Posts Tagged ‘Gerardo Hernández Nordelo’

Gerardo: “Our sole achievement is having fulfilled our duty”

February 26, 2015

Remarks by Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, during the event commemorating the 120th anniversary of the re-initiation of Cuba’s War of Independence, and the decoration of the Cuban Five, in Havana’s Convention Center, February 24, 2015, “Year 57 of the Revolution”

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by Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
Feb. 24, 2015
Reprinted from Granma Diario
(Council of State transcript)

Dear compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers; Compañeras and compañeros:

Honoring the Cuban men and women who on a day such as this, 120 years ago, decided to return to arms to struggle for the homeland’s independence, is the best way to accept the “Hero of the Republic” honorific title, which has generously been awarded to five Cubans of these times whose achievement was none other than that of having fulfilled our duty.

José Martí, the soul of that national uprising of February 24, 1895, stated that the ability to be a hero is measured by the respect shown those who have been heroes. Thus, on a day such as this, our first thought is one of gratitude and loyalty to those who throughout history, with their sacrifice, have made possible that we live in a socialist, revolutionary, victorious Cuba, conscious that it is up to our generation, and those which are to come, to defend the continuity of this work, the dreams and ideals of our liberators.

The first thoughts of the Five today must be for a man whose leadership and strategic vision were decisive to the battle which led to our freedom, and who with his example instilled in us a spirit of struggle, resistance and sacrifice. And who taught us that the word surrender does not exist in the dictionary of a revolutionary, and who, very early on, assured all Cubans that the Five would return to the homeland. Comandante en Jefe: This distinction which we proudly receive today is also yours. (Applause)

To our Army General Raúl Castro, who did not rest until what Fidel had promised was accomplished, to all the men and women who already wear this honorable star on their chests, and were always an example to the Five, we say: This distinction is also yours. (Applause)

To the Cuban people who made the cause of the Five their own, and still today encourage us with their support and affection; to the leadership of our country’s Party and government; to the mass organizations, institutions, attorneys, religious bodies, figures and governments from other countries which stood in solidarity with our cause: This distinction is also yours. (Applause)

We also thank the sisters and brothers throughout the entire world who struggled shoulder to shoulder with us, over 16 years of legal and political battles, and say: This distinction is also yours. (Applause)

To our families, who struggled, suffered, and resisted with firmness for so many years, and to all of the persons who deserve to see this day but are no longer among us: This distinction is also yours. (Applause)

To the faceless heroes and heroines who will never be able to receive a public tribute such as this, but who have dedicated, dedicate, and will dedicate tomorrow, their lives to the defense of the country from anonymous trenches: Know, wherever you may be, that this distinction is also yours. (Applause)

This honor we receive today is, at the same time, a summons which demands that we rise to the occasion to meet the new challenges which the Revolution faces. More than a few times since our return, compatriots have approached us to say that they would have liked to have had the opportunity the Five had to protect our people from aggression. To them, and to all Cuban patriots, we say that our mission has not ended, and that they can join in.

The updating of our economic model in an effort to achieve a more efficient, prosperous and sustainable socialism, as well as the process of reestablishing relations with the United States, create a conjuncture of change, which demands that all of us act with intelligence, professionalism, commitment and conviction, to identify and confront the challenges and new perils which are coming.

There are, and will be, many ways to defend Cuba, and Cuba will always need loyal sons and daughters to protect her. It is encouraging to us to know that in the heart of this revolutionary people there are many “Five” willing to sacrifice all for their homeland.

With Ramón, René, Fernando and Antonio, we accept with pride and gratitude this great honor which the homeland confers upon us. The homeland can count on these five soldiers who today, before our people, reaffirm our commitment to serve you until our final days, and to always be loyal to the ideas of Martí, of Che, of Fidel and of Raúl. Thank you very much. (Applause)

http://www.freethefive.org/updates/CubanMedia/CMHerosGerardo022415.htm,

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Retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson Sends Letter to Obama in Support of the Five

November 3, 2014

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Lawrence Wilkerson is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
His last position in government was chief of staff to Colin Powell at the U.S. Department of State (2002-2005). He served 31 years in the US Army (1966-1998).

November 5, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

It is time to correct an injustice that is in your power to amend. This injustice mars majorly the American system of justice, the U.S. record on human rights and, as importantly, the lives of five men whose dedication to the security of their own country against terrorist attack should be admired and respected, not punished. No doubt you have heard of these men: Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labaniño Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Fernando González Llort, and Rene González Sehwerert. The world knows them as The Cuban Five.

Two of these men are today out of prison, two more might be out in the far future, and one might never see the dawn of a free day. This latter individual, Gerardo Hernández, I tried to visit-unsuccessfully-in the maximum security prison in Victorville, California. Though I was unable to visit him, a true and trusted colleague who accompanied me, the late Saul Landau, was able to do so and reported to me that Gerardo remains as courageous and undaunted as ever yet still puzzled over the failure to act of what is supposed to be the world’s greatest democracy.

