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ENTREVISTA A GERARDO HERNANDEZ NORDELO (EN INGLÉS)

ENTREVISTA A GERARDO HERNANDEZ NORDELO (EN INGLÉS)

La más reciente entrevista a Gerardo!!!!


from www.freethefive.org


Transcript of the interview

Special to freethefive.org

July 2, 2007
Transcription by Steve Patt and Gloria La Riva,
National Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Portions of this transcript in [bracketed italics] are part of the 16-minute raw audio and were not part of the 10-minute edited broadcast. The more limited transcript of the 10-minute portion only is online here.

Claire Bolderson: Well next month, a court in Florida is going to hear an appeal in a case that sums up much about the relationship between the United States and Cuba. Gerardo Hernández and four other Cubans were convicted in Florida in December, 2001 [sic: June, 2001] on a range of charges including trying to obtain U.S. military secrets, spying on Cuban exile groups, and, in Mr. Hernández' case, conspiracy in the deaths of four Cuban-Americans whose planes were shot down by the Cuban government in 1996.

Gerardo Hernández is serving a double life sentence, but he argues that all he was trying to do was protect Cuba from what he calls "terrorist groups," anti-Castro organizations based in the U.S. He and his fellow defendants also argue that their trial was unfair because of the anti-Castro mood in Florida where it was held.

In the first-ever media interview given by any of the five prisoners, I spoke to Mr. Hernández on the telephone from his maximum security prison in Victorville, California, and asked him to explain his story from the beginning.

[Claire Bolderson: Mr Hernandez, I know there has been a lot of concern about your treatment in prison and the time you spent a while ago in solitary confinement. Can you describe for me how you are being treated now, what the conditions are for you in prison?]

[Gerardo Hernández: Well, I'm a regular inmate in a US penitentiary and I would say that the worst part of my treatment has not to do with the prison but with the government of the US. I would say that the worst part of my imprisonment is that I haven't been able to see my wife for the last ten years, because the US government doesn't grant a visa to her to come to visit me. That's one of the things, and I would say that for the rest of the things, you know, it's a prison and I am an inmate like every other and it's not easy to be an inmate, but I'm doing alright.]

[Claire Bolderson: Are you saying then that you have had no family visits at all?]

[Gerardo Hernández: Well, I have received some family visits - my mother and sister have been able to come, but in the case of my wife, my wife of nineteen years, she hasn't been able to come to visit me because she has been constantly denied a visa to come. So I haven't been able to see her for the last ten years.]

CB: [You were convicted on a number of counts, including one of them was trying to obtain US military secrets, by trying to infiltrate a base, and for acting as an unregistered agent for a foreign government.] Can you explain to us what you were doing in Florida in the first place?

Gerardo Hernández: Well in the first place, I was gathering information on terrorist groups that used to operate in Florida with total impunity. [They are people that have got training camps there and paramilitary organisations and they go to Cuba and commit sabotage, bombs and all kinds of aggressions. And as I told you, they have had impunity.] So at a certain point Cuba decided to send some people to gather information on those groups and send it back to Cuba to prevent those actions. And in 1998, Cuba passed to the FBI some information regarding those groups, hoping that the FBI would do something against them. And unfortunately, what they did was arrest the people that had gathered that information. [As for the military part, I was charged with conspiracy to commit espionage, and that was because there wasn't espionage at all. In our trial that lasted seven months, there were three or four retired generals from the US army who testified that there was nothing related to espionage in this case, but since the trial was in Miami and we couldn't have a fair trial. We were found guilty, but I reiterate that it was a conspiracy because the government said, "Wait a minute - they didn't commit espionage, but they would have tried to commit it sometime," so that's the conspiracy to commit espionage, but not a single piece of secret information, nothing related to the national security of the US was gathered or transmitted.]

CB: But you do acknowledge that you were working as an agent for a foreign government, and in one of your defense statements you do say that you were working with false documents, false identity documents?

GH: Yes, I do acknowlege that.

