Granma International
January 31, 2001

The truth about arrest of Czech citizens who encouraged subversion

                   • Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenix were working on missions assigned to them in the
                   United States by the counterrevolutionary organization Freedom House, with
                   the intention of destabilizing the country • ‘If you desire a decent solution to the
                   problem, you should admit that we are right, appeal to our generosity, and never
                   again commit the error of questioning our truth nor putting our resolution to the
                   test,’ confirms a declaration from the Cuban Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

                   A detailed report from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MINREX)
                   highlights that the detention of Czech citizens Ivan Pilip and Jan
                   Bubenix, caught while encouraging internal subversion in the country, on
                   the orders of the U.S. counterrevolutionary organization Freedom
                   House, was a legitimate act of defense of Cuba against those who
                   violated its laws and assaulted its security.

                   "The government of the Czech Republic, as part of the campaign
                   launched to question the Cuban charges, have continued to maintain that
                   our country’s accusations against the two Czech citizens are false.

                   "Out of lack of information, prejudice or malice, representatives of other
                   countries have echoed this fountain of lies and have expressed opinions
                   which, due to their content and nature, are damaging to the people and
                   government of Cuba," asserts the document which has been released to
                   the press and published on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

                   Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenix violated their status as tourists
                   and—complying with directives given by Freedom House—held
                   meetings of a conspiratorial nature with members of small subversive
                   groups in Ciego de Avila province, to whom they tried to provide the
                   resources necessary to complete their program of subversive activities,
                   designed by the U.S. government through the guise of Freedom House
                   to undermine the Revolution.

                   The report specifies that both agents arrived in Cuba at José Martí
                   International Airport on January 8, on flight CBE-7538 from Cancún,
                   Mexico. Before their arrival in our country they had spent a few days in
                   the United States, where they met with Freedom House officials
                   including Robert Pontichera, the institution’s program director, who
                   proposed to pay for a visit by Pilip to Cuba, accompanied by a friend,
                   with the aim of contacting small subversive groups there.

                   The investigations undertaken by the Cuban authorities confirmed that
                   Pilip and Bubenix arrived in New York at the beginning of January. On
                   January 6, during a dinner, Pontichera gave them the names of people
                   opposed to the Cuban government whom they were to contact in Cuba,
                   and instructed the Czechs to converse with them to gain information
                   about the country’s political, economic and social situation.

                   Pontichera gave them a list of names and $1,400 USD to cover
                   accommodations, rentals and meals, for which they would have to
                   provide receipts, and provided them with a laptop computer and various
                   accessories including floppy discs and compact discs to be handed over
                   to the people they would meet with in Cuba. He explained to them that
                   on their return from the island they should contact the Freedom House
                   representative and brief him on the outcome of the visit and the
                   information gathered.

                   The two agents’ return itinerary would be
                   Havana-Cancún-Miami-Washington, and they would spend a few days
                   at that final destination.

                   Pontichera also informed them that the names of the people with whom
                   they met in Cuba should be registered in their electronic organizer using
                   a code to prevent Cuban authorities from obtaining the information in
                   case of arrest.

                   From investigations into the Czechs’ stay in Cuba, it is known that when
                   they arrived in our country they rented a car with the plates T-005267
                   which they used to travel to Matanzas, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spíritus,
                   like the average tourist taking a trip around western Cuba. On January
                   11 they moved on to Ciego de Avila, the first point of contact, according
                   to the list of names given to them in the United States.

                   In this province they visited two known counterrevolutionaries with
                   whom they discussed the topics specified by Pontichera, and tried to
                   gain the information desired by Freedom House. The list of names and
                   addresses was protected by electronic security.

                   "The task entrusted to Pilip and Bubenix is nothing new in our country.
                   It represents yet another example of the Czech Republic’s attempts to
                   interfere with and destabilize the Cuban revolutionary process," states
                   the report, which recounts in detail these attempts over the last 10 years.

                   Information from MINREX confirms that in reply to the arrest, Czech
                   President Vaclav Havel has made statements against our country, aimed
                   at offending and slandering a people whose bravery, heroism and
                   devotion to the truth is impossible for him to imagine. It emphasizes that
                   one day the world will know the truth about these "democratic defenders
                   of human rights"—that is, if any memory of them is preserved in

                   "The Czech government forgets that Cuba is a sovereign country which
                   does not allow its laws to be violated with impunity and has the right and
                   the jurisdiction to try and punish those who commit crimes in our
                   Republic, as is the case with Mr. Pilip and Mr. Bubenix."

                   "They have put forward the argument that Mr. Pilip is a deputy in the
                   Czech Parliament, but Mr. Pilip traveled to Cuba as a tourist, not as a
                   politician. Therefore, according to international law and the Vienna
                   Conventions concerning Diplomatic Relations and Special Missions, that
                   Czech citizen does not qualify for immunity because he was neither
                   acting as a diplomatic agent nor as a member of a special mission. What
                   is more, in these cases international law states that he should obtain
                   permission for the visit from the Cuban state, which he did not do,"
                   according to the report.

                   "We have irrefutable proof of the facts published in this report about the
                   conduct of the above-mentioned Czech diplomatic officials and the
                   arrested citizens Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenix," assures MINREX.

                   Further on, the report adds: "At the height of our present moral and
                   political strength, we cannot harbor feelings of revenge against any
                   nation or any citizen in this world. Above all, we are following the truth
                   and defending our honor.

                   "Recognize with honesty what has happened and apologize to our
                   people. This will have more effect than all the lies and insults; more than
                   all international pressure; more than NATO and its bombings and
                   missiles; more than the power of all the rich countries and all their
                   money rolled into one.

                   "If you desire a decent solution to the problem, you should admit that
                   we are right, appeal to our generosity, and never again commit the error
                   of questioning our truth nor of putting our resolution to the test,"
                   confirms the declaration issued by the Cuban Ministry for Foreign