Posts Tagged ‘amnesty international’

Gerardo : We were subjected a grossly unfair trial

September 30, 2015

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An Interview with Gerardo Hernández one of the three Cuban agents
released following the Havana-Washington agreement.

We were subjected a grossly unfair trial

Eduardo Febbro
<http://www.rebelion.org/mostrar.php?tipo=5&id=Eduardo%20Febbro&inicio=0&gt;
Página/12
translated by Sean Joseph Clancy

*If there is a story within the story that might serve as a synopsis
of the bitter history between the U.S. and Cuba, it is that of Cuban
agents condemned to serve sentences in North American jails,
disproportionate to what they had actually done.

A few stops beyond the stairs to a station in North Brussels, where an
elderly orhestra are making an unholy mess of the “Besame Mucho” song,
one of three Cuban intelligence agents released as part of a
settlement partially mediated by the Vatican on the reestablishment of
diplomatic ties.

If there is a story within the story that might serve as a synopsis of
the bitter history between the U.S. and Cuba, it is that of Cuban
agents condemned to serve sentences in North American jails,
disproportionate to what they had actually done.

Gerardo Hernández is one of 5 Cuban intelligence agents who along with
Ramon Lanañino, Fernando Gonzalez Llort, Rene Gonzalez Sehewerert and
Antinio Guerrero Rodriguez who during the mid 1990’s  undertook
special missions within the U.S. in order to discover and prevent
terrorist actions, including attacks on hotel and tourist resorts and
sabotage by counter-revolutionary groups planned in Miami and later
carried out in Cuba.

The Five were uncovered and arrested in 1998. Later in what was one of
the longest trials in North American judicial history, the Cubans were
issued sentences which essentially were political punishments
orchestrated by the U.S. administrations obsession with Cuba.
Gerardo Hernandez, accused of “conspiracy to commit murder” was given
two life sentences.

Generally speaking, cases involving unregistered foreign agents
discovered operating in a foreign territory are dealt with behind
closed doors and resolved by negotiation. The case of the Cuban Five
was the polar opposite. Amid espionage and other outrageous
accusations, they were tried by a court in Miami and used as
implements of political manipulation.

Free today, the refreshing intelligence of Gerardo Hernandez reveals
no trace of the 16 years spent in North American penitentiaries, the
abuses suffered nor the long months of detention in rigorously imposed
solitary confinement.

Thanks to interventions by U.S. senator Patrick Leahy, one of those
who has most fervently  advocated for the lifting of the U.S. blockade
of Cuba, Hernandez had a son while still in prison.

The senator helped organize for Gerardos wife, Adriana Perez, br
artificially inseminated.
Following 18 months of secret negotiations with Pope Francis as
guarantor, the seemingly impossible dreams of freedom of the three
agents still behind bars in U.S. jails – Antonio, Gerardo and Ramon –
became a reality on the day of the historical declarations, December
17th 2014.

–The theme of the Cuban agents was what had been blocking, but that
also eventually unlocked the key to, negotiations with the U.S.

–Yes, exactly, our case remained very much in the air because of more
than 50 years of adversarial or non-existent relations with the U.S.
which are what led to the politicized nature of the trial of the Cuban
Five and what underpinned the cruel nature of our treatment.

Remember, there was a case a few years ago regarding the arrest of
Russian spies.  That was speedily dealt with  by negotiation and they
were repatriated without ever having to stand trial.

Our case was complicated by the history of conflict between the U.S.
and Cuba, which is paradoxically what eventually facilitated a
resolution.

For certain, the resolution of our case cannot only be attributed to
the negotiations, because the solidarity we experienced over so many
years was also relevant.

The Five of us had become very well known, there were presidents, and
religious, cultural  and political personalities, all calling for our
release.

Ours had become a most embarrassing case for the north Americans. It
had taken a lot of work for us to develop any awareness of our case.

It had been one of the longest in U.S. legal history; lasting 7 months
during which more than 100 witnesses testified. The press however
maintained an amost blanket silence.

Little by little the solidarity work of comrades who took to the
streets  protesting became necessary.

–Today we know that the Pope played a leading role in the agreement.
The Vatican was the  guarantor of the liberation process. Were you
aware of the Vaticans intervention?

–No, I did not know about it. It came as a surprise because we were
removed from that entire negotiation process. I did not know about the
role played by the Vatican.  It was afterwards that I learned about
the parts played by various cardinals, amongst them the Archbishop of
Havana and Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who I hold in high esteem. We are
truly grateful.

We have always accepted the help of all persons of goodwill. It must
be remembered that in addition to the political connotations
surrounding our case that there was a profound human tragedy also
unfolding. I am glad that  Pope Francis, being a Latin American was
conscientious.

I can honestly express great admiration for him. He has demonstrated a
very courageous attitudes, worthy of respect. On behalf of the Five
and our families, beneficiaries of this attitude, I send him our
thanks.

–If one examines the terms of negotiation, Cuba did not really concede
anything at all. Washington always maintained that they would never
deal with Cuba in the present political context, but did so
nevertheless.

–My personal opinion is that for a very long time the U.S. held that
line, that as long as there was a Castro in power in Cuba –which is
how they refer to the Revolution with the Cuban people in power – and
that they would also  never negotiate with Cuba while the Communist
Party remained in power and the Revolution remained.

All of these conditions still exist and we nevertheless have talked
under the only condition always imposed by Cuba, that the talks are
between equals and absolutely respectful  of our independence and
sovereignty.

–Did you at any point feel the weight of history on your shoulders?
The Five were, to a very great extent , the key to the knot

–I never saw the case as being of that magnitude. More towards the
end, when there were rumors of a solution, and especially when our
release was announced I began to feel it somewhat. I did then —
without knowing the extent of the progress — imagine that this might
be the route to further progress. When Raul Castro spoke with our
family members by his side is when I fully realized.

The three released Cubans knew nothing about the talks. We were
informed one day prior to our releases and we learned about the
reestablishment of diplomatic relations through Raul’s speech.

–Your case in an example for the world about the use of the justice
system as a weapon in a conflict with another state.

–Yes, the case of the Five was a revenge attack against the Cuban
Revolution and Cuban Revolutionaries. The U.S. saw an opportunity to
score a point and did so by taking Five men hostage. We accepted that
we had, by possessing false passports and operating as foreign agents
unregistered with the State Department, violated U.S law.

Ok, but we had a legal right to enter a “necessity” defense and to
outline why, but that was not permitted. The trial was held in Miami
where we, in reality, had no rights whatsoever. This was a totally
biased trial.

