Peoples' Tribunal & Assembly

Breaking the Silence | Peoples' Tribunal & Assembly | Justice for the Five


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16 Years in U.S. Prisons: Too Long, Too Wrong!
The Tribunal Ruling:

This People's Tribunal was convened in Toronto fourteen years after the arrest and detention of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González Llort and René González in the United States. After considering all the evidence before this Peoples' Tribunal, we find:

  1. There is overwhelming and compelling evidence as to the activity of terrorist groups in Southern Florida, groups which have planned and executed terrorist actions against the people of Cuba for decades in contravention of U. S. and international law.

  2. Every country has the right to defend itself and in that context, the Cuban Five acted in the least adversarial and nonviolent manner to prevent acts of terrorism without engaging in actions against the national security of the United States.

  3. The U.S. failed to take any action to prosecute the actual terrorists in Southern Florida.

  4. We find that men that are peacefully trying to prevent terrorism should not be in prison.

  5. This Peoples' Tribunal condemns the cruel and unwarranted treatment of the Cuban Five during their incarceration.

  6. We find the Trial was a political trial against the Five.

  7. We find there was no credible evidence to support a conviction of conspiracy to commit espionage against the Five.

  8. We find there was no credible evidence to support a conviction of conspiracy to commit murder against Gerardo Hernandez.

  9. We find the U. S. Government interfered in the trial by spending considerable sums of money to pay reporters to write over one thousand printed articles and other television and radio coverage amounting to propaganda which had the unequivocal effect of influencing the outcome of the trial.

  10. We find the court's decision to deny the motion for change of venue was patently unreasonable in light of jury intimidation and a pervasive environment of hostility against the Five.

  11. Therefore this Peoples' Tribunal concludes that the Cuban Five were unjustly detained, unjustly prosecuted, and unjustly sentenced, all contrary to international and U.S. domestic law including the U.S. Constitution. This Peoples' Tribunal proposes the convictions be quashed, and that Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González Llort and René González be set free immediately, without any restrictions on their liberty.

  12. In the alternative, and in the interest of justice and healing, this Peoples' Tribunal proposes that the President of the United States should exercise his prerogative of a Presidential Clemency and allow the Five to return home.


Your Participation

Attend the Peoples' Tribunal & Assembly – come and witness directly the proceedings of a unique quasi-judicial rendering that seeks to expose to the public all that went awry with the proceedings and legal trial in South Florida of five Cuban prisoners.

What is the tribunal?

It is an international opinion tribunal independent from state authorities. The Tribunal may use international human rights law and precedents of common law.

What is the purpose of the Tribunal?

To challenge the mainstream media's blackout so that they get involved in covering a story of what is very disturbing in the processes of the US justice system. The media has a choice either they cover an issue or they are complacent and tacitly ignore an injustice. It took a strong media to expose Watergate – the case of the Cuban Five is just as compelling– why the silence? Who gains from the silence?

Let's Break the Silence!

That is why; the outcry of thousands of concerned citizens over the past 15 years comes to a head, here in Toronto, at the Peoples Tribunal, be part of it!

Who comprises the People's Tribunal?

A panel of Magistrates of Conscience presides over the Tribunal. The Magistrates come from a wide cross section of highly respected members of the international community who bring their expertise to bear in hearing the case and rendering a final opinion.

How will the Tribunal be run?

The tribunal will take place on September 22nd. During the proceedings lawyers from Canada, Cuba and the US will provide details of the areas where there was the greatest miscarriage of justice in the courts of south Florida. The Tribunal will hear from impact witnesses and also experts from Europe, Canada, the US and Cuba. The families of the Cuban Five will bear testimony to their hardships concerning the barriers to prisoner rights and denial of visits imposed on them.

What is the final outcome of the Tribunal?

At the end of the proceedings the Magistrates of Conscience will render their decision, which will be published at the end of the session.


Check the Peoples' Tribunal Poster and the Peoples' Tribunal Brochure for more information.


No Recording DevicesPlease note that cameras or video recording devices are NOT allowed in the council chambers unless you have the prior permission of the Peoples' Tribunal.


Historical Context

Almost 14 years ago, the Cuban Five – René González, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando González – were falsely charged and wrongly convicted in a Miami courtroom of "conspiracy to commit espionage" against the U.S. on behalf of the Cuban government. Ever since the unjust conviction, the five Cubans have been held in separate U.S. prisons, often in solitary confinement.

In fact, the politically-motivated trial and conviction of the Cuban five had nothing to do with threats to U.S. security. The Cuban Five never conspired to commit espionage. They were on a mission to monitor and report on violent groups in Miami that are well known by the U.S. government to be responsible for terrorist acts against the Cuban people.

For more than 50 years, hundreds of attacks have been launched against Cuba by these extreme right-wing groups, whose aim is the violent overthrow of the Cuban government. Their campaign of bombings, assassinations and other attacks has left 3,478 Cubans dead and 2,099 seriously injured.

The Cuban Five were peacefully trying to do what U.S. law enforcement authorities have refused to do - prevent terrorism.

This horrific injustice against the Five has provoked an unprecedented campaign in the U.S., Canada and around the world to demand that their convictions be overturned and that they be granted immediate release.

As part of this international effort to achieve the freedom of the Cuban Five, a number of trade unions and solidarity groups from across Canada, in coordination with the Canadian Network on Cuba and La Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba, are convoking a Peoples' Tribunal & Assembly on September 21-23, 2012 in Toronto, to shed new light on this egregious injustice and to build a broad public campaign to demand their freedom.

