9 September 2016
Imprisoned for Spying for Cuba
Free Ana Belén Montes!
For almost 15 years, Ana Belén Montes has languished in a U.S. prison for her active solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. Having been the Pentagon’s number one expert on Cuba since the mid ’80s, Montes pleaded guilty in 2002 to “conspiracy to commit espionage” for the Cuban government. Alleged to have turned over reams of American military and intelligence secrets to the Cuban authorities, including the identities of Washington’s undercover spies, Montes was deemed “one of the most damaging spies” by the U.S. imperialist rulers and gone after with a vengeance. Montes never benefited one penny for passing on classified information. She expressed her motivation during a 2015 interview: “What matters to me is that the Cuban Revolution exists.” It is in the interests of the working class and the oppressed in the U.S. and around the world to demand: Freedom now for Ana Belén Montes!
Born in 1957 to Puerto Rican parents on a U.S. military base in West Germany, Montes was raised and educated in the U.S. During her graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University in the 1980s, Montes became increasingly repulsed by the bloody anti-communist policies of the U.S. in Latin America. Initially landing a job as a clerk typist at the Department of Justice, Montes rose through the ranks to become a senior analyst at the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, the Defense Intelligence Agency, specializing in Latin American and Cuban affairs.
Two weeks after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the FBI arrested Montes and charged her with espionage. She was sentenced to 25 years behind bars. At her sentencing, Montes called U.S. policy towards Cuba “cruel and unfair,” stating: “I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it.”
For decades, U.S. imperialism has waged a war against the deformed workers state of Cuba, which emerged with the overthrow of capitalist rule in 1960-61. Among the imperialists’ bloody adventures: the 1961 Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) invasion; the 1976 bombing of a fully loaded Cubana airliner that killed 73 people (Luis Posada Carriles, the terrorist responsible for that atrocity is still living in Miami); and numerous assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. The U.S. notoriously provides support and money to counterrevolutionaries on the island and, while trade and other commercial relations have increased, maintains its embargo intended to deprive the population of basic goods.
Despite the political rule of a bureaucratic nationalist caste under the Castros (Fidel and now Raúl), the enormous gains for working people made possible by Cuba’s collectivized economy—including the renowned health care and educational systems—exist to this day. Yet such gains remain in the crosshairs of the imperialists as they seek to reconquer Cuba for capitalist exploitation.
In 2015, as part of restoring diplomatic ties, President Obama and President Castro negotiated a spy swap. Obama released the remaining members of the Cuban Five—courageous men who attempted to prevent terrorist acts against Cuba by infiltrating and monitoring counterrevolutionary exile groups in Florida—and Raúl Castro released two American spies, including Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, a former CIA operative. Trujillo had provided information leading to the conviction of the Cuban Five and Montes as well as former State Department official Walter Kendall Myers who, along with his wife Gwendolyn, was sentenced to prison for transmitting defense information to Cuba in 2010. (See “Free Walter and Gwendolyn Myers! Free the Cuban Five!” WV No. 963, 27 August 2010.)
Montes is now incarcerated at the Texas Federal Medical Center (FMC) at Carswell Prison. Known as “the hospital of horrors,” the FMC is notorious for violence and rape inflicted on female inmates. Isolated from all the other prisoners in the mental ward, Montes is barred from receiving phone calls and her correspondence is severely restricted. Montes stated, “I live in conditions of extreme psychological pressure. I don’t even have the most minimal contact with the world, except for the one I imagine ideally.” But she refuses to be broken: “I will resist until the end even if it’s difficult.”
Our defense of heroic individuals like Montes and Walter and Gwendolyn Myers is part of our defense of the Cuban Revolution. Isolated and impoverished, the Cuban deformed workers state cannot forever resist the strong economic and military pressures exerted by the U.S. and the imperialist world market. Genuine defense of the Cuban Revolution against imperialism demands a revolutionary internationalist perspective, with its survival ultimately dependent on socialist revolution internationally, especially in the U.S. Such a perspective must be tied to the fight for a proletarian political revolution to oust the Castroite bureaucracy, which excludes the working class from political power and promotes the fallacy of building “socialism” in a single country.
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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1095, 9 September 2016)
Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.