Silence Around the Cuban Five

Elio Delgado Legón*

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 15 — An important part of the mass media campaign of lies directed against Cuba is that of complicit silence so that people don’t learn the truth about various issues related to our socialist country.

Today I’ll refer to only one of those matters.

This relates to five Cubans who were arrested and tried in Miami for having infiltrated terrorist organizations to detect the planning of such actions and to inform the Cuban government.

The actions of these five helped to save many lives – those of Cubans as well as Americans.

These Cubans were accused of spying and other charges, none of which could be proved. Nonetheless, they were convicted in the longest trial in United State history. They were each handed down excessive prison time – ranging from two life sentences plus 15 years for one of the men, life sentences for two of the others, 19 years for a fourth man, and 15 years for the fifth.
In the case of the individual who was given two life sentences, one of these was for a charge that had been withdrawn by the prosecution due to insufficient evidence. In any other trial this odd turn of events would have been of great interest to the press, but in this instance nothing is spoken about it.

Many renowned personalities from around the world have sent petitions to the president of the United States demanding freedom for the five Cubans, who have now spent more than 13 years unjustly imprisoned.

Recently the distinguished US actor Danny Glover said that if US citizens had done what these five Cubans did, they would have received medals. And he’s right.

“The Cuban Five,” as they’re known internationally, were punished more for being from socialist Cuba than for having committed crimes.

The 70th convention of the US National Lawyers Guild issued a resolution on this case, from which I would like to cite one section:

WHEREAS: Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, Cuba and its people have suffered from continued terrorism including sabotage and assassinations (completed and attempted), killing over 3,000 of its citizens and maiming thousands of others;

WHEREAS: Cuba has repeatedly protested the planning, financing and launching of such attacks from the U.S., in private and public protests and requests to the U.S. government, and Cuba determined the necessity of sending its own agents to monitor continuing plots in order to deter or minimize further such attacks;

WHEREAS: On May 27, 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Commission, issued its Conclusion that depriving these five Cubans of their liberty contravened Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights…

WHEREAS: The NLG has previously called attention to these injustices, including a 2006 Convention NEC resolution resolving “to build a strong people’s movement through advocacy and media campaigns, and to advocate for a new and fair trial for the Cuban Five,” and a September 2007 request to the UN Commission on Human Rights to conduct an investigation into the failure of the U.S. government to honor the findings and conclusions of the UN Working Group;

Why hasn’t the US mainstream media reported on this resolution or that of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention?

It’s simply because they have bowed to the campaign of lies against Cuba and one way to lie is by silencing the truth.

What’s more, Leonard Weinglass (1933 – 2011), who was one of the most prestigious lawyers in the United States, said in an interview: “When the five were arrested in 1998, the Pentagon and the Department of Justice issued a statement saying that no harm had been done by them to the national security of the United States. Now, after these man have spent 10 years in prison, we have a statement by a high court asserting that there was no espionage committed and that no highly secret information was obtained or transmitted.”

In that same interview, Weinglass added: “Unfortunately, this case is one of those situations where I think the US government is using its justice system for a foreign policy objective. Historically when this happens and the existence of political prejudice is later revealed, Americans feel a great sense of shame with regard to their laws and have less confidence in their justice system and courts of law.”

I could cite hundreds of statements by personalities, such as twelve Nobel Peace prize winners, the American writer Alice Walker, former US President Jimmy Carter; the former head of the U.S. Interests Office in Cuba, Wayne Smith; and many others whose statements on the case have not been reported by the information multinationals. This is because they know that Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez are innocent and should be released. Notwithstanding, the US government insists on punishing Cuba through them.

(*) I am a Cuban who has lived for 75 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way. 


3 thoughts on “Silence Around the Cuban Five

  • Elio Delgado Legón, thanks for your post. As Okasis points out, the U.S. today is a prison industrial state in many ways, but don’t despair. On many issues, younger Americans have already shown they are far more open minded to the world and the injustices created and lied about by their own government and media. Obama was chosen as a cleaned-up-face for the Imperial crimes of Bush and company, but the youth are already increasing their demands for more real democracy and less warfare.

    In the last few days, numerous demonstrations and political events took place in and around Washington DC concerning the Cuba 5 and a very similar political prisoner of conscience, Bradley Manning whose trial is taking place in Fort Meade here in Maryland. At each of these different events, there were speakers who saw and spoke about the similarity of causes. Angela Davis mentioned Bradley Manning, the private who exposed US crimes in Iraq and the retired Colonel Ann Wright who once commanded Abu Ghriab prison spoke at the rally outside Ft. Meade and praised the Cuba 5 as similar anti-terrorists and prisoners of conscience. Young people at both events were showing that they get the message and don’t buy the lies of the US mainstream media. They are increasingly rejecting Obama and his continuing the policies of the past. Let’s hope his conscience bothers him.

    Speaking truth to power requires not only knowledge, skill and persistence, but the courage never to give up.

    I have long admired the recently deceased Cuban Film maker politico Alfredo Guevara. I take his “No hay vida adulta sin herejía sistemática, sin el compromiso de correr todos los riesgos. Y es por eso que esa actitud ante la vida, ante el
    mundo, …” to mean that to be an adult you must risk being a heretic and speak truth to power, especially if your truth is motivated by love of the people. Schmaltzy, but keeps me going on bad days.

  • Not sure if you’re aware of this but there is currently an exhibition of Antonio Guerrero’s art work in Seattle Washington. You can link to articles on the show and much more at a US website Hopefully this will become a traveling exhibition and bring awareness of the Cuban Five to other parts of the US.

  • Elio, As a US citizen, I can easily explain why the Cuban 5 are ignored by the Media, the Government, and most of the people in the US. Frankly, my Dear, They don’t give a damn [to paraphrase Rett Butler’s famous remark to Scarlett in Gone With The Wind]

    And, it is not just the 5 Heroes. It is Leonard Peltier. And Mumia Abu Jamal. And the Blacks serving sentences for crimes they either did not commit, or were set-up to plead to extremely exaggerated charges, with either little, or incompetent legal advice.

    Now, prisons have turned into money making schemes, and we see judges selling innocent teenagers to private prisons in exchange for cash. When there is money to be made, the Capitalists have no shame, whether they are arms merchants, or prison officials.

    Like many other facets of the ‘American Way’, our “Justice” System is on life-support. The Cuban Five and the many other victims of this broken system can hardly expect to compete with the latest headlines concerning some trivial Celebrity caught smoking a joint!

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