Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Obama’s Sanctimonious Human Rights Argument Against Cuba

September 23, 2014


Unbalanced Law?
Obama’s Sanctimonious Human Rights Argument Against Cuba

Raúl Castro, President of Cuba, said that he wants to start relations with the U.S., but first the U.S. must provide health insurance to all 46 million people who lack it; stop extrajudicial assassinations in sovereign countries through drone attacks; make higher education affordable for all; reform the prison system which has by far the highest incarceration rate in the entire world, with a drastically disproportionate amount of prisoners being minorities; grant Puerto Rico its sovereignty as required by the U.N. Charter, U.N. Declaration on Decolonization, and the popular referendum in Puerto Rico in 2012; halt the economic blockade, which has been ruled illegal for 22 straight years in the U.N.; close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and return the land to Cuba; turn overterrorists living freely in Miami who have bombed Cuban civilian airplanes, hotels and fishing boats; and free the three political prisoners who were investigating these groups to prevent further attacks.

Actually, he said: “We don’t demand that the U.S. change its political or social system and we don’t accept negotiations over ours. If we really want to move our bilateral relations forward, we’ll have to learn to respect our differences, if not, we’re ready to take another 55 years in the same situation.”

President Barack Obama has said Cuba: ”Has not yet observed basic human rights … I and the American people will welcome the time when the Cuban people have the freedom to live their lives, choose their leaders, and fully participate in this global economy and international institutions.” But he added: “We haven’t gotten there yet.”

Presumably Obama means when Cuba agrees to relinquish their right to self-determination, as guaranteed in the U.N. Charter, to join the U.S.-imposed neoliberal order. When Cuba to gives up state control over industries like banking and telecommunications and opens them up to foreign investment, so more money can be shipped off the island instead of staying in the local economy and invested in the Cuban people. When Cuba agrees to “free trade” agreements, which would prevent labor and environmental safeguards while forcing local businesses to compete on an uneven playing field with multinational corporations that receive government subsidies, allowing them to undercut the price of local products. In short, when Cuba decides to respect private profit over the social welfare of its population.

U.S. calls for “democracy” and “human rights” in Cuba have an important historical connotation, which in reality has nothing to do with representative government nor human rights. The term is nothing more than a propaganda tool, instantly elevating the accuser to a superior moral status and subjecting the accused to an indefensible position regardless of the real facts, history and context.

The U.S. is not suggesting that Cuba should be judged by established human rights and international humanitarian laws – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (which the U.S. has never ratified); and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which the U.S. took more than 20 years to ratify); the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the U.S. has never ratified; and many others. It is suggesting Cuba abide by the criteria the U.S. sets out for them and sees fit to interpret itself.

The reality is that the United States does not get to serve as judge and jury for other countries’ internal affairs, just as they would laugh in the face of anyone who tried to do the same to them. To pretend that your demands are more important than the law that governs the international system is beyond condescending.

Incidentally, there is a United Nations Committee that impartially reviews compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of the few treaties which the U.S. has both signed and ratified. The committee, in its most recent annual report, found the U.S. non-compliant in many areas.

To start, they found that the U.S. “has only limited avenues to ensure that state and local governments respect and implement the Covenant, and that its provisions have been declared to be non-self-executing at the time of ratification,” which serves to “limit the legal reach and practical relevance of the Covenant.”

Among the many matters of concern is accountability for “unlawful killings during its international operations, the use of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees in United States custody.”

The committee also noted numerous domestic problems, including “racial disparities in the criminal justice system,” “racial profiling,” “excessive use of force by law enforcement officials,” “criminalization of homelessness,” “National Security Agency surveillance,” and even “voting rights.”

Obama’s sanctimonious remarks about Cuba demonstrate his disregard for the law that applies to both countries equally, and his unwillingness to be held to the same standard that he preaches to others.

Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog (,)
His writing has appeared in CounterPunch, MintPress News, Latino Rebels, Countercurrents and other outlets.,

Rene Gonzalez Claims for Freedom for the Cuban Five

February 13, 2014


Rene Gonzalez, the only Cuban anti-terrorist fighter who is now a member of the Cuban Five, but the only who has been released, started his own account in social network Twitter Wednesday, and took the chance to claim for the freedom of his comrades in prison in the US. rene4the5 is Rene Gonzalez account and he said he wanted to talk about the case of the Cuban Five personally.

