U.S. HANDS OFF CUBA! FREE THE CUBAN 5!

U.S. HANDS OFF CUBA!  FREE THE CUBAN 5!

Gerardo Hernández • René González • Antonio Guerrero • Ramon Labañino • Fernando González

The US economic and financial blockade and the attacks and sabotage by the terrorists based in Miami

have been the most severe of the criminal acts that Cuba and the Cuban people have experienced in the last 50 years.

Since the victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and the overthrow of the US-puppet regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista, terrorist groups based in Florida acting with impunity left 3,478 Cubans dead and 2,099 wounded through sabotage and criminal acts.  The US economic and financial blockade, the longest, most cruel and inhuman act against any nation and people directly damaged the economy of Cuba with an annual average of 1,832 million dollars.

To stop these criminal acts on Cuba the Cuban government sent 5 Cuban’ patriots to the US to monitor the terrorists groups based in Miami to avoid further harm on the Cuban people and the country.

The Cuban government submitted the findings to the FBI in June 1998. Instead of taking measures to correct the situation the US government had the Five – Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González arrested in the early hours of Saturday, September 12,1998, and locked them up for 17 months in solitary confinement in separate jails with no contacts even with lawyers.

The prosecutors and the judge from their indictment to the last day of their trial recognized that the Five had peacefully, with no weapons, penetrated anti-Cuban terrorist groups with a view of reporting back to Cuba about the terrorist groups’ criminal plans.

The Five Cubans are now on their 11th year of illegal incarceration in the US prisons.  They suffered from isolation, psychological torture and gross miscarriage of justice for 11 years. Their families were cruelly treated and have to undergo the frustrating procedures in getting their visas. Adriana Perez, wife of Gerardo and Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene were regularly denied their visas. The last time Adriana was denied her visa was July 15, 2009, their wedding anniversary, alleging that she “is a threat to the stability and national security of the United States.”

The Five were tried in Miami, an unfriendly environment to be as it is where the anti-Castro Cuban mafia lives and where the terrorists’ attacks against Cuba are hatched with the support of international terrorists who are CIA operatives like Luis Posada Carriles and his accomplice Orlando Bosch. They were sentenced to four life terms and 75 years collectively on charges that even the prosecution was unable to prove.

On August 9, 2005 the panel of judges in Atlanta court unanimously declared the entire trial null and void and ordered that it be held in a different venue, The US government appealed against this historical decision and forced the Court of Appeals by a divided vote to reverse it, contrary to the US norms and practice.

On May 27, 2005 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found their incarceration arbitrary, and a gross violation of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Amnesty International demanded their immediate release.

Steps were taken by the US government to ensure that the sentences of the Five will be harsh and unjust.  All kind of threats, pressure and harassment of the jury members using the crowd and journalists in Miami were orchestrated and paid for by the US government. Majority of potential Afro-American members of the jury were excluded. Evidences were whimsically classified as secret were fabricated and manipulated as later acknowledged by the government itself and the Court of Appeals. According to Senior military officers (Rear Admiral (R) Eugene Carroll, Army General (R) Edward Breed Atkeson, General and former Commander of Southern Command Charles Elliot Wilhelm, Air Force Lieut-Genral (R) James R. Clapper), who appeared as witnesses or experts and have gone over the evidences stated under oath, that they have not found anything that implied the searching of secret information nor that affected the national security of the United States.

In spite of these, the en banc Court of Appeals unanimously determined on Sept. 2008 that there was no evidence that the accused had “gathered or transmitted top secret information” nor had damaged the national security of the US and declared that Charge 2 (conspiracy to commit espionage) was erroneous. It vacated them and remanded Ramon and Antonio for resentencing. However, in spite of the fact that it acknowledged that the same procedure should be applied to Gerardo, it refused to do so stating that a life sentence was already weighing against him.

As for Fernando Gonzalez for other reasons, the Court declared the sentence imposed to be erroneous, declared it null and void and remanded for resentencing.

