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The Cuban 5

John Dolva

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Havana. October 9, 2013

The Washington Post publishes article about the Five

IN an unusual move by a major U.S. newspaper, The Washington Post October 4 published an article on the case of the Cuban Five, which points out that the imprisoned anti-terrorists should be considered heroes in that country as well.

In the article entitled "The Cuban Five were fighting terrorism. Why did we put them in jail?" Canadian writer Stephen Kimber addresses countless irregularities in the prosecution of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez.

"Consider for a moment what would happen if American intelligence agents on the ground in a foreign country uncovered a major terrorist plot, with enough time to prevent it. And then consider how Americans would react if authorities in that country, rather than cooperate with us, arrested and imprisoned the U.S. agents for operating on their soil," notes Kimber, author of What Lies Across the Water: The True Story of the Cuban Five.

"Those agents would be American heroes. The U.S. government would move heaven and earth to get them back."

"This sort of scenario has occurred, except that, in the real-life version, which unfolded 15 years ago last month, the Americans play the role of the foreign government, and Cuba — yes, Fidel Castro’s Cuba — plays the role of the aggrieved United States."

"The five agents were tried in that hostile-to-anything-Cuban city, (Miami) convicted on low-bar charges of "conspiracy to commit" everything from espionage to murder and sentenced to impossibly long prison terms, including one double life sentence plus 15 years," the article reads.

Kimber contrasts the behavior of U.S. authorities in the case to that displayed when dealing with terrorists of Cuban origin, who have openly admitted their participation in violent attacks on Cuba.

He recalls the case of terrorist Rodolfo Fromenta who, in 1994, was caught in an FBI raid attempting to buy a Stinger missile, a grenade launcher and anti-tank rockets, which he said he planned to use to attack Cuba.

"Those actions clearly violated U.S. neutrality laws, but America’s justice system mostly looked the other way," said the Canadian writer, who also refers to Luis Posada Carriles, the intellectual author of the in-flight bombing of a Cuban airliner off the coast of Barbados in 1976, along other terrorist actions, including attempts to assassinate the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro.

Kimber writes, "The closest the U.S. government has come to prosecuting Posada was in 2009, when the Obama administration charged him — not for his role in the Havana bombings but for lying about his role on an immigration form. He was acquitted.

"Today, Posada, 85, walks the streets of Miami, a living contradiction in America’s war on terrorism. How to square his freedom with President George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 declaration that "any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime?" How to square Posada’s freedom with the continued imprisonment of the Cuban Five, whose primary goal was to prevent terrorist attacks? It is a contradiction Americans should consider.

"Now you begin to understand why the Cuban Five — as they have become known — are national heroes in their homeland, why pictures of their younger selves loom on highway billboards all over the island, why every Cuban schoolchild knows them by their first names: Gerardo, René, Ramon, Fernando and Antonio," the author explains in his article.

The Post is the oldest and largest newspaper in the U.S. capital, with nearly 500,000 copies daily and over 800,000 on Sunday. The paper gained notoriety in the 1970’s with its coverage of the Watergate scandal which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Along with The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, The Post is considered one of the country’s most influential newspapers. (SE)


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Havana. November 7, 2013

Initiative unites intellectuals, artists and figures from around the world

Ramadán Arcos

cinco1.gifTHE initiative Voices for the Five, supported by important figures on a world scale, is undertaking an intense schedule of activities to demand the liberation of the Cuban anti-terrorists imprisoned in the United States, including the convocation of an International Investigation Commission to review the case, which will be held in London, March 7-8, 2014.

Belgian activist Katrien Demuynck, president of the Socialist Cuba Initiative Association and coordinator of the Committee for the Five in Europe, reported in Havana, October 31, that the Commission will take place in London’s emblematic Law Society and participants will include family members of the Five, victims of terrorist attacks in Cuba, outstanding experts, attorneys and political figures.

According to Demuynck, who is also part of the Voices for the Five campaign, the Commission will publicize evidence about anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in the United States and the right of countries to defend themselves from this type of aggression will also be discussed.

Voices for the Five is an international coalition of activists, solidarity groups, jurists, human rights organizations, political figures and trade unionists fighting to free the Five, which includes more than 300 distinguished individuals internationally, according to the group’s website www.voicesforthefive.com.

