Info Blackout on the Cuban 5 Continues

Elio Delgado Legon

The Cuban Five: “They will return” Billboard. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — “The five Cubans who have been imprisoned in the United States is something that is a secret from the people of the United States,” stated the now-deceased US historian and political scientist Howard Zinn.

“So we have a very important job to do in the United States for people in the progressive movement.  And that is to make the situation known to people because I believe the American people have a basic sense of decency.  When they learn that something inhuman has happened, they react against it,” added Zinn.

When we say that there’s a blackout to keep secret the case of the five Cubans who were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and given excessive prison sentences in the United States, we are not exaggerating. A figure as prominent in that country as Howard Zinn spoke about and described that situation as being inhuman.

Numerous events surrounding this case would be headline news in all major newspapers and television stations in the country if the press didn’t have orders from the government to silence it.

Now I wonder: Why is there this interest in keeping such an important case unknown among the American people? Where is the freedom of the press that is advocated in theory in that country?

Obviously there were many violations of laws, prevarications and injustices committed in this case, which is why there are so many well-known people in the world and within the United States seeking the release of the five Cubans.

This is something that isn’t desirable for people to know since they would take sides in favor of the innocent individuals, who did nothing except risk their own lives in trying to save the lives of other Cubans and US citizens.

In the most recent action by the attorney for Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, who was sentenced to two life sentences plus 15 years in prison for crimes he didn’t commit, a new petition was just filed with the Federal District Court in Miami, Florida, for his sentence to be revoked.

Lawyer Martin Garbus presented this petition that supports the legal concept known as habeas corpus, whereby it is alleged that the US government engaged in misconduct by paying Miami journalists to adversely affect the outcome of the trial.

US authorities sought to frighten jurors into declaring the accused guilty of all charges. This is indeed what happened, with the five Cubans even being convicted on charges that had been dropped by the prosecution.

Gabriela Knaul, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, sent a letter to US authorities expressing her concern about the trial of the Cuban Five and the obstacles in the case of Gerardo Hernandez.

She pointed out that he and his counsel did not have access to all relevant information about the case, as established by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

Other important personalities have expressed their solidarity with the five Cubans, including the US writer Alice Walker. She has said: “The story of the Cuban Five is one of courage, great sacrifice and love… Where are the members of Congress, senators and representatives who we should be relying on in cases like this?”

Noam Chomsky, the linguist, philosopher and social activist, said: “They weren’t criminals. They were heroes. They were exposing to the US government crimes that are being committed on US soil, crimes the US government is tolerating that theoretically should be punished.”

Gayle McLaughlin, the Mayor of Richmond, California, said: “It’s an atrocity that these five men remain unjustly imprisoned for peacefully protecting their country against terrorist attacks while our judicial system turns a blind eye. It is essential that the people of the United States know about this profound act of negligence committed by our government for not examining the facts of this case. It’s essential to free the Five, and it is essential for the preservation of justice for all.”

Thomas J. Gumbleton, the former bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit (US), released the following statement: “I’m very disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the case of the Cuban Five. My hope was that they would review the case and make a decision that would lead to the release of the Cuban Five. But now I realize, again, that some people do not have a genuine chance at justice. I intend to join in with other individuals and organizations around the world to continue working for the freedom of the Cuban Five.”

Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, said: “This is a farce. These men were unarmed, did not attempt any physical damage to the United States, and were motivated to protect their fellow citizens from invasion and repeated attacks by Cuban-Americans living in Florida. And we have to ask also, just how is it that we have become a safe haven for alleged terrorists?”

I have cited only some personalities of the United States itself who have spoken out for freedom for Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, the five Cubans who remain in the United States serving long sentences for crimes they didn’t commit.

The full list would be too long for this short space, but the truth is that every day, around the world, more and more people are joining the fight for the release of these five innocent individuals.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media is silent.