Rene, together with Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González, monitored the activities of anti-Cuban groups in the US national territory.

“ I want to talk about the case of the Cuban Five, not to disregard any way to talk to the US public opinion, reach the interest of the US people, “ said Gonzalez to Cuban website CUBADEBATE Wednesday.
Rene Gonzalez has been very active in the campaign for the release of his comrades, since he got out of prison and returned to Cuba.

The campaign urges US President Barack Obama to use his power prerrogatives to get the freedom of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters.

Rene Gonzalez said he will be in London in March to take part in an international meeting, with the purpose to attract parliamentaries of the entire world, to create an international commission to get the release of his comrades.

The decision, he said, will have the sponsoring of renowned world personalities.

In his first “ Tweet “ (message on Twitter) Rene wrote “ A Husband, A Father, A Grandfather. Becuase I defended life, I had to fulfill 15 years in prison. Now, another four men, my brothers the day of today, are still suffering prison. End the injustice. “

The Netherlands’ open dialogue with Cuba

January 14, 2014

by Farah Coppola

Mr. Timmermans, who was on a visit to Cuba last week, said the best way to promote change on the Communist-run island is through dialogue, not isolation. As far as is known, this is the first Dutch foreign minister to visit since the 1959 revolution.

The EU restricts its political ties with the Cuban government in order to encourage multi-party democracy and an end to human rights violations. In 1996, the EU agreed on a set of rules governing its relations with Cuba, called the Common Position. It states that the EU’s objective is “to encourage a process of transition to a pluralist democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as sustainable recovery and improvement in the living standards of the Cuban people.” Cuba has rejected the Common Position, claiming that it interferes in its internal affairs.

After meeting with Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba, the Dutch Foreign Minister reported that “interesting things are happening in Cuba, and it’s time for the EU to modernise its ties with the island.”

It is true that positive developments are taking place

It is true that positive developments are taking place. For instance, on 19 December, the Cuban authorities decided to lift the 50 year old car import ban allowing Cubans to buy modern cars. Also, Cubans are now allowed to start up little enterprises and to travel to other countries. But are these developments enough to bring the relationship with the EU forward?

Change does not automatically mean improvement. The reforms of President Raúl Castro are taking place on an economic level and much less on a political level. According to Kees van Korenhof, Chair of the Glasnost Foundation in Cuba, there are some flaws in the reforms. For example, the new labour law allows Cubans to start a company but it does not include the right to strike. There is still no legal right to strike. In addition, independent trade unions are still not permitted.

In December there were 1123 political detentions. Even though Fidel Castro’s 30-year sentences are not imposed anymore, political activists are still terrorized. Dissidents are beaten up, their houses are attacked by supporters of the regime and their neighbourhoods are vandalised. One example is the resistance group Damas de Blanco fighting against human rights violations. They march together every Sunday to demonstrate against the regime and every Sunday they are being insulted, abused or arrested.

Yoani Sanchez criticized Mr. Timmermans’ visit arguing that he did not meet anyone from the opposition. According to Sanchez, he did not meet with activists or persons from independent organisations which is disappointing because there are many projects for a democratic transition and human rights.

It is clear that the democratic progress in Cuba is limited

It is clear that the democratic progress in Cuba is limited. Therefore, I wonder what Mr. Timmermans can achieve in a country that is still a strict communist country. President Raúl Castro is different than his brother but still many opponents of the regime are being arrested and many basic rights are being denied. There are some encouraging improvements in the human rights situation but there remain significant areas of concern. Mr. Timmermans might be right when he says starting a dialogue is better then turning our backs but he should start dialogues with the entire Cuban society, including the opposition.


Speech by Cuban Foreign Minister at UN General Assembly on Behalf of CELAC

September 27, 2013



Mr. President:
I am honored to take the floor on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which Cuba is honored to preside. I would like to reiterate to you our satisfaction over your election as President of the Sixty Eighth Session of the General Assembly and our willingness to cooperate in order to contribute to the successful performance of your mandate. It is an honor for CELAC to see that a representative from one of its member States, particularly a Caribbean nation, is presiding over this top organ of the United Nations.

