Who are the Cuban Five?
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.
They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.
The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.
But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.
The Five’s actions were never directed at the U.S. government. They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any weapons while in the United States.
The Cuban Five’s mission was to stop terrorism
For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against Cuba, and against anyone who advocates a normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. More than 3,000 Cubans have died as a result of these terrorists’ attacks.
Terrorist Miami groups like Comandos F4 and Brothers to the Rescue operate with complete impunity from within the United States to attack Cuba—with the knowledge and support of the FBI and CIA.
Therefore, Cuba made the careful and necessary decision to send the Five Cubans to Miami to monitor the terrorists. The Cuban Five infiltrated the terrorist organizations in Miami to inform Cuba of imminent attacks.
The aim of such a clandestine operation by the Cuban Five—at great personal risk—was to prevent criminal acts, and thus protect the lives of Cubans and other people.
But instead of arresting the terrorists, the FBI arrested the Cuban Five ANTI-terrorists on September 12, 1998. The Five were illegally held in solitary confinement for 17 months in Miami jail.
The trial began in November 2000. With the seven-month trial based in Miami, a virtual witchhunt atmosphere existed. Defense attorneys’ motions for a change of venue were denied five times by the judge, although it was obvious that a fair trial was impossible in that city.
In a blow to justice, the Cuban Five were convicted June 8, 2001 and sentenced to four life terms and 75 years in December, 2001.
A victory in appeals, then a surprise reversal
On August 9, 2005, after seven years of unjust imprisonment, the Cuban Five won an unprecedented victory on appeal. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of the Cuban Five and ordered a new trial outside of Miami.
(The Aug. 9 court decision can be read here (PDF file)
However, in an unexpected reversal on Oct. 31, the 11th Circuit Court vacated the three-judge panel’s ruling and granted an “en banc” hearing before the full panel of 12 judges. Exactly one year after the victory that granted the Five a new trial, the panel voted 10 to 2 to deny the Five heroes a new trial, and instead affirmed the trial court.
Nine remaining issues of appeal are before the three-judge panel (it is actually two judges now, one has retired), and as of December 2006, final supplemental documents were submitted by defense and prosecution. For an explanation of the legal issues, read the Nov. 21 interview with Leonard Weinglass here.
Your support is more important than ever
This case is a political case and the Cuban Five are political prisoners.
Their freedom will depend not only on the arduous work of the defense team but just as importantly on the public support that can be organized. Over 250 committees have been established in the United States and around the world, demanding immediate freedom for Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René.
Important declarations have been made by hundreds of parliamentarians in Britain, Italy, and the European and Latin American Parliaments. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, with five judges, ruled that there were irregularities in the Five’s trial and arrest, effectively denying them a fair trial and calls on the U.S. government to remedy this injustice.
An appeal to fair-minded people of Wisconsin and the US
From Fernando Gonzalez, Oxford, WI, August 2006
On October 6, 1976, a Cuban commercial Airliner was blown up in midair, killing all 73 persons on board.
One of the masterminds of that terrorist attack, Orlando Bosch, walks freely the streets of Miami. Being held by immigration authorities in 1990, he received a parole from then-President, George H. Bush who overruled the recommendation of his own Department of Justice to deport Bosch given his long, proven history of terrorism. Click to read full letter
MORE INFO ON THE CUBAN 5:
Alarcon update & analysis of ‘Cuban Five’ case
Top official insists 5 agents wrongly convicted in U.S.
NBC NEWS, Sept. 1, 2006 FULL ARTICLE
Anti-Castro Disclosures Could Help ‘Cuban 5’
Los Angeles Times
Convicted in Miami on espionage charges five years ago, exiles may still win a new trial. FULL ARTICLE
Cuban Exiles Wage War of Terror
Frank Joyce, AlterNet, August 16, 2006 FULL ARTICLE
An interview with veteran anti-Castro militant Orlando Bosch
(Read about the reported crimes of Orlando Bosch who Fernando was assigned to watch)
INT’L ASSOC. OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS:
Statement on the Ruling of the 11th Circuit in the Case of the Cuban Five
Categories: Cuban 5