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PART 4 of Saul Landau's Interview with Cuban Fiver, Gerardo Hernandez

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magbana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-07-09 02:43 PM
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PART 4 of Saul Landau's Interview with Cuban Fiver, Gerardo Hernandez
One small detail about Miami there are many good people as well
By Saul Landau (from his notes)

Telephone conversation with Gerardo Hernandez from the U.S. prison (Part IV)

Saul Landau: In Angola, in Africa, what did you do?

Gerardo Hernandez: I went as second-in-command in a scout platoon. First, our class received general training. Then we joined different units throughout Angola. I was placed in Cabinda, in the 10th Tank Brigade, 11th tactical group. The lieutenant left and I became platoon leader until his replacement arrived. Our mission was to explore a part of the north of Angola, very close to the Congo, a combination of jungle and desert. To protect our troops we scouted the area around the unit, looking for indications of enemy activity. We would explore, along with the combat engineers, and inspect the roads our units vehicles used.

For example, we used a well to get the units water, and our trucks had to drive there. To prevent the enemy from placing mines, we patrolled the area with combat engineers to locate mines.

I was there from 1989 to 1990. The press has said that I did combat missions. Theres a big difference between a combat mission and a combat action. The scouting platoon accomplished its mission without getting into combat. We completed 64 combat missions but I never had any combat action. Despite it being the last phase of Cuban collaboration in Angola, I had comrades who did encounter enemy mines.

Landau: Could you speak about living in Miami? How does life compare with Havana?

Hernandez: I come from Havana, between La Guinera and Vieja Linda. There are so many differences. The first thing that comes to mind is the material difference. But what most struck me wasnt material. For example, in Cuba people live with their doors open to their neighbors and they know practically everyone in the neighborhood. At 8 at night your child could be outside playing. So you yell from the doorway for the kids to come in and eat, or bathe. They live with the assurance of knowing no one will be selling their child drugs or kidnapping him. In my apartment building in Miami, even though I was there for years, I recognized some neighbors; but people live with their doors closed. Its such a different environment. In Cuba, if you see a baby out with the parents, even if you dont know that baby, you say, Oh what a beautiful baby! And you pat him on the head and pick him upand this is normal. Not here. You have to be really careful about that kind of thing here. Also, there were certain Miami neighborhoods where all the inhabitants or a large percentage of them are of one race. And people tell you, Be careful, dont go there because you look white and thats a black neighborhood with gangs.

That shocked me because in Cuba we live in a complete mixture. The other thing I noticed -- reading Cuban history, and from stories my relatives had told me, you see people like Esteban Ventura, the famous Batista police torturer who came to Miami after the triumph of the revolution. So, you can walk on the same streets where these people had strolled freely. Several times I heard Orlando Bosch speaking, and saw him up close, knowing he was one of those who ordered a bomb put on a Cuban airplane, that killed 73 people <1976>. Such experiences well, its hard to describe. Im talking about my personal experiences. But the other four had enormous experiences as well, if not more.

Their experiences were very similar to mine. They werent in the same hole as me in Lompoc, but theirs was just as bad or worse.

One small detail about Miami. In that environment of fear and intimidation, of profiteering, of the Just give me money and well bring down Castro extortion they sometimes use against their enemies, within all that moral bankruptcy, I noticed many Cubans, or Cuban Americans including those born here, and other Latinos as well -- struggling so Cuba and the United States can have a better relationship; a mutually respectful relationship, rid of the intrigue, confusion and tensions. It really struck me because I know they are risking their lives to do this.

Negrin lost his life because he opposed them. Replica Magazine (edited by Max Lesnik) opposed the prevailing hard line], the Marazul office . All the bombings of people, victims, just because they desired a more respectful U.S.-Cuba relationship, like Cubans here being able to travel to Cuba to spend time with their families there. It was like a ray of hope knowing not everyone in Miami was confined inside the atmosphere of that asphyxiating, recalcitrant, overbearing mafia, but that there are many good people as well.