John Le Carré, Noam Chomsky, Wayne Smith, Günter Grass, Miguel Barnet, Ramsey Clark, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nancy Morejón and Emma Thompson are among the sponsors of the campaign to demand freedom for the Cuban Five.



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Cuban 5 tribute to Mandela

By Workers World staff on December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro

Just after an extended period of time in lockdown, one of the Cuban Five political prisoners inside the U.S., Hero of the Republic of Cuba Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, dedicated this short message to the memory of Nelson Mandela.

Those who dedicated unlimited resources to erase and rewrite the history of Nelson Mandela, those who had him on their list of “dangerous terrorists,” today will suffer from collective amnesia.

Those in the city of Miami who denied him homage because he embraced Fidel and thanked Cuba for its aid to Africa, today will have to sit in embarrassed silence.

The Cuban Five will continue facing every day our unfair imprisonment, until the end, inspired by his example of unwavering loyalty and strength.

Eternal glory to the great Nelson Mandela!

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
United States Penitentiary, Victorville
California, Dec. 5

Edited by Steven Gaal
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2'nd anti terrorist free to go home..

Cuban Hero Fernando Gonzalez Released from U.S. Prison


Havana, Feb 27 (Prensa Latina) Cuban hero Fernando Gonzalez was released today from a U.S. prison after serving his full, unjust and long sentence.

Fernando was transferred from the Federal penitentiary of Safford, in Arizona, and placed in the hands of the Immigration Services to start the process of deportation to Cuba.

This is the second of the world-known Cuban Five to abandon imprisonment, after Rene Gonzalez, who had to serve an additional sentence of supervised freedom and returned to Cuba after renouncing to his U.S. citizenship.

Fernando, René, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and René Labañino, The Five, were arrested in 1998 while monitoring violent groups in United States territory where they planned and executed terrorist actions against Cuba.

Gerardo, Antonio and Ramon are still serving sentences in U.S. penitentiaries and a worldwide campaign demanding their freedom is being carried out.

sgl/ef/vc/jf Modificado el ( jueves, 27 de febrero de 2014 )
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London, Mar 9 (Prensa Latina) An international commission of jurists demanded that U.S. President Barack Obama pardon the Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly sentenced in the United States and release the three of them who still remain in prison.

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In summary, the grant of unconditional Presidential pardons to the members of the Cuban Five has the real potential to achieve effective justice for the five human beings who have been the concern of this enquiry, demonstrate the adherence of the President of the United States of America and its Government today to universally accepted norms of morality, fairness and justice, contribute substantially to the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba and represent a meaningful stride towards world justice and world peace.

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Paris, Apr 2 (Prensa Latina) French activist Jacqueline Roussie denounced the ongoing and obstinate media silence and distortion in the case of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters unjustly condemned in the United States for defending their country.

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Havana, Jun 10 (Prensa Latina) Ramon Labañino, one of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism, and who continues to serve his unjust 30-year prison sentence at a federal prison in the state of Kentucky, sent his thanks for the examples of love and affection received for his birthday.

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USAID and the Cuban Five
By Nile Bowie, Russia Today
Monday, Jun 16, 2014

rtxpllp.si.jpg A mural, depicting five Cuban agents held in prison in the U.S. for over ten years, in Havana (Reuters / Enrique de la Osa)

The plight of five imprisoned Cuban counterterrorism officers, known collectively as the Cuban Five, has been the subject of a growing campaign to lobby Congress in favor of releasing the men.

The five officers were monitoring Cuban exile groups based in Miami with an established track record of orchestrating terrorist acts inside Cuba. The group had informed US authorities of their actions, and were not in possession of any weapons, nor did they engage in any act of espionage against the US or cause harm to any person.

In September 1998, the five officers were arrested by FBI agents and were accused of conspiracy to commit espionage. Their trial, which lasted over six months, became the longest in US history. Though the group was never directly accused of espionage, nor were any acts of espionage committed, the five Cuban men were sentenced to a total of four life sentences plus 77 years.

No fair trial

The men were initially kept in solitary confinement for 17 months, and were later imprisoned in five separate maximum-security prisons spread across the US without the possibility of communication with each other. Their case represents the first time in US history that life sentences were meted out on espionage charges.

