Ana Belen Montes was a Pentagon intelligence analyst who, opposed to the plans of aggression against Cuba being developed, felt morally obliged to alert the Cuban government of said plans. Her actions were uncovered and she was accused of high treason, a crime punishable by death. She was forced to negotiate with the prosecution and to plead guilty to espionage on behalf of Cuba. In 2002, she was sentenced to 25 years in prison, a sentence she has been serving under extreme and inhumane isolation:
- Ana may only receive letters and visits from 20 people (her father passed away before she was imprisoned).
- The fact 20 people / relatives may visit her does not mean everyone on this list exercises that right. Very few people have visited her over these past few years (perhaps only two or three in total), for reasons that include the remoteness of the facility and others.
- Ana may call her mother once a week and speak with her for 15-20 minutes.
- Currently, she may read books (sent from bookstores or publishers) and magazines. She may also watch documentaries and CNN.
- She maintains no relationships with anyone in the prison and is always alone in her cell, where she has been confined for nearly 15 years.
Ana Belen Montes did not act on the basis of financial, political or ideological interests. She did what she did because her conscience dictated that she was doing something morally justified, and that the immoral, the wrong thing, were the plans of aggression against Cuba. She was accused of having helped convince both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton that Cuba did not represent a military threat to the U.S., thus preventing a war that would have resulted in a significant loss of Cuban and US lives.”
Her motivations and sense of ethics are clearly revealed by her statements during her trial:
“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 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’”