Mr. President:
CELAC, the first genuinely Latin American and Caribbean organization made up by all countries in the region, was founded with the purpose of advancing in the political, economic, social and cultural unity and integration of Our America, thus vindicating the dream of our liberators of having a Nation of Republics that, with its almost 600 million inhabitants, its resources and its enormous human, natural and economic potential could autonomously decide upon its own destiny.

This has been the consequence of the conviction that prevails among the countries of our region, as was expressed at the CELAC Founding Summit held in Caracas on December 2 and 3, 2011, which stated that the unity and political, economic, social and cultural integration of Latin America and the Caribbean constitute both a fundamental aspiration of the peoples represented here, and a requirement for the Region to successfully confront the challenges before us.

However, all that has been done and the path taken by CELAC stresses the necessity of having our own regional space that consolidates and projects the Latin American and Caribbean identity based on shared principles and values; and on the ideals of unity and democracy of our peoples and reiterated our commitment to the building of a more just, equitable and harmonious international order based on respect for International Law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and to the defense of sovereignty and the right of any State to establish its own political system, free from threats, aggressions and unilateral coercive measures in an environment of peace, stability, justice, democracy and respect for human rights.

Our Community is founded on the unrestricted respect for International Law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition of use and threatened use of force, respect for self determination, for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of each country, protection and promotion of all human rights, the Rule of Law at national and international levels and democracy, as well as on our purpose to work together in the interest of everyone’s prosperity so as to eradicate discrimination, inequalities and marginalization, violations of human rights, and transgressions of the Rule of Law.

We reaffirm the region’s commitment with international peace and security and we commit ourselves to reinforce the climate of peace that prevails in Latin America and the Caribbean and consolidate a Zone of Peace in all of our region, where differences between nations are resolved peacefully and through dialogue and negotiation or other forms of solution, in full conformity with International Law.

At the recently held High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament CELAC reiterated our deep concern about the threat posed to humanity by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and their possible use or threat of use, and the urgent need to advance towards the attainment of the priority objective of nuclear disarmament and the achievement of a total and absolute elimination of nuclear weapons.

CELAC member countries have also presented, for the first time, a joint initiative at the Human Rights Council on the Right to Peace, which should turn into a Declaration on said issue that we hope could be approved by this General Assembly.

We have reiterated CELAC’s strongest support to the legitimate rights of Argentina in the dispute over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands and the permanent interest of the region in a resumption of negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom in order to find, at the earliest possible date, a peaceful and final solution to this dispute.

Our community reiterates its support to the dialogue process that is being held between the Colombian Government and the FARC, intended to put an end to the internal conflict that has affected the political, social and economic development of that sister nation for more than 50 years, and pleads for the success of the initiative leading to an agreement in the interest of the Colombian people.

We also highlight the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico and, by noting the resolutions on Puerto Rico adopted by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, considers it is an issue of interest to CELAC.
We reiterate our absolute condemnation of terrorism and reaffirm our commitment to combat it in all its forms and manifestations, in accordance with the United Nations Global Strategy in this field, while we strongly reject the unilateral and illegitimate assessments, lists and certifications made by some developed countries which affect countries of the region, in particular, those referring to terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and other related measures.

Therefore, in recent days, after the situation in Syria worsened, CELAC reiterated its vocation for peace and observance of the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law, including the International Humanitarian Law, and demanded that the necessary conditions are created to move on towards a negotiated political solution to the Syrian conflict, which has taken a toll on the lives of thousands of innocent people.

Likewise, we are moving towards the structuring of autonomous cooperation concepts and mechanisms in the context of CELAC and we have renewed our cooperation with the sister Republic of Haiti and urged the international community to continue paying a contribution to the reconstruction efforts and the sustainable development of that country, in accordance with the fundamental priorities and needs defined by the Haitian Government, with full respect for its authority and sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries.

