Archive for September, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the new head of the US Interest Section and the implications for the case of the Cuban Five

September 18, 2014

NYC Havana Blog

One of the key moments in the story of the Cuban Five occurred on the morning of May 6, 1998, when Nobel-prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez arrived at the White House in Washington carrying a secret message from Cuban President Fidel Castro.

That message — about an exile terrorist plot to blow up an airplane carrying tourists to Cuba — led to that White House meeting and then, directly, to a meeting a month later in Havana between Cuban State Security and a delegation from the FBI, not to forget, indirectly, to the arrests, less than three months after that, of the Cuban Five.


Among the American participants in the May 6 meeting with Garcia Marquez was a man named Jeff Delaurentis. At the time, Delaurentis was “director of Inter-American affairs at the NSC and special advisor on Cuba.” Earlier this summer, Delaurentis was named the new Head of the U.S. Interest Section (the equivalent of…

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Final Declaration and Action Plan of the 10th International Colloquium for the Release of the Five Heroes and against Terrorism.

September 17, 2014


Havana, September 11th-12th, 2014

The 10th International Colloquium for the Release of the Five Heroes and against Terrorism, which concludes today in Havana, with the presence of ­­­266 delegates representing the Movement of Solidarity with Cuba in 45 countries, takes place in an important context; Fernando and René, Heroes of the Republic of Cuba have returned to their Homeland, after serving until the last minute their unfair sentences. They, along with their brothers who are still incarcerated in U.S. prisons: Antonio Ramón and Gerardo are symbols of resistance in the fight for peace and against terrorism.

After 16 years of an unfair incarceration, the U.S. government continues to defy its own and international law, violating the Human Rights of the three comrades that remain in jail and their families.

The Cuban Five were declared guilty of charges that were never proved, suffered from being arbitrarily locked-up in punishment cells, the legal team’s demands for a trial outside Miami, where there would be no anti-Cuban prejudice conditioning the jury’s verdict, were not taken into account.

The last legal resource protecting the Cuban antiterrorists, the Habeas Corpus presented by the defense before the Judge, more than 4 years ago, remains unanswered, they don’t seem to care about 5844 days of unfair imprisonment.

We have witnessed how the international claim for justice has been ignored, ten Nobel Prizewinners, governments, parliamentarians, religious, political and opinion leaders, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, International Amnesty, several human rights organizations, jurists, trade unionists and more than 6000 intellectuals and artists from all over the world, have claimed for Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio’s rights to be respected.
Former President Jimmy Carter said in April, 2011 “I believe that the detention of the Cuban Five makes no sense, there has been doubts expressed in the U.S. courts and by human rights organizations around the world. They have now been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be freed to return to their homes”
Too much time away from their families and loved ones! Too much time for those who should not have spent one single second in prison!

Too much suffering and darkness for those who defend the truth and the light of hope and justice!

The Colloquium has based on the experience of what has been done so far, endorsed in nine previous Colloquiums successfully held in Holguín province, and has favored the Exchange of experiences and the deep and objective debate about what’s yet to be done, which is included in the Action Plan attached to this Declaration.

It can be noticed the strength and maturity reached by the Solidarity Movement for the Liberation of the Cuban Five worldwide, shown in the quality of the actions and initiatives executed, as well as in their scope. The main challenge is still to reach the U.S. power structures with that energy and experience gained, key point to solve the situation of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio.

Dear friends:

The battle for the liberation of Antonio, Ramón and Gerardo is the most urgent cause in Cuba now, along with the end of the genocide blockade. It is supported by all those who defend the inalienable right to sovereignty and dignity of the peoples.

The U.S. government in an arbitrary and illegal way has used the case of the Five Heroes, discrediting once again its legal system, to maintain its political positions against the Cuban Revolution, and in particular the socialist system. By punishing the Five Patriots, not only they are trying to condemn Cuba, but also everyone who tries to defy the Imperial Power.

The values, principles, and integrity shown by the Cuban Heroes have become a dignity bastion for the just causes of other peoples, and therefore we ratify that the International Solidarity Movement for the Liberation of the Cuban Five will maintain its activism and actions until justice is done and they return home. We are certain that united we can achieve it.

We make a call to reinforce our fight to prevent that Gerardo spends the rest of his life in prison, that Ramón health continues affecting and that Anotnio fails to meet in time with his beloved mother, in the haste of time.

