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Free the Cuban Five
What You Should Know & Can Do Print E-mail

 

What You Should Know


On Saturday, September 12, 1998, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González were detained. The men had been observing violent, extremist groups in Miami and gathering information about their activities on behalf of Cuban authorities. Wrongfully accused, tried and convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and other crimes, the men have spent years suffering in American prisons, often in solitary confinement. For working to keep innocent people safe from violence, the Cuban Five have been parted from friends and family and treated like criminals in the United States. But to the rest of the world, these men are heroes! 

Today, the international campaign to free the Cuban Five unites Danny Glover, Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn, Desmond Tutu, Gunter Grass (and eight other Nobel Laureates), members of the US military and intelligence communities, as well as the international Cuban solidarity and friendship community, the Cuban people and people all over the world who take justice and nonviolence toward innocent people seriously.  Everywhere, people are raising their voices to demand justice and freedom for the Cuban Five.

What You Can Do


Injustices so outrageous should be a thing of the past. The Cuban Five acted on their beliefs. You can, too. Justice requires thinking and action. You don’t have to join a group or make a donation to make a difference. What you can do:

  • Learn more about the Cuban Five and educate others.

  • Talk to friends and family about the case.

  • Write to one of the Cuban Five to express your solidarity with their struggle because they were brave enough to defend innocent people.

  • Write letters to members of Parliament or to American President Barack Obama to promote the Five’s release.

  • Record your own YouTube video expressing your solidarity with their struggle.
There are many things you can do as an individual; you can also volunteer with a local group, such as any of the Cuban friendship and solidarity groups around Canada or volunteer with the Canadian Network on Cuba.

Visit CanadianNetworkOnCuba.ca to Learn More!

- Click here to download this page as a poster -

 
World Peace Council Campaign for Solidarity and Freedom for the Cuban Five Print E-mail

World Peace Council, November 9, 2010

The World Peace Council (WPC) is initiating a campaign in solidarity with the just cause of the liberation of the Cuban Five political prisoners who have been unjustly punished and are being held in US prisons.

We call upon all peace loving organizations and forces in the world to rally around the WPC campaign under the slogan: "Solidarity with Socialist Cuba-Free the Cuban Five" and carry out actions in support of their liberation.

More than twelve (12) years of injustice have passed for those Cuban Five, for their families, for their wives and their children in inalienable violation of their human rights, evidence of the imperialist double standards USA government's policy fomenting state terrorism towards third countries and particularly against Cuba.

The USA Supreme Court's shamelessness of rejecting the petition of the Cuban Five and particularly of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, -condemned to two life imprisonments, plus 15 years which have been denounced as a violation by the Arbitrary Detentions' Commission of Human Rights Council of the United Nations, shows what is the real political motivation: the US government's policy towards the Cuban Revolution.

We call on you to reverse this difficult situation for these human lives-the US government has banned the visits by their wives and daughter to two of the prisoners-and confront the hostile media manipulation in the USA which has contributed to their unjust convictions.

We call upon you to exercise pressure on the US government through petitions and publications, events and protests demand from it the unconditional release of the Cuban Five. Their imprisonment constitutes, amongst other things, an act of political revenge of the USA towards Cuba and its Revolution, which we vehemently reject.

We call upon you to denounce the "Common Position" of the European Union by which it is flagrantly interfering in the Cuban domestic affairs and are complicit with the activities of the USA.

This WPC campaign will be also an opportunity to show to the world the achievements and sacrifices of the Cuban society, for more than 50 years under Blockade and the contribution of Cuba for the peoples in the world, including in the USA. It will be a service to the defense of truth and in solidarity with the struggling people of Cuba and its national sovereignty and independence.

Your solidarity contribution will be highly appreciated in your help to disseminate and to discuss this truth. This campaign will culminate in May 2011 with the holding of an International Conference in the Cuban Province Guantanamo, which will confront the US presence and abuse of the Military Base and its attached concentration camp.

Cuba is not alone! Long live the anti-imperialist Solidarity! Free the Cuban Five!


