Cuban Five: Wrong Guys in Jail

All photos by Bill Hackwell except where credited otherwise


This is one of those stories that leaves you with your mouth open saying: How can that be?

Five Cubans have been in jail in the United States for over ten years for what would have earned them a presidential medal if they had been working for the US government.

They infiltrated terrorist groups to gather information on their next attacks and they warned their government so it could be on the alert.

The fact is for the last five decades Cuba has been the target of right wing extremist organizations, allowed to train and operate out of Southern Florida with the support of the old guard exile community. Their record includes plane and hotel bombings and assassinations in Cuba, the US and other countries.

Havana Times asked Bill Hackwell -a documentary photographer who has followed the Cuban Five case and the people involved for the last eight years- to tell the story with his photographs.

For those of you who wish to read in-depth articles and interviews about the case we recommend the following:

If you are looking for a way to help right a colossal wrong, check out:

Meet the Cuban Five


Why Gather Information on Terrorists? Instead of arresting the terrorists the FBI put the undercover informers on trial
The Cuban Five spent 17 months in solitary confinement after their arrest on September 13, 1998. In 2001, they received long prison terms and were scattered around the country to five different maximum security penitentiaries.


Back home the Cuban 5 are considered heroes and even school children have a notion of the injustice committed against them.
While the case is now before the US Supreme Court, the cause of the Cuban Five draws support from around the world.

5 thoughts on “Cuban Five: Wrong Guys in Jail

  • End this USA injustice now. Free the Cuban 5 . Hands off Cuba. Solidarity from Belfast Ireland

  • They are spies, they were spying. The reasons were definitely for a good cause, as all the preventive spying is supposed to be. Still they were illegally spying.
    Cuba needs to have better relations with the United States in order to ask for anything.
    Look at the government of Israel, has been trying to negotiate with it’s best friend, USA for Jonathan Jay Pollard and the Law is the Law.

    All the spies do know that there are risks in their profession only if they are as naive and bad at their job. It wasn’t one spy, it was FIVE! Shame on cubans spies.

  • I couldn’t be more disgusted. Any court that haands down lenghty prison sentences to those who simply wanted to prevent further assassination attempts, hotel bombings or other acts of terrorism does not deserve to be part of a “justice system”.

  • These patriots have been rotting in jail now for a decade while real terrorists, such as Posada Carilles, are free. There are only so many years in a lifetime. Although passing resolutions and publicizing the injustice are good, what else can be done to expedite the end of this injustice? Any knowledgable person is under no illusion regarding the “justice” of our (U.S.) legal system; despite repeated efforts to shame our government into doing the right thing, our peititons fall upon deaf ears. What is to be done?

  • My trade union recently passed this resolution in support of the Cuban 5:

    “We appeal to your sense of justice and ask you to act immediately to put an end to this travesty of justice. We know that if you learn about the case, you will understand that the Cuban Five are innocent. We as a nation would do anything to defend ourselves against terrorism. For doing precisely that, the Cuban Five have already spent 10 years in prison; it is time for them to return home to their families in Cuba. Until then we ask you to intervene to grant visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez to visit their husbands in prison,”
    -ILWU Local 10 Resolution-

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