Madrid sets up march for the Miami Five
Campaign News | Friday, 13 October 2006
Month of Action to highlight case
Madrid, Oct 12 (Prensa Latina) Spaniards are intensifying preparations for a great march in Madrid on October 21 to support Cuba and for the liberation of five Cuban heroes illegally imprisoned in the United States, the organizers said on Thursday.
The State Committee for the Liberation of The Five issued a communiqué, showing the support received from dozens of organizations co-sponsoring the march and the central rally, which will be later at Manolo Cardenas poly-sports facility in Leganes.
The declaration reveals the need to pressure leaders for the immediate liberation of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez, and Fernando Gonzalez, who have been jailed for eight years in US prisons.
The text reports that the march will begin at one o clock in the afternoon, Spanish time, from Tirso de Molina Plaza to the popular Atocha, where it will conclude with a rally in which they will read a communiqué by the movement of solidarity with Cuba.
The Cuban representatives will be headed by Sergio Corrieri, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, other officials of that institution, and Cuban Ambassador to Spain Alberto Velazco San Jose.
Miami Five speaking tour great success
The British speaking tour organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign on behalf of the Miami Five completed its second stage on October 7th to coincide with the date of the thirtieth anniversary of the terrorist bombing of a Cuban airliner over Barbados in 1976 killing 73 people.
Arranged as part of the International Month of Action to raise awareness of the case of the Five meetings have been held around the country reinvigorating the campaign and attracting new support.
Catholic Priest Fr. Geoffrey Bottoms and Trades Union lawyer Steve Cottingham addressed packed meetings in Oxford, Wolverhampton, Central and South London and Northampton during which local groups of CSC re-committed themselves to the cause of the Miami Five and planned the coming year's activities around the campaign to win their freedom.
The meeting in Central London was a fitting climax to the tour with other speakers including H.E. Rene Mujica Cantelar, the Cuban Ambassador to the UK, Victoria Brittain, journalist and author, and Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists. A message to the British Government calling for the freedom of the Five was unanimously agreed by the meeting that took the form of a rally in which all speakers highlighted different aspects of the case in the context of terrorist attacks directed against Cuba from Miami.
Many new ideas came out of the tour which will be taken up by the Campaign during the next twelve months. Among them were fresh initiatives involving the trades union movement at every level and those engaged in the arts.
Although the tour is officially over there will be further meetings in Bristol and Brighton during November together with the showing of the film "Mission against Terror" by the Socialist Film Co-operative in London after which Fr Bottoms will speak about the case of the Five.
Miami Five speaking tour proves great attraction
Catholic Priest Fr. Geoff Bottoms and Trade Union lawyer Steve Cottingham have been speaking to packed meetings up and down the UK as part of the worldwide month of action around the case of the Miami Five.
The Miami Five are Cuban patriots who have been wrongly imprisoned in the US on trumped up spying charges when they had been informing Havana on potential terrorist threats against Cuba perpetrated by extremist groups in Florida.
Father Geoff and Steve have addressed meetings arranged by local groups of the Free the Five campaign in Watford, Glasgow, Manchester and Coventry during the first stage of the tour from 27th - 30th September.
The meetings attracted people from across the labour and progressive movement who committed themselves to stepping up the campaign to win the freedom of the Five and defend the Cuban people against US plans for regime change.
Messages were read out from members of the Five, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero after which Steve Cottingham gave a legal overview of the case and Geoff Bottoms spoke of his recent visits to Gerardo and Ramon in early August of this year.
Geoff and Steve also highlighted the hypocrisy of the US in imprisoning the Five for defending their country against terrorism while harbouring terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles who are responsible for countless acts of terror against Cuba since 1960.
Every meeting ended with a series of questions and lively discussion together with practical suggestions for local action while solidarity was expressed with the Five and their families.
Fr Bottoms and Steve Cottingham will speak at meetings in Oxford, Wolverhampton, London and Northampton during the second stage of the tour from 5th - 10th October after which they will form part of a delegation organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign to discuss the case of the Five with the US Embassy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
Full details of the tour on the CSC home page in the events section.
