We are proud to announce the Cuban Five as the 2014 People’s Choice Award Winners!
In 1998, five Cuban intelligence agents were arrested following their surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They were brought up on multiple charges including espionage. These five men were sent from Cuba to investigate and report on right-wing groups in Miami planning attacks against the Castro government and the Cuban people. Their presence in the U.S. was in response to several attacks in Cuba for which these U.S.-based groups claimed responsibility, including bomb attacks at many popular tourist hotels and restaurants in Havana.
The trial for the Cuban Five was conducted in Miami, despite objections that the city’s legacy as a bastion of anti-Castro extremists was not conducive to an impartial hearing. The men received lengthy prison sentences, and when jailed, were kept in isolation for extended periods of time. The imprisonment of the Five has been deemed arbitrary by a United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2005, and the arrest, trial, verdict, and sentencing has been protested and criticized by activists, Nobel Laureates, EU Parliamentarians, and prominent characters including the former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and many others around the world. Committees to free the Cuban Five exist in hundreds of communities.
The situation surrounding the case of the Cuban Five should be understood as a microcosm for relations between the United States and Cuba at the time, and into the present day. The treatment and imprisonment of the Cuban Five is colored by the continued antagonism that defines the U.S. approach to the Caribbean nation.
Selection of the People’s Choice Honoree was based on the following evaluation criteria:
The number of votes from the public each candidate receives
Evidence of contribution to human rights struggles
Demonstration that the People’s Choice Award honor will strengthen and advance the candidate’s efforts and work
The 2014 People’s Choice Award
Join us in shining a light on the tireless efforts of Human Rights Advocates, the individuals and organizations that inspire you. The Cuban Five will be honored at the 2014 Human Rights Awards on May 8th, in San Francisco, CA.