[CB: But that's quite a serious thing to have been doing then, isn't it?]

GH: [Yes, it is,] but there is something called "necessity defense," that says that if [in order to prevent a wrongdoing], in order to prevent crime you have to violate a law, you can understand that. In my case, yes I had fake I.D., I was working for foreign government, but not to affect the U.S. interests, but to defend Cuban interests, to defend the Cuban people from terrorism.

CB: And the crimes you were trying to stop, what exactly were they, the crimes?

GH: Well, for example, in 1997, a bomb exploded in a Cuban hotel and killed [Fabio Di Celmo], an Italian tourist. And in 1976, as you know, a bomb exploded in a Cuban airplane and killed 73 people. And that's only two examples of terrorist acts committed against Cuba. Anybody who lives in Miami, [who see the TV, the local TV station or radio station] they know what Comandos F-4 is, and they know what Alpha 66 is [and they know what Brothers to the Rescue is.]

[CB: And what are those, can you explain to me, what are those names?]

[Yes, they used to be called paramilitary groups. I call them terrorist groups.] They have got training camps in the Everglades, they dress in camouflage, and have weapons, and they train for the day they're going to "liberate Cuba." They used to go to Cuba in boats and fire at Cuban buildings and they tried to organize an internal sabotage and all kind of actions. [That is public record - you check the Miami newspapers, you can see that. You can see that they get involved and go to Cuba and do some shootings and they go back and are received like heroes and, for example, in our trial, we presented some witnesses, we subpoenaed the Coast Guard and we subpoenaed the FBI and we presented the evidence of the impunity that these people have. We asked, for example, to a Coast Guard official, "Is it true that this day you intercepted a group that was heading to Cuba with some weapons and explosives?" "Yes, it is true." "Is it true that you just took the weapons and freed the guys?" "Yes." "Why?" "Well, because they said that they were fishing for lobsters." Something like that happened in our trial and it's not a single case - there's a long record of terrorist aggressions against my country. So the Cuban people have the right to defend themselves against terrorist actions.] Hopefully the U.S. government and the U.S. authorities will do something, because they say they have a war against terrorists, but why are you going to allow those terrorists to operate freely in Miami? [Recently, just a month ago, the guy who masterminded the bomb on the Cuban airplane that killed 73 people, he was set free and he's free now in Miami.]

CB: There is one very contentious charge on which you were convicted and the reason why you are serving such a long sentence – the shooting down by Cuba of two civilian planes from the United States in 1996. Did you have any role connected to that?

GH: No, absolutely not. [But you have to understand what really happened. The person leading those planes is called José Basulto, he was a CIA operative in the '60s, he was infiltrated into Cuba to do sabotage. After that, in 1962, he went back to Cuba from Florida in a boat and he fired a cannon against a Cuban hotel, went back to Miami and was received like a hero. And he has a long history of terrorism against Cuba, and at some point in his life he said "Alright, I'm going to be a humanitarian now, I want to get this small plane and fly inside Cuba with no permission at all and drop leaflets and propaganda," and he did it, like, sixteen times. And Cuba sent to the US sixteen diplomatic notes, which were presented in our trial, complaining to the U.S. and saying, "Hey, these people are violating international laws, U.S. laws, Cuban laws." The Cuban MIGs used to take off and escort those people out and Cuba used to say "Hey, don't do it anymore, you are putting in danger our own aviation, our population, everything."]

[CB: That may have been wrong, and I'm sure there have been many diplomatic arguments about it, but what I'm interested in is what you did about it?]

GH: [Nothing!] I was in Miami and the plane was shot down in Cuban waters, a long way away [from me].

CB: So you didn't pass any information that would have helped the Cuban government to shoot down the planes?

