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And Justice for All, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

A good definition of justice nowadays is the one suggested by James Konow (2003), which states that justice is a kind of moral rightness based on rationality, law, ethics, fairness and equality. Furthermore, the importance of justice for the society on a whole is underlined by John Rawls (2005) in the statement that “justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought”. What is to be added is that justice is an inseparable part of our social life as it sets the rules of conduct and overlooks the communication patterns not only between the people in the society but between different societies as well.

When considering justice on the international relations scale, an example of the challenging debate on the topic of the so-called “Cuban Five” between Cuba and the United States may serve as useful grounds for the justice elaboration and discussion. Just after the 2008 Presidential Elections, Raul Castro made a suggestion for the possible exchange of the five Cuban spies convicted and sentenced in US courts for Cuban dissidents serving time in Cuban jails. At the first look, the proposal sounds fair and just, but as one looks in the core of the matter, it turns out that justice is not the kind of the word to be applicable in this particular case. The Cuban spies, known as the “Cuban Five” are five Cuban intelligence officers convicted of espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other illegal activities in the United States. According to the presented evidence in the courtroom, the five had got in to the Brothers to the Rescue in order to acquaint the Cuban government with the US top-secret military information, and had attempted to penetrate the Miami facility of US Southern Command (Kahn, 2008). On February 24, 1996, two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft were shot down by Cuban military jets in international airspace while flying away from Cuban airspace, killing the four US citizens aboard (Kahn, 2008). As a result of the court judgment, “three of the men are serving life sentences; one of them, Gerardo Hernández, for his involvement in the shoot down. Two others got 15- and 19-year sentences” (Rosenberg, 2009).

If you ask me, in regards to the above-discussed case, exchanging spies for the dissidents may not be in the best interest of justice for a couple of reasons. First of all, there is a definite substitution of notions as far as I can judge. Spies, being convicted of espionage and involved in the shoot down, cannot be considered lawfully or justly equal to dissidents, who are for the major part prisoners of conscience imprisoned solely for speaking against the Cuban government. Even though in Cuba the “Cuban Five” are considered national heroes, who put their lives at risk for the sake of the home country, they are still criminals according to the international judicial standards, whose conscious activities caused the deaths of the US citizens. On the other hand, those dissidents, held in Cuban prisons, are the people who suffered from the total absence of freedom of speech in the country due to the absolute power of the communistic regime on the island.  In the majority of the countries all over the world, due to the influence of the democratic style of living, people are free to express their dissatisfaction or disappointment with the ruling government and won’t be convicted for that freedom of expression as long as it doesn’t pose any type of physical danger, serious threat or law-violating activity on the rest of the community or the whole country as well. So, in my opinion, there is no way one can talk about justice and fairness when considering the possible exchange of the law violating criminals and the dissidents, who are being hostages of the political regime of their country.

Secondly, I would like to point out that, as for me, there is more of the political intent behind the exchange suggestion rather than the concern for the imprisoned people, which is nowhere near to just in regard to the prisoners themselves and their families. As Stuart Grudgings (2009) suggests “his [Raul Castro] offer to release political dissidents in exchange for the release of five convicted Cuban spies in U.S. prisons was the most specific proposal yet to ease ties with the United States since Obama, who takes office on January 20, was elected in November”. As Grundgings continues “Castro’s comments are likely to fuel growing expectations in Latin America that the Obama administration will help thaw U.S.-Cuba ties that have been frozen since Washington imposed an economic embargo in 1962”. As one can understand, both spies and dissidents in this case play a role of the subsidiary coin in the intentions of the Cuban government to soften the intense Cuba-America relations with the arrival of the new President to the office. As far as I can understand, it is not only unjust to the people that are being “traded”, taking in consideration the time, resources and sufferings it has taken to go through the judicial procedures, but also to those who suffered from the actions of the sentenced criminals. What makes the Cuban side even consider the suggestion that the values of lives of the dead US citizens can be so easily undermined in the view of the release of the dissidents? What kind of the justified political judgment can it be, when the potential economic advantages are weighted way above the lives of the people?

It is vitally important for the politicians nowadays to remember that justice is all about fairness and equality for each and every individual. There is no place for political debate or economic gains when it gets to the well-being of any human-being from any part of the world. Each and every one should be equally judged and prosecuted with accordance to the ground laws and legitimate procedures. There is no place for any kinds of political or economic speculations, which influence the freedoms and rights of the people. Justice is to be applied in all fields of the human practice, because only with its application that we will be able to sustain the well-being of the whole society and every individual in it.

References

Grudgings, Stuart. (2008). Raul Castro suggests US release Cuban Five as gesture of goodwill (2008, December 18). Retrieved October 24, 2009, from http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/raul-castro-suggests-us-release-cuban-five-as-gesture-of-goodwill/

Kahn, T. K. (2008). Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Retrieved October 24, 2009, from http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/200117176.opn3.pdf

Konow, James. (2003). Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories. Journal of Economic Literature, 41, no. 4: page 1188.

Rawls, John. (2005). A Theory of Justice. Revised Edition : page 3. Harvard University Press.

Rosenberg, Carol. (2009). Raul Castro’s proposal isn’t for classic spy swap (2009, April 18). Retrieved October 24, 2009, from http://www.miamiherald.com/581/story/1005304.html

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