The FBI is expanding its efforts to intimidate Cuba solidarity supporters from Puerto Rico to the mainland, visiting or calling at least four people on the West Coast and Midwest over the last few weeks.
The harassment began in Puerto Rico over three days in late August when FBI agents visited or called nearly 60 people, largely participants in July’s Juan Rius Rivera Solidarity Brigade to Cuba. The annual brigade is organized by the Cuba Solidarity Committee on the island. Some FBI agents claimed that they were investigating “criminal activity” or alleged “infiltration” by Cuban security agents. At least 15 FBI agents were directly involved.
As soon as Milagros Rivera, president of the committee, learned of the visits and calls, she sent out an alert, letting people know that they don’t need to talk to the political police agents. “Our most important message,” she said, “is we are going to continue our united work to defeat the criminal U.S. blockade of Cuba.”
The committee organized a press conference and has won messages of support from dozens of organizations around the world.
Since then opponents in the U.S. of Washington’s economic war against Cuba have been contacted by the FBI. Two FBI agents on Sept. 20 visited the Los Angeles home of Mark Friedman, a member of the U.S. Hands Off Cuba Committee there. They claimed someone said he “would help them on the issue of Cuba.” Friedman wasn’t home.
The FBI has a long history of violating the constitutional rights and trying to disrupt the activities of labor unions, Black rights organizations, the Socialist Workers Party and anyone who opposes Washington’s war moves abroad.
Milagros Rivera will be the featured speaker at a public meeting in New York City Oct. 28 to denounce the FBI harassment. The evening meeting will take place at the First Spanish United Methodist Church (“The People’s Church”) in East Harlem.