We have defended the sovereignty of the region, including the permanent sovereignty over our national resources, and we have expressed our solidarity with the CELAC member countries in the face of acts that are harmful and violate International Law, such as the events occurred on July 2 last against the dignity and the rights of the President of the Multi-national State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, upon his return to La Paz after travelling through several European countries.

The Community has emphasized our intention that, taking into consideration the diverse processes that formed the Latin American and Caribbean identity, CELAC must become a space that protects the right of all cultures, races and ethnic groups of the countries of the region to existence, preservation and coexistence, as well as the multicultural character of our peoples, and the plurinational character of some of our countries, especially of the native communities recreating and promoting their historical memory, their ancestral knowledge and experience.

At this General Debate, almost seven months after his physical disappearance, CELAC pays a well deserved tribute to one of its main founders and promoters, President Hugo Chávez Frías, who presided over, with his vision and mastery, the Founding Summit of our Community.

Likewise, CELAC expressed its satisfaction over the election of Pope Francis as the first High Pontiff of the Catholic Church from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The global espionage against CELAC member countries, which vulnerates the human rights, the right to privacy and the right to information of citizens is a violation of the principle of sovereignty of States and International Law, has become a source of concern and we have taken due note of the statements made in different fora by Heads of States and Government and other leaders of Latin American and Caribbean countries who have condemned and rejected the use of such practices.

We, the CELAC member States, feel proud of being able to work together to consolidate our regional sovereignty, so that Latin America and the Caribbean could occupy the place they legitimately deserve in the world, so that our region will no longer be the most unequal in the planet.

In pursuing these objectives, we have decided to offer our cooperation and solidarity to those vulnerable and less developed countries of the region and call the attention on the specific vulnerabilities of CARICOM countries, in their condition as Small Developing Island States, which limit their efforts towards sustainable development, taking into account the significant impact of natural disasters and the negative effects of climate change.

With regard to the indispensable reform of the international system, we have renewed our countries’ commitment to multilateralism and a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system, and to the democratization of international decision making instances, in particular, the Security Council.

And so we will do with other issues that are equally important, among them, the process of formulation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda, an item to be discussed at this General Debate, to which all CELAC members countries attach a crucial importance.

We, the members of CELAC are aware of the fact that there can be no lasting peace without development and without combating poverty, hunger and inequality and of the challenges that the current international economic and financial crisis poses to the future of our region and our legitimate aspirations for social inclusion, equitable growth, and Sustainable Development and integration.

Thus, we highlight the importance that the Post-2015 Development Agenda consists of voluntary, universal, clear and quantifiable goals adaptable to distinct national realities, with the purpose of eradicating poverty and promote sustainable development. This new framework should be inclusive, transparent, and promote compliance with the commitments entered into by developed countries in the Official Development Assistance and encourage South-South and Triangular Cooperation on cross-cutting issues through the participation of all socials sectors.

With regard to climate change, we welcome the formal adoption of the second period of commitments of Kyoto Protocol, despite the absence of political will on the part of several developed nations that prevented the achievement of agreements on fresh financial additional and predictable resources and mechanisms for the effective transfer of technologies to developing countries. We will continue working together to cope with that scourge that is today affecting humanity as a whole.

Mr. President:
The difficulties are huge, but the important thing is that the Latin American and Caribbean countries have come to the conclusion that the time has come for the region, as was said by José Martí, to walk in close ranks, like silver in the roots of the Andes, and it is for this reason that we have created CELAC.
Thank you, very much.

Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency.

September 14, 2013

Cuban President Fidel Castro delivers a speech in 2010 in front of portraits of the “Cuban five”. Photograph: Jose Goitia/AP

Today marks 15 years since the ‘Cuban Five’ arrest, another US injustice
Four Cuban patriots languish in US prisons after a phoney trial. Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency
by René Gonzalez
Sept. 12, 2013 Reprinted from The Guardian

In August 1962, I was an ordinary Cuban child who had just turned eight years old. I can still remember the commotion all over Havana after someone sailed a boat to within a mile of the city’s coastline and fired a cannon at a hotel. They then turned north and headed for safe haven in Miami.

