Archive for September, 2013

What’s Up with Cuba Policy?

September 18, 2013


By William M. LeoGrande

A little over six months into President Obama’s second term, the administration is giving hints that something is afoot in relations with Cuba.  Back in 1994, Fidel Castro told a group of former U.S. ambassadors that he needed a two-term U.S. president to normalize relations with Cuba because no first-term president would have the political courage to do it.  Could Barack Obama be that president?  Efforts to engage with Cuba during his first term were frozen after the 2009 arrest of USAID subcontractor Alan Gross.  Despite evidence that Gross had violated Cuban law, the administration insisted that Gross had done nothing improper and demanded that he be freed immediately.  When he wasn’t, the U.S. position hardened: there would be no improvement in relations with Cuba, not even on issues of mutual interest, until Gross was released.  Gross is still in jail four years later; the non-negotiable…

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Urgent Medical Attention for Ramon Labaniño !!!

September 17, 2013

_1-Ramón con dos de sus hijas y Elizabeth-g

Important: Please Contact Prison Authorities at Ashland FCI Re.
Medical Attention for Ramon Labaniño.

Ramon urgently requires a surgical intervention on his knee. During
the event to mark 15 years of unjust imprisonment his daughter Laura
spoke about his worsening condition her fears that he could become
wheelchair bound.

Friends of the Five from all around the world have experience of very
effectively uniting in a concerted effort at times like this. We
remember how Gerardo´s stay in the “Hole” was shortened by what the
Victorville’s Representative on the Federal Bureau of Prisons
described as a “bombardment of calls letters and emails” to which he
was obliged to react.

It is time to do the same for Ramon. Attached is the FBP´s policy on
health care which can be referred to when communicating by email to
by post to

Ashland FCI
St. Route 716
Ashland KY

by phone (606) 9286414 or by fax (606) 9294395

(message from Sean Joseph Clancy, Trinidad, Cuba )

Over 1400 South Africans medical students on Cuban Scholarship

September 16, 2013

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba


Marius Fransman South AfricaInternational Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman concluded his two-day Working Visit to the Republic of Cuba on 10 September 2013.

The Deputy Minister’s visit to Cuba was utilised to consolidate political, bilateral and multilateral relations and explore avenues for closer cooperation.

While in Cuba, Deputy Minister Fransman co-chaired the 10th South Africa-Cuba Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) with first Deputy Minister Mr Marcelino Medina. The JCM, established in 2001 to coordinate cooperation between the two countries, focuses on all aspects of bilateral political relations.

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IV Encuentro Juvenil Internacional de Solidaridad con Los Cinco Héro

September 16, 2013


September 15, 2013


As we mark the 15th Anniversary of the unjust incarceration of the Cuban Five, I pause to reflect on the many millions of people of all backgrounds across the United States and around the world who have come to understand, to empathize, and to support Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González’s quest for freedom to return to their homeland, to embrace their families, to stand securely with fellow citizens in enjoyment of their national achievements and in defense of their independence.

Throughout my adult life I have worked with thousands of people across the United States to demand that our justice system uphold its highest standards to humanely treat the incarcerated and to openly, and quickly correct its failings. This is the character of civilized nations that our leaders and institutions should urge other nations and peoples around the world to uphold. I join millions calling for my nation, the United States of America to live up to its supreme principles.

I was first introduced to the Cuban Five wives in 2003 in Porto Alegre, Brazil at the World Social Forum. But not until my great friend and comrade, Saul Landau, engaged and involved me in their struggle did I feel I could be useful in increasing the awareness and support of their plight. Reading the poetry of Antonio Guerrero, visiting Gerardo Hernández with Saul on numerous occasions at the federal penitentiary in Victorville, CA, and developing creative messaging in support of the Five through YouTube and other social media platforms, have been just a few examples of the ways in which we have been able to engage and inform others about the Five’s struggle. Saul Landau’s resounding and steadfast commitment to the freedom of the Cuban Five continues to energize and deepen my own commitment, and has strengthened my resolve to advocate for the release of these brave men.

Each time I meet with the wives and family members of the Five I am seared by the inhumanity of the injustice my country’s court system has condemned them to. But I am inspired and rededicated by the self-sacrifice of the Five to the independence, self-determination, and security of their nation and its people. I am moved by the love and commitment of their parents, wives, children, neighbors and government representatives who ensure that the Five are sustained by respect, love, and unfailing support for their freedom and return. I am very encouraged by the expanding support of my fellow citizens and peoples around the world (students, jurists, ordinary people, artists, athletes, and children) who communicate directly with the Cuban Five, who petition for their governments to support the release of the the Five and their return to Cuba. Nothing could be more rewarding than this show of humanity for the Five except their unconditional release.