To return Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio to life and to their people would represent a positive gesture of respect to International Law regulations, to honest people in the world and it would put an end to the damage inflicted to the Cuban Five and their families. It’s President Obama who can avoid the perpetuity of this colossal injustice. If he fails to do so, he will receive international repudiation and the claim of the peoples for the prevalence of Truth and Justice.

We will never stop fighting!

Say No to State terrorism against Cuba!

16 years is too much time. Not even another single minute!

Immediate and unconditional freedom for para Antonio, Gerardo and Ramón!

Action Plan resulting from the 10th International Colloquium for the Release of the Five Heroes and against Terrorism.

For all the reasons and wills endorsed in this declaration, the international solidarity movement for the cause of our Five Brothers gathered in this 10th Colloquium, and in close coordination with the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples and the International Committee for the Liberation of the Five Heroes, summon to:

1- Address every man and woman with good will, specially the people from the U.S., to support the demand for the immediate release of our three antiterrorists, demanding in every possible way Barack Obama President of the United States to end this injustice.

2- Intensify the spreading of information on the case taking into account the political scenario and the growing interest in a change of policy towards Cuba in the eve of the presidential elections that will take place in 2016, so that this becomes an additional pressure element that forces the current U.S. administration to find a humanitarian solution to the case.

3- Strengthen the information spreading work to attract attention on the impact of subversive actions against Cuba, organized and financed in U.S. territory aiming to ratify the effectiveness of terrorism against Cuba, which motivated the work of the Five Heroes inside counterrevolutionary organizations and the anti-Cuban mafia based in the U.S.

4- Support the initiatives carried out in U.S. territory in favor of the cause and in particular the IV Symposium of Accusation and Solidarity “5 Days for the Five in Washington D.C.”, in September 2015, joining it with parallel actions around the world, to make the case more visible to the media and to obtain the necessary impact in International Public Opinion.

5- To sustain the initiative presented by the South African delegation to convene an International Meeting in the first semester of the year 2015.

6- Increase the mobilization around the case of parliamentarians around the world to direct statements to their counterparts in the U.S. senate and Congress, as well as culture, science, art and sports celebrities of international prestige that can contribute to multiply the message and increase political pressure.

7- Work with higher efficiency and creativity the publicity of the different campaigns, the results of the events and the visits of the relatives of the Five, in order to achieve a wide media repercussion, giving priority to the use of materials in different formats and languages, which can be promoted in alternative media.

8- Make more efficient use of the social networks and information technologies as information instrument to counteract the media silence on the case.

9- Encourage the approval of motions and/or declarations in favor of the freedom of the Five in national, regional and local Parliaments and Legislations.

10- Continue the actions in the 5th day of every month to prioritize the letters and messages sent to President Obama and the U.S. institutions, added to demonstrations in front of that country’s diplomatic venues in the world.

11- Request to religious congregations and institutions their intervention in favor of the Five, to favor a humanitarian solution of the case.

12- Promote the support to different trade unions of the world to the Campaign, giving priority to the influence on their U.S. counterparts.

13- Achieve a higher interrelation with the legal sector in order to take advantage of every legal resource in favor of the cause and to condemn the violations and arbitrary acts of the U.S. legal system.

14- Request support from the youth organizations to join the cause, using their spaces and potentials, promoting cultural, sports, educational and social mobilization actions among others.

15- Increase the work with intellectuals, artists, athletes, and opinion leaders, to strengthen the spreading work from multiple scenarios and in their spaces of social influence.

16- Arrange solidarity actions with Cuba at national, regional and global level, aiming to increase the claim for justice and freedom for the Five. Lograr acciones concertadas de solidaridad con Cuba a nivel nacional, regional y mundial, con vistas a incrementar el clamor de justicia y libertad para los Cinco.

17- Demand the freedom of Oscar López Rivera, Puerto Rican patriot incarcerated for 33 years in U.S. prisons. Likewise, demand the freedom of the Palestinian prisoners, among them more than two hundred minors in prisons of the terrorist state of Israel. Support initiatives such as the South African Conference in Solidarity with the Five, the event Mothers of the World for the Five, the bike rides, the next Colloquium and other actions that make this injustice visible.

La Santita: Justice for the Cuban Five

September 17, 2014

A hero of Cuba to Spain.

September 16, 2014

Just out: New report into the International Commission of Inquiry into the Case of the Cuban Five

September 15, 2014

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

report on inquiry into the case of the cuban fiveThe report of the proceedings of the International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban (Miami) Five, held at the Law Society in London in March 2014, is now available in a new publication.

