Philippines-Cuba Friendship association (AMISTAD)
The Philippines-Cuba Friendship Association or AMISTAD and its Free the Cuban 5 Committee extend heartfelt solidarity to the Cuban 5 unjustly jailed by imperialist US in the various US prisons for almost 10 years now. The Cuban 5 were in fact gathering information on the U.S.-based Cuban exile groups planning terrorist attacks on Cuba. They were anti-terrorists not terrorists.
We strongly denounce the Atlanta 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on June 4, 2008, which upheld the convictions of the five Cuban patriots accused of spying in the United States.
A three-judge panel announced the verdict in a 99-page ruling which upheld the sentences of Rene Gonzalez (15 years) and Gerardo Hernandez (2 life sentences plus 15 years). The case of Antonio Guerrero (life plus 10 years), Ramon Labañino (life sentence plus 18 years) and Fernando Gonzales (19 years), were sent back to the Miami court for re-sentencing.
The judge who will convene a new special hearing to issue the next ruling on the three Cubans is Judge Joan Lenard, the judge in the original trial in Miami, who openly displayed her unethical conduct and biased against the Five in 2001. The ruling which clearly favors the US government states that the defense arguments are “meritless”.
Last August 9, 2005, the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit granted a new trial for the Five. The lawyers of the Cuban 5 after that positive decision, prepared for the second trial knowing they could win but Washington decided to appeal the decision of August 9th to the entire 11th circuit court of Appeals. Twelve (12) judges heard the case. The en banc decision by 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last August 9 this year, denied the latest appeal for a new trial for the Cuban 5. Two of the judges hold on to their position one year ago declaring the Miami trial as null and void, while ten judges ruled the opposite.
The Five were in solitary confinement for 17 months after they were arrested on September 9, 1998; suffered tremendous difficulty in communicating with their lawyers; and subjected to a lot of pressure and anti-Cuban hysteria, since their first “trial” was held in Miami where the rabid anti-Cuba community resides. The biased local media which unleashed anti-Cuba propaganda were found out eventually to be paid employees of the anti-Cuban propaganda machine of the US government.
Their families have difficulty getting visas to visit them. The wife of Gerardo up until today was not allowed to visit her husband. The wife of Rene Gonzales has applied for a visa for the ninth time. This is a severe violation of the visitation rights of immediate family members of the prisoners.
We extend our deep appreciation and respect to families of the Five who in spite of the prolonged agony and suffering from the years of separation continue to be strong and committed in seeing the Five finally free.
It is clear to that nothing good can be expected from the US courts which are beholden to its imperialist master.
The Philippines-Cuba Friendship Association or AMISTAD and its Free the Cuban 5 Committee
call on all Filipinos to join the solidarity actions to FREE THE CUBAN 5 and to END US intervention in Cuba. Let us build and strengthen solidarity of peoples at the international level who value independence, sovereignty, peace and democracy.
Concretely, we urge you to organize petition signing activities, discussion groups, forum, film showing and other creative activities which will make the cause of Cuba and the Cuban 5 known to as many Filipino people. Let us encourage them to join the solidarity movement for Cuba and against US intervention and aggression. Let us reach out to the youth and students, workers, peasants, communities, professionals, parliamentarians, personalities and media so we can be a strong and big force of friendship and solidarity for the Cuban people.
Let us unite with other movements both here and abroad which are concerned with building solidarity with Cuba and genuinely pursuing the anti-imperialist struggle.
Lastly, it is also important to link up the struggle of the Cubans with our own struggle for sovereignty, peace and democracy. There are many similarities in our situation and this is especially true on the case of the Cuban 5.
FREE THE CUBAN FIVE!
LONG LIVE THE CUBAN PEOPLE!
LONG LIVE THE SOLIDARITY BETWEEN THE FILIPINO AND THE CUBAN PEOPLES!
END US INTERVENTION AND AGGRESSION AGAINST CUBA!
DOWN WITH IMPERIALISM!
June 23, 2008, Philippines
On the occasion of the picket-rally at the US Embassy by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) – May First Movement Labor Center, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Philippine Chapter and Amistad to protest the Atlanta 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on June 4, 2008, which upheld the convictions of the five Cuban patriots accused of spying in the United States.