In this 15th year of heroic courage and fortitude shown by Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González the Cuban people and their government, and the millions of Americans and others across the world who have steadily and increasingly come to understand, question, and confront the unconscionable prison terms, I call upon mainstream media to bring this case before the American people. I call upon governments and civic organizations around the world to make the case of the Five a priority point of justice and just resolution in international affairs. I call upon the justice system of the United States of America to stand forth pride fully and correct the injustice of the incarceration of the Five.

And to the Five, I send the respect, hopes, and support of millions of Americans and millions more around the world, and the message that we will not be moved from working for and achieving your release and return to your beloved homeland Cuba.

Danny Glover

September 10, 2013

Breaking News on PCJF Lawsuit on Cuban Five Case: State Dept. Now Under Court Order to Produce Records

September 15, 2013


Lawsuit was filed after State Dept. refused to produce materials
on U.S. government payments to Miami-based journalists during
Cuban Five Prosecution
[Reporters for Hire]
The PCJF filed a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit against the
U.S. State Department for its refusal to produce materials in its
possession about secret payments by the U.S. government to
Miami-based journalists who were reporting on the case of the
Cuban Five prior to the trial, during the trial and while the
jury was deliberating.

Now, as a result of the PCJF’s lawsuit, the State Department has
been ordered to expeditiously produce responsive documents in its
possession. The first round of production is ordered to begin in

“This is a major step forward in the effort to expose the
truth about a terrible miscarriage of justice in this case. The
documents that the State Department was refusing to produce cover
a critical time period for the Cuban Five. The documents that
were requested would cover the U.S. government’s payments
to Miami-based journalists at the very time the U.S. government
was prosecuting the Cuban Five,” stated attorney Mara
Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for
Civil Justice Fund.


Attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) have
filed a Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) lawsuit in June 2013
against the U.S. State Department for its refusal to produce
responsive materials in its possession about secret payments by
the U.S. government to Miami-based journalists who were reporting
on the case of the Cuban Five prior to the trial, during the
trial and while the jury was deliberating.

The FOIA demand was filed by Liberation Newspaper in October 2010
requesting documents about the government’s covert
payments to journalists in Miami from 1998-2002. The Cuban Five
were arrested on September 12, 1998, and the seven-month trial
began in November 2000.

Attorney Carl Messineo, Legal Director of the Partnership for
Civil Justice Fund, explained the purpose of the lawsuit at the
time of its filing in June 2013: “It appears the
government manipulated domestic public opinion to advance their
political and prosecution goals. This lawsuit seeks underlying
records. They have no right to hide their misconduct.”

Click here to read the complaint.

Please make an urgently needed donation to continue this work
This is an ongoing struggle to expose the truth. The PCJF will
continue to demand from the State Department and other government
agencies that all of the documents they possess related to the
payment of Miami-based journalists during the prosecution of the
Cuban Five be released to the public.

Caricaturas por la jornada de los Cinco.

September 14, 2013

Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency.

September 14, 2013

Cuban President Fidel Castro delivers a speech in 2010 in front of portraits of the “Cuban five”. Photograph: Jose Goitia/AP

Today marks 15 years since the ‘Cuban Five’ arrest, another US injustice
Four Cuban patriots languish in US prisons after a phoney trial. Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency
by René Gonzalez
Sept. 12, 2013 Reprinted from The Guardian

In August 1962, I was an ordinary Cuban child who had just turned eight years old. I can still remember the commotion all over Havana after someone sailed a boat to within a mile of the city’s coastline and fired a cannon at a hotel. They then turned north and headed for safe haven in Miami.

That experience repeated itself for me and for my four comrades, who are still in US prisons, as I was until recently. The five of us grew up in Cuba, witnessing the kidnapping and assassination of Cuban fishermen, and the culprits would then return to their safe haven in Miami. A gunboat crew attacked and killed the crew of a Spanish freighter off the coast of Cuba and then returned to their safe haven in Miami. In 1976, two terrorists of Cuban origin, after having organized the bombing of a Cubana airliner which killed 73 people, found safe haven back in Miami. Twenty years later, one orchestrated a bombing campaign against Cuban hotels, which cost the life of an Italian citizen.

