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The Cuban 5: Jailed In The U.S. For Fighting Terrorism! [View All]

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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:08 PM
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The Cuban 5: Jailed In The U.S. For Fighting Terrorism!
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Ordinarily, if five people caught in the U.S. were working for another country, they would simply be returned to their home country. This is especially true if, like the Five, they were not armed and did not inflict injury or property damage. However, in this instance three of the Five are doing life and two are doing very long prison terms.

On June 16 and 17, 1998, the Cuban authorities, in an exchange with the FBI handed over a huge amount of material related to anti-Cuban terrorist activities conducted from US territory, including 230 pages of documents, five videos of material broadcast on US TV about terrorist activities against Cuba and eight audio cassettes containing 2 hours and 40 minutes of conversations between jailed central American terrorists and their contacts outside.

Less than two months later, on September 12, the FBI, in early morning raids arrested five Cubans in Miami. Were they related to terrorist activities against Cuba? Quite the opposite, they were Cuban agents working to infiltrate the anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in Miami and they had also participated in the gathering of the information passed on to the FBI.


Who are the Cuban Five? Why are they imprisoned in the United States?
by Ian Thompson

Civil rights attorney Leonard Weinglass represents Antonio Guerrero, one of the five Cuban prisoners unjustly incarcerated in the U.S. for defending their homeland. As the legal team and supporters of the Five awaited the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision on the case, Socialism and Liberation's Ian Thompson interviewed Weinglass about the Cuban Five and the importance of the case for the U.S. and Cuba.

Who are the Cuban Five? Why are they imprisoned in the United States?

The Cuban Five are five men who came to the United States in the early 1990s in response to the wave of violence directed at Cuba by mercenary groups from the Cuban exile community in southern Florida. Their names are Gerardo Hernndez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramn Labaino, Fernando Gonzles and Ren Gonzlez.

The Five were sent by the Cuban government unarmed and without any plan to inflict harm on the U.S. Their sole purpose was to infiltrate the network of terrorist groups that had been attacking Cuba since the triumph of the Revolution.

They came at a particular time in the history of the Cuban Revolution. Cuba's number one trading partner, the Soviet Union, had recently collapsed, and the economy of Cuba had gone into freefall. The Cuban government decided that one of the ways to restore economic health in Cuba was to engage in the tourist industry. The tourist industry was built up in 1992-93 and was an ongoing concern through 1994-95. In response, the mercenary wing of the Cuban exile community in South Florida decided to begin a violent terror campaign against the tourist industry as a way of undercutting the Cuban economy.

Bombs were placed in various hotels by anti-Cuban terrorists, in one instance killing an Italian tourist. A bomb was placed in the Havana airport. Bombs were placed in buses to and from the airport. The Cuban government protested these terrorist activities to the U.S., but to no avail. They protested to the United Nations, also without a response. As a result, beginning in the 1994-95 period, the Cuban Five came forward to protect their country.

The Five quickly succeeded in infiltrating the groups and reporting warnings to Cuba of the plans being developed to attack Cuba. In 1996-97, the U.S. government became aware of their presence in this country, and the FBI rounded them up in 1998. They were prosecuted on a variety of charges, including failure to register as foreign agents. Three were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage; one was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

A Miami jury convicted them on all counts after a seven-month trial. The trial of the Five was the longest trial in the history of the U.S. at the time. During the trial, the attorneys for the Five requested a change of venue from Miami to another city five times. The judge denied each request.

In December 2001, two of the Five were sentenced to life in prison, one to 19 years, and one to 15 years. Gerardo Hernndez received two life terms.

You represent Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five. What is he like as a person?

I spoke to Antonio just two days ago. We are constantly in touch with each other. Most often by letter, but occasionally we can speak by telephone. He is a remarkable person, a man of high principle and integrity, and obviously strong and courageous. He is also a poet with a poet's sentiment and feeling. His expression is marvelous and always very touching and direct.

Antonio went to prison-one of the most difficult prisons in the United States-with the government hoping he would be treated roughly by other prisoners, especially those who are Cuban exiles. They hoped he would have a hard time because he was, in their view, a convicted spy, although he was never charged with spying. As it turns out, Antonio is beloved by the other prisoners. He is a teacher within the prison.

Over a year ago, when Antonio was removed from his class and subjected to very harsh treatment in solitary confinement, his students went on strike. I can see when I visit him that he is respected not only by other prisoners but by the guards as well.

