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Lawyer: “Gerardo is being punished for something for which he is absolutely innocent”

Repost from Cuba Debate

Interview with Richard Klugh by telephone to his office 23rd August 2011

Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban Five submitted his request for a habeas corpus relief in March based on new evidence.  He received the US reply on 25th April this year opposing his request. He has now submitted a reply with additional information.

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US Top Diplomat Monitored Internet in Cuba

Repost from Cuba Debate

Chief of Mission of the US Interest Section in Havana, Jonathan Farrar, monitored the Internet for possible subversive actions, according to a cable released by Wikileaks and reproduced by Cuban websites on Saturday.

Farrar’s monitoring of the Internet along with his wife occurred in August 2008, when he addressed a memorandum to the US State Department described as sensitive, without reporting any obstacle from Cuban authorities.

The diplomat suggested the White House to facilitate programs to circumvent regulations established by local Internet providers, as denounced by website, reproduced today by Cubadebate website.

The memorandum said that USINT in Cuba welcomes all contributions coming from Washington, where work is undergoing to develop programs to avoid Internet filters.

It also announced that he would try to improve local Internet conditions and consider its possible use in website operations.

The text titled “On-Line Surfing in Havana” described visits to several web access points, including some hotels, to verify if the websites of several organizations benefited by the United States were easily access.

Farrar reported the impossibility to access webpages of demised and current organizations that get funds from the US government for the Cuba Program with the objective to change the political system in the Island.

Blocked sites included Directorio Democratico Cubano; Centro Cubano para una Cuba Libre o Grupo de Apoyo a la Disidencia, all affiliated to subversive projects against Havana.

He recognized having access to websites of non governmental organizations dealing with human rights like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

“You can even unload fully the report HRW 2007 if you are patient enough to wait twenty minutes,” said Farrar in his memorandum.

He said that you can also surf websites of USINT, the State Department and the United Nations Organization, and even those of The Washington Post and The New York Times journals.

The Cubasi article recalled that in March, Cuban courts gave US citizen Alan Gross a 15-year prison sentence for acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the State after proving that Gross was directly involved in a subversive US plan to destroy the Revolution using infocommunication systems.

(by Prensa Latina)


10 Nobel Prize Winners are demanding the immediate freedom of the Cuban Five

Will the real terrorist please stand up

Historic Labor Event in Support of the Cuban 5 in Los Angeles

SEIU Meeting in LA

Photos: Bill Hackwell

On August 13 more than 200 workers, labor leaders and community activists came together at the United Service Workers West (SEIU) Hall to participate in an event in solidarity with the Cuban 5. Coincidently that same day Rene Gonzalez one of the five spent another birthday in prison far away from his love ones.

Caricaturas de Gerardo SEIUAs part of the event those attending were able see the travelling exhibit of Gerardo Hernandez’s political cartoons entitled Humor from my Pen. During the event the participants watched a short video of Danny Glover and another video of the campaign of the British unions in support of the Cuban 5.

The significance of this meeting was that it marked the first that a union from the US organized an event solely to inform their rank and file and the leadership about the colossal and ongoing injustice being committed against the Cuban 5. The purpose of the event was to expand the exposure of the case that is boycotted by the media, to the US labor movement and to ask them to join the struggle.

Tony W in LATony Woodley, former president of UNITE, the largest union in England, who travelled all the way to Los Angeles to participate in the event  spoke about the importance of solidarity. “Make no mistake about it this is an historical event,” Woodley told the crowd. “The Cuban 5 enjoy a great deal of support on the international level but that is not the case inside the United States. The solidarity is absolutely crucial in this case and the political struggle will be decisive for the return of the Five to Cuba.” Woodley shared with the audience an emotional meeting he had with the families of the Five on his last visit to Cuba.“The Five and their families are all people with great pride and nothing will break their spirit.”

Workers and union leaders present at the meeting represented a number of unions from Southern California including service workers, transportation workers, teachers, musicians, healthcare workers, electricians and others. Mike Garcia president SEIU-USWW welcomed the audience and reminded them that the struggle is the only tool that the workers have in their fight for justice. “The struggle for the freedom of the Cuban 5 should be part of the struggle of US workers because it is part of the same fight.”

Four Union Leaders

Mike Gracia, Cristina Vazquez, Ernesto Medrano (Teamsters Political Coordinator) and Tony Woodley

Cristina Vazquez from Workers United briefly explained who the Cuban 5 were and went on to say, “Many of you are learning about the Cuban 5 for the first time at this meeting because this story has been kept out of the news media. Every day we fight against injustice and one of our biggest struggles has been the reunification of families and immigration reform. This fight is no different than that; here we have wives, children and parents who have been separated for 13 years. We need to be the voice of the families of the Cuban 5, we need to be the voice here for the people of Cuba who want their 5 heroes back home.” Vazquez encouraged the audience to pick up postcards designed by the union she represents to be sent to President Obama asking for the release of the Five.

Alicia Jrapko from the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 spoke about the different campaigns in the US to spread the word about the case.  Jrapko explained to the audience that this is a case of human rights and basic justice. “These men came to the US unarmed simply to defend their country from terrorist attacks coming from US soil. With a stroke of a pen Obama can free them. Join us in demanding that.”

In recognition of the support from labor, members of the International Committee presented wooden plaques with the symbolic logo on behalf of the Cuban 5 to Tony Woodley, Mike Garcia and Cristina Vazquez.  Another plaque was awarded to Natasha Hickman editor of Cuba Si!, a publication in solidarity with Cuba produced by unions in the UK.

Table at SEIU meetingAn informational table with a display explaining the case of the Cuban 5 received a lot of attention with most people signing up to receive updates of the case and took with them hundreds of post cards to send to Obama.  Many copies of the new documentary Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up were also purchased at the table.

Mike Garcia, referring to the case of the Cuban 5, loudly closed the meeting by asking the audience several times Se Puede? And they responded each time louder; Si Se Puede!

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit:

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Five Cuban citizens – René, Gerardo, Fernando, Ramón y Antonio – were incarcerated in the United States on September 12th, 1998. The Cuban Five were residing in the United States by the time they were imprisoned.

A judicial process with no warranties and a lack of evidence condemned them to unjust penalties that go from 15 years to 2 life sentences. The General Attorney of the United States has admitted that there is a lack of evidence in the process (2001). Still, the Cuban Five are incarcerated in different prisons through out the United States.

It is a general opinion that the Cuban Five were victims of a political trial and that the American justice has proved that being a Cuban citizen and a revolutionary in the United States is an easy way to get to prison.

The Committee of Arbitraries Detentions of the United Nations Organizations is interested in the case and questions the environment in which the trial was performed.

After 12 years of defending their principles, the Five have been recognized by the world as fighters against terrorist plans that have Cuba as target.

The only crime the Five have committed is to inform about terrorist plans undertaken in the United States against the Cuban people; and to denounce terrorist plans against Cuba in which the American people was endangered.

Since their detention, they have suffered very strict measures: they have been isolated in the so called “hole”; the US government has done everything to prevent them from seeing their families; the American law has been broken and human rights have been violated in a number of occasions.

The President of the United States can and must release the Cuban Five. People from all over the world that are signing this document, demand justice as well as immediate release of the Five.