GH: No, of course not. If you go to the records of those times, you will see that José Basulto announced way before the trip, he said "we are going there on February 24." Everybody knew that. [We presented in our trial a memorandum from the U.S. government, one agency, the Federal Aviation Agency, telling their people "Hey, he's going to do that on February 24th, we are concerned that something is going to happen, because Cuba already said if they do it again, they're going to be shot down, so we'd better have all the ducks in a row," that's actually what the memo said. So everybody was expecting that something would happen, we even in our trial, Richard Nuccio, the former advisor to President Clinton, he was at the trial and said, "Yeah, that organisation was out of control." There is a long dispute over the incident and Cuba says they shot the planes inside Cuban waters according to Cuban radar, the U.S. says that one plane was in Cuban waters but the two that were shot down were heading there but in international waters.] And the government charged me for conspiracy, and they said that is because I knew that the plane would be shot down, and because I knew that the plane would be shot down over international waters, which has no sense at all. It's something crazy, but they need to blame somebody and they chose me.

CB: You have an appeal coming up. What will be the grounds for your appeal?

GH: [Well, we have different issues in our appeal. The main issue, which we really wanted and unfortunately was reversed, is a venue issue -] We argued that the trial wasn't fair in Miami. Our trial lasted over seven months and there were over 100 witnesses. The jury deliberated a few hours and they didn't ask a single question. They just found us guilty on every single count, and then the judge gave us the highest sentence possible on every count.

CB: And you say that that is because of the influence of the Cuban exile community in Florida?

GH: Yes, of course. During the trial there were all kind of irregularities, to call it like that. People were filming the jurors, and following the jurors, the press was following the jurors to their cars, and there were riots or some kind of protest in front of the courts, all kind of things. [Also the press was really rough with us.]

CB: So you think the jury was intimidated, or even tampered with? Was it as serious as that?

GH: I believe the jury was intimidated. Anybody who lives in Miami or who knows what is going on there would understand that nothing related to Cuba is normal in Miami. [Right now, for example, a book has been taken off the shelves in Miami, taken out of schools, just because on the cover there are some Cuban kids smiling and looking happy. It's a book for kids named "Let's Go to Cuba" and they just pulled it out because of that, because there is a phrase in the book that says, "Cuban kids study and live like you," something like that, and just because of that - and everybody that knows the history of Miami knows that people have been killed just because they want a better relation with Cuba. I mean, I can tell you about the Replica magazine that was bombed like seven times because they advocate for better relations with Cuba. People in Miami - you have to live there to understand. Most American people don't even have an idea of what is going on in Miami, it's like another country.]

CB: Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the past has taken quite an interest in your case and he's spoken on your behalf. Have you heard from him directly at all?

GH: Well I had the opportunity to talk to him by phone on his birthday two years ago. [It was something I didn't expect, I just called my wife that day because it was also my friend René González's birthday. And our families happened to be with him. So when I found out I told my wife, "Please, t ell him happy birthday from me," and then he said, "Oh, hold on one second, I want him to tell me," so I had the chance to talk to him for a few minutes, which was a great experience for me, of course.]

CB: And what did he say?

GH: Well he said that he's confident that justice will prevail because he has always been confident that when the American people find out about what has been done in our case, when the American people find out the truth about our case, justice will prevail. Everybody is confident on that.

CB: Gerardo Hernández of the so-called Cuban Five, on the phone from prison in California

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Feliz Día de los Enamorados -Caricatura-

Feliz Día de los Enamorados -Caricatura-

Declaraciones exclusivas del prestigioso religioso estadounidense Thomas Gumleton a Radio Habana Cuba

Declaraciones exclusivas del prestigioso religioso estadounidense Thomas Gumleton a Radio Habana Cuba

Tomado de RHC: http://www.radiohc.cu/heroes/espanol/especiales/mayo07/especiales22mayo.htm 

Gumbleton: "Es desafortunado que la sociedad estadounidense tenga tanta ignorancia del caso de los Cinco"

El obispo católico estadounidense Thomas Gumleton es un reconocido pacifista internacional, que trabaja con la Conferencia Mundial sobre Religión y Paz de Naciones Unidas y se cuenta entre los fundadores del capítulo norteamericano de la organización Pax Christi.