The consensus among various legal experts and advocacy groups is that political and partisan considerations worked against justice and the five Cuban men were not given a fair trial. The trial was held in Miami, a region that is synonymous with maintaining open hostility toward the Cuban government, making it incredibly difficult to seat an impartial jury in such a politically charged atmosphere.

According to reports, the US government commissioned several Miami-based journalists to write negative stories to discredit the five defendants, which were widely publicized to influence public opinion. Moreover, the US government even recognized in writing that it was unable to substantiate the conspiracy to commit murder charges against Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five defendants.

During the lengthy appeals process, a three-judge panel in 2005 overturned all of the convictions on the grounds that the defendants had not received a fair trial in Miami, but Washington pressured the Court of Appeals in 2006 to reverse the decision.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also concluded that the imprisonment of the group was arbitrary, and urged the US government to correct the situation. Despite dissenting opinions from judges in the Court of Appeals, the US Supreme Court intervened in 2009 to announce its decision not to review the case of the five Cuban nationals, despite strong arguments made by their defense attorneys.

Who’s fighting terrorism

The predicament facing the Cuban Five is relevant not just on the basis that these men were denied justice, but that their detention is a result of the group’s efforts to thwart terrorist activities carried out by Cuban exile groups with the support and collusion of US intelligence agencies.

Cuba has faced terrorist activities for decades, in addition to attempted US military invasions and numerous assassination attempts upon its former President, Fidel Castro. The vast majority of bomb attacks and other terrorism that has historically afflicted Cuba originate from southern Florida, carried out by Cuban-exile groups that are tolerated and partly financed by the US government.

000_mvd1204048.jpg Posters with portraits of five Cubans jailed in the United States - Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Fernando Gonzalez Llort, Ramon Labanino Salazar and Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez - are dispayed in front of the Cuba's Consulate during a demonstration in support of Cuban revolution in Sao Pablo, Brazil (AFP Photo / Nelson Almeida)

A series of bombings swept through Havana in 1997 targeting hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs. Cuba dispatched the five officers who would later be arrested and given life sentences precisely because they intended to monitor the suspected culprits of the bombings who were based in Miami. The men were arrested and charged despite their attempts to share information with the FBI in the hope that they would assist in clamping down on violent right-wing exile groups.

The string of bombings was later confirmed to be orchestrated by Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile and former CIA asset. Carriles moved to the United States after the Cuban revolution and helped to organize the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs; he was later trained by the CIA in sabotage and explosives, becoming a key figure among the exile community for orchestrating anti-Castro activities.

Carriles admitted his involvement in the 1997 bombings in Havana, and was convicted in absentia in Panama for bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 78 civilians. Despite warnings from the US Justice Department, Carriles was allowed to remain in the United States and was acquitted of all charges in 2011, allowing him to continue living comfortably in Miami.

Foreign affairs logic

The Cuban government has consistently campaigned for the release of the five men over the last fifteen years. Two of the men, René González and Fernando Gonzalez, were allowed to end their sentences early, in October 2011 and February 2014 respectively. The three other men received much harsher sentences; Antonio Guerrero will be released in September 2017, while Ramón Labañino’s release is scheduled for October 2024. Gerardo Hernandez faces to two life terms plus 15 years of imprisonment.

In an effort to release the three remaining men, Havana has repeatedly offered to begin negotiations with the Obama administration on a possible exchange of their three remaining agents for Alan Gross, an American contractor currently serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for smuggling illegal satellite communication equipment into the country as part of a US Agency for International Development (USAID) democracy promotion program initiated under the Bush Administration.

Gross smuggled laptops, smartphones, hard drives, networking equipment, and satellite communications equipment into the country, which he claimed was only designed to facilitate internet access for the small Jewish community in Cuba. Upon his detention, Gross was found to be carrying a specialized SIM card not available on the open market and is distributed only to governments that experts say is often used by the Pentagon and the CIA to mask satellite signals to avoid being tracked.

Havana sentenced Gross to 15 years in prison for smuggling and encouraging “acts against the integrity” of the state in December 2009. The Cuban authorities view the operations of USAID as attempts to foment regime change and consider such programs to be an affront to its sovereignty. Washington has refused even to provide operational details of its USAID projects in Cuba to various congressional committees charged with overseeing the program, which operates with a massive $20 million budget

The Obama administration recently set a precedent by swapping five members of the Taliban who were detained in Guantánamo Bay for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American solider imprisoned in Afghanistan. When asked at a recent press conference, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki dismissed the possibility of a prisoner swap that would free the three remaining Cuban officers in exchange for Gross.

