Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Assange expresses solidarity with the cause of the Cuban Five

September 27, 2013


Havana, Sep 26 (Prensa Latina) The founder of the Wikileaks website, Julian Assange, denounced the economic, financial and commercial U.S. blockade on Cuba today during a Havana-London videoconference conducted at the Press Information Center in the Cuban capital.
During the meeting, with the participation of journalists, journalism students, and bloggers from different Cuban cities, Assange expressed his interest in the situation faced by Cuba as a result of the U.S. blockade.

According to the online magazine Cubahora, Assange said that an exchange of opinions like the videoconference made it possible to break, at least for a moment, the immoral blockade suffered by Cuba for over 50 years.

He also said that his organization has learned from Cuba about confronting U.S. aggression, fundamentally in terms of principles, determination, humanity, ethical clarity and intelligence.

Assange also expressed solidarity with the cause of the Cuban Five. Four of these patriots are still in U.S. prisons for monitoring the actions of violent, anti-Cuban groups based in the United States.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González were arrested in 1998 in Miami and given long sentences during a trial that a UN panel described as biased.

René González is now in Cuba after completing his sentence and a period of supervised freedom, and renouncing his US citizenship.

As a gesture of support for the Cuban Five, Assange appeared onscreen wearing a yellow ribbon pinned to his chest, a symbol used as part of the campaign for their freedom.

The dialogue closed a workshop of cyberjournalism given by Pedro Miguel Arce, editorial writer for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, sponsored by Havana’s Jose Marti International Institute of Journalism.

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.


September 24, 2013


by Stephen Kimber on September 21, 2013

“With surgeon-like skill, Kimber dissects, bottom up, an injustice perpetrated at the highest levels on Cuban patriots acting for their government with few financial resources in a hostile foreign country… An important and riveting book.”
Chris Benjamin
Atlantic Books Today

“What Lies Across the Water connects the dots between the Cuban American National Foundation — an influential lobby group of Cuban exiles living in the U.S., the Brothers to the Rescue organization and paramilitary operations meant to violently overthrow the Cuban government and assassinate Fidel Castro… Those looking for truthful testimony about the Cuban Five will find that What Lies Across the Water makes a compelling and damning case.”
Yutaka Dirks

“With this important new book Kimber does a masterful job of showcasing his abundant talents as an investigative journalist and popular writer… What is remarkable is how he picked up this story, and began to collect all available information about it and to study it prodigiously. What is surprising is that he ended up putting so much meticulous work into uncovering the details of this exceptional story. What Lies Across the Water is easy to read, written almost like a novel. It is packed with information and entertains as well as informs.”
Charles Spurr
Media Co-op

“Far from being a boring account of deeds and misdeeds, Kimber employs eloquent prose and an enjoyable style to draw the reader into the tangled layers of terrorism and murder, espionage and deception, propaganda and myths, life sentences and impunity, meanness and hatred, love and sacrifice, romance and solitude, patriotism and delusion, good intentions and bad, and lies, lies, and more lies.”
Dawn Gable
Havana Times

“[The book] is fruit of a research carried out by someone who at the start was not a defender or sympathizer with the cause of The Five. Kimber, as many of the thousand Canadians who visit Cuba, probably bumped more than once into a propaganda poster written with naiveté or linguistic clumsiness; or heard someone speak with admiration of The Five Heroes. But he knew almost nothing when he started his research… It is not a lengthy work, difficult to read; quite the opposite. Its light and clear language allows readers to move along the episodes of the conflict, and finish in a few hours a story that captured them from the first page. It is the work of a master journalist, a great writer, and above all an honest intellectual committed only to what he could verify on his own.
Ricardo Alarcón

“Kimber’s account of the Cuban Five comes with a bit of bias. However, it’s ultimately a compelling read, but only after you doggedly surmount its difficult structure.”
Douglas J. Johnston
Winnipeg Free Press

Publication of What Lies Across the Water, Stephen Kimber’s book about Cuban anti-terrorists serving wildly extravagant terms in U.S. jails, is a remarkable event… The author’s clear, flowing, and often seat-gripping, even entertaining, narrative is an added plus. The book is highly recommended.
W.T. Whitney

The book is available from the publisher, Fernwood Publishing, selected bookstores,, and other retailers.

Urgent Medical Attention for Ramon Labaniño !!!

September 17, 2013

_1-Ramón con dos de sus hijas y Elizabeth-g

Important: Please Contact Prison Authorities at Ashland FCI Re.
Medical Attention for Ramon Labaniño.