World Peace Council November 2010

 
Another Visit with Gerardo Hernández Print E-mail

Danny Glover and Saul Landau, Progreso Weekly, October 27, 2010

We sat in the waiting room with eight other people, all black or Latino, while prison authorities “counted” -- presumably -- the prisoners. An hour and a half later we went through the “screening” machine while our shoes got x rayed -- the airport has moved to the prison; or was it vice versa?

A guard put an invisible stamp on our wrist; a heavy metal door opened electronically and we entered another room where a guard with a hand-held machine read the invisible stamp with some sci-fi machine. Another massive portal opened as if by dint of fairy magic and a guard barked orders to wait in the open-air passageway between the entrance building and the prison visiting room.

Inside, the well lit -- no passing secrets or contraband -- visiting room we went and a guard pointed to one of many small, cheap plastic tables with three plastic chairs -- amidst the other plastic accommodations in the room. Inmates and families conversed. We waited. After 10 minutes, Gerardo Hernández appeared, hugged Danny and thanked him for making the YouTube video (look it up) explaining the case of the Cuban five.

Then he hugged Saul who said he’d just returned from Cuba and brought greetings from people who knew him

“How are people responding to the new reforms?” he wanted to know, referring to the economic changes – re-opening some of the private sector shut down by the 1968 “revolutionary offensive” and partially reopened in the mid-1990s, and to the massive layoff (500,000) of “superfluous” state workers as Raul Castro called them.

Saul reported people seemed anxious, but also dealing with the new reality. Gerardo nodded. “It was necessary,” he opined.

He had read newspapers and watched TV news related to next week’s election. “Will the Democrats lose one House or both?” he asked.

We didn’t know. Danny and Saul had watched CNN in the airport waiting room before we boarded the plane to go to Southern California and heard Wolf Blitzer and the other CNN “anchors” vie for fast-talk-say-nothing medals. We remarked on how cable news needs to create conflict (news?) 24/7 as its life’s blood. If no issue exists, create one. But crises arise. Sometimes even Lindsay Lohan and Wynona Rider don’t get caught taking drugs or shop lifting and CNN has to create conflict between gay former army officers and members of Obama’s staff over “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” This was part of CNN’s “election coverage.”

The prison authorities deny Gerardo access to email or computers, although convicted murderers and rapists don’t have those restrictions. He is able to talk to his wife on the phone. “Imagine, I can’t even send her an email,” he laughed sardonically.

Gerardo also can’t email his lawyers who recently filed a new appeal focusing on government documents showing payments made to Miami-area journalists who wrote articles designed to make the already “pervasive community prejudice” worse so that a Miami trial would become an impossible venue for Gerardo and his four mates to get a fair trial.

One Miami-based journalist, Pablo Alfonso, received $58,600 during the Five’s detention and trial period, but he only wrote 16 damaging articles [while he worked for El Nuevo Herald, Miami’s most important newspaper in Spanish]. Other government-paid journalists did negative TV and radio shows about the five men who had admitted their mission involved spying – but not on the U.S. government. Gerardo explained that Cuban Intelligence sent the men to Miami to penetrate violent exile groups who had planted more than a dozen bombs in one year (1997) in Cuban tourist sites.

The FBI did not arrest the bomb plotters, but rather grabbed the very people who had furnished the Bureau with evidence of terrorist activities based in South Florida.

A May 2005 United Nation’s Human Rights Commission concluded the original trial “did not take place in the climate of objectivity and impartiality” required for fair trials. The Commission’s report called for a new trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a previous appeal from the Five. But now, in addition to the bribing of journalists, appeal lawyer Leonard Weinglass has found the prosecutors had “withheld evidence that would have demonstrated [Gerardo’s] innocence.” Indeed, the government, Weinglass says, withheld “satellite imagery which would have shown that the shoot down on Feb. 24, 1996, occurred in Cuban airspace and not in international airspace. The key agency of the United States government which maintains satellite data has, up to now, refused to admit or deny that they are holding such data.”

