Evidence against the Cuban Five Found to be Biased

(Prensa Latina) The U.S. legal system used information from
biased sources to locate the site where two light airplanes were shot down after
illegally entering Cuban territory on February 24, 1996, the Havana Reporter
weekly reported on Monday.  ( http://www.prensa-latina.cu/images/stories/Media/TheHavanaReporter3.pdf, )

According to the Cuban newspaper, the revelation is contained in a book by
Brazilian researcher Fernando Morais, The Last Soldiers of the Cold War, which
recounts the actions of Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramon Labañino,
Rená González and Gerardo Hernández, five Cubans who, until their arrest in
Miami in 1998, were monitoring terrorist actions by anti-Cuban groups based in

Morais devoted pages 373-376 of his book, published in Portuguese in Brazil in
August, to analyze the U.S. version of the events involving the two light
airplanes belonging to the anti-Cuban organization Brothers to the Rescue, which
supposedly were downed in international waters, contrary to what Cuban
authorities say, the English-language weekly edited by Prensa Latina recalled.

During the launch of his book in Brasilia on Sept.15, Morais explained that
while conducting his research, he realized that the lawyers for the Cuban Five
failed to thoroughly investigate the owner and the company that owned the cruise
ship Majesty of the Seas.

The first officer of that ship, Norwegian-American Bjorn Johansen, a witness for
the prosecution against the Five, admitted that he based his testimony about the
site of the shoot-down on a visual observation of the site where his own ship
was – which he wrote down on a piece of paper – and not the electronic register
that marked the ship’s location in the Florida Strait.

That statement by Johansen, who admitted that he talked for hours with FBI
agents, was used to justify a sentence of two life terms in prison plus fifteen
years prison for Gerardo Hernández. However, a key question failed to be asked,
Morais said: who were the owners of the Majesty of the Seas?

On page 375, the writer says that a cursory investigation using the archives of
newspapers and of the Cuban-American National Foundation would have provided
important information.

Johansen worked for Royal Caribbean Cruises, the group that owned the ship, and
in February 1996 his second-in-command was Peter G. Whelpton of the United
States, who introduced himself as a member of the Cuban-American National
Foundation and director of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Economic
Reconstruction of Cuba, both opposed to the Cuban government.

In his book, Morais also revealed that a series of articles published by The New
York Times in 1995, the president of the CANF at the time, Francisco “Pepe”
Hernandez, included Royal Caribbean Cruises among the 40 firms that contributed
$25,000 create his organization. Mysteriously and inexplicably, however,
Whelpton’s involvement with these Cuban counterrevolutionary forces was not
verified or used in the court case.

This information comes in addition to the refusal by the United States
government to hand over information from its radars about the exact site where
the anti-Cuban organization’s two light planes were downed, despite Havana’s
insistence demand for that information, given that it holds the two planes were
shot down over Cuban waters.

To write his book, Morais carried out field research for two years and
interviewed 40 people, including 17 in Cuba, 22 in the United States and one in

The harsh sentence of two life terms plus 15 years handed down to Hernández is
based on evidence that he informed Havana that the two Brothers to the Rescue
aircraft would be flying over the Cuban capital on February 24, 1996. In that
regard, Morais recalled that the two light aircraft were downed after years of
provocations and violations of Cuban airspace by exile groups in Florida.

Based on his investigation, Morais said, that information was completely public.

Also, U.S. State Department documents contained information showing that the
U.S. Undersecretary for Hemispheric Affairs warned U.S. aviation authorities
about the actions of Brothers to the Rescue and the possibility that the Cuban
government would lose its patience and shoot down their planes, Morais said.

Therefore, it is untenable to accuse Gerardo of having passed information that
was public, he said.

One Response to “Evidence against the Cuban Five Found to be Biased”

  1. One for Five? « Realcuba's Blog Says:

    […] Links and Resources A new book by Brazilian author Fernando Morais (summarized here: https://realcuba.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/evidence-against-the-cuban-five-found-to-be-biased/, ) challenges testimony involving the shoot down of two Brothers to the Rescue planes that resulted […]

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