Ramon urgently requires a surgical intervention on his knee. During
the event to mark 15 years of unjust imprisonment his daughter Laura
spoke about his worsening condition her fears that he could become
wheelchair bound.

Friends of the Five from all around the world have experience of very
effectively uniting in a concerted effort at times like this. We
remember how Gerardo´s stay in the “Hole” was shortened by what the
Victorville’s Representative on the Federal Bureau of Prisons
described as a “bombardment of calls letters and emails” to which he
was obliged to react.

It is time to do the same for Ramon. Attached is the FBP´s policy on
health care which can be referred to when communicating by email to
by post to

Ashland FCI
St. Route 716
Ashland KY

by phone (606) 9286414 or by fax (606) 9294395

(message from Sean Joseph Clancy, Trinidad, Cuba )

Breaking News on PCJF Lawsuit on Cuban Five Case: State Dept. Now Under Court Order to Produce Records

September 15, 2013


Lawsuit was filed after State Dept. refused to produce materials
on U.S. government payments to Miami-based journalists during
Cuban Five Prosecution
[Reporters for Hire]
The PCJF filed a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit against the
U.S. State Department for its refusal to produce materials in its
possession about secret payments by the U.S. government to
Miami-based journalists who were reporting on the case of the
Cuban Five prior to the trial, during the trial and while the
jury was deliberating.

Now, as a result of the PCJF’s lawsuit, the State Department has
been ordered to expeditiously produce responsive documents in its
possession. The first round of production is ordered to begin in

“This is a major step forward in the effort to expose the
truth about a terrible miscarriage of justice in this case. The
documents that the State Department was refusing to produce cover
a critical time period for the Cuban Five. The documents that
were requested would cover the U.S. government’s payments
to Miami-based journalists at the very time the U.S. government
was prosecuting the Cuban Five,” stated attorney Mara
Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for
Civil Justice Fund.


Attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) have
filed a Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) lawsuit in June 2013
against the U.S. State Department for its refusal to produce
responsive materials in its possession about secret payments by
the U.S. government to Miami-based journalists who were reporting
on the case of the Cuban Five prior to the trial, during the
trial and while the jury was deliberating.

The FOIA demand was filed by Liberation Newspaper in October 2010
requesting documents about the government’s covert
payments to journalists in Miami from 1998-2002. The Cuban Five
were arrested on September 12, 1998, and the seven-month trial
began in November 2000.

Attorney Carl Messineo, Legal Director of the Partnership for
Civil Justice Fund, explained the purpose of the lawsuit at the
time of its filing in June 2013: “It appears the
government manipulated domestic public opinion to advance their
political and prosecution goals. This lawsuit seeks underlying
records. They have no right to hide their misconduct.”

Click here to read the complaint.

Please make an urgently needed donation to continue this work
This is an ongoing struggle to expose the truth. The PCJF will
continue to demand from the State Department and other government
agencies that all of the documents they possess related to the
payment of Miami-based journalists during the prosecution of the
Cuban Five be released to the public.

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

Saul Landau, Maker of Films With Leftist Edge, Dies at 77

September 12, 2013



Saul Landau, a determinedly leftist documentary filmmaker and writer whose passion for asking what he called “the most intrusive questions” yielded penetrating cinematic profiles of leaders like Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende, died on Monday at his home in Alameda, Calif. He was 77.

The cause was bladder cancer, his daughter Julia Landau said.

Mr. Landau aspired to marshal art and literature to illuminate social and political problems, and his point of view was almost always apparent. In the 1980s, he wrote essays berating the administration of Ronald Reagan for trying to depose the leftist government in Nicaragua, and recently he urged the United States not to become involved in Syria.

He said he saw no difference between documentary and fictional films. In both, he said, a director manipulates light and sound to put across a vision. “One has to simulate reality,” he said in 2005 in an interview with The Capital Times in Madison, Wis. “The other one says, ‘Here’s reality,’ whether it is or isn’t.”

Mr. Landau emerged from the roiling New Left politics of the 1960s to make more than 40 documentaries, including six about Mr. Castro. One of them, “Fidel,” released in 1969, was a rare intimate look at the Cuban leader. It shows him arguing with a finger-wagging peasant woman, visiting his nursery school and playing baseball and striking out.

“I found Fidel a sympathetic figure and a hell of a good actor,” Mr. Landau told The Washington Post in 1982.

His most acclaimed film was “Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang,” which he directed with Jack Willis in 1980. With cinematography by Haskell Wexler, the documentary, broadcast on PBS, told of the cover-up of health hazards from a 1957 nuclear-bomb test in Utah. The film won an Emmy Award and a George Polk Award.

