The subdued 'Cuba for Ana Belen Montes' campaign
Timorous, but vehement; diminished, in spite of itself, the clemency campaign for Ana Belén Montes promises to prove more strident than the preceding one: she's a woman, was not even born in Cuba, and turned out to be an extremely efficient spy, the Pentagon's nemesis.
Her colleagues, "the Five," spied on Cuban-American organizations in Florida. She, the ultimate specialist, the great oracle of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), passed through the White House like water through my house. But nobody is talking about her three-decade imprisonment, in my home, or anyone else's. In fact, no major Cuban media source has dedicated her any coverage.
"At the end of last year in Cuba a committee for solidarity with her was created," reveals Julián Gutierrez Alonso, coordinator of the Network of Universities in Solidarity with the Five, "and they asked me to participate. In this way we created what is called ‘Cuba for Ana Belén Montes.’We don't classify it as a group or as a movement; we’re just people who need to talk about the case, to make it known."
"This case is nothing at all like that of the Five. It's very different," Julián recognizes. "First off, the Five were Cubans; secondly, they infiltrated groups that did not represent the US Government. Montes's case is different: she was within the Government, and reported on actions that would be taken against Cuba. And she is an American of Puerto Rican origin. Those are essential differences. Her family includes members of the FBI, her father was a military doctor; her family, in general, considers her a traitor. She does not want there to be a broad movement, as she wants to protect her family."
The first public act I attended for the freedom of Ana Belén Montes, held at a little schoolhouse in the country, drew groups from all over the Island. I thought that they would talk about something else. Suddenly, the campaign began.
"I'm a friend of René González,” announced a retired university professor. "She sent me an email asking me to visit a website and sign a petition for the freedom of Ana Belén Montes. At that point I took an interest in her case. On my own initiative, without anyone telling me to, I approached my department and told them that I wanted to create a committee of solidarity with Ana Belén Montes, explaining to them who she was and why we had to fight. We started in January."
Olania Rodríguez Peña organized the third group of solidarity created in Cuba.
"There was one in Havana, and another in Holguín," she explains. We all contributed to the international letter that was sent to Obama. We signed it as the Committee of Solidarity with Ana Belén Montes.”
"According to her cousin, Ana has asked that the response to the Five not be imitated." In this Olania coincides with Julian. This seems to be the common, unofficial position.
"She fears for her family in Miami," explains Olania. "This has averted major publicity regarding the case. We assume that Cuba is doing something to secure her release. Meanwhile, civil society is taking action."
"Cuba for Ana Belen Montes" could be the prelude to a large-scale campaign, perhaps another national political activism endeavor. Their line of discourse depends on very timely topics: actions by civil society, with people who organize and work on their own, and even conciliatory developments in relations between Cuba and the US. With these prospects, the emerging crusade has reached out to more than 8,000 people, forming part of a laborious information distribution effort administrated by the Network of Universities ....
"If we compare the words of Ana Belén with what Obama said," argues Julián Gutiérrez, "anyone can see that they are talking the same way. In this regard she cooperated so that relations between the Island and its neighbor could enter a new stage. What did Obama say? That he came to Cuba to end the Cold War. And that's what Ana Montes did too."
And thus, among blurry arguments, calculated prudence and discursive stratagems, the campaign continues that could soon shape – depending on political needs – the Island's med