El prelado es una de las personalidades que ha unido su voz al clamor internacional que exige la libertad de los cinco cubanos que cumplen injustas condenas de prisión en Estados Unidos, por haberse infiltrado en grupos ultraderechistas de Florida que planeaban acciones terroristas contra Cuba e informar al gobierno cubano sobre sus macabros planes.

Gumbleton visitó recientemente en el penal federal de Oxford, Wisconsin, a Fernándo Gónzalez, unos de los Cinco y relató a RHC detalles de ese encuentro.

"El día que visité a Fernando, allí también estaba su mamá. Los dos pasamos con él un excelente momento.
Ella se quedó todo el fin de semana, yo solo lo visité un día, el viernes, desde las 10 de la mañana hasta las tres de la tarde. Hicimos un almuerzo ligero y tuvimos una visita muy agradable.
Me impresionó mucho su actitud. Se cuida mucho de hacer ejercicios todos los días para mantenerse en buenas condiciones físicas y está muy comprometido con su causa, y deseoso de sacrificarse estos años en prisión por luchar por el bienestar de Cuba. Me impresionó mucho su determinación, sus motivaciones y su sinceridad".

Con 77 años cumplidos, Gumbleton se retiró recientemente como obispo auxiliar de Detroit. El religioso, de amplio historial de activismo pacifista, es dado a expresar con claridad sus criterios. Afirmó a RHC entender claramente las causas del actuar de los cubanos.

"Me impresionó mucho conocer que estaban simplemente tratando de evitar que ocurriesen acciones terroristas contra su país, algunas de las cuales ya habían tenido lugar. Lo que estaban haciendo era asegurar que este tipo de actos no se repitieran. Creo que no estaban haciendo más que lo que hace Estados Unidos por proteger a su pueblo de acciones terroristas. Por lo tanto, desde mi perspectiva, creo que no debían estar en prisión".

Para el obispo Gumblelton, a casi 9 años del amañado juicio en Miami que dispersó a Gerardo Hernández, Ramon Labañino, Fernando González, René González y Antonio Guerrero por distintas penitenciarías federales del país con crueles e inusuales sentencias, es muy desafortunado que la sociedad estadounidense tenga tanta ignorancia sobre el caso.

 

"Lamento decir que no hay conciencia del hecho de que estas cinco personas cumplen prisión erradamente, injustamente. Se podría dar más publicidad al caso y alguna una organización podría hacerse cargo de él honestamente para lograr la liberación de los Cinco".

A pesar de sus años, el Obispo Gumbleton ha participado en numerosas acciones de protesta contra la guerra en Iraq, como antes lo hizo contra la guerra de Vietn Nam. RHC solicitó su comentario sobre el combate internacional contra el terrorismo que lidera Estados Unidos.

"La guerra va a empeorar mientras mantengamos nuestra ocupación en Irak. El único resultado de nuestra presencia allí es hacer la situación más inflamable, algo que está causando que muchos jóvenes en ese país y otras naciones del Oriente Medio desarrollen un sentimiento de odio hacia Estados Unidos, y un deseo de entregar sus vidas, con tal de ver la salida de las tropas de ocupación. El hecho de que Iraq no tuvo nada que ver con los ataques terroristas del 11 de septiembre, no solamente empeora las cosas, sino hacen mas injustos los sufrimientos que se le han impuesto a la sociedad iraquí.

Sobre la actitud que mantiene la Administración de George W Bush en relación con el terrorista Luis Posada Carriles, el Obispo Gumbleton afirmó estar al tanto de esa situación y añadió: " pienso que es muy incorrecto que Estados Unidos no lo extradite a Venezuela y le este dando protección. Hay muchas evidencias que prueban su responsablidad en un grupo de actos terroristas y si hay alguna duda, nada mejor que un juicio para aclararlo. Pero Estados Unidos No va a extraditarlo", concluyó Gumbelton.