That experience repeated itself for me and for my four comrades, who are still in US prisons, as I was until recently. The five of us grew up in Cuba, witnessing the kidnapping and assassination of Cuban fishermen, and the culprits would then return to their safe haven in Miami. A gunboat crew attacked and killed the crew of a Spanish freighter off the coast of Cuba and then returned to their safe haven in Miami. In 1976, two terrorists of Cuban origin, after having organized the bombing of a Cubana airliner which killed 73 people, found safe haven back in Miami. Twenty years later, one orchestrated a bombing campaign against Cuban hotels, which cost the life of an Italian citizen.

No wonder all of us agreed to go to Miami in order to infiltrate and monitor the activities of a section of Cuban-Americans who, for over 30 years, had brought death and suffering on the Cuban people through what should be called terrorist activities designed to bring down our government. No wonder, either, that upon landing in Miami, one of the first groups that I joined was headed by the very guy who had fired the canon on the Havana hotel, back when I was an eight-year-old child.

In May 1998, the Cuban government thought the time had come to engage the US government on the fight against terrorism. Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian author and Nobel Prize winner, was the personal liaison sent by Fidel Castro to the White House with the proposition. As a result of this contact, an FBI delegation went to Havana in June of that year. They were given a dossier on the terrorist groups still operating in Miami, and returned to the US after assuring the Cuban side that something would be done about the issue.

Good to their word, on 12 September 1998 something was done: armed officers burst into my home, threatened and cuffed me, traumatised my family, and took me to prison. The FBI raided the houses and arrested the people who had been monitoring the terrorist activities groups, protected by the US government and operating freely from Miami.

No wonder the five of us were found guilty of all charges after a phoney trial in Miami. No wonder the prosecutors asked the judge to “incapacitate” the defendants so as to prevent them monitoring the activities of their terrorists in the future. No wonder, on 14 December 2001, the Judge obliged:

Whether terrorism is committed against innocents in the United States or Cuba, Israel or Jordan, Northern Ireland or India, it is evil and it is wrong, but the terrorist acts by others cannot excuse the wrongful and illegal conduct of this defendant or any other.

A further punishment by the US government was inflicted on my wife Olga, who along with Adriana Perez, the wife of Gerardo Hernando, were arbitrarily denied visas to visit us for more than 10 years.

And then, after I had served my 15 year sentence, I was was prevented from returning home, and confined to Florida on supervised release, where the cruel irony was lost on the judge who imposed a clause which would guarantee to the prosecution the incapacitation they had asked for:

As a further special condition of supervised release the defendant is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals of groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence, and organized crime figures are known to be or frequent.

What makes some terrorists good guys and some others bad guys? Do the lives of Cuban citizens not deserve to be protected? Is there some international legal instrument which bestows upon the United States judiciary the privilege to serve as a protector of terrorism?

While these and many other questions beg for an answer, four Cuban patriots languish in American prisons for the crime of having sacrificed themselves to protect the lives of others.

Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency.

Message from the Five Heroes To the conscience of the world and the U.S. people

September 14, 2013


FIFTEEN years ago today, September 12, 1998, the brutality of five simultaneous arrests burst into our homes to initiate one of the most shameful chapters of U.S. legal history: the trial of those of us today known as The Five.

The arrest and trial of The Five will remain in history as one of the most ignominious and vile episodes of relations between the United States and Cuba.

A few months earlier, after the mediation of the Nobel Literature Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, the doors had been opened to significant cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism. In June of that year, an FBI delegation visited Cuba and after receiving copious information on anti-Cuban terrorist activities organized with impunity in Miami, promised their Cuban counterparts that they would take action.

In a low blow, instead of arresting the terrorists, the William Clinton administration arrested and brought before its courts those of us who were gathering information to avert the damage which these terrorists were inflicting on the Cuba population. The U.S. legal system was openly utilized as a means of protecting the terrorists and, in an atmosphere of lynching, we were subjected to a rigged trial. Cruel conditions of confinement were utilized to break us and to prevent us from preparing an adequate defense. Lies took over the courtroom.

