Remembering the Cuban Five
October 6, 2007
Reprinted from The Bahama Journal
There are times in life when you just have to stop, take note and remember that people all around this troubled world of ours are catching eternal hell.
Some of these people happen to be our neighbours.
Today we reference events and personages hailing from Cuba.
More specifically, we take note of the fact that on the early 1990s, five brave men were sent to Miami with the mission of infiltrating terrorist groups and gathering information about them.
We are told that these men found 64 known terrorists residing in the Miami area and provided four hours of film, showing illegal military training in various camps.
The Cuban government then approached the FBI and offered to share their information on the assumption that the agency was in the business of combating terrorism.
Astonishingly, we are made to understand that "the U.S. government wasn't interested."
But rather than act on the information and arrest their home-grown Miami-based terrorists, the Clinton administration instead arrested the Cuban Five.
A thoroughly flabbergasted Noam Chomsky exclaims," Here are Cubans who are infiltrating illegal, terrorist organizations in the U.S. which are violating US law and the infiltrators are arrested, not the terrorists. It's astonishing."
Echo responds, absolutely astonishing!
As Chomsky explains, "In the US, the story of the Cuban Five is subject to a tight media blackout."In the US, the story is not reported; nobody knows about it. You can find material on some Internet sites, but it's a major research project. An ordinary person cannot be expected to do that," Chomsky explained. The U.S. media blackout is evidently political, serving to cover up what the government allows on US territory. "The Bush administration," says Chomsky, "has refused intelligence cooperation with Cuba on terrorism because it would lead directly back to terrorist groups based in the U.S."
We are inclined to agree.
In the meantime, those brave men who have come to be known world-wide as the Five Cuban are today still locked up and held in captivity most brutal in the United States of America.
As we have previously noted, arrested in Miami in September 1998, Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzales and Rene Gonzales were all charged with and convicted of "conspiracy to commit espionage" in 2001 in a legally controversial and highly politicized trial.
Their sentences range from 15 years to a double life sentence.
What is peculiarly interesting is the fact that there is something or the other that seems particularly odd about the core charge levied against them, that being the charge of "conspiracy to commit espionage."
This charge is in and of itself not contingent on evidence of actual spying having occurred in the real world. We note also –this time with great alarm- that although the FBI seized some 800 documents and thousands of other pages from the five, not one page included classified government documents.
The five were convicted on the nebulous charge of "intent" to engage in espionage at some point in time.
Very many right-thinking people around the world are appalled by what seems a most blatant miscarriage of justice in a United States that boasts so loudly and so very insistently concerning its purported respect for values and the rule of law.
Some of these right-thinking people include luminaries of the stature of Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, South African Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, South African Nobel laureate bishop Desmond Tutu, distinguished writer and MIT professor of linguistics Noam Chomsky, African American writer Alice Walker; African American singer Harry Belafonte, editor-in-chief of Le Monde Diplomatique Ignacio Ramonet, Pakistani writer Tariq Ali, former US attorney- general and political activist Ramsey Clark, and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
One of these esteemed people – the illustrious Noam Chomsky- has described the case of the five as "amazing". We agree with this man.
Their saga started when the Cuban government decided to investigate Cuban exile terrorist groups based in Miami following a wave of bombings of Havana restaurants and hotels in the 1990s."
Research reveals that in 1997 alone, bombs were placed in no less than 10 Havana hotels.
We are also reliably informed that "Cuban government sources estimate that since the Cuban revolution, 3,478 Cubans have been killed and 2,099 wounded in attacks against the island."
Today we not only remember these five men who are locked up in the United States of America, but that we also renew our call on the relevant authorities in that great country to do justice and therefore let these people go.