On that day, three Brothers to the Rescue airplanes flew into Cuban air space after receiving multiple warnings not to do so. Cuban MIGs shot down 2 of the planes, killing pilots and co-pilots. This fact, reasoned Weinglass, would have given the Five and the MIG pilots a clear-cut defense to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

Ironically, the government never established Gerardo’s connection to the shoot down. They showed a communication commending him for his role in “the operation.” But Gerardo explained, “the operation” related to his helping another agent leave the country, not the shoot down. “They had other documents they didn’t show to the defense that would have shown I knew nothing about the events that day.” Weinglass included this in his new appeal.

Gerardo asked Danny about meeting his wife, Adriana, in Paris. Danny told him about the emotional encounter and Gerardo’s face lit up.

An inmate took photos of us. We said good-bye. Gerardo gave us the “keep the faith” fist in the air. We waved, left and began our drive south toward the Ontario airport passing the rows of unsold and empty houses in Victorville and the seemingly endless signs advertising chain stores and restaurants.

“Wow,” Danny said as he drove. “What an inspiring guy!”

Saul agreed. It was so worth the round trip, airport hassle, rent-a-car drive and wait in the prison – all the ugliness – to see how many inner resources one man could employ to keep his spirit high, and use them to inspire others.

Danny Glover is an activist and actor. Saul Laundau is a filmmaker and writer.

 
A Daughter's Journey: Freedom Tour 2003 Print E-mail


[Photo: Irma]Irma González went coast-to-coast across Canada, raising awareness of her father's unjust imprisonment in a U.S. federal prison. His crime? Working to stop terrorism.


Irma was accompanied by Dr. Aleida Guevara March, daughter of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, hero of the Cuban Revolution.


Tour schedule |   Free the Five info |  Photo Gallery

In June, 2001, five Cubans and Cuban-Americans were sentenced to long prison sentences following their conviction on charges of espionage. The arrests occurred in mid-September, 1998, with the U.S. judicial system taking three years to complete the character assassinations, exclude evidence, deny witnesses and lock up these five men - called Patriots by Cubans whose lives were saved through their actions.

[Rene Gonzalez]Irma is the daughter of René González. Born in Chicago, he's now in Edgefield, South Carolina, federal prison, sentenced to 15 years (another of his co-accused faces 19 years, while three will be in prison for life). Irma was in Canada from Sept. 28-Oct. 11 to raise awareness of her father's wrongful conviction and his unjust imprisonment. From Vancouver to Calgary to Toronto to Halifax (and several points in-between), Irma brought her story to Canadians, hoping that as more people learn of their plight as political prisoners in U.S. jails, pressure for their release will also grow.

The Cuba Five are Cubans and Cuban-Americans who tried to do what the U.S. government would not: stop terrorist acts against Cuba which originate in U.S. territory. None of these men were shown to have obtained or been looking for "state secrets" -- in fact, the information they obtained and reported back to Cuba was entirely public. They were trying to infiltrate anti-Cuba terrorist groups in the U.S., learn of their plans of attack against Cuba, and give the island an opportunity to prevent those attacks.

This was not a mission without justification. As José Altshuler (of the Cuban Movement for Peace) writes, "Terrorist actions against Cuba by members and sympathizers of such groups as Alpha 66, Omega 7, Brothers to the Rescue, and the Cuban American Foundation among others, have killed hundreds of Cuban citizens, fired bazookas and cannons at ships and buildings, placed bombs in Cuban hotels, destroyed buses, infected the island's farm land with various plagues, and spread deadly diseases among its livestock and dangerous viruses among the Cuban population. Add to this repeated assassination attempts against the Cuban President and diplomats. The peaceful monitoring of the activities of Cuban exile organizations in Miami cannot be compared to such terrorist acts. Like people everywhere, Cuba has the right to defend itself against terrorism."


Full Story |  Photo Gallery

 

Media Coverage of the Tour:

Post-Event Reports

CPAC - The Canadian Parliamentary Channel - interviewed Irma González on Thursday, October 2nd. The interview was broadcast at 7:00pm EST and repeated in the following days. Visit www.cpac.ca to find or request a repeat in your area.

