Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

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

November 3, 2014

_1-l-wilkerson
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,

Music Producer Greg Landau Sends a Letter to Obama Asking for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

May 2, 2014

Greg Landau-710
Greg Landau is an award-winning music/video producer, educator and music historian with a doctorate from UC San Diego’s prestigious School of Communication. Over the last 20 years he has produced six Grammy nominated CD’s and among the over 50 CDs, numerous film sound tracks and videos. His musical productions have been featured in films and television including the new Benjamin and Peter Bratt film, “La Mission”, Oliver Stone’s, “Comandante”, Survivor: Nicaragua, CSI Miami, The Family Guy, Dexter, Burn Notice, Nash Bridges, Punk’, HBO’s Hemingway and Gelhorn, and several PBS documentaries. He teaches at UC Santa Cruz, and San Francisco City College and has served as a Governor of the Nation Association of Recording Arts and Sciences/

May 5, 2014

Dear President Obama,

I am writing to you to ask you to review the case of the Cuban Five. These men acted to stop the terrorist activities being carried out in Florida by Cuban exiles against their homeland. My father, Saul Landau, gathered abundant evidence of the activities of these groups that operated with impunity in Florida with tacit support from local government officials who looked the other way at their illegal conspiracies to carry out armed attacks on Cuban soil.

The Cuban Five men were convicted in 2001 and have served lengthy sentences. The time has come to let them go, to end the cold war mentality that has shaped the United States-Cuba policy for decades despite huge shifts in the geopolitics that created them. The release of the remaining prisoners would signal a shift in U.S. policy to Cuba and a desire to heal past wounds opened decades ago in a world that does not exist anymore. The Soviet Union has disappeared, we now have normal relations with China and Vietnam, Cuba poses no danger to the United States, except as an example of the irrational policies of the past.

I have taken many student groups to Cuba over the last decade and they are amazed at the difficulty that the U.S. government policies have created for ordinary Cuban citizens and their desire to end this senseless blockade of our neighboring island. Free the Cuban Five as a gesture to end this political barrier to friendship between the United States and Cuba,

Sincerely,

Greg Landau
Music Producer
_____________________________________________________________

REMEMBER MONDAY MAY 5

CALL THE WHITE HOUSE TO JOIN THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND
FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE CUBAN 5
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

SEND AN ONLINE MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA (http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments,)

To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit: http://www.thecuban5.org, and
“Third 5 Days for the Cuban 5″in D.C.
CLICK HERE TO ENDORSE
Follow us in twitter and facebook
DONATE toward the projects of the International Committee
_1-A-787250270_n
171

Sandra Levinson, Executive Director of the Center for Cuban Studies, Sends a Letter to Obama

April 3, 2014

REMEMBER SATURDAY APRIL 5 CALL THE WHITE HOUSE TO JOIN THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE CUBAN 5

171
SANDRA LEVINSON is the President and Executive Director of the Center for Cuban Studies, and was one of the Center’s founders in 1972. In 1991 Levinson spearheaded a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department which resulted in legalizing the importation of original Cuban art. She is currently directing works at the Cuban Art Space, which she founded in 1999, to properly house and archive the thousands of posters, photographs and artworks which the Center has collected in the past 42 years. The Center collection consists of more than 3,000 works of art, 2,000 photographs and 5,000 posters and the Art Space shows art exclusively from Cuban artists. It also sponsors talks, film showings, performances, and serves as an arena for visiting artists and writers from Cuba. In 2004 Levinson was awarded the José Maria Heredia Medal in Santiago de Cuba, that city’s most important cultural award, for her dedication to the city’s artists. Earlier, she was given Cuba’s Friendship Medal from the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples.

April 5, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear President Obama:

I write you today to urge that you look at the case of the three Cubans still held hostage to our outworn and dangerous foreign policy towards Cuba. Called “The Cuban Five” by their supporters, they were sentenced to lengthy prison terms in 2001 for the crime of trying to protect the lives of their fellow citizens-and, for that matter, the lives of many U.S. citizens too. Two have been released from prison, and of the three who remain, one was sentenced to life imprisonment. I understand far too well the urgency that led the Cuban government to send these very brave men to infiltrate the Cuban exile terrorist organizations.

