Archive for October 19th, 2011

Fidel – A will of iron 2/2

October 19, 2011


Reflections of Fidel
A will of iron   (Part 2)
(Taken from CubaDebate)

WHEN, in 1976, the most serious terrorist acts were committed against Cuba, in particular the in-flight sabotage of a Cuban airliner which had departed from Barbados with 73 persons aboard – among them pilots, flight attendants and auxiliary personnel offering their services to the airline, the complete juvenile fencing team which had won all the gold medals contested in the Central American and Caribbean Championship, Cuban passengers and those from other countries who had confidence in that plane. The act created such indignation, that the most extraordinary crowd ever seen in the Plaza de la Revolución gathered to close the mourning period, of which there is graphic evidence. The painful scenes were and are unforgettable. Perhaps leaders in the United States and many people around the world did not have the opportunity to see them. It would be illustrative to have those images disseminated by the mass media so that others might understand the motivation of our heroic anti-terrorist fighters.

Bush Sr. was an important official within the U.S. intelligence services when these forces were given the mission of organizing the counterrevolution in Cuba. The CIA created, in Florida, the largest operations base in the Western Hemisphere, which took charge of subversive efforts in Cuba. It organized attempts to assassinate leaders of the Revolution and took responsibility for the plans and plots which, had they been successful, would have cost many lives on both sides, given the resolve of our people demonstrated in Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs], to struggle to their last drop of blood. Bush never understood that Cuba’s victory saved many lives, both Cuban and U.S. ones.

The monstrous Barbados crime was committed when he was head of the CIA, with almost as much authority as President Ford.

In June of that year, he called a meeting in Bonao, in the Dominican Republic, to create the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, under the personal supervision of Vernon Walters, the CIA deputy director. Take note: “United Revolutionary Organizations.”

Orlando Bosch and Posada Carriles, active CIA agents, were designated leaders of this organization. Thus a new stage of terrorist acts against Cuba was initiated. October 6, 1976, Orlando Bosch and Posada Carriles personally directed the sabotage which caused the Cubana plane to explode in flight.

Authorities in Barbados arrested the four persons involved and returned them to Venezuela.

The scandal was so huge that the government of that country, allied with the United States at the time and an accomplice in its crimes within and without Venezuela, had no alternative but to prosecute them in Venezuelan courts.

The Sandinista Revolution had triumphed in July of 1979 [in Nicaragua] and a bloody, dirty war promoted by the United States broke out in that country. Reagan was President of the United States.

When Gerald Ford replaced Nixon, the attempts to assassinate foreign leaders had created such a scandal that he prohibited U.S. agents from participating in such acts. Congress denied funds for the dirty war in Nicaragua. Posada Carriles was needed. The CIA, through the so-called Cuban-American National Foundation, bribed the relevant jailers with healthy sums and the terrorist walked out of prison like any other visitor. Moved immediately to Ilopango, El Salvador, he not only organized the distribution of weapons which led to thousands of deaths and mutilations among Nicaraguan patriots, but also, with CIA cooperation, acquired drugs in Central America, smuggled them into the U.S. and bought weapons in the country for Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries.

In the interest of space, I will omit numerous factual details of this brutal history.

It is impossible to understand why the illustrious Nobel Peace Prize winner who presides over the United States government, is willing to repeat the stupid idea that Cuba is a terrorist country and is keeping four Cuban anti-terrorist fighters in isolated prisons and inhumane conditions, a sanction which has not been imposed on any other adversary of the United States – much less when no U.S. military force has indicated that these Cubans represent any danger whatsoever – and preventing René from returning to his homeland and his family’s embrace.

That same Sunday, October 9, when René conveyed his courageous message to the people of Cuba, he recorded and filmed another fraternal “Message to Fidel and Raúl.” On the advice of Ricardo Alarcón, President of the National Assembly, neither message was made public until the Florida District Court probation officer had formally communicated to him the conditions of his three years of “supervised release.”

Now that that requisite has been met I am pleased to inform our people of the textual content of the message which so much honors our heroes and expresses their exemplary behavior and will of iron:

” Dear Comandante:

First of all an embrace, my gratitude and appreciation not just for all of the support that you have invested in us, for the way in which you have mobilized an entire people and have mobilized international solidarity for our case, but – in the first place – for having served as an inspiration to us, for having been the example which we have followed during these 13 years, and for having been for us a flag behind which we were always going to march.

For us, this mission has been nothing more than the continuation of everything that you have done, which your generation did for the Cuban people and the rest of humanity.

For me it is an enormous pleasure to send you this message, to send you a temporal embrace in this way, because I know that we will finally embrace each other; however much our adversaries try to prevent it, I know that we are going to give each other that embrace. I know that we Five will return because you promised that and because you have mobilized energy, the best of humanity, the will of everyone to make that happen.

