Archive for June 5th, 2014

Dear Mr. Gross

June 5, 2014


By Álvaro Fernández • Published on June 5, 2014 by ProgesoWeekly

Let me begin by telling you that I was one who believed 2014 would be a very good year for you and three others still in prison. This letter is to inform you that that light of hope is beginning to flicker.

Of course I would love to see you back home. I wish the same for the three remaining members of the Cuban Five still in U.S. prisons. But your chances grow slimmer the more I listen to the president and all others who fall in line behind him.

I bet you were excited when you heard the news of the past week. President Obama had traded five, who have been described as very dangerous, Afghan Taliban guerrilla leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. That’s right, five for one…

Still… you wait in a Cuban prison – for your commander in chief to take action. But you’re not a soldier, making your case different, we’ve been told. You’re simply an American citizen. By the way, the differentiation is not my take, those are words uttered by a spokesperson for the State Department, Jen Psaki. I guess this State Dept. fact makes you less important…

Your wife has led a brave campaign that demonstrates you really were a U.S. soldier, but instead of guns you carried military-grade, sophisticated telecommunications equipment. On paper you worked – although indirectly – for the U.S. government. But they’ve ignored poor Judy.

By the way, I’m a Taurus too. Born in May, just like you. And I read where you said you would not be alive by your next birthday. Your exact words were: “On May 2, I turn 65 years old and it will be my last birthday here.”

Not that I want you to die. To the contrary. Like I mentioned earlier I’d like to see you home with your wife and daughter. But if you claim that last month’s birthday was your final one in Cuba, then you better start getting your affairs in order.

The way I’m looking at this right now, if it’s up to the President and the U.S. Congress, you will probably perish in a Cuban prison.

And let me insist that it won’t be Cuba’s fault. Although Cuba will ultimately be blamed. In fact, I am starting to believe that your death is what the U.S. government wants. The ‘Alan Gross dies in a Cuban prison’ headline would be a propaganda coup for a whole bunch of people who don’t think much of you.

Yep. You’ve become a pawn in a political game. Notice I called you a pawn. Not even a rook or a knight.

The fact is that the president of the United States, his secretary of state, members of the U.S. Congress and a host of other people who labor for the U.S. government don’t seem to care much about you. They’ve demonstrated it over the past five years.

Sorry to be so blunt Mr. Gross, but it’s time you faced the facts. And like I said, start getting your things in order. Because if you’re serious about what you said, then by my next birthday, less than two weeks after yours, I promise to remember you, maybe say a prayer, for the gentleman who died in a Cuban jail because his government, and its president, did not bother to save him.

They could at least pretend, don’t you think? For example, the Cuban government has bent over backwards and frontwards and even sideways in an attempt to talk to U.S. government officials about your case. They’ve been ignored.

Jeez… in the America I thought I believed in persons like you are not left to rot. Because I keep asking myself, “What can you lose because of a simple conversation?”

Then again, there are members of congress, let’s start with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart, Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, who insist and in fact threaten the president if he dares to negotiate with the Cuban government. Here’s another question for you: “If Obama doesn’t negotiate, how’s he gonna save you?”

In other words, they want you dead. In the case of the four I mentioned, it would be a feather in their caps, especially with some of their voters – it would give them more reason to hate the Castros. And that translates to votes in some districts in this country.

But let’s be perfectly honest here. And I’ll start by stating that I voted for Obama – twice. If he’d run a third time… I would probably refrain from voting for him. Which, by the way, does not mean I would vote for the likes of Marco Rubio or even a Mitt Romney. Just wouldn’t cast a vote. Something I take very seriously.

Because Barack has had a tough time with a racist congress, I understand. But areas he’s able to control, use the power of the presidency, he’s usually punted. I’m not sure if its political cowardice, or whether he really believes he’s doing the right thing waiting for the other side to come around… The fact is that I’m tired of waiting for him.

So let me finish by stating that I hope I am totally wrong on this. I hope the president proves me wrong. I promise to write him a letter of apology if he does.

But based on the experience of the past five and one-half years, and if I was you, like I advised, start getting your affairs in order.

Sorry to bring you bad news. But somebody has to.


Alvaro F. Fernandez

Washington DC: Cause of Five Receives New Push Today

June 5, 2014

5 days for the 5

The advocacy of Five today received a boost when two authoritative voices on the subject spoke with reporters in Washington, exposing little-known intricacies of the legal process and shed light on an issue about which the attitude of the media has here been marked by a deliberate distancing.

On Wednesday morning, convened by the International Committee to Free the Five, at the National Press Club, were Stephen Kimber, Canadian professor and author, and lawyer Martin Garbus, who heads the legal team in the case .

Was this the prelude to what will be the Third “5 Days for the 5” in the U.S. capital, where for the third consecutive year, starting tomorrow, people from all over the U.S., along with delegations from Europe, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, will meet to discuss the case of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters and demand changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba.

During the press conference today, attorney Martin Garbus referred to the use of federal money to pay reporters in Miami, describing it as an action that violates U.S. law and about which, he said, the legal team of Five has asked the government to release documents held nsvk, because “we do not know what is in it, but it’s huge,” he said.

