•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

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 were killed.

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 Raitt.

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 their case.

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.