No wonder all of us agreed to go to Miami in order to infiltrate and monitor the activities of a section of Cuban-Americans who, for over 30 years, had brought death and suffering on the Cuban people through what should be called terrorist activities designed to bring down our government. No wonder, either, that upon landing in Miami, one of the first groups that I joined was headed by the very guy who had fired the canon on the Havana hotel, back when I was an eight-year-old child.

In May 1998, the Cuban government thought the time had come to engage the US government on the fight against terrorism. Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian author and Nobel Prize winner, was the personal liaison sent by Fidel Castro to the White House with the proposition. As a result of this contact, an FBI delegation went to Havana in June of that year. They were given a dossier on the terrorist groups still operating in Miami, and returned to the US after assuring the Cuban side that something would be done about the issue.

Good to their word, on 12 September 1998 something was done: armed officers burst into my home, threatened and cuffed me, traumatised my family, and took me to prison. The FBI raided the houses and arrested the people who had been monitoring the terrorist activities groups, protected by the US government and operating freely from Miami.

No wonder the five of us were found guilty of all charges after a phoney trial in Miami. No wonder the prosecutors asked the judge to “incapacitate” the defendants so as to prevent them monitoring the activities of their terrorists in the future. No wonder, on 14 December 2001, the Judge obliged:

Whether terrorism is committed against innocents in the United States or Cuba, Israel or Jordan, Northern Ireland or India, it is evil and it is wrong, but the terrorist acts by others cannot excuse the wrongful and illegal conduct of this defendant or any other.

A further punishment by the US government was inflicted on my wife Olga, who along with Adriana Perez, the wife of Gerardo Hernando, were arbitrarily denied visas to visit us for more than 10 years.

And then, after I had served my 15 year sentence, I was was prevented from returning home, and confined to Florida on supervised release, where the cruel irony was lost on the judge who imposed a clause which would guarantee to the prosecution the incapacitation they had asked for:

As a further special condition of supervised release the defendant is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals of groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence, and organized crime figures are known to be or frequent.

What makes some terrorists good guys and some others bad guys? Do the lives of Cuban citizens not deserve to be protected? Is there some international legal instrument which bestows upon the United States judiciary the privilege to serve as a protector of terrorism?

While these and many other questions beg for an answer, four Cuban patriots languish in American prisons for the crime of having sacrificed themselves to protect the lives of others.

Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency.

Message from the Five Heroes To the conscience of the world and the U.S. people

September 14, 2013


FIFTEEN years ago today, September 12, 1998, the brutality of five simultaneous arrests burst into our homes to initiate one of the most shameful chapters of U.S. legal history: the trial of those of us today known as The Five.

The arrest and trial of The Five will remain in history as one of the most ignominious and vile episodes of relations between the United States and Cuba.

A few months earlier, after the mediation of the Nobel Literature Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, the doors had been opened to significant cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism. In June of that year, an FBI delegation visited Cuba and after receiving copious information on anti-Cuban terrorist activities organized with impunity in Miami, promised their Cuban counterparts that they would take action.

In a low blow, instead of arresting the terrorists, the William Clinton administration arrested and brought before its courts those of us who were gathering information to avert the damage which these terrorists were inflicting on the Cuba population. The U.S. legal system was openly utilized as a means of protecting the terrorists and, in an atmosphere of lynching, we were subjected to a rigged trial. Cruel conditions of confinement were utilized to break us and to prevent us from preparing an adequate defense. Lies took over the courtroom.

Evidence was adulterated, damaged and suppressed. The judge’s orders were openly disregarded. Terrorists called as witnesses by the defense were threatened in public with imprisonment if they did not take the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. U.S. experts and government officials justified or openly scorned the damage the terrorists were doing to Cuba. All this while the press opted to keep the American public in total ignorance, and the trial venue mercilessly bombarded with a barrage of propaganda against the accused.

On June 8, 2001, a jury which went so far as to register a complaint about their fear of harassment by the local press – later revealed to have been paid handsomely by the U.S. government – found us guilty on all charges, including one for which the prosecution – in an emergency motion to the Appeals Court in Atlanta, had recognized in the light of evidence brought before the court – it would not be possible to obtain a guilty verdict.

The deplorable conduct of the prosecution attorneys, judges and the U.S. government in this case is no accident. It is impossible to conduct oneself ethically when, for an objective in which political hatred is mixed with personal arrogance and revenge, charges are made which can only be justified by making a mockery of the law, by prevarication and by abuse of power. The vicious circle which would begin with the political decision to overwhelm us with charges – the most serious ones totally fabricated – to force us to surrender, could not but rebound in a constantly more deplorable conduct on the part of the prosecution.