Evidence was adulterated, damaged and suppressed. The judge’s orders were openly disregarded. Terrorists called as witnesses by the defense were threatened in public with imprisonment if they did not take the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. U.S. experts and government officials justified or openly scorned the damage the terrorists were doing to Cuba. All this while the press opted to keep the American public in total ignorance, and the trial venue mercilessly bombarded with a barrage of propaganda against the accused.

On June 8, 2001, a jury which went so far as to register a complaint about their fear of harassment by the local press – later revealed to have been paid handsomely by the U.S. government – found us guilty on all charges, including one for which the prosecution – in an emergency motion to the Appeals Court in Atlanta, had recognized in the light of evidence brought before the court – it would not be possible to obtain a guilty verdict.

The deplorable conduct of the prosecution attorneys, judges and the U.S. government in this case is no accident. It is impossible to conduct oneself ethically when, for an objective in which political hatred is mixed with personal arrogance and revenge, charges are made which can only be justified by making a mockery of the law, by prevarication and by abuse of power. The vicious circle which would begin with the political decision to overwhelm us with charges – the most serious ones totally fabricated – to force us to surrender, could not but rebound in a constantly more deplorable conduct on the part of the prosecution.

But we did not surrender, because a display of brute force does not imply possession of morals on the part of those who exercise it. We did not surrender, because the price of lying in order to satisfy the prosecution’s expectations seemed to us to be far too degrading. We did not surrender, because by implicating Cuba – the nation we were protecting – in false accusations in order to swell a U.S. government file against the island would have been an unpardonable act of betrayal of the people we love. We did not surrender, because human values are still, for us, something precious on which the transformation of human beings into better people rests. We did not surrender because that implied renouncing our dignity, a source of self-esteem and love of self for any human being.

Instead of surrendering we opted to go to trial. A trial which, if it had been reported, would have called into question not only this case, but the federal system of justice in the United States. If the knowledge of what took place in that courtroom had not been concealed from the American people, whom we never caused, or attempted to cause, the most minimal harm, it would have been impossible to stage the Roman circus into which this parody of a trial was transformed.

Fifteen years have gone by in which the U.S. government and that country’s justice system have turned a deaf ear to the demand of United Nations organizations, Amnesty International, various Nobel prizewinners, parliamentarians and full parliaments, legal and religious figures and institutions. Only the lifting of this other blockade, the one imposed on the people of the United States to ensure that they do not know about it, would make possible the hope that this injustice could be brought to an end.

Today, Cuba will awake covered in yellow ribbons. The Cuban people will be the protagonists of this message, which appeals to a symbol that has become a tradition for the people of the United States. It will be an enormous challenge to those who have so successfully undertaken to silence this case, to now refuse to inform the world of this possibly unheard of event: that an entire people has adorned its country to ask another to demand of its government the liberation of their unjustly incarcerated sons.

Meanwhile we, The Five, will continue to be deserving of this massive display of affection; we will continue being the worthy sons of the generous people in solidarity who are leading it, and of the support of those who, around the world, have joined our cause; we will continue denouncing this injustice which has already lasted 15 years, and we will never give in, not one inch, from the moral advantage which has allowed us to resist and grow while we support the entire weight of a revengeful hatred on the part of the most powerful government on the planet.

Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René

Havana. September 12, 2013

Canadian Writer Calls for Freedom of Cuban Five

September 9, 2013


By Deisy Francis Mexidor
Havana , Sep 9 (Prensa Latina) Canadian writer Stephen Kimber said the Cuban antiterrorist fighters condemned to long terms in U.S. jails were victims of a loss of justice, and the best way to correct that mistake is releasing them.

“If U.S. people understand what really happened, they would feel so indignant as I am by the loss of justice that took place there and would pressure their government to deliver them,” Kimber said in exclusive statements via email to Prensa Latina.

As September 12 will mark the 15 years of the detention of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez, Kimber will carry out a tour of the United States with his recent book.

From September 11 to 17, the also journalism professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax will speak in Washington DC, Maryland, New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn), and Boston, about his work “Lo que hay del otro lado del mar: La verdadera historia de los Cinco Cubanos” (What lies across the water, the real story of the Cuban Five).