We were found guilty and given the maximum possible sentences on every
count. They thought that by punishing the Five meant punishing the
Cuban Revolution.

Their initial plan was to have all of us betray Cuba and mount a media
show against the Revolution.

That did not happen and so came 17 months initially — and later many
more —  in punishment cells without ever hacing committed and
indiscipline. This is why our wives were denied visits.

–Paradoxically, while you were being condemned , there were people
distributing a very thick manual in Miami.

–Incredible! The US claims to wage war against terrorism.  Young North
Americans serve in the Army and die in other countries in the name of
this war on terror. But the terrorists are here!

Luis Posada Carriles remains at liberty to stroll around the Miami
streets despite being responsible for the attack on  the Cubana
Airlines plane in 1976 in which 73 people lost their lives and the
bombing of hotels in Havana in which a young Italian man was killed.

He has an long record of terrorism but freely walks the streets.
Carriles and others were trained by the CIA to bring down the Cuban
Revolution. There have been points in history when the CIA had nothing
to do with them, but during these they turned a blind eye to them as
they continued uninhibited to do as they wished.

–Was this the mission you were dispatched to Miami on, to investigate
such groups?

–Yes, to investigate terrorist groups such as Alpha 66, The F4
Commandos, Brothers to the Rescue… and these groups still exist,
still have their training camps there

Cuba had certainly complained many times to the US Government about
the activities of such groups, but they continued to carry on with
impunity, creating the necessity for Cuba to send agents to monitor
and infiltrate them and to send information back to Cuba to prevent
acts of terrorism.

–Have your views on the US or the Revolution changed?

–They have changed in that today my character and my revoltionary
convictions are more solid now, as is my love for the Cuban people.

I lived for 16 years in those jails and that society and during that
time encountered within the prisons a great number of experiences,
human dramas,  young people – barely twenty years of age — who might
have been doctors or engineers condemned to life sentences. This is
because there is a system that, from the moment of their birth,
instills in them that they must aquire more, that they should walk
over anyone to get ahead in life and get what they want.

This is absolute brutalization, it is truly a human tragedy. Those
years spent in the US, both on the streets and behind bars have
reaffirmed my conviction that, no matter what problems we may have in
Cuba, we must continue to work to improve our system and our
socialism.

I do not anything like I witnessed in the U.S. for Cuba. But I do not
feel any resentment or bitterness to the U.S. No, I feel compassion
and no hatred for anybody.

–You were also confronted by the great change that the one time great
enemy of Cuba might be transforming, even into a potential ally.
The Cuba of your time in prison is not the Cuba to which you been freed.

–For sure! It would be strange if it were the same Cuba because that
would require a denial of our own we would be denying our own dialect.
I am happy that Cuba has changed and that most of the changes are for
the better.

No revolution can remain static. We are confident that the Cuban
people can confront the challenges posed by this process. They are
significant challenges. There are thise who suggest that they (the
U.S.) will attain by the embrace of a bear what they could not during
more than 50 years of Blockade, aggression and threats….

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Book Review: The incredible case of the CUBAN FIVE

September 9, 2015

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Review by: Leo Juvier

On December 17, 2014 presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced the beginning of a new chapter in U.S.-Cuba relations. Also, on this day President Obama released the last three of the five Cuban men imprisoned unjustly by the American government with charges of conspiracy to commit espionage, and conspiracy to commit murder. Those three prisoners were Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero.
The case of the Cuban Five is truly like no other legal case in the history of the United States and Cuba. Their case was particularly plagued by misinformation and concealment of evidence which made their saga a nightmare. During their trial the U.S. government paid millions of dollars to journalists to write stories with lies and incendiary commentary against the Cuban Five, resulting in a biased jury.
The injustices of the case caused international indignation and it mobilized thousands of people across the globe in a show of solidarity. Since their arrest in 1998, the Cuban Five and their families have endured innumerable injustices by the U.S. government, from the denial of visas to family members who wished to visit them in prison, to keeping them in solitary confinement without a reason for long periods of time.
The Book “The incredible case of the Cuban Five” chronicles the nightmare these five cuban men endured for over 16 years in prison. The book is a compilation of testimonies and opinions gathered at the International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five held in London on March 7th and 8th, 2014. The commission counted with over 300 people from 27 different countries, among them distinguished members of the international legal community.
While reading the book it is difficult to ignore the cry for justice.
The relationship between U.S. and Cuba has been characterized by aggressive foreign policies, blockade, and acts of terrorism to destabilize the Cuban nation. Since 1959 Cuba has been the victim of 703 acts of terrorism against its civilian population by the U.S. government and Cuban-American organizations operating from Miami. These attacks have resulted in the death of more than 3478 people, and 3000 people being disabled. One of the attacks that will always remain a scar in the memory of the country was the explosion of a Cuban airplane in mid-air in 1976. During this terrorist attack masterminded by Luis Posada Carriles, (a terrorist who enjoys freedom in Miami) 73 people died, 53 of them were Cubans including the youth fencing team who were returning home from Barbados after winning all the medals in their last competition.
During the 1990’s while Cuba was trying to develop the tourism sector in the wake of the Special Period, organizations like the Cuban American National Foundation was financing terrorists to plant bombs in hotels and resort areas. Those activities resulted in the death of a young Italian tourist named Fabio and many others injured.
In response to the terrorist attacks the Cuban government sent the Five with the mission to infiltrate the organizations who were plotting the attacks and to end the terrorist campaign that was punishing Cuban civilians. Their mission was to protect the Cuban people from the wrath and hatred of the extremist exiles which continues to cause damage and prevent full normalization between both nations.
Today it is still very difficult to hear the other side, and the true story of the Cuban Five from American soil. Unfortunately the biggest enemies for the normalization of relations with Cuba is no longer the American people, but the Cuban-American right wing exiles in Miami. They control (or at least try) the public opinion with lies and intimidation.
This book offers an unbiased inquiry into the case the Cuban Five. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to gain a deeper understanding for the case as well as for Cuban-American relations.
For more on the Cuban Five visit: http://voicesforthefive.com/

Official Film report on the Commission of Inquiry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP7Jw4NJ-Fg&feature=youtu.be&list=PLVRfY1xg2QAwDXfybvuhnBUotFKgs5iF5

Next Steps in the Normalization of US-Cuban Relations: Thoughts From the Cuban Five

July 7, 2015

_1-cohnmarjorie2015_0702co_1(Marjorie Cohn with René González and his wife, Olga. (Photo courtesy of Marjorie Cohn)

By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis

Now that United States and Cuba are preparing to open embassies in each other’s countries, what else needs to happen to support the process of détente between the two countries?

