The Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5

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Cuban 5: Who are they?

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They are Fernando Gonzalez Llort, Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Ramon Labanino Salazar, Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, and Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez!!

These men are poets, artists, scholars, fathers, husbands, and sons; they were arrested in September 1998, spent 17 months in solidarity confinement, and were convicted in June 2001 in a U.S. federal court for defending their country of Cuba from terrorists based in Miami.  The Cuban 5 were convicted after a politically charged trial in Miami, in which the U.S. government charged them with threatening national security and engaging in espionage against U.S. military bases.  They were sentenced to prison terms which range from 15 years to double life sentences.  Some of the Cuban 5 have been denied visitation from family members in several years. 

 

The Cuban 5 were not spies, they infiltrated Cuban-American right-wing terrorist organizations based in Miami to monitor their actions; these proven CIA-sponsored organizations have been responsible for the deaths and injury of hundreds of people in Cuba and other countries.  The Cuban 5 infiltrated these organizations to protect the national sovereignty of their homeland Cuba and to safeguard the American populous from terrorist actions within the United States.  The Cuban 5 shared the information with U.S. officials when dangerous actions were planned by these terrorist organizations.  Cuba has repeatedly offered information and cooperation to the U.S. government to combat these terrorist organizations, but the U.S. government has always declined to cooperate with Cuba.

 

With a trial based in Miami, it was impossible for the Cuban 5 to receive a fair trial.  Under the threat of Cuban American right-wing terrorist organizations, defense attorneys made motions for a change of venue, which were denied.  The judge, prosecution and U.S. government officials suppressed defense evidence and  made sure that key witnesses for the defense would not testify.

 

Also, in 14,000 pages of transcript, no espionage evidence was ever introduced. It was also found that the information that the Cuban 5 had amassed was not government classified, but public information that did not threaten national security.  It was clear that the charges brought up against the Cuban 5 were politically motivated fabricated, yet on June 8, 2001 they were found guilty of  espionage and threatening national security. 

 

After their sentencing the Appeal process began, the initial appeal took over 27 months to complete with a three judge appellate court panel throwing out all the convictions due to the denial of a fair trial in Miami. Then, the government petitioned the entire Court of twelve judges of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review the panel decision in a procedure called en banc. One year to the day later the Court, with a strong dissent by two judges, reversed the 93 page decision of the three original judges, rejecting the finding that an environment of violence and intimidation pervaded Miami.

 

On May 27, 2005 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that their detention was arbitrary and urged the United States government to take measures required to rectify that arbitrariness.

 

For the past 7 years, the defense team has been engaged in an extensive appeals process.  The fight for a change in venue and retrial has been lost; the Defense team is working to expose the errors made in sentencing and the fabrication of facts within the case that were never proven in the trail.

 

On September 2, 2008, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta denied the defense’s petition to reconsider its June decision in the case of five Cuban intelligence agents accused of spying in the United States. A three-judge panel of the court on June 4, 2008, upheld the convictions and sentences for two of the so-called Cuban Five, but vacated the other three sentences and sent them back to a Miami federal court for new sentences. The court’s decision to uphold their previous ruling means that Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzales will continue serving time while Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labinino, and Antonio Guerrero were re-sentenced by Judge Joan Lenard in Miami.

 

For the past 13 years, the defense team has been engaged in an extensive appeals process, has tried to bring the case of the U.S. Supreme Court without success, and has started working to expose the errors made in sentencing and the fabrication of facts within the case that were never proven in the trail. The Cuban 5’s case is still an active one and deserves our support!

 

We must organize, educate and mobilize all communities in support of the Cuban 5!

 
Read the Cuban 5 Biographies:
 
 
 
 
 
 



Contact the Project at: freethecuban5@gmail.com or call us at The Free the Cuban 5 Hotline 718-601-4751