Published by Canadian Fernwood Publishing Company, the book is an attempt to bring the story of the Five in a context that American readers may come to understand, he stated.

Kimber said the text has essentially the story of these men from the alleged desertion “of Rene (Gonzalez Schewerert) in 1990 until his detention in September 1998.”

According to the author, he tried to show what was happening in Miami at the time, how terrorists Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch (who died without being brought to justice), the Cuban American National Foundation, and other Cuban groups plotted to attack the island.

“Counting those parallel stories, I hope the readers will understand why the Cuban government sent the Five to Florida in first place,” he said.

The book uses the information that came out of the trial to help telling the story of what they did and why, but my story does not focus on the trial. That may be the reason for another book, Professor Kimber said.

During the preparation of this work, considered the most important book spread today regarding this complex case, Stephen Kimber analyzed more than 20,000 pages of the trial held against the Cuban Five in that southern Florida city.

The Five were detained in Miami on September 12, 1998, while monitoring plans by Cuban criminal groups that have operated with impunity from there against the Caribbean nation for more than 50 years.

Gonzalez Sehewerert was released from prison in October 2011, after completing his unjust punishment and as an additional punishment, he was subjected to a regime of supervised release within the United States.

A story of art and solidarity with the Cuban Five

September 8, 2013


Recognition from the Cuban Five at Book Launch

My name is Bill Ryan and I have had the privilege of knowing and working with a great Cuban by the name of Gerardo Hernández, who you probably know as being one of the Cuban Five.
For the past three years I have helped Gerardo thank some of the people that have supported the Five in their struggle for justice.
Our arrangement is quite simple. Gerardo will identify an opportunity to acknowledge someone. He will provide me with a design and message; I will then carve the sculpture and present it.
While Gerardo would love to hand over these gifts and thanks personally, 15 years in a maximum security prison has made that rather difficult. Therefore, he relies on others such as his wife Adriana to travel for him.
There is a character in a song written by an American by the name of John Prine. His character has the ability to “travel in his mind”. Out of necessity Gerardo has also learned this skill. In spirit, Gerardo travels with his gifts to deliver them, along with his thanks on behalf of the Five. Sometimes I’ve been lucky enough to tag along as well.
For example, tonight Gerardo is visiting Ottawa to acknowledge and thank a great supporter of Cuba and of course the Five.
Arnold has worked tirelessly for the cause of the Five, both as a member of the International Committee and by attending and participating in many important events, including the recent ‘Five Days for the Five’ in Washington.
As I said, tonight Gerardo has travelled to Ottawa to thank Arnold and to offer his congratulations on the launch of his book, Cuban and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion.
On behalf of Gerardo and the Five, I would like to thank Arnold and present him with a small token of their appreciation.
Bill Ryan
Perth, Ontario, Canada
(June 12, 2013, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)


L to R: Miraly González González, First Secretary, Embassy of the
Republic of Cuba, Ottawa, Don Foreman, Canadian Union of Postal
Workers (CUPW), Bill Ryan, co-creator of the wood sculpture, A. August.,


September 6, 2013


Open Letter On the Occasion of the Fifteenth Anniversary of the
Detention of the Cuban Five and Dedicated to the memory of Bernie
Dwyer R.I.P

Dear President Obama,
The cases of four of the Cuban 5 who remain unjustly incarcerated in
U.S. prisons and that of Mr. Alan Gross, who is serving a long prison
sentence in Cuba are of international concern to many persons and
groups from a broad range of backgrounds and interests.

During the recent 5 days for the 5 in Washington D.C. more than 150
members of parliaments from around the world lent their names to the
call for justice.

It is beyond time that a humanitarian solution was found. Sept 12th
2013 is the fifteenth anniversary of the detention of the Five. Enough
time has passed.

Advocates from both sides, primarily family members of the prisoners,
share a common cause and both sides need the very same things to
happen in order that their loved ones may return to their homelands
and families.

Put simply there is a need for respectful, truthful, trusting and
courageous dialogue in an atmosphere of equality between the U.S and
Cuban administrations and a consequent development of the necessary
political will and action to bring an end to what has been a prolonged
and painful experience for everybody affected by the cases.