Presentan en Portugal obra teatral sobre Los Cinco

Tomado de Radio Habana Cuba: http://www.radiohc.cu/heroes/espanol/noticias/noti01.htm

Lisboa, 31 mayo (RHC) La obra Solos en Miami, sobre la lucha de los cinco antiterroristas cubanos presos en Estados Unidos, se presentó en el Noveno Festival Internacional de Teatro de la localidad portuguesa de Torre Moncovo.

Presenció la función el vicealcalde José Aires, quien dijo sentirse emocionado por la pieza cubana que trata el injusto encarcelamiento de Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, René González, Antonio Guerrero y Fernando González.

Igualmente se presentó el libro homónimo de la puesta en escena, cuya edición corrió a cargo de la casa Arca de Letras.

Carta de amor/Love letter

Carta de amor/Love letter

Love:

Just a few days from our encounter, wonderful memories come to my mind, all those that during our marriage we have enjoyed and that mainly you, were in charge to see and cultivate."

"However I will have to come back to the paper as usual, and leave the line of thoughts for ever, not even death can finish this love, meaningful and deep one I have for you and with this immense gratitude I feel."

That is how Raul Gomez García wrote without knowing through the years these letters would show reality of a young couple that , because of distance has stopped loving with the maturity of older people, involved by the proud, admiration and respect we feel for each other.

Once more, we are physically separated, but our love does not decrease for that, nor I need your malicious smile, nor your sly look , nor the wanted good bye kiss at the sleeping time to feel you present.

You will always be at my side , on my dreams , memories and realities

In the past lifting with indelible details this building of solid base which is our matrimony being tested from aggressive storms, in the nostalgic present and full of hopes, in this future that belongs to us, with the certainty of living again the long moments full of happiness we deserve.

Even after these years of silence, forced to be separated, I have not stopped loving and longing for you.

With your endless love, respect, comprehension, your delicate patient, dedication, tenderness and eternal smile you made from me a spoiled girl and a woman immensely happy.

That is why, as Martí said, loved will be the one who loves, kisses may be got that one who seeds kisses.

For men like you, sacrifices do not matter, nor endless dedications to which I am wiling.

We have a love history, a very nice one, impossible to crash in these lines, but years might come and our love will grow.

I have been and I am very happy to share my life with an extraordinary man, forming part of history of this country, who is gifted with envying qualities and that knows how to enrich and to make grow this wonderful feeling as love is.

I wish you a lot of happiness, accompanied with these kisses that time and distance have not stopped to enjoy.

Thank you so much for such a fortune and loving you, I miss you a lot.

Love is like wind to fire, it lights it and turns the weak ones off.

Happy Wedding Anniversary

Your Bonsai

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Unnecessarily punitive -- Amnesty International calls for temporary visas to be granted to two wives of the Cuban Five

Jan. 17, 2007
Reprinted from Amnesty International

by: www.freethefive@freethefive.org

 Amnesty International is once again urging the US authorities to stringently review its decision to deny temporary visas to the wives of two Cuban nationals serving long federal prison sentences in the USA, and, in the absence of reasonable and conclusive evidence for continuing for them to be withheld, to grant them temporary visitation visas so that they may visit their husbands in the US.

The men, Gerardo Hernández and René Gonzáles were convicted in 2001 of acting as unregistered agents of the Cuban government. Adriana Perez has not been permitted to visit her husband Gerardo Hernández since his arrest in 1998, while Olga Salanueva, wife of René Gonzáles, and their eight-year-old daughter, have not seen him since the eve of his trial in 2000.

Since 2002 the US government has denied the wives’ applications for temporary visas for different reasons relating to terrorism, espionage and issues of national security. Yet, neither woman has faced charges in connection with such claims, nor have their husbands been charged with, or convicted of terrorism.

Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva have made representations to Amnesty International in which they deny being a security risk to the US, while their husbands are currently held in ‘general population’ within prison which suggests that they are not considered to present a security risk to the country.

Amnesty International is not in a position to judge the evidence on which the government has made the decision to deny the women temporary visas for visitation purposes. However the organization has repeatedly raised the issue with the US authorities since 2002 because it believes that denying the men visits from their wives (and in one case, also his child) is unnecessarily punitive and contrary to standards for humane treatment of prisoners and states’ obligations to protect family life.

