Victory to CubaInformación!

Victory! – for Spanish journalist José Manzaneda, coordinator of CubaInformación, the ‘alternative information project about Cuba in the Spanish language’. Both Manzaneda and the Euskadi-Cuba Association were acquitted of spurious charges of hate speech and defamation of character in a Madrid court on 15 February 2024. The trial was an attempt to intimidate critical journalism and silence voices that stand in solidarity with Cuba. The victory in the court case is but one example of what can be achieved when organisations take a stand, refusing to let the international enemies of the revolution break our solidarity.

The Euskadi-Cuba Association, whose communications department helped set up CubaInformación in 1989, is one of the several thousand associations of friendship and solidarity with Cuba that exist in numerous countries with specific aims of supporting the Cuban Revolution. The general objectives of the association are:

contribute to ensuring that Cuba remains a free and sovereign country contribute to the Cuban Revolution being an example for other peoples who want to build their own political, economic and social model support the sovereignty of all peoples, built on popular participation, to be an internationally recognised right contribute to overcoming the world capitalist system.

CubaInformación works tirelessly to produce ‘collaborative journalism’, with over 50 volunteers, ensuring the truth about Cuba is spread around the world.

On 5 October 2020 José Manzaneda published an article on CubaInformación debunking a report from a right-wing, ‘anti-Castro’, non-governmental organisation named ‘Prisoners Defenders’ (PD). In its report, PD slandered Cuba’s internationalist medical brigades as a ‘million-dollar business of the Cuban regime with a pattern of mass slavery’. More than 400,000 Cuban health workers have chosen to assist people in 164 countries in six decades. Cuba sent the largest delegation of medics to tackle Ebola in west Africa in 2014. During the Covid-19 pandemic, 3,800 Cuban medics supported 40 nations, treating more than 1.2 million patients.

PD president and businessman Javier Larrondo made a criminal complaint against Manzaneda of libel, slander and hate crime for his reference to Larrondo in an early version of the article as a ‘member of one of the families of the Cuban bourgeoisie protected by the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and a war criminal who should be treated as such…like Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, a war criminal’. Larrondo demanded Manzaneda be sentenced to six years imprisonment and pay a €50,000 fine.

A war criminal is an entirely accurate description for Larrondo, since the illegal US blockade of Cuba is an act of war. The blockade was condemned by a solidarity tribunal in Brussels, November 2023, in its verdict as a ‘crime against humanity’ that ‘has already caused, directly and indirectly, the loss of numerous human lives’.* Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, a former independent expert of the UNHRC, has said those who enforce the blockade are ‘war criminals’ who should be judged for their crimes in a ‘true International Criminal Court’. In a vindication of the right to describe the blockade of Cuba as a war crime and those who collaborated in it as criminals, the court acquitted both Manzaneda and the Euskadi-Cuba association. Larrondo was ordered to pay part of the costs for the court hearing.

The failed lawfare attack by PD comes amongst a backdrop of the European right wing attempting to open a new front against Cuban socialism. On 28 February 2024, the EU Parliament passed a ‘joint motion for a resolution on the critical situation in Cuba’ tabled by right-wing parliamentarians including from the fascist Spanish party, Vox. This non-binding resolution is highly critical of supposed human rights abuses and calls on the EU Council to review the 2016 EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement with a view to suspending it. Additionally, item 10 of the motion calls on the Council to apply the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (the EU Magnitsky Act) and adopt sanctions against those responsible for alleged human rights violations in Cuba, starting by sanctioning Miguel Díaz-Canel and ‘all those responsible for the imprisonment of political prisoners’.

In this context, the court victory is of the upmost importance. The Revolutionary Communist Group donated towards legal costs during the trial and congratulates CubaInformación and Euskadi-Cuba Association. We extend our deepest solidarity to all in their continued fight to expose the truth about Cuba and the reality of building socialism under the genocidal blockade.

Alex Scurr

*Join RATB on 1 May for an international online meeting organised by the 1 Cent for Cuba campaign to hear Tribunal reports. Details at www.1c4Cuba.eu


FIGHT RACISM! FIGHT IMPERIALISM! 299 April/May 2024