Freedom for Ana Belén Montes!

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“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 understanding for the different ways of others. It asks that we treat other nations the way 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 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 over 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 thought 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 instead on neighborly love, a policy that recognizes that Cuba, like any nation, wants to be treated with dignity and not with 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.'” — Ana Belén Montes

Ana Belén MontesAna Belén Montes (born February 28, 1957), is a former American senior analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency in the United States. On September 21, 2001, she was arrested and subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit espionage for the government of Cuba. Montes eventually pleaded guilty to spying and in October 2002, was sentenced to a 25-year prison term followed by five years’ probation.

During the course of the investigation against her, it was determined that Montes had passed a considerable amount of classified information to the Cuban Intelligence Directorate, including the identities of four U.S. spies in Cuba. In 2007, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) counterintelligence official Scott W. Carmichael publicly alleged that it was Ana Montes who told Cuban intelligence officers about a clandestine U.S. Army camp in El Salvador.

Montes was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at her office on 21 September 2001. Prosecutors stated that Montes had been privy to classified information about the U.S. military’s impending invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, and that they did not want her revealing this information to potential enemies.

In 2002, Montes pleaded guilty to the charge which could have carried the death penalty, but was sentenced to 25 years in prison in October of the same year after accepting a plea agreement with the U.S. government. According to her lawyer, Plato Cacheris, Montes committed the espionage for moral reasons, as “she felt the Cubans were treated unfairly by the U.S. government.” Click here to read her statement
 
As of July 2016, Montes is incarcerated at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, a facility which provides specialized medical and mental health services to female offenders. Montes is listed as FMC Register #25037-016. Her tentative release date is listed as July 1, 2023. There is no parole in the US federal prison system.

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