Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos

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Imprisoned for Opposing Terrorism?

by Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Sept. 27, 2007
Reprinted from The Black Commentator

Were it not true, one might have thought that it had been dreamed up by a mystery writer. Let’s set the stage. The US government was approached by a Latin American country in the 1990s with information about terrorist activity being carried out against it — the Latin American country — based in the USA. The US government said that they would look into it. Instead of looking into it, the US government arrested alleged agents of this Latin American government and ultimately imprisoned them, agents who had been collecting information on the terrorist activity based on US soil.

Sound familiar? This is the case of the “Cuban 5”, individuals arrested, tried and imprisoned in the USA. Convicted in 2001, their case is currently in appeal, but the circumstances of the case are nothing short of bizarre. The actions by the Cuban 5 were never aimed at the US government, but instead involved the monitoring of activities by Cuban exile groups here in the USA. In moving against the Cuban 5, the US government alleged that they should be held accountable for the Cuban government shooting down the planes of the exile group called “Brothers to the Rescue,” an organization that flew illegal flights into Cuban airspace and was repeatedly warned to cease and desist.

The entire circumstances of the Cuban 5 become more and more curious when one looks into the situation. For instance, the US government has agents all over the world focusing on obstructing the activities of alleged terrorist groups. These agents have different mandates, including imprisoning alleged terrorists in other countries. In the case of the Cuban 5, no military action was carried out on US soil by anyone connected or alleged to have been connected to the Cuban government. Cuban agents did not kidnap terrorists and take them to Cuba. Yet, the Cuban 5 were arrested and imprisoned.

The Cuban government provided the US with information on terrorist activity based in the USA. With this information the US obviously knew that there were Cuban agents collecting intelligence on these groups. The Cuban government would certainly not have provided the US with information that would have led to the capture of alleged agents if those alleged agents were planning ANYTHING against the USA. So, one might ask, where is the threat?

To add insult to injury, while the Cuban 5 were arrested and imprisoned, a gentleman who has been quite openly associated with terrorist activity against Cuba — Luis Posada Carrilles — has been permitted to walk free in the streets of the USA after the Bush administration “bungled” the case against him. Thus, an individual implicated in the bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner — in which all the passengers and crew were killed — is alive, well and free in the USA, while individuals who were in the USA to prevent terrorist activity and work with the USA to eliminate such activity are imprisoned.

While we should be use to untruths from the US government, and most especially the propaganda coming from the Bush White House, the case of the Cuban 5 stretches all credibility. Each time the Bush administration yells “terrorism,” the people of the world are asked to walk lock-step in line with the proscriptions of the White House. Yet, when other countries identify clear and demonstrable terrorist activities, i.e. military activities directed against civilians, the Bush administration engages in a sniff test. If it sniffs and determines that the terrorist activities are being carried out against those who challenge the USA, the activities are either ignored or applauded. If it sniffs and determines that the activities are being carried out against allies of the USA, even if those allies are tin-potted despots, then such activities are condemned as high crimes against humanity.

The Bush administration wants it both ways. If we remain silent about such hypocrisy, then they will indeed have it.

For more information on the case of the Cuban 5, go to Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a labor and international writer and activist, and the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher.


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