We the undersigned support their common cause and we join family
members from both sides in a united call for dialogue to commence and
for reciprocal humanitarian prisoner releases to take place

We are aware of the progress presently underway towards the
normalization of many aspects of U.S / Cuban relations and are
optimistic that it will continue for the betterment of both societies.

We support this progress and consider that it provides a context in
which the cases of the Five and of Mr. Gross can be addressed and

In solidarity with the families of all concerned and with sincere and
hopeful thanks for your attention and interest.

Ms. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate and Peace Advocate.
Ms. Maureen O Sullivan, T.D. (Member of the Irish National Parliament)
and Member of Governmental Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mr. Thomas Pringle T.D. (Member of the Irish National Parliament)
Mr. Pat Muldowney, Professor of Mathematics (R) at Magee University,
Social and Political Historian and Author,


Cuban Youths Open Campaign for the Five

September 6, 2013


Cuban Youths Open Campaign for the Five with Cultural Activities

Sep 6 (acn) With culture as their most effective weapon, Cuban youths launched a music concert on Thursday as their first action of the current campaign to demand the release of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the US for 15 years.
The concert was joined by opening of three visual arts exhibitions at Havana’s Fine Arts Museum. Both activities iniciated the campaign that is running till October 6 and with its peak day on September 12, which marks the 15 year of the unfair incarceration of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez, internationally known as the Cuban Five.
Rene Gonzalez, who is already back in Cuba after having met his sentence and achieved the modification of his parole conditions, called on all Cubans to stage a nation-wide campaign for the release of his compatriots, which has been backed by many friends of Cuba abroad.
A exhibition with cartoons made by Gerardo Hernandez will be on display at the Fine Arts Museum during the campaign along with photo gallery by Antonio Guerrero, based on a joint project with US photographer Bill Hackwell.

Relatives of Cuban Five Meet Cuban Youths
(acn) The international campaign, running since Thursday till October 6, to denounce the unfair incarceration since 1998, in the United States of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters, included a meeting between Cuban youths and the wives of Gerardo Hernandez, Adriana Perez, and of Ramon Labañino, Elizabeth Palmeiro.
The dialog took place at the Cuban Friendship Institute in Havana, where participants wore yellow ribbons in a gesture of Support to the call issued by Cuban Hero Rene Gonzalez to mark the current campaign.
Adriana Perez said that this struggle must be waged from our own hearts because the Cuban Five saved more than one life. She called on the youths to keep defending the truth about the five anti-terrorist fighters.
Elizabeth Palmeiro answered questions by high school students and she addressed the suffering inflicted on her family due to the unfair separation from Ramon Labañino.
The meeting was attended by Giustino Di Celmo, father of Fabio Di Celmo, who was a victim of terrorist attacks in Havana 16 years ago, as well as by children of the victims of the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner off the coasts of Barbados, which killed all 73 people on board.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree for the Cuban Five!

Dear friends of the Cuban Five:
Everyone remembers the song sung by Tony Orlando in 1973, “Tie a Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree,” about a prisoner coming home who wants to know if his love still wants him after years
prison. It is a moving song that was the number 1 hit of the year 1973 in the United States and very popular internationally.
Now the song has been revived by Cuban musical artists for the Cuban Five heroes,
in a beautiful and touching video, to accompany a campaign for Sept. 12, which is the 15th anniversary of the U.S.’s unjust imprisonment of the Five.
René González of the Cuban Five who is now free in Cuba, spoke on Cuban TV to urge all Cubans and supporters to display Yellow Ribbons.
He said that for September 12, “… as the island of Cuba wakes up, let yellow ribbons appear in the trees, in balconies, on your person, on your pets, however you choose. Let those yellow ribbons fill the country so that any foreign visitor or correspondent cannot ignore it and they can tell the world that the Cuban people are waiting for four of their sons, imprisoned in the United States.”
To all supporters of the Cuban Five, as you carry out your solidarity actions for the Five, wherever you are, display your yellow ribbons, and spread the word of the Cuban Video. Let that catchy tune become a theme song of the Five!
National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Email: * web:,

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