Unprecedented show of support for the Miami Five
From Granma International Review
BY ANDRES GOMEZ
MIAMI.- Last September 23, in Washington D.C. two memorable events took place in the development of a campaign for the release of our five compatriots unjustly imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism: Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René.
The solidarity movement for the five Cubans has never before been able to gather so many people in one event to demand their immediate release and to condemn the U.S. policy that has promoted terrorism against the Cuban people for more than 40 years, while at the same time providing protection and immunity for terrorists who plan and engage in these malevolent acts from U.S. territory.
More than 600 people from around 30 U.S. cities and states and from Canada, gathered in the federal capital in response to a call from the U.S. Free the Five National Committee. In addition to Washington D.C. demonstrators came from the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Providence, Albuquerque, Detroit, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale and from the states of Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, Tennessee, Kentucky, Connecticut and Maine.
Fifty-one participants were Cuban immigrants from Miami, members of organizations that make up that city’s Alianza Martiana, along with two Cuban immigrants from Key West and another two from Tampa. In total 54 Cubans residing in Miami.
Each of these individuals paid for their own travel and expenses in Washington and forfeited their wages for the missed days of work, which for many was a significant sacrifice. If we consider an average cost of $300 per person, the total for 51 who came from Miami would be more than $15,000, a respectable amount for working people, students and retirees of our group from Miami. Similarly one can estimate the cost of others who participated in the activities in Washington.
Never before has a noisy demonstration of more than 600 people marched, carrying posters and banners, three kilometers through the downtown streets of Washington demanding the release of the Cuban Five. Never before have so many people congregated in front of the White House railings chanting slogans demanding the liberation of the Five and condemning the U.S. terrorist policy against the Cuban people.
Never before has a panel included speakers from such dissimilar political and ideological backgrounds who came together to demand the liberation of the Five and to condemn terrorism against Cuba, as was the case with the symposium which, attended by some 300 people, took place in the George Washington University in that capital at the end of the march.
The panel of speakers was made up as follows: Francisco Letelier, the son of Orlando Letelier, the former foreign minister of the Chilean government headed by Salvador Allende and a principle opposition figure at the time of his assassination, ordered by the dictator Augusto Pinochet and executed by terrorists from the Cuban -American ultra-right in that same city of Washington exactly 30 years ago on September 21, 1976. Livio Di Celmo, the brother of Fabio Di Celmo, the Italian killed by a terrorist bomb in the Copacabana Hotel in Havana in September 1997, on the orders of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Leonard Weinglass, a lawyer from the Five’s defense team; Akbar Mohamed, international representative of the Nation of Islam, a powerful African-American institution in the United States. Wayne Smith, former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, who has advocated a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba for many years; Heidi Boghosian, president of the National Lawyers Guild. Saul Landau, politico and author of the book Assassination on Embassy Row, on the assassination of Orlando Letelier. José Pertierra, lawyer for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the case of that country’s extradition application for terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to face charges of sabotaging a Cuban Aviation passenger plane in which 73 innocent civilians were killed 30 years ago this October 6. Peta Lindsay, university student and representative of the ANSWER anti-war coalition; Cheryl Labash, representative of the U.S. Solidarity with Cuba National Network; Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the U.S. Free the Five National Committee; and myself, representing the progressive sector of the Cuban émigré community in the United States.
Never before has a select group of experts talked so clearly and eloquently on the issue as this one. It was an event that moved everyone present.
Once again the innocence of the Five, charged with committing espionage against the United States was demonstrated, as was the crime committed against them by the U.S. government by keeping them arbitrarily incarcerated for more than eight years. Likewise demonstrated once again was the responsibility of the U.S. government for promoting a state terrorist policy against the Cuban people, and for offering protection and impunity to terrorists from the Cuban-American ultra-right located in Miami and responsible for executing that policy.
Hopefully for the peace and tranquility of the world, the sentence “States that harbor and assist terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists and they will be held to account,” included in a document published by the White House on September 5 entitled Strategy of the National Security of the United States, will soon be carried out.