Garbus said the subversive activities of the U.S. government over the print and broadcast media in Miami to get a conviction against the Five “verges on the unthinkable and unprecedented.”

Canadian academic and journalist Stephen Kimber, author of “What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five,” was critical of the legal process under which the five were prosecuted, while U.S. claimed “Some kind of humanitarian exchange” for these.

The Third “5 days for the 5” runs through June 10 and includes lectures and panel discussions on the future of US-Cuba relations.

The formal opening session of the conference on Thursday will feature the actor Danny Glover, a well-known supporter of efforts for the release of the Five.

(This came from Juan Jacomino at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC. Spanish below. Google translation revised by Walter Lippmann.)
Washington DC: Causa de los Cinco recibe nuevo impulso

La defensa de la causa de los Cinco recibió hoy un nuevo impulso cuando dos voces autorizadas en el tema dialogaron con la prensa en Washington, exponiendo interioridades poco conocidas del proceso legal y arrojando luz sobre un asunto acerca del cual la actitud de los medios aquí ha estado marcada por un deliberado distanciamiento.

En la mañana de hoy miércoles, convocados por el Comité Internacional por la Liberación de los Cinco, comparecían en el National Press Club de esta ciudad Stephen Kimber, profesor y autor canadiense, y el abogado Martin Garbus, quien encabeza el equipo legal en el caso.

Era este el preludio de lo que será la Tercera Jornada “5 días por los 5” en la capital norteamericana, donde por tercer año consecutivo, a partir de mañana, personas de todas partes de los EE.UU, junto con delegaciones de Europa, Canadá, América Latina y el Caribe, se reunirán para examinar el caso de los Cinco luchadores cubanos contra el terrorismo y demandar modificaciones en la política de EE.UU. hacia Cuba.

Durante la conferencia de prensa hoy, el abogado Martin Garbus se refirió a la utilización de dinero federal para el pago a periodistas en Miami, acción que describió como violatoria de la ley norteamericana y acerca de la cual dijo que el equipo legal de los Cinco ha pedido al gobierno que libere los documentos que posee, pues “lo que aún no sabemos es enorme”, aseguró.

Garbus expresó que el accionar subversivo del gobierno estadounidense sobre los medios impresos, radiales y televisivos de Miami para obtener una condena contra los Cinco “raya en lo inconcebible, y no tiene precedentes”.

El académico y periodista canadiense Stephen Kimber, autor del libro “What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five”, fue crítico del proceso legal bajo el cual fueron procesados los Cinco, al tiempo que reclamó de EE.UU. “algún tipo de intercambio humanitario” para estos.

La Tercera Jornada “5 días por los 5” se extenderá hasta el 10 de junio y contempla conferencias y paneles de discusión sobre el futuro de las relaciones Estados Unidos-Cuba.

La sesión de apertura formal de la Jornada este jueves contará con la presencia del actor Danny Glover, conocido partidario de los esfuerzos por la liberación de los Cinco.

Gerardo Hernández birthday: From his cell, he sends us a message

June 5, 2014


June 3, 2014

Gerardo Hernández is 49 today. We recently posted an announcement on Cubadebate about how to send him Happy Birthday messages through our website or writing directly to the radio program hosted by Tanya Torres in California. He’s been in prison for 15 years after a trumped-up trial in Miami that gave him a very long and unjust sentence: two life terms plus 15 years, which is currently serving in the prison of Victorville, California.

In his cell he can listen to Tanya’s program “Canto sin fronteras” (Song without borders). The first broadcast took place last Saturday, May 31 (the next one will be on June 7). What follows is Gerardo’s reaction, written in a letter that he sent to International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five coordinator Alicia Jrapko.

My sister:

I’d like to convey my joy and appreciation to Tanya in this language [Spanish], as there’s no better one to express our emotions… I confess that every year on June 4 Tanya surprises me and at the end of her program I tell myself the same thing: “If the Five are not released earlier, on my next birthday it will be harder for Tanya and her team to dedicate to me a better program than this one!”

But I’m always wrong: they invariably surprise me, and in a better way every year. I was quite moved by today’s program as I listened to the concert they dedicated to Fernando at the University of Havana. My brother’s words, the music, the ad-libbing, what our dear and recently deceased Juan Formell said… All of it! I thought I was dreaming.

I know there are many hands –and many hearts!– behind such a surprise, and I also know there will be a second part next Saturday, so I would like to convey my huge appreciation to Tanya and her team at “Canto sin Fronteras”, the KPFK staff, the comrades who have sent and will keep on sending their best wishes, and in general all those who have made this present possible, as they have all the others that always surprise me when I receive them through the ether right in my cell year after year.

I sincerely thank you all on behalf of the Five, and I assure you –what’s more, I promise Tanya– that one day, when we are already enjoying the freedom that all of you have fought and will keep on fighting so hard for, it will be us who will surprise you through the same radio waves with warm greetings from our dearest homeland. As we used to say in Africa, back when the Cubans and Angolans shared the same trenches, “The struggle goes on! Victory is certain!”

A strong hug,

May 31, 8:42pm

A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.

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