The Cuban Five suffered a gross injustice when they were arrested in 1998. After their arrests they spent 17 months in solitary confinement. Their trial took place in Miami, Florida and in 2001 they were sentenced to long prison terms. At a legal minimum, the trial through which they suffered in Miami should have been moved to another location, as change-of-venue arguments alone were not only persuasive they were overwhelming, testified to amply when the appeals court in Atlanta, voting in a three-judge panel, supported a change of venue. Later, however, this decision was reversed when the political power of George W. Bush’s administration-an administration in which I served-compelled the court, voting in its entirety to reconsider the three-judge panel’s decision and vote differently; they ratified the sentences of two of them, and the case of the other three were sent back to the court in Miami for re-sentencing. The court recognized that the guide of sentencing were wrongly applied and as a result reduced their prison terms.

But there is more, much more. In fact, there is the now-indisputable fact that the five were not guilty of the substantive charges brought against them in the first place. The politics surrounding the trial were in the hands of hard-line Cuban-Americans in Florida, as well as in the US Congress. Without their blatant interference with the course of justice, the trial never would have taken place. Moreover, these people spent taxpayer dollars to enlist journalists in Miami to write condemnatory articles, to influence the jury pool for the trial, and to predispose public opinion to a guilty verdict. This trial was a political payoff to hard-line Cuban-Americans and every person in the United States and across the world who pays attention to these matters, knows it. Indeed, you know it, Mr. President. This kangaroo-court trial is a blemish on the very fabric of America’s democracy. It sends a clear signal to all the world-who judge us not as we judge ourselves, by how we feel about issues, but by our deeds.

You, Mr. President, cannot erase this blemish; it has lingered too long and too many years have been stolen from these men’s lives by it. But you can mitigate it, you can make it less formidable. And, vitally, you can clean the reputation of our justice system, and, in the case of Gerardo and the other two men still in prison, you can free them.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, in May of 2005, declared the imprisonment of the Cuban Five to be a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, placing the United States alongside some of the most heinous countries on earth. The Working Group requested that the U.S. take action to remedy the situation. You, Mr. President, can do just that.

Mr. President, you said that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” But in certain instances, that is wrong and you know it. Would you have us not look back to our Civil War? To the depredations of Black slavery that led to it? To the century-long economic slavery that followed that war? To the racism of our past-a racism that still plagues us today? I think not. And you should not deny the need to look back, review and reverse this mockery of a trial.

Take action, Mr. President. Release immediately the three remaining imprisoned members of the Cuban Five. Admit publicly the gross injustice done to all of them and elaborate the reasons. Apologize to the Cuban people and to our citizens and, most of all, to the Cuban Five and their families. Listen to “the better angels of our nature” and put the United States back on the side of justice.

Very Respectfully,

Lawrence B. Wilkerson
Colonel, US Army (Retired)

November 5th for the Cuban 5
Remember: On Wednesday November 5th, call Obama and demand the freedom of the Cuban 5

CALL THE WHITE HOUSE TO JOIN THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND FOR THEIR FREEDOM.

By phone:
202-456-1111 (If nobody answers the phone leave a message)
If calling from outside the United States, dial first the International Area Code
+ 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-1111

By Fax: 202-456-2461
If fax is sent from outside the United States, dial first the International Area
Code + 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-2461

To send an e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

To send a letter:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
United States

To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit: http://www.thecuban5.org,

Media discipline

October 13, 2014

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Ricardo Alarcón

On the 16th anniversary of the imprisonment of the Cuban antiterrorists, the real role of the United States’ major communications media was exposed once again. To them, Sept. 12 went by unremarked, same as the acts of protest against the injustice.

Nor did they publish anything about the Miami court’s delay in responding to the petition for a writ of habeas corpus that Gerardo Hernández Nordelo submitted in June 2010, more than four years ago, or to the petitions filed later by Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero.

These are three appeals that, in great measure, are based precisely on the manipulation and payment by the government, with public money, to the journalists who promoted the campaign of hatred and disinformation that a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta, when overturning their convictions in 2005, described as “a perfect storm.”

Curiously, the operation was disclosed in 2006, when The Miami Herald found itself forced to fire some of its employees who were involved in the scandal. That violation of professional ethics was criticized by prestigious institutions such as the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York City, among others that, beyond Florida, expressed their alarm.

The lady judge has not responded to a request for the Government to surrender the information it still conceals about an episode that’s offensive to a profession that she should respect. Or to a petition from Gerardo for an oral hearing at which he could rebut the lies that have condemned him to die in prison. The lady judge does not respond, as if the lives of three human beings to whom she imposed the most exaggerated sentences were not within her purview.

Faced with this situation, the press is silent, but that shouldn’t surprise us. Language specialist Noam Chomsky defined the U.S. media in one word: DISCIPLINED.

Ironically, the silence itself is news. For half a century, Washington has aimed at Cuba a colossal and systematic propaganda that has missed no chance to inculpate its Government for anything and everything. If the Five had caused any harm to the United States, if their work had been so dangerous, [Washington] would have talked about them day and night, unceasingly.

The obedient silence of the media is proof eloquent of their innocence and the infamy of which they are victims.


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