For us, it is an honor to serve the cause which you inspired in the people of Cuba, to be your followers, followers of the path which you and Raúl opened, and we will never stop being worthy of this confidence that you deposited in us.

To both of you, to you Fidel, to Raúl, who is now guiding us in this new difficult, complex but glorious stage in which we are immersed in order to break the economic dependence which still fetters us and prevents us from constructing the society we want, I send an embrace from the Five, and say to you both that we always had confidence in you. When we were alone in the hole, when we were incommunicado, when we couldn’t receive any news, when my four brothers knew nothing about their families because they could not tell them, we always had confidence in you both, we always knew that you would not abandon your sons, because we always knew that the Revolution never abandoned those who defended it. That is why it deserves to be defended and that is why we shall always do so.

And although I am not sure that we deserve all the honors that have been given us, I can say to you that the rest of our lives will be dedicated to meriting them, because you inspire us, because you are the flag which taught us how to conduct ourselves and, to the end of our days, we will try to be worthy of the confidence which you deposited in us.

For me now, this is a trench in which I will continue in the same combat to which you called me and I will keep going to the end, until justice is done, following your orders, doing what has to be done.

And I say to Fidel and Raúl: “Comandantes, both of you, at your orders! “
Fidel Castro Ruz , October 17, 2011

Translated by Granma International

Interview with Philip Horowitz, lawyer for René González

October 19, 2011


 Philip Horowitz, attorney for René González, was interviewed by Gloria La Riva of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, days after René’s release from Marianna prison, Florida.

Q: Mr. Horowitz, thank you for this opportunity to interview you. I know you have been very busy. Months ago, Rene González was eligible for early release to be sent to a half-way house, I understand, but it was denied. Now, Judge Lenard is requiring that René remain in the United States to serve three years of supervised release. Is it unusual for his type of case, especially since he has served his entire sentence? What is the purpose of supervised release in general terms? How does it apply to René?

A: After the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 came into effect in 1987, parole was abolished in the federal system. In lieu of parole, every defendant who is sentenced to a term of incarceration is given a term of supervised release to follow incarceration, similar to the way the parole system used to work.

For Rene’s case, number one, it is not unusual to have supervised release following a term of imprisonment. Number two, it is unusual for the fact that Rene as a dual citizen has his Cuban citizenship literally ignored by the district court, requiring him to serve his supervised release in the United States. It is common for a defendant who is not a citizen of the United States to be deported and serve his supervised release, on paper only, in their home country. For example, a Colombian national would be deported to Colombia and there’s no probation officer in Bogotá. That person would be at home with their family, technically on supervised release but with no reporting requirements or anything else that goes with supervised release, like what René has.

Q: It was mentioned that there is a possible option that he could renounce his U.S. citizenship. With the U.S.-Cuba relations wouldn’t that put him in jeopardy, or risk his having to be detained again?

A: Rene offered before his release to renounce his United States citizenship, and in exchange, to return to Cuba. The offer was not accepted by the government because Rene’s still here. If being forced to choose it would be my client’s choice, as always, to return to his family. If that means renouncing his U.S. citizenship so be it. His marriage is more important than that, his ability to see his children is much more important than that.

Q: On October 11, René met for the first time with the officers who will supervise his conditional freedom. What are the terms? Is he required to have a job, can he move to another state and what is required for that to happen? Is that what he is seeking?

A: René has standard conditions as well as special conditions of his probation. His standard conditions are pretty typical for every defendant who is on supervised release. Those include maintaining gainful employment, or actively seeking employment; not possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon; he cannot leave the judicial district where he resides without the permission of the probation officer; he must report once a month.

If he changes his address, he has to inform the probation officer, also, refrain from excessive use of alcohol, etc. It’s a pretty standard, not just for René.

René has some additional special conditions that were ordered by the judge: He has to give the probation officer complete access to his financial information, submit to a search of his person and property conducted in a reasonable manner in a reasonable time, which is also a standard condition. One another thing that is different for Rene is he is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence, organized crime figures or are known to be or frequent.

Q: Do you plan any legal motions for Rene to be able to return home? You stated earlier that you might appeal to a higher court.

A: We’re not going to appeal at this point to a higher court from the judge’s Sept. 16 ruling. René has decided to let his conduct show to judge Lenard that he is a person who deserves to be able to return to Cuba. And he is out to prove it. At the appropriate time I’ll renew my request that he be permitted to serve the rest of his supervised release in Cuba. There is no timetable for that.

Q: If René cannot go home for now, what is the possibility that his wife Olga can come to the U.S.?

A: Olga was deported from the United States in the year 2000, and she cannot re-enter the United States without the express written permission of the U.S. attorney general or, I believe, the director of citizenship and naturalization, it could be customs and border protection, one of those departments that are under Homeland Security. They need to give express written permission for Olga to come to the U.S.