The Peoples' Tribunal & Assembly aims:
  • to act as a forum for education and for launching an appeal to get justice for the Cuban Five;

  • to break the silence of the mainstream media about this case; and

  • to map out the next steps of a broad and united campaign on the Cuban Five in Québec and across the rest of Canada.
The Peoples' Tribunal, composed of prominent Canadian and international panelists, will hear from expert witnesses before rendering a ruling. Although the Tribunal's ruling will not be legally or judicially binding, it will carry moral force and suasion of the outrage of concerned people across Canada and internationally.

Witnesses will testify to the suffering caused to the Cuban people and to others as a result of all the terrorist attacks against Cuba and Cuban interests. They will testify to the unjust trial in Miami, the U.S. government's covert payments to journalists covering the trial, the horrendous sentences given to the Cuban Five and the violation of international law by the United States government regarding the inhumane treatment they have endured, the denial of visitation rights to family members and the U.S. government's harbouring and protection of self-confessed anti-Cuban terrorists.

The Peoples' Assembly will serve to develop and adopt an extensive plan of action to pressure the Canadian government to join the international demand urging U.S. President Obama to use his authority to immediately release the Cuban Five and allow them to return to their homeland.


• Family members of the "Cuban Five" • Livio Di Celmo, Victim of Terror, Montréal, Québec • Danny Glover, Actor U.S.A. • Saul Landau, Award Winning Film Maker and Author • Gloria La Riva, Free The Five, National Committee - U.S.A. • Cindy Sheehan, Anti–War activist- U.S.A. • Tony Woodley, UNITE the UNION, UK • José Pertierra, Lawyer, Washington, D.C. • Denis Lemelin, National President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers • Isaac Saney, Professor, Dalhousie University, Halifax • Arnold August, Writer, Montréal, Québec • Raymundo Navarro, Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) • Julian Rivas, Journalist, Venezuela • Wes Elliott, Grand River Territory • Keith Bolender, Freelance Journalist and Author Based in Toronto • Richard Klugh, Lawyer for the Cuban Five, USA • Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers • Stephen Kimber, Professor of Journalism, University of Kings College, Halifax • Alicia Jrapko, International Committee to Free the Cuban Five, U.S.A. • William Sloan, Civil Rights Lawyer, Montréal, Québec • Naveen Mehta, Labour Lawyer, United Food and Commercial Workers • Marie Clarke Walker, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists • Lee Maracle, First Nations Writer, Poet and Performing Artist • Reverend Chris Levan, Minister, United Church of Canada •
Abelardo Paisan Reyes, National Union of Education Workers (SNTECD), Cuba • Miguel Barnet, Writer and Novelist, Cuba •

* Attendees are listed in no particular order


• United Food and Commercial Workers • United Steelworkers, Canada • Canadian Union of Postal Workers • Canadian Network on Cuba • International Council of Latin American and Caribbean Women - LATIN@S • The Worker to Worker, Canada-Cuba Labour Solidarity Network • Carranza LLP • Canadian Cuban Friendship Association - Toronto • Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network • Canadian Union of Public Employees • Tim Louis, Tim Louis & Co, Vancouver Lawyer and Vancouver City Councillor 1999 - 2005 • Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 4400 •
Ontario Federation of Labour •

* Sponsors are listed in no particular order


• International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, USA • National Network on Cuba, U.S.A. • Toronto Forum on Cuba • Communist League/Ligue communiste • International Festival of Poetry of Resistance • Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association of Kingston • Dr. James Cockcroft, Montréal, Québec • Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba • Canadian Cuban Friendship Association - Vancouver • Free the Cuban 5 Committee Vancouver • La Asociación de Cubanos Juan Gualberto Gómez • Socialist Action • The United Jewish People's Order • Association United Ukranian Canadians Toronto Branch • Manitoba-Cuba Solidarity Committee • Don Currie, Chair of Canada for Peace and Socialism and associate member of the Canadian Peace Congress • Brian Gordon Sinclair, Hemingway On Stage • The North Simcoe and Muskoka Labour Council • NDP Socialist Caucus • Associazione Nazionale di Amicizia Italia-Cuba • Jim Neill, Deputy Mayor, City of Kingston, Ontario • Northstar Compass • Libby Davies, NDP-MP, Vancouver East • The Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE) • Toronto Haiti Action Committee • Toronto and York Region Labour Council • Barrio Nuevo • "DISCUSSION" Wednesday evening public affairs program, Vancouver Co-Op Radio, 102.7 FM (100.5 FM September 10th) • The Young Communist League of Canada • UNITE the UNION, United Kingdom (U.K.) • Latin American Trade Unionist Coalition (LATUC) • Communist Party of Canada • Walter Lippmann, Editor, CubaNews newsgroup • Chicago Committee to free the Cuban Five • Law Union of Ontario • Toronto Bolivia Solidarity • Krittibas Literary Group of Toronto • Solidarity with Iran - SI • House of Latin America (HOLA) • Common Frontiers • International Socialists • Hamilton Friendship Association with Cuba • Canadian Lawyers' Committee in Support of the Anti-Terrorist Cuban Five • Ryerson Students' Union Local 24 – Canadian Federation of Students • Sea of Red Open Collective [SoR(..)C] •

* Endorsers are listed in no particular order


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