US State Department desk officer on Cuba gets 25 year jail term

Campaign News | Thursday, 17 October 2002

Ana Belen Montes

Ana belen Montes was a State Department desk officer on Cuba who admitted to having given secrets to the Cuban government.

She was given a 25 year jail sentence on October 16th.


October 16, 2002

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

An Italian proverb perhaps best describes the fundamental truth I believe

in. "All the world is one country." In such a "world-country," the

principle of loving one's neighbor as much as oneself seems, to me, to be the

essential guide to harmonious relations between all of our

"nation-neighborhoods." This principle urges tolerance and understating for

the different way of others. It asks that we treat other nations the ways we

wish to be treated - with respect and compassion. It is a principle that,

tragically, I believe we have never applied to Cuba.

Your Honor, I engaged in the activity that brought me before you because

I obeyed my conscience rather than the law. I believe that our government's

policy towards Cuba is cruel and unfair, profoundly unneighborly, and I felt

morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose

our values and our political system on it. We have displayed intolerance and

contempt towards Cuba for most of the last four decades. We have never

respected Cuba's right to make its own journey towards its own ideals of

equality and justice. I do not understand why we must continue to dictate

how the Cubans should select their leaders, who their leaders cannot be, and

what laws are appropriate in their land. Why can't we let Cuba pursue its

own internal journey, as the United States has been doing for two centuries?

My way of responding to our Cuba policy may have been morally wrong.

Perhaps Cuba's right to exist free of political and economic coercion did not

justify giving the island classified information to help it defend itself. I

can only say that I did what I though right to counter a grave injustice.

My greatest desire is to see amicable relations emerge between the United

States and Cuba. I hope my case in some way will encourage our government to

abandon its hostility towards Cuba and to work with Havana in a spirit of

tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding. Today we see more clearly than

ever that intolerance and hatred-by individuals or governments-spread only

pain and suffering. I hope for a U.S. policy that is based on neighborly

love, a policy that recognizes that Cuba, like any nation, wants to be

treated with dignity and not contempt. Such a policy would bring our

government back in harmony with the compassion and generosity of the American

people. It would allow Cubans and Americans to learn from and share with

each other. It would enable Cuba to drop its defensive measures and

experiment more easily with changes. And it would permit the two neighbors

to work together and with other nations to promote tolerance and cooperation

in our one "world-country," in our only "world-homeland."

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