We the members of the Committee for the Liberation of the Cuban Five and members of the ACLM Collective wish tonight to join the ever growing voices of freedom loving people around the world to echo the call for the liberation of Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Gerado Hernandez and Fernando González. Although Rene Gonzalez has served his time and is now at home in Cuba, he himself has said that they are still the Cuban Five.
The saga of the Cuban Five began 15 years ago to the day, that is the 12th day of September 1998. Since then the full force of the US justice system, the State Department and the intelligence agencies of the United States have been brought to bear on these heroic Cuban patriots who harmed no one but merely sought to protect Cuba and its people from terrorist acts of sabotage. For their brave and noble acts, they are made to pay the price of lengthy incarceration, which includes life sentences. These brave men were never given a fair chance to defend themselves.
From their initial trial in South Florida in a hostile, anti-Cuban environment, under a barrage of negative propaganda-type press coverage, paid for by the US government and designed to poison public opinion and to prejudice the jury pool, an unjust verdict was already decided. An even more harsh and unjust sentence was imposed. Injustice for the Cuban Five was complete, in spite of the preponderance of evidence in their favour. Their appeals were frustrated and thwarted all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ultimately refused to hear their cases.
This decision has effectively cut off all avenues of legal challenges expect in the case, where the defence is now seeking disclosure of pertinent documents from the US State Department, which will prove official or federal complicity in the exercise to pollute the political atmosphere in Miami before and during the trial of the Cuban Five. The case of the Cuban Five is now in the courts of public opinion.
The facts of this case have clearly demonstrated that there has been a miscarriage of justice and that the Cuban Five are not so much convicted criminals but rather political prisoners, victims of the “perfect storm” as described in the first appellate court ruling, which vacated the initial conviction and sentences of the Cuban Five.
The Antigua and Barbuda Committee and the ACLM Collective are fully convinced not only of the patriots’ innocence but that this case fully demonstrates the continuing aggressive and punitive nature of US foreign policy towards Cuba and its revolutionary people. This US policy has shaped their “modus operandi” with regards to their relations with Cuba ever since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban peoples’ insistence to determine their own destiny.
The committee and the ACLM Collective have also noted the hypocrisy of the US government, which purports to be the bastion of anti-terrorism when in fact it is prosecuting and imposing long term prison sentences against the five true anti-terrorists. It is well established that the Cuban Five were only engaged in the monitoring of the Miami-based anti-Cuban terrorist activities to stem the tide of sabotage and bombings of hotel plants on Cuban soil.
We are aware of the State Department’s blunt refusal to release incriminating documents being sought by the defence and condemn all efforts made by the US authorities to keep the Cuban Five in US prisons.
As Rene Gonzalez himself said, “Fifteen years in the life of a human being is too much,” and with the others even facing longer terms, including life terms, we condemn this cruel and inhuman punishment.
We therefore call on the US authorities and on President Obama in particular, who has the power of pardon, to set free the remaining four of the Cuban Five, so that they can return to their homeland to share their lives with their friends and families and revolutionary people of Cuba.
We in Antigua and Barbuda call on all freedom and justice loving people, like the numerous parliamentary members around the world, the legal experts who are satisfied that justice has been denied the Five, the UN Committee, which is convinced that there has been miscarriage of justice, the various working organization, prominent world figures and solitary groups all over the world to register their protect and disapproval of the treatment meted out to the Cuban Five in the USA.
We call on everyone to display their yellow ribbons, bracelets and whatever symbol of hope during the next month, the month of solidarity, as a display of your love, affection and expectations of the immediate liberation of the Cuban Five.
Viva Cuba, Viva la Révolucion Cubana, Viva Los Cinco
Viva la solidaridad entre Cuba y Antigua.
Thank you / Gracias
G. M. Goodwin
ACLM/Antigua and Barbuda Committee for the Liberation of the Cuban Five