Antonio's situation is similar to that which developed around Nelson Mandela during his long imprisonment. By virtue of who he was and the way Mandela conducted himself, he won other people over. They respected him, they felt very close and secure with him. It is the same way with Antonio.

It is a pleasure and a great honor for me to be part of his defense team.

Not Copyrighted Material

September 13th, 2002

Ricardo Alarcn, the President of the Cuban Parliament, was present at the launching of this website on September 13th, 2002, and participated in this forum answering questions put to him by the many people that visited :

Ricardo Alarcn de Quesada: For those of you awaiting my response to your questions, please be assured that I will answer each and every one put to me - even after the inauguration of this website is over.

Nicholas Barry: The war on terror was first undertaken by Reagan, as a substitute for the Cold War -- that is, as a vehicle for scaring the public and thus marshalling support for programs contrary to the public's interest -- foreign campaigns, war spending in general, surveillance, and so on. Now we are seeing a larger and more aggressive attempt to move in the same direction. Does the problem that we are the world's foremost source of attacks on civilians auger complications for carrying through this effort? Can the effort be sustained without, in fact, a shooting war?

Alarcn: Unfortunately, Cuba has a lot of experience in terms of having to defend itself and preventing terrorists acts organized from abroad against our country. During the past 43 years, we have managed to do this thanks to the participation of the people that support a government whose policies respond to the interests and needs of the overwhelming majority. The war and the use of military force is not the solution to the problem of terrorism.

It is necessary and possible for governments, civil societies and people from all over the Planet who unanimously reject terrorism to unite in a common front. Terrorist groups, which account for a minor part of the population, would be totally isolated and would not receive support from anyone. But, in order to accomplish this, governments should be required to adopt effective measures against all forms of terrorism and against all terrorists regardless the causes and motivations they may argue to try to justify their actions.

Camilo PF: I am a "Marielito" and already living in Miami, Hero's Day was declared because of Dr. Bosch, the one who planted the bomb on the Cuban airliner and who has been speaking in different media outlets. Did you know that? What do you think?

Alarcn: Yes, I did. I think it's shameful that Orlando Bosch, who blew up a civil airliner while in flight and who also committed other crimes with bombs and rockets in the U.S., walks a free man and that five Cubans are in prison for having tried to prevent crimes like Bosch's. The radio and newspapers in Miami continue publishing daily statements and announcements by Bosch, and other of his kin, about the new acts they are planning. For example, his confessed commitment to terrorism against Cuba published in the Miami Herald on August 22nd last year. He reiterated this on June 16th this year in the Diario de las Amricas, which published a document he had previously read on Radio Mamb on June 6th.

"Nose Nada": Explain why you have the site and why you chose to announce it on such an important and solemn day for the free world?

Alarcn: We have been publicizing this site since September 2nd. September 11th is a very important day for the entire world and not just for part of it.

Cuba has condemned, from the very outset, the atrocious terrorist attacks suffered by the people of the United States on 9/11. It is not just a strong and absolute position officially taken by the government, but by all Cuban people as well.

Cuban solidarity on this issue is profound and sincere, since nobody can feel deeper the suffering caused on 9/11 than can Cubans, This is because Cuba has suffered more terrorist acts and for a longer period of time - 43 years - than anyone.

I lived in New York for fourteen and a half years and have been visiting the city for fully half my life. I feel great pain for the many, many friends I have there. I was in New York on the 11th September 1974 when the terrorist group Omega 7 was created. I take this date to also remember the 11th September 1973 in Chile and the coup d'etat, which included the bombing of the presidential palace, planting terror in the population with the assassination of thousands of people.

Between 1974 and 1979, Omega 7 exploded bombs at the Cuban Mission in New York as well as at other Cuban offices in Manhattan. No one was ever arrested for more than 60 acts of terrorism in which US citizens were killed and many other lives put at risk.

On the 11th September 1980 my friend Flix Garca was assassinated in full daylight on Queens Blvd. Those who ordered his death walk the streets to this day planning new crimes.

On the 12th September 1998 five Cubans were arrested for the only "crime" of working to prevent and avoid these kinds of terrorists actions against Cuba that have also caused the deaths, as I said, of US citizens.

"All men are created equal," says the most famous document in US history. This means that everyone has the right to life and we should all fight together against those who seek to kill - wherever they may be, whoever they may be and for whatever motive they may have. Nobody should be imprisoned for seeking to save lives at the great risk of their own.

I don't believe this is copyrighted, however, it's a long news conference and I don't want to take up that much bandwidth here so please read the entire news conference at:

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