000_495200403.jpg A sign announcing the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits in the window of the Hailey Paint and Supply store on Main Street June 1, 2014 in Hailey, Idaho. (AFP Photo / Scott Olson)

The rationale for the Obama administration’s decision to swap members of the Taliban for Bergdahl was allegedly an expression of the principle that soldiers are not left behind on the battlefield. Dozens of American senators have called on President Obama to take whatever steps are in the national interest to free Gross, while members of the Gross family have criticized Washington for all-but abandoning the detained American contractor and lacking the political will to compromise with Havana to secure his release.

In the midst of the Obama administration’s lax efforts to get Alan Gross released from detention, USAID found itself muddled in a scandal that exposed the agency’s failed attempt to engineer a Twitter-like text messaging network in Cuba with the aim of spreading information tarnishing the reputation of the Cuban government, ostensibly with the aim of igniting anti-government sentiments.

The unjust imprisonment of Cuban officers is the biggest impediment to an improvement in relations between Washington and Havana, and the precedent is now set to for a common sense prisoner swap that would be mutually beneficial for both sides. If the Obama administration is comfortable with releasing five former Taliban fighters to free an American, there should be no question about freeing the three remaining Cuban counterterrorism officers.

Despite calling for better relations with Cuba during his 2008 campaign, the Obama administration has not deviated from the harassment and regime change policies undertaken by consecutive US administrations. The injustice meted out to the Cuban Five is a testament to Washington’s infinite capacity for embracing double standards, as counterterrorism operations are criminalized while anti-Castro terrorists walk free.

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Cuban Counter Terrorism Fighters Imprisoned in USA Return to Havana pdf_button.png printButton.png emailButton.png

raul_alocu.jpgHavana, Dec 17 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Raul Castro announced today the return to Havana of the three counter terrorism fighters imprisoned in the United States for more than 16 years.

In a special simultaneous broadcast statement, the Head of State informed on the arrival of Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero, part of the group internationally known as the Cuban Five.

Their two compatriots René González and Fernando González had already returned to the Island.

Raúl Castro said that such progress in the bilateral relations was reached during an exchange at the highest level, which included a telephone conversation with his peer from the US, Barack Obama.

He recalled that Cuba has defended a respectful and reciprocal dialogue, without detriment to the national independence and sovereignty.


Modificado el ( miércoles, 17 de diciembre de 2014 )
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By Workers World staff on December 17, 2014

Dec. 17 – The Obama administration announced today that the remaining incarcerated Cuban Five – Gerardo Hernández,

Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino – have been released from U.S. prisons. The Cuban Five heroes have been imprisoned in the U.S. since 1998 for trying to stop terrorist attacks against socialist Cuba.

Also see:

  1. U.S. actions say ‘Free the Cuban 5’
  2. Cuban hero to be released from U.S. prison
  3. Uruguay president says: Yes to Gitmo prisoners, now what about Cuban 5?
  4. The Cuban Five: 16 years of unjust imprisonment
  5. Who are the Cuban 5?
Guasú Front Demands Ending Blockade on Cuba, Closing Guantanamo Base

Asunción, Dec 18 (Prensa Latina) Guasú Front, a Paraguayan coalition of parties and social organizations today demanded the end of the blockade on Cuba and the closure of the United States Base of Guantanamo.

The group celebrated the historic release of the three Cuban counter terrorism fighters who were unjustly imprisoned in US jails and called it a historic event that opens the doors of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, broken by the attempt to prevent Cuba to rule on her own destiny.

The coalition added that the unswerving integrity of the Cuban people under the leadership of its leaders strengthens the sustainability of its libertarian project and was reversing an unequal struggle to win the support of the vast majority of the peoples worldwide and the support to their right to self-determination.

At the same time, they celebrate the process of restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US, and make a clamorous call for lifting the blockade to the brother Caribbean people, and the closure of Guantanamo Base, a territory that must return to the Cuban people.


Evo Morales: Cuba-USA Agreement is a World Achievement

La Paz, December 18 (Prensa Latina) The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, saluted today the agreement between Cuba and the United States to normalize their relations, and considered that it is the result of the unity of the world with the Caribbean nation.

