Free “The Cuban Five!”
Because they are innocent!
I for one, plan to join in solidarity Sept. 12-Oct. 8, 2007, for “International Days of Solidarity with the Cuban 5.”
Los Hermanos—The Brothers. The five men—Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez, and Fernando Gonzalez—were convicted in a “kangaroo court” trial in Miami in June 2001, accused of being part of a spy ring called the Wasp Network, which infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue and other militant anti-Cuban exile groups.
The “Five Heroes,” as they are called in Cuba, were not even spying against the United States government (which has committed open war crimes and attempted assassinations of Cuban President Fidel Castro by the way, a good reason for any country to want to “keep an eye” on what’s going on here), they were merely trying to uncover right-wing anti-Cuban terrorists based in the U.S., anti-Cuban terrorist groups with the blood of both Cubans and innocent U.S. citizens on their hands.
That’s why they are in jail, with more time than a man with 700 top-secret U.S. government military documents when caught. There’s snooping, and there’s spying.
“They came to this country to save lives. Cuban lives. American lives,” Ambassador Dagoberto Rodriguez, Chief of the Cuban Interests Section told this writer. “It is very important to advance the case of The Five. They are innocent people who committed no crime, behind bars. Why? Because they are Cuban. Because they are fighting for Cuba.”
A steering committee has been formed to coordinate the month-long campaign intended to reach out to not only people who already know about them, but to make examples of them so that U.S. policy makers will know “the world is watching,” and that “U.S. public opinion is chnging,” said Amb. Rodriguez.
The U.S. is hypocritical, supporters of The Five insist, jailing them for trying to prevent confessed bombers such as Luis Posada Carriles from carrying out further attacks against Cuban civilians. Mr. Posada plotted to assassinate Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro, and he admitted that he masterminded a string of Havana hotel and nightclub bombings in 1997, as well as the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, which killed 73 people. In May, the U.S. government released Mr. Posada from a Texas jail where he had been held on immigration, rather than murder or terrorism charges. But who can truthfully say they are surprised at U.S. hypocrisy?
“You can be a terrorist in this country if you are a terrorist against Cuba, no problem with that,” Mr. Hernandez told an interviewer in a telephone interview from his jail cell in Victorville, Calif. In another interview—with BBC—Mr. Hernandez admitted that he was engaged in gathering information about what he described as “paramilitary groups” determined to bring down the Cuban government. “They are people who’ve got training camps there in paramilitary organizations and they go to Cuba and commit sabotage, bombs and all kinds of aggressions.”
But after their conviction, Miami Federal District Court Judge John Lenard gave the men harsh sentences. Mr. Hernandez was given two consecutive life sentences; Mr. Guerrero and Mr. Labanino were each sentenced to life in prison. Fernando Gonzalez was given 19 years in prison, while Rene Gonzalez was given 15 years. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta scheduled oral hearings on an appeal from The Five Aug. 20.
Because “pervasive prejudice” against Pres. Castro and his supporters prevented The Five from getting a fair trial in Miami, in 2005 a three-judge panel from the 11th Circuit Court overturned the convictions against the five men, but that decision was reversed by the full Court last year. That should come as no surprise in America either.
The Five were subjected to “cruel and absurd” treatment in this country, because they would not switch sides, and denounce the Cuban government, said Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban National Assembly.
By contrast, he pointed out, anti-Castro, Cuban-American businessman Santiago Alvarez, who was found in possession of an arsenal of guns, grenade launchers, mortars and explosives, was jailed for only three years, and recently got a reduced sentence, said Mr. Alarcon.
The new support committee will work to raise the public profile of The Five in this country, with special attention paid to reaching Blacks.
Spread the word. Free the Cuban 5! Why? Because they’re innocent!