On 12th anniversary of their arrest
Activists demand release of Cuban 5
Published Sep 19, 2010 9:23 PM
The plight of the Cuban Five is never far from the minds of progressive people
around the world. This Sept. 12, exactly 12 years since their arrest in the
United States for defending Cuba from terrorist attacks, organizations and
individuals intensified demands for their release through petitions,
demonstrations and ad campaigns.
The International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five sent a petition
to President Barack Obama calling on him to issue an order of executive
clemency, so the five Cubans — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón
Labañino, René González, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando
González — can return to their country and their families.
The petition also requested that the government immediately grant visas to
Adriana Pérez and Olga Salanueva, so they can visit their spouses,
Hernández and René González, respectively. The U.S. government
has denied them entry visas 10 times; they have not been able to embrace their
spouses for nearly 12 years.
The Cuban Five were falsely convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and
other related charges and given sentences ranging from 15 years to two
consecutive life terms. They came to the U.S. not to spy on this government but
rather to monitor right-wing Cuban groups in Miami that had committed terrorist
acts against Cuba, including the bombing of several Havana hotels in the 1990s.
In fact, the Cuban government presented evidence that the Five had collected to
the FBI. Instead of taking action against the terrorists, however, the U.S.
government arrested the five anti-terrorists.
While the Five remain in prison, actual terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles
and Orlando Bosch remain free to walk the streets of Miami.
On the anniversary of the arrest of the Five, activists are also remembering
one of the most horrific terrorist acts against Cuba, the mid-air bombing of
Cubana Flight 455 on Oct. 6, 1976. All 73 people aboard the passenger plane
Posada, who orchestrated the bombing, was arrested in Venezuela but escaped
from prison in 1985 and has lived in Miami since 2007. Venezuela has demanded
his extradition but the U.S. government has refused to hand him over. Posada
was to go on trial in Texas for perjury and obstruction of justice, but the
trial was postponed early this year.
Danny Glover and Ed Asner, co-chairs of Actors and Artists United for the
Freedom of the Cuban Five, presented a letter to Obama on Sept. 12 calling for
executive clemency. It was signed by numerous celebrities, including Susan
Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne and Bonnie
Glover visited Gerardo Hernández in prison in Victorville, Calif., in
August, just after Hernández was released from “the hole,”
where he spent 13 days in solitary.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Five during its last
term. As solicitor general, Elena Kagan submitted a brief to the court on
behalf of the Obama administration arguing that the court should not review
It is up to the people to put continuous pressure on the government to end this
horrific injustice and let the brave Cuban patriots return to their country.
You can sign the petition to Obama at
http://www.thecuban5.org/PETITIONNOW.html. Information on a Washington Post ad
campaign is at www.freethefive.org.
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