Since the time of Cuban Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuba has been at logger heads with the West, a confrontation emanating from the Fidel Castro decision to side with Moscow during the Cold War and consequently implement communism in Cuba. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have run for exile, most of them in United States. The two neighbors have in most instances confronted with one another not only due to ideological differences but also due to perceived interference with Cuban internal affairs.
There are many events that have marked Cuban relationship not only with the United States but also with the rest of the world. Among the notable incidents since the Cuban revolution include the Cuban Missile Crisis that pitted communist bloc against the United States and its allies. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a defining moment for the relationship between the two neighbors (Capio and Carpio, 2009). Cuba also accuses United States of orchestrating the Pig Bay invasion that was crashed by Cuban forces. On the other hand, United States has accused Cuba of violation of human rights through incarceration of thousands of dissidents who are against the communist regime. United States has incarcerated a number of Cubans who are convicted of espionage in United States soils.
The request by Fidel Castro to exchange incarcerated dissidents with Cuban spies serving sentences in the United States is outrageous. This is request which further taints the name of the already infamous communist regime in Cuba. This request goes against the basic human rights and is not in the best interest of justice. Although Cuba is known as one of the countries in the world that have grossly violated human rights, it is not in the best interest of justice for united states to accept to exchange espionages for political dissidents who have the right to be free. The request by Cuba amount to horse trading that is likely to serve the interest of the Cuban government efforts to silence those requesting for reforms in the country and the United States government efforts to ensure strict observation of human rights all over the world.
Top understand the situation well, it is important to look at the situation that have led to incarceration of the spies and dissidents. After the Cuban Revolution, Cubans had high expectations that the new regime would bring a new political, economical, and social life to the people (Capio and Carpio, 2009). However, this was not to be as Fidel Castro amassed power and nationalized the economy hurting the economy more and rendering more people to poverty. This led to a lot of dissidents who were opposed to the regime and the communist regime put them behind bars to quell the call for reform. On the other hand, after the United States orchestrated the Pig Bay attack which failed, Cuban government sent more spies like Gerardo Hernandez who ended up in the Federal prisons. The cause for the incarceration of the two is different as dissidents were just calling for political, social, and economical reforms while on the other hand, the spies were working for the communist regime.
The request for Cuba kills justice more in the sense that it request for release of a criminal who has been convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. Gerardo Hernandez, who is one of the Cuban spies who will be exchanged for dissidents, was convicted of orchestrating and participating in shooting of two search and rescue mission airplanes on February 24, 1996. This act which violated the right of civil aviation to fly in international waters and the rights of life of the pilots, who were in the two airplanes, was condemned by the international community. This implies that Gerardo Hernandez is not only a convicted spy but also a convicted murder. He cannot be compared to the political dissidents in Cuba who are calling for reforms in their country.
The principle of justice calls for justice for all people. This implies that every individual is entitled to justice for their cause (Maiese, 2003). In their regard, just must be accorded according to individual circumstances (Nagel, 1973). The request for exchange of spies for dissidents goes against the principle of justice. It works against the best principle of justice as it entails a tying agreement which will see the release of one innocent individual for release of a guilty individual. This means that Cuban dissidents have the right to be free since they were incarcerated for fighting for their rights. They are in prison because they did not commit any mistake but because they opposed an oppressive regime. They have been denied their human rights. Cuban spies are in federal jails for the crime of espionage and hence they deserve staying in jail.
If the principle of justice has to prevail, there should be not exchange of political prisoners for criminal spies. Political dissidents incarcerated in Cuban jails must be set free since it is their human rights. In cause of justice and according to human rights charter, it is their right to call for reforms in their country as the system of governance dictates their conditions of life. They have the right to be set free without exchanging for any other prisoners, more so considering that Cuba is asking for release of some of the notorious criminals like Gerardo Hernandez. This will set a bad precedent not only for the future relations between the two countries but also for other countries which may ask for a similar exchange of innocent and guilty prisoners.