Message from Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban Five
Message from Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban Five
Dear compañeros y compañeras,
Eight years ago the Five were arrested. When I remember back on what happened that September 12 the first thing that comes to my mind are the words of the FBI agent, who in the middle of his efforts to try to turn us into traitors, said: “Cuba will do nothing for you. Nobody will do anything for you”
How far off were he and his fellow officials to imagine what has developed over these years in the struggle to free the Five (to be honest, not even we, the Five, could have imagined!) I really wish that now I could see his face again and show him the message that Fidel sent us recently, or mention to him the words from Alarcon about us in every event that he participates, or about the denunciation of our imprisonment by Cuban officials at all levels and the pleas from members of our own families in the most important international forums raising our case.
I would not have enough time to tell him about all the examples of support and affection that comes to us from the Cuban people, and from all our compañeros from all over the world. Perhaps he knows about the great number of letters that we receive every day, but I would tell him about Andy Daniel, a Cuban child that was born with his little hands deformed and that at his 6 years of age, writes and makes drawings for the Five. Or of the woman in that remote place in the mountains of France, that for years now sends letters to the Five every week.. (She even received a response from the Pope’s office, but not from Alberto Gonzales’ office?) Or from the very old couple from London who sells flowers from their garden to raise funds for our cause, just as many other friends around the world have done, with similar sacrifice. These are just a tiny few examples of the love and solidarity that we receive from around the world
I am certain that that FBI agent has heard about the people in Miami who, despite the challenge of overcoming the terror imposed by the Cuban American Mafia in that city, have not stopped demonstrating in favor of our liberation. I would tell him about the hundreds of solidarity committees created around the whole world, about the protests in front of U.S. consulates and embassies, or about the compañero from Philadelphia, that despite his health problems has been able, due to his insistence, to publish his letters about the Five in several newspapers.
I am sure that I would still have many things to mention to him, but I would for certain tell him about the thousands of friends in the United States that, despite the pressure and intimidation of this administration against the progressive movements and those sectors that struggle for civil rights, that they are not afraid. I would point to those who will take their voices of protest for our freedom to the front door of the White House. I will tell him about all of you that are participating in the solidarity events on our behalf that has gave us so much encouragement.
Without any doubt, on September 12th 1998 that FBI agent was wrong. He was wrong just like the prosecutors in our trial and all the others who lied about our mission and that underestimated you and us.
Sisters and brothers: some people may say that our struggle has not been effective because the Five are still in prison, or that we are in a very bad moment because we lost an important point in our appeals. Nothing could be further from the truth. We never thought that this battle for justice was going to be easy, or short. We believe-on the contrary-that the current moment is good, and because of that we should re double our efforts. A year ago we were complaining about the strong wall of silence imposed over our case by the corporate media. In recent months that wall has been opened little by little and nobody should think that it is due to some spontaneous interest coming from the media about the Five. We owe this shift to the work that all of you have been doing and to the solidarity efforts of each one of you from all over the world.
On a recent occasion a dear compañera made an observation to us that in all the messages from the Five we always repeat the words “gratitude”, “appreciation”, “thanks”. and suggested that it wasn’t necessary. Because I knew she was right about that I borrowed a dictionary with synonyms to find other words, but it was in vain. We do not have any other way to express how we feel about your support. We are immensely honored and proud for the solidarity of all of you, and we express our most profound THANKS for everything you do for us.
Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
With the revolutionary embrace of the Five
Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo
California, September 2006
Huge Rally in Washington Demands Freedom for Cuban Five
Washington, September 23 (RHC)- A huge rally was held in Washington, DC on Saturday to demand freedom for the Cuban Five -- five Cubans who are locked up in U.S. prisons for defending Cuba from terrorist groups based in Miami. The Cuban Five, who have now been held for more than eight years, were unjustly convicted on false charges of conspiracy to commit espionage and given unusually long prison sentences.
On Saturday, people from over 30 U.S. cities arrived in Washington, DC. Gloria La Riva, the coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, told reporters that while the U.S. government is considering releasing admitted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban Five still languish in U.S. prisons.
