Cubadebate Review of What Lies Across the Water (English Translation)

What Lies Across the Water
The Real Story of the Cuban Five

By Stephen Kimber  

Fernwood Publishing Canadian publisher just released “What Lies Del Otro Lado Del Mar-The True Story of the Cuban Five”, the most comprehensive book to date in English on a topic that Americans have had poor access: the case of Gerardo , Ramón , Antonio , Fernando and René , the Cuban patriots imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism.

It’s a story kidnapped fifteen years. The efforts of its author, Stephen Kimber, for publication in the United States were useless. “How difficult has resulted in the sale of this book to major publishers in North America. We received all kinds of explanations, of course, but the main one seems to be a belief that in America there is an audience for a book that could present a favorable image of a group of ‘Cuban spies’. I hope this book proves them wrong. “

The book is the result of a careful and thorough search that led him to study the more than twenty thousand pages of the minutes of the court (United States v. Gerardo Hernandez et al) and thousands of pages of legal documents than was the case prolonged American history. Also read books and newspapers on Cuba and its long confrontation with the United States and also interviewed many people on both sides of the Straits of Florida and the two sides or neither.

There is a text about the complicated and lengthy court proceedings, but addresses, however, its fundamental aspects. Nor is a biography of the Five, though its pages show what they are: human beings near the reader. The book goes further and helps to understand the conflict between the two countries.

But it is a large job or reading difficult. Quite the contrary. With clear and flexible language allows the reader to explore episodes of that conflict and end in a few hours reading which was caught from the first page. It is the work of a master journalist, a great writer and above all, an honest intellectual, committed only to what he could verify independently.

Already in its first paragraph tells us that “This is not the book I intended to write. This book would be a novel, a love story that developed partly in Cuba. “And of course it was a novel about the Five about who” had vaguely heard. “Kimber notes in his foreword how did you decide to leave initial project and offer, instead, a text that has nothing fictional, and is an example of rigorous, impartial and objective truthfulness.

In the words of its author, “is not a simple linear narrative. Cascade is a collection of incidents and pitfalls, of complicity and consequences, parallel narrative, convergent, divergent, showing a cast of eclectic characters on both sides of the Florida Straits. “

“Maybe it was the deceptive complexity of all this what finally convinced me that this story needed to be told, and needed to be told by someone who did not already know which versions of which stories were true.”

Herein lies the real importance of this book. It is the result of an investigation by someone who was not to undertake an advocate or supporter of the cause of the Cuban Five. Kimber, as thousands of Canadians who visit Cuba, tripped over once with a propaganda poster, written linguistic naivety or stupidity, or heard someone speak with admiration of the Five. But almost nothing knew to start your inquiry.

The author asks a question that holds the key to understanding the problem: Why does the FBI decided to arrest them and take them to a public trial? Why else did years that had control and knew what they had done and were doing? By acting in this way, away from the normal practice, the FBI missed a major information flow and time for sure. He could not accuse them of anything serious and that the two major charges against them involving no substantive crimes. They were of “conspiracy” to which there was no need to present concrete evidence that never existed.

The only explanation is political. In the summer of 1998 they had taken the first steps in what might have been a collaboration between the two countries to stop terrorist actions against Cuba originated in Miami. A delegation of senior FBI officials sent by President Clinton’s decision, Cuba had received copious information on such activities and promised to act. When news of these contacts came to Miami, Mr. Pesquera, local FBI chief, who had close ties to terrorists, proceeded to arrest and made using methods that reveal their motivation and the political nature of the operation. “If the espionage charges against Cubans seemed unconvincing-and they were, even then-why the FBI decided to give much importance to that part of the case? ‘We have done this publicly,’ said Hector Pesquera in Spanish in a message aired frequently in Hispanic radio stations during the following days, ‘to gather information from the public.’ What? “

“Intentional or not, the news about the arrests and charges against the Cubans served to increase levels of hysteria always limit the Miami exile community. The commentator WQBA-1140 AM-and not forgetting the CANF spokesman-Ninoska Pérez Castellón announced on the air switchboard number and invited FBI call the Bureau (and your program) to report “suspicious persons”.

“The exile groups such as the Cuban American National Foundation primed the news of the arrests,” we now see have been threatening vital security interests of the United States, “to lobby for even stronger measures against Cuba. The day after the press conference of Fisheries, the CANF President Alberto Hernandez and Vice President Jorge Mas Santos sent a letter to Senator Bob Graham, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that supported them to ask you to organize a hearing Miami public about Cuban espionage. “

While this was happening, right there in Miami, under the noses of Mr. Pesquera, no one to bother, they trained the terrorists who would carry out the brutal attack of September 11, 2001.

The atmosphere of hatred created by local media in Miami, defined in 2005 by the panel of the Court of Appeal as “a perfect storm of prejudice and hostility” led to the unanimous decision of those judges to overturn the trial. It was later, in 2006, it became known that those who unleashed this “storm” received generous, and hidden, federal government payments.

Kimber’s book appears when the case has come to a turning point, waiting for the court of Miami appeals ruling on collateral (Habeas Corpus) main basis is precisely the government conspiracy, funding and organizing the media campaign Miami poisoned the whole process and was initiated precisely by the FBI itself. Hopefully the judge read this book before issuing its ruling.

–July 2013

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