During a recent visit to Cuba I posed this question to René González and Antonio Guerrero, two of the “Cuban Five” – five Cuban men who traveled to the United States in the 1990s to gather information about terrorist plots against Cuba and then became celebrated Cuban heroes during their subsequent incarceration by the United States.

Their reply? End the embargo and return Guantánamo Bay to Cuba.

“We have to remember that relations between the countries have never been normal,” González said, arguing that the normalization of relations won’t happen overnight. He added:

We were occupied by US troops in 1898. From then on, we were a subject of the US government and especially the US corporations. Then came the Revolution, which tried to correct that imbalance. Then came a different stage – of aggressions, blockade and policies against Cuba, which has lasted for more than 56 years. You cannot expect that establishing normal relations … [for] the first time in history is going to be an easy process.

Guerrero noted that the US had taken one major step toward normalization already by removing Cuba from its list of countries alleged to support terrorism but noted that the next step toward normalization will require a much larger step – ending the US embargo, which in Cuba is more commonly referred to as the “blockade.” Normalization, González said, will require “the dismantling of the whole system of aggression against Cuba, especially the blockade. Everybody knows how damaging it has been for the Cuban people. It’s a small island. For 50 years, it has been asphyxiated by the biggest power in the world. It had a cost on the Cuban people, on their economy.”

The Illegal Occupation of Guantánamo Bay

González also listed the return of Guantánamo to Cuba as necessary for normalization. After the blockade is lifted and Guantánamo is returned to Cuba, he told me, “I believe the process will take speed.”

González rightly pointed out that the US occupation of Guantánamo is illegal. The United States gained control of Guantánamo Bay in 1903, when Cuba was occupied by the US Army after its intervention in Cuba’s war of independence against Spain. Cuba was forced to accept the Platt Amendment to its Constitution as a prerequisite for the withdrawal of US troops from Cuba. That amendment provided the basis for a treaty granting the United States jurisdiction over Guantánamo Bay.

The 1903 Agreement on Coaling and Naval Stations gave the United States the right to use Guantánamo Bay “exclusively as coaling or naval stations, and for no other purpose.” A 1934 treaty maintained US control over Guantánamo Bay in perpetuity until the United States abandons it or until both Cuba and the United States agree to modify it. That treaty also limits its uses to “coaling and naval stations.”

None of these treaties or agreements gives the United States the right to use Guantánamo Bay as a prison, or to subject detainees to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment – which has been documented at the prison. The United States thus stands in violation of the 1934 treaty.

Moreover, the doctrine of rebus sic stantibus, enshrined in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and a norm of customary international law, allows one party to a treaty to abrogate its obligations when there is a fundamental change in circumstances. Using Guantánamo Bay as a prison and torturing detainees is a fundamental change in circumstance, which constitutes grounds for Cuba to terminate the treaty.

The Diplomatic Importance of Freeing the Cuban Five

The United States and Cuba would not likely have announced this week their plans to reopen embassies in each other’s countries if President Barack Obama had not successfully negotiated the full release of the Cuban Five in the agreement he reached with Cuban President Raul Castro on December 17, 2014. That deal, to work toward normalization of relations between the two countries, had eluded Obama’s 10 predecessors over a 55-year period. It will likely be Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement.

A part of the deal that had enormous symbolic significance to the people of Cuba was the freeing of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino – the three members of the Cuban Five who were still imprisoned at the time of the agreement. On December 17, 2014, the three men were granted clemency and returned to Cuba. The other two members of the Cuban Five – René González and Fernando González – had previously been released in 2011 and 2014, respectively, after serving their full sentences.

The case of the Cuban Five garnered international condemnation in particular because the five men had traveled to the United States to gather intelligence on Cuban exile groups for a very legitimate reason. Since Cuba’s 1959 Revolution, terrorist organizations based in Miami, including Alpha 66, Commandos F4, the Cuban American National Foundation and Brothers to the Rescue, have carried out terrorist acts against Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the Castro government. The most notorious was the in-air bombing of a Cubana airliner in 1976, which killed all 73 persons aboard, including the entire Cuban fencing team. These groups have acted with impunity in the United States.

The Cuban Five peacefully infiltrated these organizations. They then turned over the results of their investigation to the FBI. But instead of working to combat terrorist plots in the United States against Cuba, the US government arrested them and charged them with crimes including conspiracy to commit espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. Although none of the Five had any classified information or engaged in any acts to injure the United States, they were convicted in a Miami court in 2000 and sentenced to four life terms and 75 years collectively.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals unanimously overturned their convictions in 2005, ruling that the Five could not get a fair trial in Miami due to the pervasive anti-Cuba sentiment there. Nevertheless, the 11thCircuit, sitting en banc, upheld the convictions, and Hernandez’s life term was affirmed on appeal.

Years of Wrongful Imprisonment

The Cuban Five endured years of harsh conditions and wrongful imprisonment before their release. After being arrested, they were immediately put into solitary confinement and held in “The Hole” for 17 months. Solitary confinement amounts to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, according to United Nations special rapporteur Juan E. Méndez.

“I believe they expected to break us down,” González added. The US government “used the CIPA [Classified Information Procedures Act] and randomly classified everything,” which “allowed them to prevent us from looking at the evidence,” González said. “So they put us in “The Hole” and then put the evidence in another hole.”

Yet, González noted, “Sometimes you have to react as a human with your dignity. And they went after our dignity. And we had to defend it. We were more committed. We were more encouraged to go to trial, and that’s what we did.”

“For us,” González said, “going to trial was great. We wanted to go to trial every day because we wanted to face them and expose the truth of terrorism against Cuba and how the government of the United States supported those terrorists.”

“They decided to behave like thugs.” he told me. “And then you have to resort to your moral values, again to your human dignity and defend that.” González said, “We always knew what we were doing there. We knew that we never intended to make any harm to the United States at all, to the US people. We were very clear on that. As a matter of fact, there was nothing in the whole evidence that would show hatred toward the United States or the US people or an intent to damage anybody. We knew that we were defending human life. And going to prison for defending the most precious thing which is the human life – it makes you strong.”

Surviving Prison Through Poetry and Art

I asked González and Guerrero how they survived prison for all those years. “Our humor never went down,” González said. “We played chess from one cell to another by yelling. We did poetry. Sometimes we had fun just reading the poetry through the doors.”