The organization believes that this deprivation is particularly harsh given the length of the men’s sentences (René Gonzáles has been sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment and Gerardo Hernández to life imprisonment) and the questions that have been raised about the fairness of the men’s convictions.

Background Information on challenges to the convictions of the Cuban Five

In May 2005, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion finding that the USA had failed to guarantee the Cuban Five a fair trial. The WGAD opinion was based on information provided by the prisoners’ families, and included concerns about the trial venue, use of classified evidence and the fact that the defendants were kept in solitary confinement for months before trial, making access to evidence and communication with their attorneys reportedly more difficult.

In August 2005, the convictions of all the Cuban Five were overturned by an appeals court and a retrial was ordered, on the ground that pervasive hostility toward pro-Castro Cubans in Miami (where the trial was held) was prejudicial to the accused. This decision was reversed on 9 August 2006 by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on a finding that no such prejudice had been shown in the selection of the trial jury.

AI has not reached a conclusion on the fairness of the proceedings, many of which have still to be raised on direct appeal. However, it continues to seek further information on this issue.


Una medida punitiva innecesaria:

Amnistía Internacional Pide Que Eeuu Concedan Visados Temporales A Las Esposas De Dos De Los "Cinco Cubanos"

Amnistía Internacional insta una vez más a las autoridades estadounidenses a que revisen detenidamente su decisión de no conceder sendos visados temporales a las esposas de dos ciudadanos cubanos que cumplen largas penas de cárcel en Estados Unidos y, si no hay razones concluyentes para continuar negándoselos, les proporcionen los visados para que puedan ir a visitar a sus esposos.

Los dos hombres presos, Gerardo Hernández y René Gonzáles, fueron declarados culpables en 2001 de ser agentes no registrados del gobierno cubano. A la esposa del primero, Adriana Pérez, no se le ha permitido visitarlo desde que fue detenido, en 1998, mientras que la del segundo, Olga Salanueva, y la hija de ambos, de ocho años, no lo ven desde la víspera de su juicio, celebrado en 2000.

El gobierno estadounidense rechaza desde 2002 las solicitudes de visado temporal de ambas mujeres, aduciendo distintas razones relacionadas con terrorismo, espionaje y cuestiones de seguridad nacional. Sin embargo, ninguna de las dos ha sido acusada jamás de tales delitos, ni tampoco han sido sus esposos acusados ni declarados culpables de terrorismo.

Adriana Pérez y Olga Salanueva se han dirigido a Amnistía Internacional para explicar que no representan una amenaza para la seguridad de Estados Unidos y que sus esposos se encuentran recluidos junto con la "población general" de la prisión, lo que indica que no se considera que entrañen riesgo alguno para la seguridad del país.

Amnistía Internacional no está en condiciones de juzgar las razones del gobierno para tomar la decisión de negar a estas mujeres un visado temporal que les permita visitar a sus esposos. No obstante, la organización ha expuesto reiteradamente la cuestión a las autoridades estadounidenses desde 2002, pues considera que negar a estos hombres las visitas de sus esposas (y de su hija, en el caso de uno de ellos) es una medida punitiva innecesaria y contraria a las normas sobre el trato humano debido a los presos y a la obligación que tienen los Estados de proteger la vida familiar.

La organización cree que esta negativa es particularmente estricta dadas las largas condenas impuestas a ambos hombre (15 años a René Gonzáles y cadena perpetua a Gerardo Hernández), y dadas también las cuestiones que se han planteado sobre si las sentencias condenatorias se dictaron en un juicio con las debidas garantías.