“Terrorist” is not too strong a word to describe the groups these men infiltrated in Miami. For decades they have ignored the laws of the United States which gave them new lives and protection. These groups were left alone by U.S. authorities to carry out a war against both Cuba and these with whom they disagree on U.S. territory. Many of them were U.S. citizens. I am one of these victimize by them.

In March, 1973, a member of one of those exile terrorist organizations placed a large plastique bomb in the Center for Cuban Studies, almost destroying the entire facility in Greenwich Village, New York City. The only part that was NOT destroyed was where I was sitting – my only injuries occurred because the blast caused the large glass window next to me to shatter and fall on me as I was typing.

For me, then, the “Cuban Five” represent a heroic effort to disrupt activities deemed illegal by our own government. It is past time for the release of the three remaining imprisoned.

Sincerely
Sandra Levinson
Executive Director
Center for Cuban Studies

REMEMBER SATURDAY APRIL 5

CALL THE WHITE HOUSE TO JOIN THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND
FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE CUBAN 5
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
SEND AN ONLINE MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit: http://www.thecuban5.org and
“Third 5 Days for the Cuban 5″in D.C.
Follow us in twitter and facebook
DONATE toward the projects of the International Committee

Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of Ramón Labañino, gives her reflections on the Commission of Inquiry

March 13, 2014

315752_119297654844537_10000

The wife of Ramón Labañino, one of the three Cuban heroes remaining imprisoned in the United States, felt many emotions during the two days of work of the Commission of Inquiry on the case of the Five that met in London march 7th and 8th. She noted that the documents with the preliminary opinion of the three judges directed to U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon Ramon, Tony and Gerardo.

Speaking to the Radio Rebelde, Elizabeth said by telephone from the British capital that at the end of the conference the judges issued an extensive document, denouncing irregularities in the trial process. The judges clarified though that there was still more work to be done on the Commission findings.

The judges will send their findings to the US President and U.S. authorities, and other nations, so that they may know the truth about the violations that occurred during the trial process of the

Five Cuban antiterrorist fighters, only two of whom, René González and Fernando González, have returned to Cuba after serving their unjust punishment.

The three Jurors of the commission of inquiry were Yogesh Sabharwal, former head Justice of India, Zac Jacoob, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and Phillipe Texier, French court appeal judge, who heard solid evidence presented to evaluate and consider their final opinion.

Various lawyers attended the London Commission denounced irregularities in the process and conclusions of the trial process in Miami, the isolation that the defendants were subjected to, the violations of family visits and the barriers put in their way to obtaining full counsel for their defence.

There were strong allegations presented directly by René Gonzalez (delivered via the Internet as the

British government had denied a visa to Rene at the last minute), relatives of the Five, lawyers and

victims of terrorism against Cuba, said Elizabeth, who also gave her testimony to the Commission.

During the sessions Mirta Rodríguez (mother of Antonio Guerrero) received a call from her son and it was exciting to hear Tony ‘s voice, said the wife of Ramón Labañino .

The Commission has been very important to denounce the injustice and to reach more people in the world. “Unfortunately only the Voices of the Five were freed to be presented rather than the men themselves who were still in jail” she said, adding that the Commission also exposed the terrorist actions against Cuba” that led our families to undertake their missions”.

The Five, Heroes of the Republic of Cuba, risked their lives to monitor Cuban terrorist groups in Florida from where for years they have organised violent actions against the people of Cuba.

Elizabeth spoke from London where she participated in the Commission alongside representatives from 27 countries who “they have filled us with friendship, thanks and love, and have showed us everything from their countries in the struggle for justice”.

On the Friday evening there was a huge artistic gala presented in one of London’s largest concert halls where 2000 people heard performances from Eliades Ochoa and Omara Portuondo, stars of Cuban music. They also heard famous British actors who read fragments of letters and poems of the Five, with expression and deep feeling.

Many there were attracted to the Cuban music and were finding out for the first time about the case of the Five. We were surprised to find how they identified with the cause and some even cried listening to the readings.

The Commission has been a long battle. We hope that we will not have to participate in another similar action because they will be released, but if necessary, we will continue to fight until the Five are back home in Cuba.

(Written by: Iliana Garcia Giraldino/Always Cuba)

(Translated Cuba Solidarity Campaign)


%d bloggers like this: