Washington, D.C. — At the Howard University Law School moot courtroom on Nov. 13, a case that is far from moot was examined in a forum called “The Case of the Cuban Five: Justice or Injustice?” Moderated by Howard School of Law dean, Okianer Christian Dark, the program featured activist actor, Danny Glover; defense attorney for Gerardo Hernández, Martin Garbus; former chief of staff for Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson; National Committee to Free the Five coordinator, Gloria La Riva; and others. The Cuban 5 are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.
The current habeas corpus legal campaign to free these Cuban anti-terrorist heroes from U.S. prisons emphasizes U.S. government payments to prominent Miami reporters, inducements which corrupted the Miami media before, during and after the highly questionable Miami trial. La Riva explained the complex case that resulted not only in the conviction of the five Cubans, but a double-life-plus-15-years sentence imposed on Gerardo Hernández for a charge U.S. prosecutors themselves deemed impossible to prove.
Glover compared the cruel U.S. blockade of Cuba with that of another island blockaded for 60 years by the U.S. for achieving its independence more than 200 years ago — revolutionary Haiti. Glover is featured in several short YouTube videos about the case, including one about current Director of National Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, testifying favorably about the Cuban 5 during the 2001 trial.
Col. Wilkerson began by flatly stating that the Cuban 5 should never have been tried in Miami. He spoke in favor of a new U.S. policy toward Cuba, citing that it is the U.S. that is now isolated, not Cuba. If historical precedents were followed, the Cuban 5 would be released and sent home to their families. Alan Gross — a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for installing undetectable communication devices in clear violation of Cuban law — could also be released and returned to his family in Maryland. All that is needed is action on the part of the two presidents.
Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5 now imprisoned in Florida, wrote to the assembly: “If we could summarize in one phrase that which has kept us in prison for so many years, it would be this: silence to cover up the injustice. When we say injustice it is because anyone who reads the transcripts of our trial can see that Gerardo never had anything to do with the shootdown of the planes, which was an act of legitimate self-defense of its territory by the Cuban government. They could see that we never committed nor conspired to commit espionage. They could see that we were never asked to do anything against the national security of this country. They will see we were absolutely justified to act clandestinely against the counterrevolutionary groups that organized and still organize terrorist acts against Cuba from this country. …”
Guerrero’s letter honored the service of the late Leonard Weinglass, who joined the legal team in the appellate stage. Full audio and video of the forum can be viewed at www.freethefive.org. Find additional information at theCuban5.org and antiterroristas.cu.