Información complementaria sobre impugnaciones de las sentencias condenatorias de los "Cinco Cubanos"

En mayo de 2005, el Grupo de Trabajo de la ONU sobre la Detención Arbitraria emitió una opinión en la que se determinaba que Estados Unidos no había garantizado a los "Cinco Cubanos" un juicio justo. La opinión estaba basada en información proporcionada por las familias de los presos, y se expresaba en ella preocupación por la jurisdicción donde se había celebrado el juicio, el uso en él de pruebas clasificadas y la reclusión de los acusados en régimen de aislamiento durante meses antes del juicio, lo que, según informes, había dificultado el acceso a las pruebas y la comunicación de los acusados con sus abogados.

En agosto de 2005, un tribunal de apelación anuló la sentencia condenatoria de los "Cinco Cubanos". Se ordenó entonces un nuevo juicio por considerarse que la hostilidad hacia los cubanos partidarios de Castro imperante en Miami (donde se había celebrado el juicio) había sido perjudicial para los acusados. Sin embargo, la Corte de Apelaciones del Noveno Circuito de Estados Unidos revocó la decisión el 9 de agosto de 2006 por considerar que no había habido muestras de tal perjuicio en la selección del jurado.

Amnistía Internacional no ha llegado a ninguna conclusión sobre si se cumplieron las debidas garantías en los procedimientos, muchos de los cuales tienen todavía que verse en apelación directa. No obstante, la organización continúa reuniendo información sobre esta cuestión.

 

 

COMUNICADO DEL COMITÉ NACIONAL POR LA LIBERACION DE LOS CINCO

Communique from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five

31 December 2006

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The year 2006 was one of much action and organizing, both nationally and internationally for the Five heroes. In the United States, our committee, affiliates and all supporters worked hard to break through the media blockade, to support the defense in the legal battle, and to mobilize visibility and public awareness. Among the year’s highlights were:

• Mobilizing to fill the Atlanta courtroom with international and national jurists and other supporters for the Oral Arguments hearing on Feb. 14, as well as the press conference and evening forum afterwards;

• Utilizing our Five Freedom Fund, we were able to conduct a media campaign through the spring and summer, building a significant database of journalists who cover Cuba-related issues, and organizing several press conferences on each legal and political development of the Five’s case. This resulted in significant newspaper coverage in the Los Angeles Times, Reuters and Associated Press stories, New York Daily News, Washington Post, and many other newspapers, along with numerous radio and other media interviews about the Cuban Five on many stations;

• The inspiring September 23 march and forum from the U.S. Justice Department to the White House, where we brought together more than 600 people from across the United States to demand the Five's immediate freedom as well as the extradition of  notorious terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. The Sept. 23 organizing campaign, part of the Sept. 12-Oct. 6 international call, resulted in hundreds of new contacts and individuals wanting to get involved.

• Strengthening our collaboration with many current and new international committees on every continent, and working more closely with our Canadian counterparts from Montreal to Toronto to Vancouver. We look forward to more coordinated actions.

• Keeping up the pressure to demand the extradition to Venezuela of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles or his prosecution by the U.S. government for the 1976 bombing of Cubana flight 455, by holding protests in El Paso at the detention center where he is held, and by linking the anti-terrorist fight of the Five, with the U.S. hypocritical pro-terrorist support of Posada;

• Our ongoing support of the Cuban Five, with visits, logistical support during some of the families’ visits, as well as the solidarity support for our brothers.

• Our website is much improved, constantly updated, and its new features allow other committees to utilize the calendar, and to submit reports on their support work for the Five. Almost everything posted on the website is now posted in English and Spanish, allowing us to reach even more supporters and potential supporters of the Five. Videos and slideshows of the Sept. 23 march, as well as audio of the important speeches delivered at the press conference which preceded the march and at the forum which followed it, were made available on the web where they were viewed and listened to by thousands of people.

• In various cities we organized for the December international campaign honoring the Five's heroic stance at their sentencing, and reached many new people through our efforts, from San Francisco to Colorado. There is much more to be said about all the U.S. support organized in the United States, the many forums and demonstrations by the Cuban progressive community in Miami and southern Florida, and their inspiring donation of almost $30,000 to the Five Freedom Fund; the William Mitchell College of Law presentation by Leonard Weinglass, to almost 400 people, which we initiated along with the school’s NLG chapter and the Minneapolis Committee to Free the Five; presenting the campaign for the five along with Weinglass at the NLG’s national convention, Austin, TX, in October. The National Committee participated and organized events in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, Chicago, Santa Barbara, New Paltz NY, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Miami.