 

 

 
Addresses and Biographies for the Cuban Five Print E-mail



Fernando Gonzalez LLort

René González Sehwerert

Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez

Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez

Ramon Labañino Salazar

Fernando Gonzalez LLort


Born in the City of Havana on August 18, 1963, Fernando Gonzalez graduated with a summa cum laude in International Political Relations from the Higher Institute of International Relations of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987. He is married to Rosa Aurora Freijanes.

From 1987 to 1989 he participated as an internationalist combatant in the war of liberation in Angola and against apartheid.

On September 12, 1998 Fernando was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty-three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.

His trial, held at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, under Case No. 98-721-Cr-Lenard(S), began on November 26, 2000 and concluded on June, 8, 2001, in Miami, Florida, home to over half a million Cuban exiles. Miami is a community with a long history of hostility toward the Cuban government – a record that a federal appellate court in the United States later described as a “perfect storm” of prejudice, precluding a fair trial.

Following his conviction, on December 18, 2001 he was sentenced to 19 years of imprisonment for the charges of General Conspiracy, Conspiracy to act as a non- registered foreign agent and False Identity.

Initially, Fernando was sent to a prison with fewer restrictions, but he was reclassified and sent to Oxford Federal Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, with far more difficult incarceration conditions. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and the authorities at Oxford FCI never registered his mother and wife on the official list of visitors he is allowed, because they don’t recognize his true identity.

In September 2007, Fernando was moved to FCI Terre Haute in Indiana.

In June 2008, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict and the panel ratified the sentences of Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez.  In the cases of Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, and Fernando Gonzalez, they were sent back for re-sentencing in the same court that convicted them in Miami.

On December 2009  Fernando Gonzalez was resentenced to 17 years.
To write to Fernando Gonzalez please address the envelope as following:

Rubén Campa
No. 58733-004
FCI Terre Haute
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN  47808


René González Sehwerert

René González is an American citizen, born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 13, 1956. As a son of Cuban immigrants he returned to Cuba in 1961. Rene is a pilot and flight instructor. Married to Olga Salanueva since 1983, they have two daughters: 23 year-old Irma González Salanueva, and 9 year-old Ivette González Salanueva.

From 1977 to 1979 he participated as an internationalist combatant in the war of liberation in Angola and against apartheid.

In 1990 Rene returned to the United States, and in 1996 his wife and elder daughter joined him in Miami. His daughter Ivette was born in that city in 1998.

On September 12, 1998 René was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty- three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.

His trial, held at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, under Case No. 98-721-Cr-Lenard(S), began on November 26, 2000 and concluded on June 8, 2001, in Miami, Florida, home to over half a million Cuban exiles. Miami is a community with a long history of hostility toward the Cuban government – a record that a federal appellate court in the United States later described as a “perfect storm” of prejudice, precluding a fair trial.

Following his conviction, on December 14, 2001 he was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on the charges of General Conspiracy and Conspiracy to act as a non- registered foreign agent.

After the trial, Rene was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, before being moved to McKean Federal Correctional Institution in the same state. Later, he was taken to Edgefield FCI in South Carolina, and finally to Marianna FCI, Florida, where he is serving at this moment.

His case is now under appeal before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Since the deportation of Rene’s wife, Olga Salanueva, in 2000, the government of the United States has denied visa permits to her on 7 occasions.

Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert
No. 58738-004
FCI Marianna
P.O. Box 7007
Marianna, FL 32447-7007


Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez

Antonio Guerrero was born in the city of Miami on October 16, 1958. As a son of Cuban immigrants he returned to Cuba in that same year. He graduated as an Airfield Construction Engineer from the Technical University of Kiev, in Ukraine. As an engineer he worked on the expansion of the Santiago de Cuba International Airport.

Antonio has published several books of poetry: “From my Altitude”, “Confidential Poems”, and others. Some of his poems have been put to music.

