Hundreds of revolutionaries take to the streets to protest at a parade by the ‘Ladies in White’ on 21 March 2010 shouting slogans against the European Union at Volker Pellet, deputy head of the German embassy, and Michael Upton (R), deputy head of the British embassy. These diplomats were violating the principle of non-intervention and non-interference by supporting the ‘Ladies’ who have publicly admitted being funded from the US.
Chris Bryant MP
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Dear Christopher Bryant, MP
On Saturday 10 April 2010 you addressed a plenary session of the Society of Latin American Studies annual conference in Bristol, speaking as a member of the British government; Minister of State for Europe and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. One of the attendees asked you to explain why Michael Upton, deputy head of the British Embassy, in Havana had been participating in demonstrations by the ‘Ladies in White’, in contravention of the United Nations Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States, Resolution 36/103, 91st Plenary meeting, 9 December 1981.
The Ladies in White have protested monthly for seven years without interference or restrictions being placed on them by the Cuban state, its agents or its citizens. Recently, in a televised interview, their leader Laura Pollan admitted having received external funding. This money comes from Santiago Alvarez, a Miami-based Cuban exile, who has been linked to terrorist actions against the Cuban people. In November 2006 he was sentenced in the United States to nearly four years in prison for his part in a conspiracy to stockpile weapons for possible use against Cuba. Alvarez is also a key sponsor of the terrorist Luís Posada Carriles who has boasted about his part in the bombing of a Cuban commercial flight in 1976, which killed all 73 people on board.
Your initial response to the academic who raised the question was to claim that you could not see any problem with diplomats participating in demonstrations in their host countries. This suggests an alarming lack of knowledge about the international principle of non-intervention and non-interference, particularly given your governmental responsibilities. However, when the Ambassador of the Venezuelan embassy in London, with whom you shared the platform, affirmed this principle contained in Resolution 36/103, you agreed to investigate this extremely serious matter.
We are therefore writing to request an immediate investigation to determine why British diplomats are violating the terms of their post.
We are asking all supporters of socialist Cuba and Cuba's right to self-determination to write to Chris Bryant at email address provided - or post the letter above as soon as possible.