The demonstration gathered at the U.S. Justice Department Saturday morning and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Pickets were set up in front of the U.S. president's residence and a public forum was held in the afternoon at George Washington University.
Among the speakers were: Wayne Smith, former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana; Saul Landau, with the Institute for Policy Studies; Leonard Weinglass, Cuban Five attorney; Francisco Letelier, son of Orlando Letelier, assassinated on the streets of Washington, DC 30 years ago; Livio De Celmo, brother of Fabio Di Celmo, who was killed by a bomb planted by a mercenary paid by Luis Posada Carriles; Minister Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the Nation of Islam; José Pertierra, Venezuela's attorney in the extradition case for Luis Posada Carriles; Gloria La Riva, coordinator, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five; Andrés Gómez, coordinator of the Antonio Maceo Brigade; Heidi Boghosian, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director and others. For more information, you can go to: www.freethefive.org.
Petition letter to be sent to every member of the US Congress
The international campaign to the Free Miami Five has launched an appeal for supporters to sign a petition letter that will be sent to every member of the US Congress.
The letter is reproduced below and can be accessed for signing at:
As part of the international month od action in support of the Five, in the UK, Father Geoff Bottoms, who has visited the men in prison, and lawyer Steve Cottingham are making a speaking tour of the country. Full details are in the events section this website:
Petition letter for the Five
To the people of the US and their representatives in Congress
Five years ago the events of September 11 shocked us all very deeply. We feel sincere sympathy for all the victims and their families and condemn without reservation these acts of terrorism. That is why we in Europe draw your attention to the case of five Cubans: Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, René González, Fernando González and Antonio Guerrero.
The people of the United States have the right to defend themselves against terrorism but we believe that Cuba also has this right. Therefore we hope that you will understand the necessity for the Cuban people to do the same.
It is well known that since the 1960s anti-Cuban terrorist groups have been operating in Miami with the aim of attacking Cuba. These groups use every method against the Cuban people including the murder of civilians, bomb attacks and other terrorist aggressions. Even American citizens have been the victims of these acts. Of course Cuba tries to avoid such attacks on its territory. In the past, the FBI resisted all cooperation with the Cuban government on the issue. That’s why Cuba sent people to infiltrate these terrorist groups in Miami in order to get information so as to be able to prevent terrorist attacks on its own territory.
On September 12, 1998 five Cubans were arrested by the FBI. They received sentences ranging from 15 years to double life in prison while their only crime was to protect the Cuban people against terrorist atrocities. The trial was unfair. The case was held in Miami where a fair and impartial trial was impossible for the “Miami Five”. High ranking US military personnel testified that at no time did the five present a threat to the security of the US.
The US government could not present evidence on the main charges: conspiracy to commit spying and conspiracy to commit murder. That’s why it tried, without success, to have the latter charge dropped, admitting in writing that it had no evidence to support that charge. Nevertheless, the five were found guilty on all charges. Their severe sentences and treatment are inhumane. For two of them, their wives and one of their children are denied the right to visit.
On May 27, 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions determined that the detention of the Miami five is arbitrary and illegal and insisted that the US government takes measures to release the five.
On August 9, 2005, the Court of Atlanta decided that the Miami trial was invalid, cancelled the sentences and ordered a new trial. Nevertheless, one year later, the same court in plenary session, obviously under extreme political pressure, reversed that decision.
These judges announced their decision exactly at the same moment that extremists in Miami were demanding an end to Cuba as a sovereign nation, while arms were seized that were reserved for terrorist actions against Cuba, and when representatives of terrorist groups were making public declarations acknowledging their misconduct and announcing the prohibition of a book for children on Cuba.
In Europe tens of thousands of people have signed petitions to free Gerardo, Ramón, René, Fernando and Antonio. We ask you, the American people and their elected representatives, to support our demand to the government of the US to immediately release these five Cubans, whose only crime was fighting terrorism.
We are confident that you will support this just demand.
Sign the European on-line petition at http://www.freeforfive.org/home3/euro_camp/index.php?lang=en#form