'The restoration of relations between the US and Cuba is not anyone's concession, it is the world's unity around Cuba after 53 years of exclusion, marginalization, condemning' he said during a ceremony at the Government Palace.

Morales illustrated his approach by taking as example the final vote in the UN General Assembly against the economic, financial and commercial blockade by Washington, which was rejected by 188 of the 193 members of this body.

For the president the agreement between the two countries left as teaching that one should never abandon the ancestors' principles.

'How important was the perseverance, the unity, never to give up on the basis of our principles. Cuba has proved this. That strength without bowing down," added Morales.

Cuban President Raul Castro and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, announced yesterday their decision to restore bilateral relations as well as the release of the three Cuban counterterrorist fighters, and other prisoners.

The agreements have caused a strong repercussion in the international press, while rulers, politicians, personalities and organizations around the world are pleased with the rapprochement between the two countries.


Russia Supports Cuba''s Efforts against US Blockade jueves, 18 de diciembre de 2014

18 de diciembre de 2014, 10:30Moscow, Dec 18 (Prensa Latina) Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov assured on Thursday that Russia supports Cuba in its fight against the US blockade, when he referred to the agreements on diplomatic rapprochement announced on Wednesday by Havana and Washington.

Ryabkov noted that President Barack Obama's announcement to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, after admitting the failure in trying to isolate the island-nation for more than 50 years, was a step in the right direction.

The deputy foreign minister pointed out that Russia welcomes the White House's admission of the need to change its Cuba policy, and underlined that Moscow will follow up on the process closely.

We do not think that the imposition of US sanctions on any country is either legitimate or legal, concluded Ryabkov, quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax. sc/jg/rc/jpm

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It's historic day! I'm happy 4 the Cuban 5 & their families, & 4 the efforts of those across the globe to bring the unjustly convicted home!

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December 19 Cuban Parliament unanimously approved a policy of "normalization of relations with the United States."

As reported by the news agency "Prensa Latina", the day before US President Barack Obama signed the "Law on the Protection of human rights and civil liberties in Venezuela", providing for sanctions against officials of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Note that it is Venezuela a long time provided Cuba with oil, to provide economic and other assistance.

In comments on the website of the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba - the newspaper «Granma» - are various estimates of the events taking place in recent days on Liberty Island and around it. And many of the authors of these comments, and from different countries, have warned Cubans of credulity and euphoria. "The Cuban Brothers, I congratulate you, but be careful! We gringos always have ulterior motives. They never act honestly! "- Writes columnist under the name Paride. "Both countries must learn to live in the world, despite the differences ?! So, it was stated. I fully agree with this. But the Cuban people will have with this collaboration with the Americans an equal opportunity to express their ideas and their view of the world? »(Jose). "Congratulations to the Cubans! But do not change their views and no mistake! This tells you the Spaniards who love you! " (Jesus). "What makes the US now with Cuba - a new imperial strategy. My heart is now with Venezuela, but because my joy over the US-Cuba dialogue - moderate "

Central News Agency Novorossia

Prensa Latina Friday 19th December, 2014
Mexico, Dec 19 (Prensa Latina) The Mexican Movement of Solidarity with Cuba (MMSC) welcomed the release and arrival in Havana of Cuban heroes Gerardo Hern?ndez, Ram?n Laba?ino and Antonio Guerrero, reported that organization. This is the end of 16 years of injustice in which these men, along with Ren? Gonz?lez and Fernando Gonzalez, who fully served their prison sentences, were deprived of the presence of their family members and a whole people who gave them the recognition of heroes, stated the MMSC. It also highlighted the announcement made by the presidents of Cuba, Raul Castro, and the United States, Barack Obama, about the resumption of diplomatic relations, interrupted since 1961. The Cuban people withstood, for more than 50 years, the openly acknowledged harassment with which previous U.S. administrations attempted to overthrow the revolutionary process, emphasized the organization. For those who embrace the cause of solidarity with Cuba with deep conviction, this is a moment of joy and celebration, but this is just a first step; we still demand the end of the criminal blockade against the Cuban people, it stressed. The lifting of the blockade will be demanded with the same strength and dignity that the Cuban Revolution has taught us over the years, highlighted the MMSC. rma/ycf/pgh/arb...

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