban natural persons and legal entities due to the unlawful actions undertaken by its agencies, departments, representatives, officials or the Government itself.”

“That, the recent declassification in the United States of a report produced by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick on October 1961, with a review of the reasons for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion – as it is called in America – has revealed that the covert operations organized in Washington against Cuba began in the summer of 1959, a few weeks after the adoption of the Land Reform Law on May 17, that year.”

“In the month of October, President Eisenhower approved a program proposed by the Department of State and the CIA to undertake covert actions against Cuba, including air and naval pirate attacks and the promotion of, and direct support to, counter-revolutionary groups inside Cuba. According to the document, the operations were to have succeeded in making the overthrow of the revolutionary regime look like the result of its own mistakes.”

“Those days saw the beginning of a campaign of flights over Cuban territory by small aircraft coming from the United States with such missions as the infiltration of agents, weapons and other equipment and the realization of acts of sabotage, bombings and other acts of terrorism.”

“On October 11, 1959, a plane dropped two incendiary bombs on the “Niagara” sugar mill in Pinar del Rio province. On October 19, another two bombs were hurled from the air over the Punta Alegre sugar mill in Camaguey province. On October 21, a twin-engines aircraft machine-gunned the city of Havana, killing several people and injuring dozens while another light aircraft dropped subversive propaganda. On October 22, a passenger train was machine-gunned in Las Villas province. On October 26, two light aircraft attacked both the “Niagara” and “Violeta” sugar mills.”

“From the very month of January 1960, while that year’s sugar harvest was in full swing, the number of flights over sugar-cane plantations multiplied. On January 12 alone, 500,000 arrobas [1 arroba equals 25 pounds] of sugar cane were set on fire from the air in Havana province. On January 30, over 50,000 arrobas were lost at the “Chaparra” sugar mill in the former province of Oriente and, on February 1, more than 100,000 arrobas were set alight in Matanzas province.”

The brief goes on to list several more examples of such terrorist actions on the part of the U.S. government. It then continues:

“The covert war against Cuba had begun, with high intensity, in the year 1959 itself.  An infinite number of hostile and aggressive actions, impossible to list in detail, would follow in the coming years.”

“The Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency recognized that “from January 1960, when it had 40 people, the branch expanded to 588 by April 16, 1961, becoming one of the largest branches in the Clandestine Services.”  He meant the CIA station in Miami which concentrated on activities against Cuba.”

“That, barely fifteen months after the revolutionary victory, armed banditry was planned and finally unleashed by the United States government, practically all over Cuba. It began in 1960 under the Republican Administration of President Eisenhower and lasted five years until 1965.”

“It’s main thrust would be on the Escambray, region in the former province of Las Villas, which now comprises the provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus. A so-called front operated in that zone with columns, bands and a commanding post.  Weeks before the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion, 40,000 workers and students from the nation’s capital, supported by local forces from the central region and peasants and farm workers from the Escambray and organized in militia battalions, surrounded and rendered helpless that bulwark which was to have co-operated with the invasion forces. Hundreds of bandits were captured and their number reduced to a minimum in those critical days.”

“Those bandits, organized by the CIA, had the support of the United States government which made the greatest efforts and resorted to every possible means to supply them with weaponry, ammunition, explosives, communication equipment and general logistics. To this end, the U.S. government used different routes by air, by sea and even via diplomatic channels through the United States embassy in Havana, until relations were severed at the beginning of 1961.”

“In this respect, the previously mentioned report by the CIA Inspector General explicitly recognized the logistical support provided by that institution to the mercenary bands.  One example is the so-called “Operation Silence,” which consisted of the United States Central Intelligence Agency carrying out twelve air operations between September 1960 and March 1961 in order to supply the bandits with arms, ammunition, explosives and other equipment. About such operation the author of the report stated:  “In all, about 151,000 pounds of arms, ammunition and equipment were transported by air.”

After listing these operations aimed at supplying the bandits and detailing the activity of the bandit groups themselves, the Cuban brief summarizes:

“Between 1959 and 1965, a total of 299 bands, with 3,995 mercenaries operated throughout the national territory in the service of the U.S. government.”

“The number of casualties in that struggle, regular troops and militiamen combined taking part in the operations against the bandits, as well as people murdered by the bandits whose death it has been possible to document, were as high as 549. Also, a considerable amount of people were injured whose number it has not been possible to accurately determine 34 years later, when this demand was prepared. However, there are still 200 survivors incapacitated as a result of those criminal plans. Not all the victims were among the revolutionary combatants fighting the bandits. Many civilians who had nothing to do with the military activities also died, victims of the crimes committed by the bands imposed from abroad.”

The brief continues detailing the U.S. government’s war against Cuba which continues up to today.