Elio Delgado Legon
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.