11 thoughts on “Info Blackout on the Cuban 5 Continues

  • Thanks, Mark G. I just checked and the affidavit still has not been filed. As soon as I see it, I’ll post it. Best, Tracey

  • Tracey, in your August 24 blog posting you quoted directly from Juan Tamayo’s Miami Herald article as follows: “An appeals lawyer for the leader of five Cuban spies convicted in a Miami trial filed an affidavit Monday arguing that Radio/TV Marti secretly paid millions of dollars to journalists to influence jury members against his client.” The words “filed an affidavit Monday” were even bolded.

    So Tamayo obviously assumed the affidavit had been filed. I did not read your earlier post. So thanks for clarifying that you had not made the same assumption.

    BTW, has the affidavit now been filed with the court?

  • Elio,
    what about the many news blackouts in the official Cuban media on anything the government does not want Cubans to know.

  • Mark G – I’m not sure where you’re getting this: “The failure to actually file the promised affidavit might be a reason many media outlets failed to report on this latest legal maneuver, especially after the Miami Herald (and Tracey Eaton) were fooled into reporting the filing as having taken place.”
    I wrote that the lawyers expected to file the affidavit. Then I followed that up by saying it hadn’t been filed.

  • The US media does not ignore the Cuban Five. It’s just that except for a few susceptible activists, most Americans are quite content with the conclusion that, yes, these people were Cuban intelligence agents, they were breaking US law and were properly convicted.

  • You are right that there were no Cubans on the jury panel. However, Griffiin, we have to be honest with ourselves in acknowledging that if you live in south Florida, let alone Miami-Dade County, Cuban or not, you are likely to be affected by the intense politics which inflame the Cuban community. That said, the highly-polariizing pretrial news reports could have arguably biased whatever jury empaneled. I’m just saying…

  • Good find Griffin.

    The failure to actually file the promised affidavit might be a reason many media outlets failed to report on this latest legal maneuver, especially after the Miami Herald (and Tracey Eaton) were fooled into reporting the filing as having taken place. On the maneuver itself, it strikes me as the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary pass with even less likelihood of a successful outcome.

  • Moses,

    You wrote, “they were convicted in the highly-biased anti-Castro Miami community.”

    There were no Cuban-Americans on the jury that convicted the Cuban 5.

  • Read the article: “Cuban Five and the incredible disappearing affidavit”

    Tracy Eaton at the blog, “Along the Malecon” has discovered that no such affidavit was ever filed. The reports of such a motion seem to be a fiction of the Cuban Five legal team.

  • Wrong again, Elio. There is NO NEWS BLACKOUT regarding the five convicted Cuban spies. By the way, there were 12 spies to begin with. Five plead guily, served their time and are free. One was deported back to Cuba and one escaped prior to arrest and fled to Cuba. The remaining five plead innocent to the charges, went to trial and were convicted. The news busines in the US is highly competitive with a 24-hour news cycle and internet, cable, dialog and satellite radio and print sources. Do you honestly believe that the NYT, Washington Post and LA Times to name the top three newspapers in the country and among the largest in the world would collude to blackout a story? Don’t be so naive. The truth is that the story of these five spies is no longer what is considered “news”. Before you get your undies in a bind, I agree that they were convicted in the highly-biased anti-Castro Miami community. I would also agree that despite the legalities of their convictions, their sentencing is clearly overly harsh. Moreover, as is usually the case with convicted spies, they should have be sent back to Cuba in exchange for who knows who or what. Unfairnesses aside, to blame the lack of attention on this case to media bias is just not true. Do you know how many unjustly convicted Americans more deserving of American attention are wasting away in prisons all over the US? The NYT is not printing their stories either. Elio, you obviously have never visited the US because your comments reflect an ignorance or naivete that I witness over and over again in Cuba from Cubans who get all their information from the Cuban government or other government-approved sources. The only reason more Americans don’t know about the Cuban 5 is because the story lacks sizzle. It is hard to compete with Syrian massacres one day and Lady Gaga the next.

  • Incredibly stupid or malicious. And I am not even Cuban or American. “Inhuman”, Mr. Delgado thinks their situation is, while the Cuban Goverment keep their jails closed to the International Red Cross, Amnesty International, or UN Human Rights Watchers. After 53 years of tyranny, they still believe they can hide the truth to the world.

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