There is no greater evidence of deception than the other life sentence punishing Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo for the so-called Charge 3 (conspiracy to commit murder).  In May 2001 the government itself recognized that “in light of the evidence presented in this trial” Charge 3 could not be proven since it supposed  “an insurmountable hurdle to the prosecution.”  Still, it asked that it be modified at the last minute and appealed to the Court of Atlanta for that, which the district attorney’s office acknowledged as without precedents. Without any question, as the petition was denied, the jury declared Gerardo guilty. The district attorney asked for and got the life sentence for Gerardo..

The US government will do everything to protect the terrorists and ensure that their sinister plans will not be uncovered.  They also imposed as a further restriction that the Five should be “incapacitated”. In the sentence against Rene Gonzalez it states, “As further special condition of supervised release the defendant is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence and organized crime figures are known to be or frequent”. They imposed the same prohibition to Antonio Guerrero who already had a life sentence plus ten years.  The three other comrades who were born in Cuba will be immediately expelled from the US territory once they have served their sentences.

The Supreme Court practically closes the legal channel for the solution of the case when it rejected the review of the Case of the Cuban 5 on June 15, 2009. We have still to wait for the resentencing of Ramon, Antonio and Fernando before the same Miami judge, tentatively set on October 13.

The main responsibility for the Freedom of the Five now lies in the hands of President Barack Obama. He has the constitutional authority and the moral obligation to see that justice is carried out.  He can and must do so.  He must see to it that charges against the Five are dropped.

While the innocent Five Cubans are languishing in US jails, the international terrorists Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch responsible among others of the bombing of Cubana Airlines off the coast of Barbados killing all the 73 civilian passengers, are guaranteed impunity and freedom to live in Miami. This strongly underscores the irony and injustice of the US government.

International Solidarity

Hundreds of parliamentarians, numerous US and international jurists, outstanding academic personalities around the world, including 10 Nobel Prize winners joined the campaign for the immediate freedom of the Cuban Five.

We appeal to all freedom-loving Filipinos – leaders and members of progressive organizations of workers, peasants, youth and students, women, urban poor, church people, professionals and compatriots abroad to call on President Barack Obama to correct the grave injustice and release the Cuban Five immediately.

Let us mobilize and join the activities organized to denounce injustice of the US Government and the US courts and demand the immediate freedom of the freedom of the Cuban 5.

LET’S BREAK THE WALL OF SILENCE.  Here’s the suggested activities:

1. Send letters and articles to newspapers’ editors and radio managers on issues regarding the US blockade against Cuba, the US incarceration of the Cuban Five, the illegal presence of the US military base in Guantanamo, the US threats to security and independence of Cuba, etc.

2.  Increase and maintain the Campaign of sending letters demanding the immediate release of the Cuban Five specially addressed to:

–  US President Barack Obama

–  White Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel

–  White House Legal Conselor Gregory Craig

–  US Vice President Joseph Biden

–  Secretary of State Hilary Clinton

–  Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Arturo Valenzuela

–  Secretary of Justice Eric Holder

–  Secretary for National Security Janet Napolitano

–  Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

–  President Committee for Foreign Relations John Kerry (D-MA)

–  President of the Chamber Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

–  President Committee for Foreign Affairs Howard Berman

3.  Holding of Forum, Round table discussion, etc in solidarity with Cuba and for the liberation of the Cuban Five in Colleges and Universities.

4.  Actively get signatures for the Petition to Free the Cuban Five in the Universities and workplaces.

5. Involve progressive organizations, parliamentarians and personalities in raising the issues of Cuba and the Cuban 5 at the national and international levels.

6. Obtain time slots in radio and TV interview programs, talk shows on issues about Cuba, the US blockade, the Cuban Five, etc. The Free the Cuban Five Committee of Amistad should be available for interview.

6.  Increase the dissemination of information materials on Cuba and the Cuban 5.

AMISTAD/FreetheCuban5 Committee Address:

3/F, Erythrina Bldg, #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts.

Central District, Diliman, Quezon City 1100, Philippines

Email:amistadphils@yahoo.com/freethecuban5.phils@gmail.com

Blog: http://www.amistad-phils.tk or http://amistadphils;https://amistadphils.wordpress.com

Telefax:  +63 2 426 775 0941

Sept. 2009

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