But we did not surrender, because a display of brute force does not imply possession of morals on the part of those who exercise it. We did not surrender, because the price of lying in order to satisfy the prosecution’s expectations seemed to us to be far too degrading. We did not surrender, because by implicating Cuba – the nation we were protecting – in false accusations in order to swell a U.S. government file against the island would have been an unpardonable act of betrayal of the people we love. We did not surrender, because human values are still, for us, something precious on which the transformation of human beings into better people rests. We did not surrender because that implied renouncing our dignity, a source of self-esteem and love of self for any human being.

Instead of surrendering we opted to go to trial. A trial which, if it had been reported, would have called into question not only this case, but the federal system of justice in the United States. If the knowledge of what took place in that courtroom had not been concealed from the American people, whom we never caused, or attempted to cause, the most minimal harm, it would have been impossible to stage the Roman circus into which this parody of a trial was transformed.

Fifteen years have gone by in which the U.S. government and that country’s justice system have turned a deaf ear to the demand of United Nations organizations, Amnesty International, various Nobel prizewinners, parliamentarians and full parliaments, legal and religious figures and institutions. Only the lifting of this other blockade, the one imposed on the people of the United States to ensure that they do not know about it, would make possible the hope that this injustice could be brought to an end.

Today, Cuba will awake covered in yellow ribbons. The Cuban people will be the protagonists of this message, which appeals to a symbol that has become a tradition for the people of the United States. It will be an enormous challenge to those who have so successfully undertaken to silence this case, to now refuse to inform the world of this possibly unheard of event: that an entire people has adorned its country to ask another to demand of its government the liberation of their unjustly incarcerated sons.

Meanwhile we, The Five, will continue to be deserving of this massive display of affection; we will continue being the worthy sons of the generous people in solidarity who are leading it, and of the support of those who, around the world, have joined our cause; we will continue denouncing this injustice which has already lasted 15 years, and we will never give in, not one inch, from the moral advantage which has allowed us to resist and grow while we support the entire weight of a revengeful hatred on the part of the most powerful government on the planet.

Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René

Havana. September 12, 2013

Letter from a Cuban girl to the children of the United States – Carta de una niña cubana a las niñas y niños de Estados Unidos

September 13, 2013


Carolina es la única niña cubana de la representación diplomática de Cuba en Barbados. En ocasión del 15 Aniversario del encarcelamiento de los Cinco escribió una carta dirigida a los niños y niñas de EEUU, en inglés y español.

Carta de una niña cubana a las niñas y niños de Estados Unidos: ayuden al regreso de mis Cinco tíos a Cuba

Soy Carolina Hernandez Pérez, una niña de 9 años. Mi país es Cuba, una isla muy cerca de ustedes. Cuando vayan a la escuela verán en el mapa que Cuba parece un inmenso cocodrilo verde en el mar.

Amiguitos norteamericanos, hoy quiero pedirles un favor.

Hace muchos años cinco tíos míos viajaron a los Estados Unidos para evitar que personas malas que viven en Estados Unidos allí pusieran bombas y siguieran matando a personas y a niños como ustedes y como yo.

De una forma muy extraña mis cinco tíos fueron llevados a la cárcel y las malas personas que ponían bombas siguieron en libertad.

Hoy quiero pedirles que me ayuden a traer para Cuba a mis 5 tíos. Por favor aten una cinta amarilla a un árbol de roble y pídanle por favor a su Presidente que deje regresar a mis 5 tíos con sus familiares.

Los queremos de vuelta porque ellos son mi familia.

Les agradezco mucho y les mando muchos besos,


September 12th, 2013.

Letter from a Cuban girl to the children of the United States

My name is Carolina Hernandez Pérez and I am nine years old. My country is Cuba, an island very close to yours. When you go to school, look for a map and you will see that Cuba seems like a big green alligator in the sea.

Dear buddies, today I have a special favor to ask you.

Many years ago five uncles of mine traveled to your country to prevent that bad people living in the United States planting bombs and killing people and kids like you and me.

In a very strange way my five uncles were sent to jail and however the bad people I mentioned remained free.

Today I ask you to help me bring my five uncles to Cuba. Please tie a yellow ribbon around an oak old tree and ask your President let my uncles to return to Cuba with their family.

We want them back. They are my family.

Thank you very much and I send million kisses,


Cintas amarillas por Los Cinco. Foto: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate.


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