He has two sons: 22-year-old Tony and 15-year-old Gabriel Eduardo, who lives in Panama.

On September 12, 1998 Antonio was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty-three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.

His trial, held at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, under Case No. 98-721-Cr-Lenard(S), began on November 26, 2000 and concluded on June 8, 2001, in Miami, Florida, home to over half a million Cuban exiles. Miami is a community with a long history of hostility toward the Cuban government – a record that a federal appellate court in the United States later described as a “perfect storm” of prejudice, precluding a fair trial.

Following his conviction, on December 27, 2001 he was sentenced to one life term plus 10 years of imprisonment for the charges of General Conspiracy, Conspiracy to commit espionage and Conspiracy to act as a non- registered foreign agent.

Antonio is serving his sentence at the Florence United States Penitentiary (USP) in Colorado.

Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez
No. 58741-004
FCI Florence
PO BOX 6000
Florence, CO 81226


Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo

Born in the City of Havana on June 4, 1965, Gerardo Hernandez graduated in 1989 in International Political Relations from the Higher Institute of International Relations of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

From 1989 to 1990 he participated as an internationalist combatant in the war of liberation in Angola and against apartheid.

Gerardo is a caricaturist whose drawings have been published in the Cuban media and displayed in exhibitions in various galleries. A book containing his work was published in Cuba. Gerardo has been married to Adriana Perez O’Conor since 1988.

On September 12, 1998 Gerardo was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty-three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.

Seven months after his arrest the U.S. government amended his charges to include conspiracy to commit murder for the shoot down of two planes of the terrorist organization Brothers to the Rescue by the Cuban Air Force within Cuban airspace.

His trial, held at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, under Case No. 98-721-Cr-Lenard(S), began on November 26, 2000 and concluded on June 8, 2001, in Miami, Florida, home to over half a million Cuban exiles. This is a community with a long history of hostility toward the Cuban government – a record that a federal appellate court in the United States later described as a “perfect storm” of prejudice, precluding a fair trial.

Following his conviction, on December 12, 2001 he was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years of imprisonment for the charges of General Conspiracy, Conspiracy to commit espionage, Conspiracy to commit murder, False Identity and Conspiracy to act as a non-registered foreign agent.

After the trial, Gerardo was transferred to Lompoc U.S. Penitentiary in California, and later to Victorville USP, where he is serving his sentence at this moment.

The government of the United States has denied to his wife, Adriana Perez, the visa permits to visit her husband on 7 occasions.

Gerardo Hernandez
No. 58739-004
USP Victorville
PO BOX 5300
Adelanto, CA 92301


Ramon Labañino Salazar

Born in the City of Havana on June 9, 1963, Ramón Labañino graduated summa cum laude in Economy from the University of Havana in 1986. In 1990 he married Elizabeth Palmeiro and they have two daughters: 15-year-old Laura and 11-year-old Lizbeth. Ramon also has another daughter, 21-year-old Ailí, from his first marriage.

On September 12, 1998 Ramón was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty-three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.

His trial, held at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, under Case No. 98-721-Cr-Lenard(S), began on November 26, 2000 and concluded on June 8, 2001, in Miami, Florida, home to over half a million Cuban exiles. Miami is a community with a long history of hostility toward the Cuban government – a record which a federal appellate court in the United States later described as a “perfect storm” of prejudice, precluding a fair trial.

Following his conviction, on December 13, 2001 he was sentenced to one life term plus 18 years of imprisonment for the charges of General Conspiracy, Conspiracy to commit espionage, False Identity and Conspiracy to act as a non-registered foreign agent.

In June 2008, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict and the panel ratified the sentences of Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez.  In the cases of Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, and Fernando Gonzalez, they were sent back for re-sentencing in the same court that convicted them in Miami.

On December 2009 Ramon Labañino was resentenced to 30 years.

After Ramon was recentenced he was transfered to FCI Jesup in Geoargia.

To write to Ramón Labañino address the envelope as following

Luis Medina
No. 58734-004
FCI Jesup
2680, 301 South
Jesup, GA 31599

 

 
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