Guerrero also began writing poetry in prison.

“I started writing poems without even having paper,” he said. “A poem came to my head after they arrested me … And I cannot explain how because I wasn’t a poet. And then I started writing poems.” Guerrero never imagined that his poems would be published, but he shared them with the other prisoners and shared them with people in court. He couldn’t believe it when his first book of poems, Desde Mi Altura (“From My Altitude”), was published.

Guerrero also became a painter in prison. “The penitentiary is very tough,” he said. “So one day I went to the art room … that was another way to free my mind.”

I was thrilled when Guerrero gave me a copy of his newly published book, Absolved by Solidarity, a collection of his paintings depicting the different stages of the trial.

The Five Return to Cuba

When I asked what it was like when all the members of the Cuban Five were back in Cuba together, Guerrero said: “It’s a sense of joy. It’s a sense of victory. It’s a sense of returning to the place where you belong to. And it feels great.”

González added: “My little daughter was four months when I was arrested. I came to Cuba two days before her 15th birthday. I have a grandson now which is a beautiful boy.”

Both González and Guerrero said they had thought they would never see Hernandez in Cuba again because he was serving a term of life imprisonment. “My biggest fear was he would die there,” González said. “And let’s not fool ourselves. The US wanted him to die in prison. And the prosecutor wanted him to die in prison.”

“We know how hard it is to take him from those appetites,” he added, “and we managed to do that. It speaks a lot about Cuba, a lot about the Cuban people, because the Cuban people together as one did everything possible for the Five and it’s just pure joy.”

The Way Ahead

In the days ahead, the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States will rely most of all on the United States’ willingness to act out of respect for Cuban self-determination. “The only thing we want is respect,” Guerrero said. “Let’s try to build something now – good for you, good for us – with respect in the middle. … The point is, we don’t know if the interest of the American government is really to be respectful and friendly to the Cuban government.”

Guerrero said that even if millions of American tourists come flooding in to visit Cuba, he cannot conceive of Cuba becoming a capitalist country and forgetting about the Revolution. “Somebody may bring drugs, or somebody may bring a lot of money and try to buy things,” Guerrero said. “We are not accustomed to that. But we are ready to deal with that and create our security and our understanding. They will be received with peace, with love.”

González added that the Cuban people don’t have hatred or resentment toward the American people specifically. “We don’t blame the American people for the faults of the their government,” he said. “We know they are people like people anywhere. I believe that all of us have more in common than things that divide us. … And I hope sincerely that this new relationship with the US will allow Americans to come here and share with us this beautiful island.”

In June, the Cuban Five visited Robben Island in South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years by the apartheid regime. Hernandez wrote in the guest book, “It has been a great honor to visit this place together with some of the brave compañeros of Nelson Mandela,” who were “a source of inspiration and strength for the Five Cubans to withstand the more than 16 years in US jails.” Hernandez added that Mandela’s legacy is one “the Five will honor for the rest of our lives.”

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/31697-next-steps-in-the-normalization-of-us-cuban-relations-thoughts-from-the-cuban-five

Cuban Five thank SA for support in securing their release from US prison

June 22, 2015

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The so-called Cuban Five have arrived in South Africa on a 13-day visit to thank the nation for campaigning for their release from a US jail where they were held for up to 16 years for spying among other offences.

Also known as the Miami Five‚ the five Cuban intelligence officers – Gerardo Hernandez‚ Ramón Labañino‚ Fernando Gonzalez‚ Antonio Guerrero and René Gonzalez – were arrested in September 1998 and later convicted in Miami of conspiracy to commit espionage‚ conspiracy to commit murder‚ acting as an agent of a foreign government‚ and other illegal activities in the US.

One was released in October 2011 and another in February 2014. At the end of 2014‚ the US swapped the remaining three members for an American intelligence officer held by Cuba.

Welcoming the Cubans to South Africa in a statement on Sunday‚ the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation acknowledged Cuba’s contribution towards a democratic South Africa.

“Cuba has furthermore participated in the reconstruction of South Africa after the demise of apartheid by training‚ inter alia‚ scores of South African youth in medicine in Cuba. Cuba’s ongoing support for the South African government’s main priorities through the implementation of joint programmes in health‚ social development‚ defence‚ housing and infrastructure is significant‚” the department stated.

The department added that the deployment of Cuban doctors‚ engineers and technical experts throughout South Africa was a further demonstration of Cuba’s commitment to work with South Africa to address the infrastructural back-logs inherited from the pre-1994 period.

International relations and cooperation deputy minister Luwellyn Landers will host the Cuban Five in Cape Town from June 22-23 under the theme “Cuban Five Heroes: Tribute to International Solidarity”.

Landers described the visit by the Cuban Five from 21 June to 3 July as an historic event due to the long years of support that South Africa had rendered to the campaign for their release.

“The Cuban Five all served in Angola during the liberation struggle against Apartheid Forces‚” he noted.

On Tuesday‚ the Cubans will meet with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation‚ which said last week there was no better time to enhance Cuba-SA relations than now.

The committee’s chairperson‚ Siphosezwe Masango‚ said the committee had invited the Cuban Five delegation to Parliament so that it could express its appreciation for their “heroic personal involvement” in the crucial Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola in 1987‚ which had “brought the dawn of independence in Namibia‚ the withdrawal of the South African Defence Force from Angola‚ and ultimately freedom in South Africa”.

“The Cuban Five will in return be afforded an opportunity to thank SA’s Parliament for passing resolutions calling upon the United States to release them and to end the economic blockade on Cuba‚” he said.

Masango expressed the hope that the government would enter into bi-national commissions and trade agreements with Cuba that would benefit both countries in the long term.

-RDM News Wire

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2015/06/21/Cuban-Five-thank-SA-for-support-in-securing-their-release-from-US-prison

Int’l conference in Cuba: ‘Step up fight to end US embargo’

May 27, 2015

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photo by Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate Gerardo Hernández addresses international solidarity conference in Havana, May 2.

BY BEVERLY BERNARDO
HAVANA — More than 1,000 delegates from 70 countries participated in this year’s international conference in solidarity with Cuba here May 2. The gathering called for stepping up worldwide actions to protest the continued U.S. economic, financial and commercial embargo of Cuba. Many delegates had joined in the million-strong International Workers Day march on May 1.

A high point of the gathering was the closing remarks given by Gerardo Hernández, which are reprinted on page 7.

Ulises Guilarte, general secretary of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers (CTC), which sponsored the conference, thanked participants for their role in the worldwide campaign to win the freedom for the five Cuban revolutionaries — Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González — who spent a decade and a half in U.S. prisons for their actions defending the Cuban Revolution. The delegates represented 205 trade unions, political parties and Cuba solidarity groups. A majority came from across Latin America; others were from the United States, Canada, European countries, and as far away as South Korea. There were 200 union delegates from Cuba.

The purpose of this year’s gathering, larger than in previous years, was building on the victory won Dec. 17 with the return home of Hernández, Labañino, and Guerrero. They joined with Fernando González and René González, released earlier from U.S. custody after serving their entire sentences. All five participated in the conference.

Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Teresita González Fraga told the audience that the beginning of Cuban-U.S. talks on re-establishing diplomatic relations — unilaterally broken off by Washington in 1961 — is a victory that registers the strength and dignity of the Cuban people and their revolutionary government.

However, normalization of relations is not possible without the U.S. government ending its more than 50-year-long economic war against Cuba, she said, compensating Cuba for the economic and social damage it has caused, returning the territory it occupies at the Guantánamo naval base, and ending its subversive action programs aimed at Cuba, including its hostile radio and TV broadcasts. “It will be a difficult, complex and lengthy process,” González said, adding that Havana is engaging in these talks with full awareness of “the profound differences” between the two governments.

Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), called on the international delegates to continue to tell the truth about the Cuban Revolution — including its exemplary record in defense of human rights — and to “multiply your efforts in the struggle to end the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the U.S.” Serrano urged participants to build coordinated actions around the world Sept. 16-19 protesting the U.S. embargo.

Serrano underscored Cuba’s unwavering defense of the Venezuelan government in face of U.S. sanctions and other attacks on that country’s sovereignty. She noted that the Obama administration’s announcement that it intends to remove Cuba from Washington’s list of “state sponsors of terrorism” was a step forward, but added, “We oppose the U.S. government’s unilateral placing of any country on such a list. They have no right to do so.”

Some 30 delegates from unions, solidarity groups, political organizations and individuals took the floor during the discussion period.

Afterward, Hernández, Labañino, Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González were awarded the CTC’s 75th anniversary medal for their outstanding contributions to the defense of the country. Each of the five, on behalf of the CTC and ICAP, presented certificates to nearly a dozen individuals representing trade unions, solidarity organizations and others in several countries whose contributions to the fight to free the Cuban Five deserved special recognition.

from The Militant

The Cuban Five discuss their release and return to Cuba

January 26, 2015

The Cuban Five discuss their release and return to Cuba During the first of a series of interviews with protagonists of Cuban history on the “Roundtable” television program, anti-terrorist fighters Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino recall details of their release from U.S. prisons and their return to Cuba, after serving 16 years of their unjust sentences.

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The three anti-terrorist Cubans recently released from U.S. jails, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino, shared their testimony and anecdotes in a special edition of the Mesa Redonda television program. During the first of a series of interviews with protagonists of Cuban history on the “Roundtable” television program to be aired monthly, the anti-terrorist fighters Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino recalled the moment of their release from U.S. prisons and their return to Cuba.

The three Cubans, who returned to their native country on December 17, commented on the details of the transfer, described by Labañino as very discreet and well organized on the part of U.S. authorities and those in Havana.

Labañino and Guerrero both noted the silence maintained around the news of their return during the transfer from their respective prisons to the medical center from which they left the country, and the urgency of every movement.

They clarified that they were transferred two days beforehand, while Gerardo was moved the previous week and confined in the hole. Gerardo, Antonio and Ramón, together with Fernando González and René González, were incarcerated in the United States for informing the Cuban authorities of acts of terrorism planned by violent groups based in Florida.

Fernando and René had returned to Cuba previously after fully completing their prison terms. On this occasion they conceded the space to their recently released brothers in struggle.

Gerardo: “I want to highlight the attitude of my other four Cuban brothers. They had very little against René, similarly against Fernando, if they had yielded to pressure and bribery they wouldn’t have spent even one year in prison.” THE ENCOUNTER Antonio Guerrero: “At 5:30 am a nurse arrived and said to me, ‘Guerrero, get down, you have to pack, at 6:30 you have to be in the concourse, you understand? You want me to say it in Spanish?’ “The doors were closed, they are opened just after 6:00 and I said to my cell mate, ‘Get up, I told you I was going before you!’ He was to be released on January 20 and I’d said to him a few times that there was a possibility of me going before him.

“In the department to which they transferred us I began to take note of strange things, starting from the fact that I had not requested any transfer. From there they moved me to the room from which I was to be collected and while I was there they came and said, ‘Guerrero, you’re going to Bourne!’ – the Bourne Medical Center.
“I continued thinking about the possibility of going somewhere else, but they were already saying that I was going to a prison.

The lieutenants came, they took me to a very small, executive, airport terminal, the plane came. Everything that was happening was abnormal in relation to other transfers they had made. I had had a similar medical transfer, but not like this one; I even said to the lieutenant who accompanied me from the prison, ‘You’re going to remember this transfer for the rest of your life.’

“I arrived after Ramón, about three in the afternoon on Monday the 15th. From there I went to the department, I didn’t have Ramón’s luck to know that Gerardo had been transferred, I didn’t have that information and when I reached that department there was a nurse, a Puerto Rican working there, and an officer from whom I tried to get some information, and what they said was that there was a unit there for workers, which wasn’t a medical one, and everything indicated that I was assigned to that unit.

“They took me to a hole cell in another area, he told me to sleep well because he would be coming to get me at 7:00 in the morning! “Before seven, they came to ask me if I was ready, one of the officers who had transferred me came to collect me. We went along a passage, they took the cuffs off me, but we were moving at supersonic speed. ”There were some officers running and those taking me didn’t stop, they led me to a passageway which gave on to the visitors room, the officer stopped in the doorway and said to me, ‘Let’s go!’ and that’s when I saw a person shaking Gerardo’s hand, there were quite a few people there, but I couldn’t contain myself and said to him, ‘Gerar!' I imagined the same thing had happened to him, but up until that moment I had no idea and he also said he didn’t know what was going on.

We had that first encounter in Bourne.” Gerardo Hernández: “I left the prison without any advance notice. When they moved me I had been put in the hole in Oklahoma for 11 days. I thought that they also wanted me to refresh the details incase anything had to be corrected by Kcho (a Cuban artist) in the installation. They moved Ramón and me the same day, Monday the 15th, in different conditions.

“One goes about collecting details in spite of what I always said, ‘I’ll believe that I’m going to Cuba the day that the airplane lands.’ “When I saw Ramón and Tony I said to myself, ‘This is different.' Even when it landed we were delayed a while in getting off and the U.S. officials were going up and down the steps and I said to them, ‘If this takes off again, I’m going to throw myself out the window.’”

Ramón Labañino: “In my case it was interesting. You spend 16 years waiting for this moment. A prison officer told me to get ready and collect my things. I was asleep and my first impression was, ‘All right, let’s see what happens.’ “They took me to the place where you change your clothes and from there I went to where they put the chains on. In this lapse of time, while I’m waiting for the other officer to arrive, I could hear them commenting, I’ve always had a good ear for listening in and that day, much more so, and I heard them saying, ‘This is a strange business, we have to get these guys out of here and to the nearest airport.’

At that point I thought, this is something serious. So then I felt uneasy. “They took me out, cuffed me with the black box and put me in a van with two guards to transfer me to Lexington airport; there they led me onto a small aircraft and took me to Bourne. I knew absolutely nothing and asked, but they didn’t reply. I arrived at Bourne, it was a lightning operation and very calm, and there I heard a guard saying ‘Hurry up because the other one’s coming behind.’ “That night I couldn’t sleep because I began to think that I was in Cuba and I was waiting to see if I would spot the other guys pass by. I spent it the night exercising. Everything was very well coordinated, calculated in millimeters.”

BEHIND BARS Antonio: “The hole was torture, an unjust punishment. They deprived us of communication, and did certain things to us there; for example, I was taken outside for recreation some mornings when I hadn’t finished breakfast and they would throw out what we had in the cells, and they would search the cell at the slightest opportunity. When we asked permission to go to the legal library, or wanted to change the food or needed to go to the dentist, they would tear up the requests in our face, already entering the range of cruelty. “Something would arrive for us, a letter or whatever, and we would share it. The objective of this close to two years’ process was to break us. Apart from our union, we were helped by the strength we gave each other.”

Gerardo: “It was a very difficult time. Initially, ten of us were arrested. I was the only one who knew the other nine. That says a lot for the attitude of our compañeros. In effect, five people were unable to resist the pressure and decided to cooperate with the authorities against us. The damage was not so great from the operative point of view, because thanks to the compartmentalization they didn’t know that much. They could only use one person to testify against us during the trial. In the end they realized that it was doing them more harm than good.

“Those first moments were of reaffirmation. We were aware that their intentions were to put on a propaganda show. They knew that we hadn’t done any damage to the country, nor did we have information that could threaten U.S. national security. “I remember some years later an article came out in the Miami Herald with the title, ‘Spy may hold key’ which was counting on me betraying Fidel and Raúl on the day we lost our appeals. “There were three officers among us and they were in the group of the Five which remained unbroken.

The ones who decided to collaborate with the United States did not have that rank. That was the ultimate dream for the prosecution, to have an officer to accuse Cuba. When they didn’t get that, they opted for cruelty. “I want to highlight the attitude of my other four brothers. They had very little against René, or against Fernando, if they had yielded they wouldn’t have spent a year in prison.

However, they established their stand without any hesitation and from that first moment the Five emerged.”

Ramón: “The officer who was with me kept repeating, ‘I know your story, I know who you are and what you are doing here.’ And I would say to him, ‘All right, tell me what I’m doing here,’ to see what happened. Because in all of this you think maybe they’re confused, they think it’s drugs or something else. But when I saw all the guys I realized that things were more serious. There comes a moment in one’s life when a man has to define himself and know what side he is going to take in history, and it is the moment when he reaffirms himself as a revolutionary.

And we opted for the correct option, that of being on the side of our people, of our Comandante and the history of the homeland. “Because from the very first moment we realized that it would not only be a personal betrayal, but could have major consequences, including an escalation of another kind, which in its most extreme form could be military. That process could be manipulated against our people.

“Five or six yielded in the face of so many pretensions and gifts. They moved us to the Miami detention center, on the 13th floor, which is above the hole, which is on the 12th. We were there for around 15 days but all isolated. That was Saturday the 12th and the 14th we were taken down to the court. “It was in the court that the five of us reaffirmed what we were going to be. That September 14, 1998, I realized – and each one of us has a different perception –who was or was not up to the task that the moment demanded. “At that time I didn’t know René. For reasons of work there were certain people who we didn’t know, but when we went to court we were prepared to die together.”

THE RETURN Antonio: “The 31st (December), we spent together as a family, an extended family. It’s not 16 years, in my case its 24. But when we gave each other friendly hugs and kisses, those 24 years were erased. We have recounted some things but since we’ve been here, from when I wake up from when I go to bed, what has passed has been left behind in the past, I feel neither rancor nor nostalgia. I don’t know where to fit another little piece of happiness inside of myself. My two sons are marvelous young men. Gabriel is in Panama.

I had the good luck to spend a few days with him, we slept in the same room and in the same bed, and that gave me great happiness, the same way as I feel with my great-nephews. I am used to getting up early and they do as well and that was my breakfast. At the end of the day, the family, the people, erased those moments of anguish and the joy is constant.”

Gerardo: “Gema is a pretty and peaceful baby girl. From the beginning I wanted her to be a girl, because boys get very spoiled. In any event, Gema already has her little Industriales shirt, because who’s to say that baseball isn’t for girls as well. “One of the most difficult things about being in prison was the frustration of not having children. In these difficult times the only way we found of giving form to our sentiments was through poetry, although neither of us were poets. Thus arose the letter to the child who was to come, which was to be sent to Adriana, but René asked me for it and said that it would be a good idea to publish it in the newspaper as a way of making it known.

“The news had to be kept very secret. When Cuba gives its word, it fulfills it, and we had given our word to keep the pregnancy and all of the process around it a secret in order not to prejudice the greater objective, which was our freedom.” Ramón: “The emotion doesn’t stop. Since we arrived it has been emotion after emotion, each one greater than the one before. It has been emotional to see my daughters grown up, beautiful, and my slender wife. I am trying by every means to recover my time with them, although for me they will always be little, because to any father his children are always little. “I am an extremely paternal father, the redundancy is worth it. I share every second with them, ask them how they’re doing in school, and what happened…

The first night we were together I woke both of them up at six in the morning and took them to see the sunrise. For me it was the most beautiful moment of my life. “I try to eat everything I can, the Cuban flavor is probably superior to all flavors, it not a problem of chauvinism. Our people have a very special warmth, an emotional nature and embrace. “Although I am the one of the Five to hug others the most, we all embrace each other and love each other. For that reason, I wanted to thank our people once again. This has been an enormous victory which should be enjoyed by international solidarity and the Cuban people. Viva Cuba and Viva humanity!”