Other efforts supporting the Five have included the Popular Education Project’s ongoing campaign demanding that the New York Times cover the case of the Five; the tour of Salim Lamrani’s Superpower Principles, with a forum featuring Noam Chomsky speaking to more than 400 MIT students in Boston; and many initiatives by other organizations.

• The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five has had a constant presence for the Five at the national anti-war marches and rallies, to reach this indispensable audience of progressive activists. Thanks to the support of the ANSWER Coalition, the Five and Cuba have been represented by speakers at the main rallies.

For more information on the numerous international actions, such as the Madrid protest of 5,000 people for the Five, the actions in Ukraine and Russia, the wide and varied support throughout Latin America, the support of European, Italian and British parliamentarians, and of course the Cuban people’s fight for their compatriots, read our website: www.freethefive.org and www.antiterroristas.cu

Through all the actions and educational work organized by the Cuban Five's supporters on every continent, the foundation has been laid for stronger and broader efforts for 2007. As we enter the New Year, we share with all our sisters and brothers renewed optimism and determination to expose the United States government’s outrageous imprisonment of Gerardo, Antonio, Ramón, Fernando and René, and will not let up our efforts until they are free.

We will soon announce exciting new projects of our committee. In the meantime, let’s keep vigilant for new legal developments on the current appeals of the Five before the two-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. It is very likely that a decision will come this year on the nine remaining issues that were temporarily set aside by the judges (read the Nov. 22 Leonard Weinglass interview on our website describing the appeals).

The New Year brings optimism and hope for victories in the worldwide struggles for social justice. We extend our solidarity to all those fighting for justice.

As we start a new year, we salute the Cuban people for their economic, social and economic successes in the year 2006 and wish them continued victories for 2007, on this, the 48th anniversary of their Revolution. This is what the Cuban Five are defending, a society where the fundamental rights of health, education, employment, housing, equality and social peace are guaranteed. For Cuban President Fidel Castro, we extend our sincere wishes for a complete recovery.

The Cuban Five Heroes Will Return Home!

In unity, peace and friendship,

The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Adriana y Gerardo, se aman desde lejos.

Adriana y Gerardo

"Lo nuestro es un amor que se define cada día, en cada instante, no es el amor sobrenatural, sino el que se experimenta cuando en una pareja hay compenetración, cariño, respeto y admiración, bases del matrimonio", dice Adriana . "Nos amamos como el primer día. Desde que lo conocí, recalca, sabía que iba a ser el hombre que decidiría todo el resto de mi vida.

"Pero nunca imaginé que pudiera sentir este amor con la intensidad que lo he vivido, con tanta pasión y entrega. Gerardo significa para mí estar viva, y lo mismo le ocurre a él, y así me lo expresa", manifiesta emocionada. "Cuando una llamada me falta o una carta no ha llegado es como si la vida se me fuera apagando. Estuvimos mucho tiempo incomunicados; pero siempre lo sentí, y lo siento, a mi lado en cada paso que doy".



A Adriana el gobierno norteamericano le ha negado el derecho a ver a Gerardo, pese a las múltiples veces que ha solicitado la visa, lo cual constituye una flagrante violación de las leyes internacionales.

Pero ella lo afronta con firmeza, convencida de la justeza del sacrificio de su esposo y segura de que, con el apoyo del pueblo cubano y la creciente solidaridad mundial, los Cinco volverán.

"Hace poco, Ricardo Alarcón, presidente del Parlamento, dijo que todos debíamos darles gracias a ellos por estar vivos, y es cierto, eso es lo que hace el pueblo, devolverles el agradecimiento con ese amor que nos están dando a los familiares, y que les transmiten en cientos de cartas".

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