Sara ChandlerElizabeth WoodcraftThe two Commission Coordinators, Sara Chandler (photo left), chair of the Law Society Human Rights Committee and leading barrister Elizabeth Woodcraft (photo right) launched the report at a packed meeting at the House of Commons in London on 10 September, hosted by Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn and Baroness Angela Smith.

Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, the featured speaker at the London meeting, recounted the latest visa denial by the British Government banning her husband from entering the country.

In a 44-page magazine format, written in English and Spanish, the outstanding success of the Commission and its associated events is recorded. It presents the concluding statements of the three presiding judges…

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The Infinite Weight of 16 years

September 13, 2014

_10th-international-symposium-for-the-five-2014-09-12( Photo: Roberto Suárez )

The kids are grown up, the Five have aged, there is no family which time has not reached to see the end of this fight. So much injustice calls for strengthening the global solidarity movement with this cause

By: Nyliam Vázquez García and Susana Gomes Bugallo

So that Ignacio René, the grandson of René González, will not have to fight for Gerardo, over 280 delegates from around 45 countries have met in the 10th International Symposium for the Release of the Five and against Terrorism, to tell how they have made this fight theirs, and what is the plan so that Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio do not spend a second more in prison.

The reason given by Irma González, daughter of René, amid the exchange of the children and nephews of the Five, was the perfect reflection to illustrate the need for the end of an injustice that has lasted for 16 years.

This is the first colloquium in which Fernando is participating after having completed serving his sentence. René was in the ninth and now is travelling various parts of the world, as well as other family members, to support what is happening in these days of intense solidarity.

Living testimony to the manipulations of the trial and the inner world of these men part of the rigged trial, is in the Acquitted by solidarity exhibition by the poet hero which inaugurated this conference and shocked everyone by mixing complaint, patriotism and even humour implicitly involved in the 16 watercolours. But more than that, what can be seen, said Maria Eugenia Guerrero, sister of Tony, at the inauguration- is the love that the artist puts into his work.

The new exhibition by Tony-a journey through the memories of the seven months of the trial-continues the story begun by the artist in the exhibition I die as I lived. With his particular way of telling the dramatic experiences, as he has done with the Hole, in those of the trial, there is also a lot of synthesis and reflection without an iota of hatred. Tony returns to his sensitivity to talk about love and the profound significance it had for them to speak their truth in Miami, despite knowing that in that city a fair trial would be impossible.

Justice in London, a documentary by Roberto Chile on the International Commission of Inquiry held in March, was presented as evidence of the fight in Europe. Rob Miller, director of the campaign of solidarity with Cuba in Britain, told the media of some of their expectations for the next analysis that must occur in his country due to the recent denial of visa to René to participate in London in activities in commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the arrest.

Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States, who gave strength to this meeting with his wise arguments, confirmed that the event is proof that Cuba has earned respect with the actions of many friends around the world who have made this struggle the centre of their life.

It is not a crime to prevent violence in the world, nor a crime what is done to protect the people. Many decent people in America suffer the injustices committed against these men and are here to confirm the position of all those who want peace on earth, he said on behalf of the 38 Americans, the largest delegation attending the symposium.

Christopher Matlako, representing the South African Communist Party, said that the solidarity is growing in his country and the solidarity movement proposed to hold a meeting in South Africa as a symbol of the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

For his part, Marcelo Elio Chavez, president of the Chamber of Deputies of the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia, denounced that the United States called terrorists patriots, dignified and defenders of independence. He further ruled that Washington has not responded to any of the reports various international organizations have issued demanding justice.

Tamara Hansen, University of Vancouver, Canada, said that we all have the political responsibility to fight for the Five and we must do it in a more coordinated and attractive way to achieve effectiveness and reach everyone through social networks or any more interactive and dynamic way. She called for each country to gather their solidarity groups each fifth day of each month to face any representatives of the USA, as the solidarity movement of her region has done for 106 months.

To us the Five remind us of our imprisoned comrades, said Wafika Mehdi Ibrahim, representative of the fight in Lebanon, who brought greetings and the testimony from Anwar Mohamad Yassine, who spent 17 years imprisoned in Zionist prisons and is now an active member of the Committee in Solidarity with the Five in their country.

Graciela Ramirez, coordinator of the International Committee to Free the Five, called for unity of the solidarity movement and read a message from Alicia Jrapko, coordinator of the organization in the United States, who is leading the actions taking place these days in Washington.

Jrapko proposed holding the 4th Five Days for the Five in Washington in September 2015, to allow more time to organize the event, which necessarily is looking to shake the American public that knows little of the injustice committed on its soil.