REASONS FOR NOT BREAKING Antonio: “I have tried to explain that in our minds we were never prisoners. Now people are going to say, ‘This one has lost it on the Roundtable.' But in our minds we always maintained equanimity and an internal strength based above all on our innocence. If you are doing something bad and you are caught, if you are attached to material things and are locked up, you become afraid. But materially, we lived very austere lives. We were dedicated to a concrete task. I, for example, lived a normal life, and those conditions and the things we had within us, meant that we never felt like prisoners, and much less like giving up. There were hard moments. In the hole area, on the second day, we went down to a little room and I commented to them, ‘I have a poem in my mind, even though I haven’t been able to write it.

“Poetry arrived in us all in some way and we converted it into a weapon of resistance. But, in particular, we had two things: we had the conviction that we would receive constant support for getting out of there, we had our innocence and above all, we were prepared to die there. “We had a photo of Mandela and another one of Che. We had values. We were very clear that if you die for a just cause, you do not die. In tranquility I will say that we did nothing extraordinary, we did what it befell us to do. In reality, they should have arrested the terrorists, but they arrested us and imposed the worst conditions on us in Miami.

“But we did nothing extraordinary, we did what we had to do. We did it with simplicity. We knew that we had many years to serve. We never felt defeated, we were always optimistic; we knew that we had to struggle on. The struggle was long and that was what brought so much solidarity and that now, young schoolchildren see you and open their arms because you already feel like one of the family. “And, in that way, we passed the days in prison, and when the days got harder and my mom was going there, I said to her, ‘Mom, stay calm, if Gerardo had to die in prison, he would do so calmly.’ But in the end, we won and that we have to celebrate.”

Gerardo: Initially Antonio and Ramón had their hopes dashed. In our minds, the only sure thing was that we would have to die in prison, if the government decision was sustained. Obviously, one thinks that won’t happen, but what one knows with certainty is that we weren’t in that place by chance. It was not an improvised mission. “The guidebook of this profession says that if you are caught, in no way must you acknowledge who you work for. If they catch you, you’ve had it.

During the first months that we were in prison there was one fact that made us stay strong. During the Portugal Summit, they gave us the day’s newspapers and I began to read the words of our Comandante where – among other things – he affirmed that if it were true that we were working for Cuba, Cuba would never abandon us. That was decisive for us. That day we passed the newspaper from cell to cell and then had our own Roundtable. From then onward, the enemy had no chance with us.”

Ramón: ”When they arrested us in Miami that was the hardest part, the part you don’t want to think about, I refused to do so. So you begin an internal search, to dream of things. That, and revolutionary idealism, that’s what helps you to win out. Every time I thought about my wife, my daughters, of the hardship for them and for me, of everything that was happening, of not having been able to enjoy Elizabeth’s two pregnancies, of not seeing my little girls, and of Cuba, the pain was very intense. So I, for example, took refuge in sports, I became obsessed by them, I am an avid chess supporter, chess absorbed me and I said to myself, ‘I have to think of the task, of Gerardo, of the struggle.’ “The mind is very treacherous, it takes flight and at night you begin to feel melancholy, and you search for psychological resources which might help you: Cuban music, Silvio Rodríguez, Los Van Van or sports. “Prison helps to find the best or worst in human beings.

All prisons are hard. There are people who lack the strength to overcome those conditions. We had difficult conditions, principally Gerardo, in the state penitentiary, and at that moment you search within yourself, and even within the history of Cuba. You begin to think of (Antonio) Maceo, Mariana Grajales, of Martí, the sacrifices they made, of an asthmatic Che climbing mountains; you think that they too went through this, you remember our women compañeras who endured torture during the dictatorship, and that like us, they had families, they had people who loved them, who were on their side, and they withstood it.

“Poetry helped me as well, I write poems, although they are not as good as Tony’s, I wrote a lot every day. These are the resources that one seeks. For us five, Gerardo was always the center of everything, and we knew that if he was free, so would we be. That spirit of brotherhood, affection, revolutionary love which united us, was also what gave us strength. “To all, our embrace.”

Antonio: “The lawyers we were initially given were [state appointed] public defenders. But when they learned about the essence of the case, they came to identify with us, with our families, and to feel admiration.

It is not usual for a lawyer to have those sentiments for his or her client. We must mention one who never ceased fighting in this battle, our dear and intimate friend Leonard Weinglass, who unfortunately is no longer with us and was unable to enjoy this victory.

“In my case, the prosecution always tried to find at least one person to testify against me, and never achieved that. That solidarity extended throughout the prison and when I was giving classes the prisoners called me teacher and this atmosphere of admiration on the part of the lawyers, the prison, and all those who knew the nature of the people of Cuba, was a constant for the Five.

“Today I was asked, ‘Didn’t you have problems in prison? We spent eight and a half years in penitentiaries. Gerardo spent 12 years there. They were very violent prisons. But we found respect. We had serious arguments many times, but respect prevailed. This is because we were five innocents unjustly incarcerated for a political motive, for the simple interest in punishing Cuba for the issue of relations between the two countries.”

Gerardo: One cannot talk of the case of the Five without talking about the solidarity movement. Over the years, pride in being Cuban has multiplied, thanks to the display of solidarity of our people. At the same time, many people in the United States have made an enormous sacrifice, even lost their jobs to dedicate their life to our cause. For all of them, our embrace.”

Amnesty International accuses the US Government of ‘Stacking the case’ against the Cuban Five

April 28, 2014

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New report published today by Voices for the Five

In a newly published report Amnesty International (AI), the worldwide human rights organisation, has accused the US Government of ‘stacking’ the case against the Cuban Five. The Cuban Five are five Cuban men arrested in Miami in 1998 while attempting to stop terrorist attacks against the Cuban people.

The AI report spotlights a series of direct US Government interventions in the build up and during the trial of the Five, thus ensuring a successful prosecution, but at the same time making a fair trial impossible.
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Angela Wright, Amnesty International Secretariat, said

“The new evidence that has emerged since the trial – of journalists being paid to plant prejudicial stories against the accused during the trial – also raises concern about equality of arms in that the government, unknown to the defendants, were stacking the case in the media – and also as we have seen very possibly in the court-room itself – in the prosecution’s favour.”