The title referred to Mr. Landau’s friend Paul Jacobs, a journalist who died of cancer — believed to have been caused by radiation exposure — before the film was completed.

Other films by Mr. Landau portray poverty in big-city slums, the destruction of indigenous Mexican culture, the inner workings of the C.I.A., torture in Brazil and life inside a San Francisco jail. Most have a leftist political edge that some saw as propagandistic, but Mr. Landau characterized the films as educational.

“All my films try to teach people without preaching too hard,” he said. “I try not to be too tendentious.”

Mr. Landau released two films relating to Mr. Allende, the Chilean who had become Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist president the year before. One was an interview with Mr. Allende.

The other film, “Que Hacer!” (1970) — the title is a translation of the title of Lenin’s book “What Is to Be Done?” — is a fictional movie, a playful spy story with music concerning a C.I.A. case officer in Chile. There are two casts: a Chilean one directed by Raul Ruiz and an American one directed by Mr. Landau and Nina Serrano, his wife at the time. Country Joe McDonald performed and produced the music. The film won awards at film festivals in Cannes, Venice and Mannheim, Germany.

Orlando Letelier, Chile’s ambassador to the United States, invited Mr. Landau to screen it at the Chilean Embassy in Washington, and they became friends. A few years later, Gen. Augusto Pinochet overthrew the Allende government and imprisoned Mr. Letelier.

Mr. Landau worked with other international supporters to win Mr. Letelier’s release and to arrange a job for him at the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-wing research organization in Washington Mr. Landau had joined in 1972. In 1976, Pinochet agents used a car bomb to kill Mr. Letelier and another institute worker. In 1980, Mr. Landau and John Dinges published a book about the case, “Assassination on Embassy Row,” documenting the Pinochet government’s ties to the killings.

Mr. Landau was at least as prolific a writer as he was a filmmaker. He wrote 14 books and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and reviews.

Saul Irwin Landau was born on Jan. 15, 1936, a few blocks from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and grew up playing stickball in the streets. His father was a pharmacist who had fled pogroms in Ukraine to come to New York in 1920. His mother was a teacher.

As a youth, Mr. Landau once abandoned school to hitchhike across America. When he returned, his mother urged him to take the test for the academically elite Stuyvesant High School. He passed, and went on to perform brilliantly there.

The summer after he graduated, he met Ms. Serrano at a camp in the Catskills, where he was the fry cook and she the drama teacher. Ms. Serrano, who became a published poet, encouraged his interest in leftist politics and a bohemian lifestyle, according to their daughter Valerie Landau.

Ms. Serrano also accompanied Mr. Landau when he went to the University of Wisconsin. When a dean found out that they were living together, he threatened to expel Mr. Landau (Ms. Serrano was not a student then) if they did not marry. They did.

At Wisconsin, Mr. Landau got involved in a so-called Joe Must Go club, which advocated the recall of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin over his demagogic attacks on people he accused of being Communists.

After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history at Wisconsin, Mr. Landau became a researcher for C. Wright Mills, the sociologist, traveling with him to Western Europe, the Soviet Union and Cuba.

Moving to Northern California with Ms. Serrano, he worked toward a doctorate at Stanford but did not complete the studies. In San Francisco, they gravitated to the Beat poets and the emerging New Left movement. Mr. Landau joined Students for a Democratic Society and helped organize the leftist magazines Ramparts and Mother Jones.

He also joined the San Francisco Mime Troupe, for which he wrote a parody of a minstrel show, “A Minstrel Show, or Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel.” Performers in the show, which satirized racial perceptions, appeared in blackface. The show traveled to New York and elsewhere.

“Through the entire evening there is really nothing to laugh at, no matter how funny it is,” Richard F. Shepard wrote in The New York Times. “There is the ominous theme of what hypocrisy and oppression breed.”

In 1966 Mr. Landau got a job as a reporter at KQED-TV, San Francisco’s public television station, and a year later went to Cuba to make a news documentary. Mr. Castro liked it, and invited Mr. Landau to return to do an in-depth documentary about him. Mr. Landau’s marriage to Ms. Serrano ended in divorce. Besides his daughters Valerie and Julia, he is survived by a son, Greg, and two other daughters, Carmen and Marie; his second wife, Rebecca Switzer; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

“You want to do what you can while you’re on this earth,” Mr. Landau said in 2006. “Otherwise the alternative is to go shopping.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES – September 11, 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.,

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