Landau: Hector Pesquera interrogated you. What was his motivation in your opinion?

Hernandez: I dont know if he wanted a promotion, or some other benefit, maybe even an economic benefit. He has moved to the private sector. Ports and Airports Advisor, I think. I do know he wanted to win favor with those who control the Republic of Miami. As I told you, the FBIs reputation was shaky there, after the Roque and the Brothers to the Rescue experiences.

Listen to the call-in radio shows. People complained: The FBI has betrayed us! They were spying on the Brothers to the Rescue! So I think one motivating factor was to throw a piece of meat to the beasts, to make them happy. To say to them, You say weve done nothing, but look we caught these guys! In Pesqueras case, based on what Ive read, its possible that his own convictions were pretty extremist, quite pro the Cuban American mafia. So I do think that for him it was a great pleasure. And after the trial, he and the other FBI officials celebrated with Basulto, together in their triumph. So, it wasnt too strange.

Landau: Did you play a key role in Roques return?

Hernandez: Yes, I played a part . The U.S. government wanted to show that Roques return was linked with the downing of the planes. Thats absolutely false. Its well documented that Roques return had been planned for a year before that happened. Yet, that confusion persists. The prosecution cleverly removed certain communiqus from the evidence regarding Operation Venice -- Roques return -- and made it seem like part of Operation Scorpion, the operation to prevent violations of Cuban airspace.

One clear example is a message I sent responding to a request from Cuba saying that for me it was an honor to contribute, though in even the most minor way, to a successful mission. It is very clear in the evidence that this referred to Operation Venice, about Roque. The government used it to show I was involved with the shooting down of the planes, though they know it had nothing to do with Operation Scorpion. Our lawyer knew this, but unfortunately, because of the way this system works, we couldnt waste time and space clarifying. The prosecution mixed the two up purposely to create a cloud. But we havent yet been able to clarify that point because of space and other limitations, limitations on everything. I hope at some point, it will be clarified. Though its not really essential because even with the confusion, it remains clear I had nothing to do with that. But I dont want to even concede on that, because it didnt happen that way. But yes, I played a part in Roques return.

Landau: Specifically?

Hernandez: Cuba wanted Roque back in Cuba, so he would reveal the information he had against the Brothers to the Rescue; their true intentions, explaining that they werent a humanitarian organization, but rather one involved in plans involving weapons.

But it couldnt be done in time and coincidentally Roque returned around the time of the shoot down . But theres another message in the evidence , that Cuba told Roque to return to Miami on the 23rd or the 27th, because there were flights on those days back to Miami. And the Brothers to the Rescue flights were on the 24th. Thats clear in the evidence. So, if Roques return was linked to the downing of the planes, why would they tell him he could return on the 27th since everyone knew the flights were going to be on the 24th? That piece of evidence negates those who claim Roques return linked to the shootdown. But the government wont touch that because it would affect their invented story. In essence, Roque had to be gotten out of there with a series of security measures and that was where we had to do our part. But I assure you that the operation to remove Roque had nothing to do with the downing of the planes. It was a completely different operation from the one that had to do with the Brothers to the Rescue.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-07-09 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. It must have been a shock to Hernandez and the others to learn the FBI had infiltrated Hermanos.
It makes the issue of the FBI's arrest of the Five even worse, because Cuba knows now that the FBI already has known the acts of terrorism the Brothers had planned every step of the way since the 1960's, without a doubt, and they never interfered, never moved a finger to stop any of this. It IS exactly the way Alpha 66 and Comandos F4 have described it: they've always bragged the US government looks the other way when they commit their acts of terrorism against the Cuban people.

Thanks, magbana.
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magbana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-07-09 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yeah, sick and sad. I think in an earlier interview that Landau did
with Gerardo, Gerardo said that the Cuban government had sent something like 16 formal complaints about the BTTR to the US gov't. The FBI was scared shitless about what Basulto might do next.
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