Q: Many are concerned for René’s safety in southern Florida. Monitoring the terrorists was after all the Five’s mission, and there are many, including Posada, who walk the streets freely in Miami. Are you concerned for his safety?

A: Absolutely, I am concerned for his safety, period.

Q: How will he be able to find a job or even look for one under those circumstances?

A: Knowing René, he is extremely resourceful, he is very, very bright and I hope he is not going to have difficulty finding employment.

Q: When René walked out of prison last Friday, you were there to greet him along with his family. What did you see?

A: I saw a man reuniting with his daughters, one whom he hadn’t seen outside of a prison visiting room in 13 years. One who was too young to remember, she was four months old when he was arrested. It was just pure joy. And reuniting with his father and his brothers, it was one of the tenderest moments I have witnessed in my 26 years of practicing law.

Q: Will you stay on as a member of the Cuban Five legal team? Are there any other pending legal issues for René?

A: Of course I’ll stay on, I’ve been working on the case since 1998. The Five have always worked as a team. With René, part of his leaving prison is bittersweet because he left his four compatriots behind. His four brothers are still in; we are still fighting for that same goal, to have all Five reunited with their families.

Q: Is Rene’s freedom of speech and ability to speak for their cause restricted, not just by legal terms, but also the issue of ³conduct² while in the United States? René will be a powerful spokesperson for all the Five’s freedom.

A: Speech is very different from conduct. It is my understanding that there are no restrictions on René’s freedom of speech, unlike when he was in jail, and all his correspondence was being monitored, except for privileged attorney-client material or diplomatic type matters that are restricted. It is my understanding that he is permitted free speech. None of his mail or statements will be censored.

Q: How restricted are René’s movements in the United States?

A: There are 94 zones within the United States judicial system that are federal districts. Whatever district René is residing in, he cannot leave without permission of the probation officer. For example, if he were living in the southern district of Florida, he would be able to travel from Vero Beach in the north to Key West in the south, but if he wanted to go to Disney World he would need permission of the probation officer because it is out of the southern district.

Q: Does Judge Lenard have any jurisdiction over him right now?

A: Yes, she does. The probation officer works for the court, and is overseeing his adjustment.

Q: What are your thoughts about these long years of the Five’s incarceration, what they have gone through? How do you see the issue of justice in the case of the Cuban Five?

A: I think for the defendants, all five of them ‘ as well as myself ‘ it is has been a once-in-a-lifetime journey and it is still going on. I think everyone’s faith in the justice system was not rewarded. We are supposed to have faith in the United States justice system but I don’t think it was rewarded in this case. From Gerardo to Ramon to Tony to Fernando to René, it proved to them that the justice system doesn’t work.

Q: Please tell us about Rene as a person, and the other Five, since you’ve known them all, as well.

A: I’ve known them for many years. I’ve sat with them in trial for seven-and-a-half months. They are some of the most educated people I’ve ever met, some of the most brilliant and talented people I’ve ever met. The experience of knowing and learning them as someone who doesn’t come from that background, it opened my eyes to a lot of things, individually and collectively.

Q: René has always been cheerful, with a great sense of optimism all these years. How is he feeling now?

A: Obviously a little more cheerful, he has spent every waking moment with his brother, his father and his two daughters. And you can see how they are re-connecting, it is happening quickly, the adjustment that he is making from being torn away from his family for this long. You can see how the family unit remains cohesive. He and his brother, their relationship picked up right where it left off, it is amazing. And with his daughters and father as well. What remains is for him to be with his wife.

Q: On behalf of so many people who are involved in the struggle for their freedom, we appreciate so much your efforts and those of the legal team. The fact that the trial attorneys have stayed through the appeals, that is very special. I think your relationship will last far beyond the termination of their case, with all Five at home. We appreciate all that you have done.

A: Thank you.,,


Cuban Women Ask Michelle Obama to Release Antiterrorists

October 19, 2011

Escrito por Ana Julia Suarez Cruz    
  (Prensa Latina) Cuban women on Tuesday requested U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intercede for the release of the five antiterrorists imprisoned in the U.S. since 1998.

Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez, the latter one was recently release under supervision, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for monitoring actions by anti-Cuba groups in Florida

The Cuban Women Federation (FMC) published a letter sent to those women close to President Barack Obama, requesting an end to the prolonged imprisonment of the Five, as they are internationally known.

They have been serving time in U.S. prisons for 13 years and have been away from their beloved ones, because the solid arguments presented by their lawyers, due to the multiple legal violations made during their trials, have been ignored, said the letter.

In the case of Rene, added the letter, he has been punished again by preventing him from returning to Cuba and forcing him to remain in the U.S. for another three years on parole, a situation that poses a risk to his life.

The signatories of the letter include Cuban well-known figures of the arts, sciences and sports, such as Alicia Alonso, Omara Portuondo and Ana Fidelia Quirot, among others.

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