A life in the battle

When they started this fight they were still infants. Today they are men and women who continue demanding justice for the murder of their family members at the hands of terrorists. Odalys Perez Rodriguez, daughter of the captain of a Cuban airliner that was flown from Barbados and blown up on October 6, 1976, advocated the imprisonment of Luis Posada Carriles and the rest of the murderers who remain free, while the Five are suffering prison.

Researchers and active fighters against terrorism denounced the constant attacks on the State and people of Cuba, how the Five fought to prevent these actions against any country in the world, and the sentences they received as an extreme and irrational injustice.

Not another colloquium, not another second

The Final Declaration concluded the first day of the Symposium. It planned to increase the call for upcoming events, to give more strength to this fight.

After the committee meeting of the different geographical areas of the world, representatives of these groups told the rapporteur of their discussions and proposed initiatives considered most effective.

Letters to the American president and his wife by the thousand and are designed to raise their position on the case; Miami activists protesting outside the office of the judge of the case, Joan Lenard; digital campaigns targeting youth; increased use of new technologies and social networks to disseminate information; plan more attractive and varied activities that include cultural, sporting and recreational events; take the case to world religious leaders to pray for the rights of the Five; were some of the proposals.

Fernando González thanked Holguin, headquarters for nine years, the delegates to the 10th Colloquium, and all fighting for Five in the world.

He reasoned that the fight should focus on that every action has repercussions in the United States, in order to influence the power structures. He said that this is the time to put pressure on this government, to see more losses than gains in their attitude and feel the need to eliminate this policy of continued aggression against Cuba.

The Final Declaration mentioned that this cause is the most urgent for Cuba, together with the lifting of the genocidal blockade maintained for more than five decades. The solidarity movement of the world agreed that the actions will continue until the Five return home.

As the Action Plan of the 10th International Colloquium for the release of the Five and against Terrorism, in addition to the ideas of the working committees, it was agreed to continue to involve all people of good will into the cause, especially young.

The upcoming international events and initiatives in each region should have the greatest possible coverage and grow in visibility and influence. Mobilising the world’s parliamentarians to influence peers and enlist artists who are followed by people is one of the purposes in order to succeed in this struggle.

Symposium delegates united on one of the points of the action plan’s commitment to youth organizations to add the new generations to fight for the return of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio.

Also at the event were José Ramón Balaguer, member of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee and head of its Department of International Relations; Rogelio Sierra, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, and Ricardo Alarcon, tireless fighter in the case of the Five.

Translated by ESTI

World Bank: Cuba has the best educational system in Latin America and the Caribbean.

September 13, 2014

NYC Havana Blog

Photo: Ladyrene Pérez / CubaDebate

By: Salim Lamrani.

The World Bank has just published a revealing report on the issue of education in Latin America and the Caribbean.Titled excellent teachers.How to improve learning in Latin America and the Caribbean , the study examines the public education systems of the countries of the continent and the main challenges they face.

According to the World Bank, “no Latin American school system, with the possible exception of Cuba” has global parameters.

In Latin America, teachers in basic education (preschool, primary and secondary) is a human capital of 7 million people, or 4% of the workforce in the region, and more than 20% of technical workers and professionals .Their wages then 4% of the continent’s GDP and their working conditions vary from region to region, even within national borders.The teachers, poorly paid, are mostly women-an average of 75% – and belong to the modest social…

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Cuba was the first country to respond to the call of UN against Ebola.

September 13, 2014

NYC Havana Blog

After meeting in Geneva with World Health Organization director general Margaret Chan, Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales said that given the history of Cuban international collaboration, particularly in healthcare, Cuba has been asked to join the group of countries which will provide an initial response to the Ebola epidemic in Africa.

Minister Morales visited Geneva in response to a call by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to fight Ebola, according to Prensa Latina.


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Symposium of Solidarity with#Cuban Five Comes to a Close.

September 13, 2014

Imprisoned for Fighting Terrorism

September 13, 2014


The Cuban Five are Not Alone
Imprisoned for Fighting Terrorism

Can you be imprisoned for fighting terrorism?

Yes, if you fight terrorism in Miami.

Today marks 16 years that five Cuban men known as the Cuban Five have endured prison — 5,840 days — precisely for having fought terrorism in Miami.

The reason is, the terrorism the Cuban Five were fighting against has been supported and financed by the U.S. government, through the CIA and other means.