The full report is published today by Voices for the Five, an international coalition of campaigners, solidarity groups, legal professionals, human rights organisations, politicians, trade unions and international personalities, fighting for freedom and justice for the Cuban Five.

http://www.voicesforthefive.com/downloads/AI-Cuban-5-Presentation-International-Commission-April-2014.pdf,

Rob Miller, Director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign said

“The payment of journalists to write stories affecting the case, the obstructions on the Five to obtain legal counsel and the fact that procedural and other rights were not afforded to both the defence and prosecution in equal measure, show that the US Government was busy orchestrating a series of actions designed to affect the trial process. In the view of Amnesty International this clearly shows that the Five had little prospect of receiving any justice and little chance of a ‘fair trial’.”

The right to a fair trial is a fundamental principle under international law which makes clear that a trial must not only be fair but must be seen to be fair. It is guaranteed under Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 14 of the ICCPR, a key human rights treaty to which the United States itself is a signatory.

Amnesty International gave the formal presentation of the report to the London International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five in March 2014 alongside presentations from almost 20 witnesses including lawyers, academics and Cuban Five family members.

Over 6000 people and organisations from more than 70 countries have already added their messages of support to Voices for the Five including over 200 personalities from across the globe including actors Emma Thompson and Martin Sheen, writers John Le Carre, Fernando Morais and Gunther Grass as well as politicians, academics and religious leaders.

Notes for editors:

1 The full Amnesty International report is published here http://www.voicesforthefive.com/downloads/AI-Cuban-5-Presentation-International-Commission-April-2014.pdf,

2 The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González – five Cuban men arrested in Miami in 1998 while attempting to stop terrorist attacks against the Cuban people. They were arrested in Miami in September 1998, where they were illegally held in solitary confinement for 17 months and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. An unfair trial resulted in terms of between 15 years and double life. More information http://www.voicesforthefive.com/cuban-five/,

3 Voices for the Five is the campaigning website of an international coalition of campaigners, solidarity groups, legal professionals, human rights organisations, politicians, trade unions and international personalities, fighting for freedom and justice for the Cuban Five (or Miami Five as they are known in Britain). http://www.voicesforthefive.com/,

4 A full list of personalities endorsing Voices for the Five can be seen at http://www.voicesforthefive.com/endorsers/,

Letter to Amnesty International*

May 18, 2013

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Dear Secretary General Salil Shetty,

I am a Cuban who has lived in London for six years. I came to this country for family reasons and I appreciate the opportunities this country has given me. However, I continue to defend my country and I cannot remain silent while it is slandered with impunity in the media, in international institutions, by disreputable politicians and internationally recognised NGOs, just because it has a different system.

When it comes to respecting the rights of dissidents and respecting dissent, we must begin by hearing the claims of Cuba – a hardened dissident in defence of its rights as a nation.

I have read Amnesty International’s reports about the impact of the blockade imposed on the Cuban people and your advocacy for definitively ending it. I thank this important international organisation for that. I also appreciate your position in support of the Cuban Five.

I have also read Amnesty’s reports about Cuba and I agree that there is a need for greater democracy in our country, in the same way that this is needed in Spain, Italy, in England itself and above all in the United States. However, this will not be achieved through furious campaigns against Cuba, relentlessly stirred up by the petty political and economic interests of the powerful elite.

USAID invests $20 million every year to, among other things, sustain these campaigns against Cuba. By approving this allocation of money in Congress, the US government has tried to legitimise it, but we all know that it is not legitimate. There is no need to state why.

Cuba is not perfect, but the government is doing the best it can with its modest resources to live with honour, dignity and, what’s more, helping those who need it. This is not spoken about, however, because Cuba lacks the resources needed to influence the corporate media, provide funding to NGOs, convene the international community and use other instruments of manipulation.

It is because Amnesty International is a prestigious and necessary organisation that I have decided to write to you and draw your attention to information produced by friends in solidarity with Cuba who also dissent in their defence of Cuba, and in other publications without a position of solidarity but which also reveal exactly who the opposition in Cuba really is. I hope this will assist you with your analysis.

May I modestly suggest that, in order to understand the major manipulation that goes on in relation to the so-called political prisoners in Cuba, you read the article by Cuban novelist Rene Vázquez Díaz, ‘Elizardo Sánchez, Defensor de Asesinos’, published in Le Monde Diplomatique. In addition, to understand that this opposition are not the united block they claim to be look at the posts in the blog ‘Baracutey Cubano’, which is linked to extremist right-wing organisations in Miami and the blog ‘Dairio de Cuba’, administered by a Cuban dissident in Spain, which reveals that the Christian Liberation Movement and the family of Oswaldo Paya Sardina have disavowed Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz Pacheco and Alejandro González Raga and have made accusations about the death in Cuba of Oswaldo Paya Sardinas and Harold Cepero on 22 July 2012, claming that they were killed. Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, on the other hand, to maintain a minimum of credibility and not to defend Cuba, has stated that the death of Paya ‘seems to be the result of an accident.’

To understand the truth about the Ladies in White, I recommend accessing a video recently posted in the website Cubainformacion.tv. It shows the Ladies in White speaking about internal corruption within their group, about despotism, about the payment they receive for their ‘dissidence’ and also about human rights.

Regardless of any political or ideological considerations, you cannot give credit to such people and continue to respect yourselves.

Thank you in advance for your time and I am eagerly awaiting your reply.

Yours Faithfully,

Daniesky Acosta

On behalf of Cubanos en UK : http://cubanos.org.uk/,

*This letter was originaly sent on the 5 May 2013. No response has yet been received.

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Le Monde Diplomatique

http://www.monde-diplomatique.es/?url=mostrar/pagLibre/?nodo=3c8c371e-167b-4135-9d23-11d1a84915c2#
Baracutey Cubano

http://baracuteycubano.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/el-movimiento-cristiano-liberacion-y-la.html
Cubainformacion.tv

Damas de Blanco denuncian a su líder Berta Soler y la califican como `violenta´, `dictadora´ y `monstruo´

http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php/lecciones-de-manipulacion/49612-damas-de-blanco-denuncian-a-su-lider-berta-soler-y-la-califican-como-violentaa-dictadoraa-y-monstruoa
Escándalo de corrupción en las Damas de Blanco empaña premio del Parlamento europeo dotado con 50.000 euros. Exclusiva en video de Cubainformación TV

http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php/contrarrevolucion/49557-escandalo-de-corrupcion-en-las-damas-de-blanco-empana-premio-del-parlamento-europeo-dotado-con-50000-euros-exclusiva-en-video-de-cubainformacion-tv


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