The Cuban Five were prosecuted by the U.S. government and convicted on espionage conspiracy charges, but their real “crime” was working to uncover and thwart terrorist plots of Cuban-American paramilitary organizations based in Miami.

In the name of fighting terrorism, the U.S. government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in wars and occupations since 9/11.

But Washington should arrest and prosecute Cuban-American extremists in Miami who have carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks against Cuba.

And it should immediately free the Cuban Five, who took on the incredible mission of infiltrating those dangerous and deadly organizations in order to disrupt their armed attacks and save lives.

Long before the crime of 9/11, the Cuban people experienced the scourge of terrorism.

More than 3,400 Cubans have been killed and 2,000 wounded in armed attacks carried out by Miami-based Cuban right-wing terrorists since the early 1960s, a fact unknown to most Americans.

Yet, the FBI has never placed any of those Cuban-American criminals on its “Most Wanted” list, nor its “Most Wanted Terrorists” list.

That is because the CIA trained and armed them — almost 4,000 Cuban right-wing exiles — to carry out bombings, assassinations and biological warfare against Cuba.

Because of its close proximity to Cuba, Miami became the central base of operations for right-wing Cuban exiles who fled Cuba after the 1959 revolution, many with nefarious histories who had acted as henchmen for U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Dozens of paramilitary organizations sprang from this massive CIA operation based in Miami, groups like Alpha 66, Omega 7, Comandos F-4.

The impunity granted to literally dozens of Cuban exile terrorists by the U.S. government is shameful.

One example was Batista torturer Esteban Ventura, chief of Havana’s 5th Police Precinct. Notorious for massacring many young Cubans in the 1950s, he escaped to Miami after Batista’s overthrow.

Washington repeatedly refused Cuba’s requests to extradite Ventura. He lived in Miami — sheltered by the U.S. government —until his death in 2001.

But a search of names on the Internet reveals a shocking and disturbing list of other men and their crimes: among them, Orlando Bosch, Guillermo Novo Sampol, Gaspar Jiménez, Pedro Remón Crispín, and the godfather of Miami terrorists, Luis Posada Carriles.

To this day, Luis Posada Carriles, walks the streets of Miami a free man, despite being the mastermind of the mid-air bombing of Cubana airlines plane on Oct. 6, 1976, killing 73 people.

Again, despite Venezuela’s repeated requests for Washington to extradite Posada Carriles to Caracas — where he engineered the Cubana bombing, the U.S. has refused.

With Miami paramilitary groups posing a constant threat to its people, the Cuban government had to act.

Starting in 1990, the Cuban Five entered the United States in order to monitor those extremist organizations and individuals. They successfully infiltrated the groups, gaining their confidence while in reality working to disrupt the plots.

The Cuban Five even reported to the FBI plots and crimes they had uncovered.

But instead of prosecuting the Miami extremists, the FBI raided the homes of the Cuban Five anti-terrorists, on Sept. 12, 1998 and arrested them. They have been imprisoned ever since.

The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.

In a seven-month process that did not remotely resemble a fair trial, the five defendants were denied several motions to move the trial out of Miami.

How could Miami be a neutral venue, a city that has awarded terrorists like Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles with medals and keys to the city, where bombings exploded frequently in the 1970s and 1980s, where 6-year-old Elián González was held captive for five months by the extremists?

The Five were held pre-trial in solitary confinement for 17 months, despite having no discipline issues. The Miami media went on a tirade against the defendants for two-and-a-half years, including during trial.

Later, it has been revealed through subsequent investigations, that dozens of Miami journalists in radio, TV and newspaper were on the U.S. government payroll, many of them actually covering the Cuban Five trial in the most prejudicial manner imaginable. This fact alone, Miami reporters creating a poisoned atmosphere against the defendants while secretly receiving U.S. government money, should nullify their convictions immediately.

Today, this new evidence forms the basis of their Habeas Corpus appeals.

But the same judge, the same court district, the same venue is where the appeals are being reviewed. Justice can hardly be expected there.

The Cuban Five never belonged a day in prison. In any other country, they would be honored as heroes for putting their lives on the line to save other people.

Two of the Five, René González and Fernando González, completed their sentences and returned home to their families in Cuba, but the remaining three, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero, are fighting for their freedom and justice.

They are not alone. Today, hundreds of support actions are taking place around the world and across the United States.

President Barack Obama has the power to undo an enormous injustice. Let the Cuban Five go home to Cuba now.

Gloria La Riva is coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, formed soon after their convictions in 2001.,

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