Miami 5 prisoners cannot be silenced

FRFI 169 October / November 2002

Over the last two months, across Europe, North America and Latin America there have been regular activities and demonstrations in support of the five Cubans imprisoned in the US on trumped-up spying charges. In July, a convention of delegates from 62 communist parties, organised by the Greek Communist Party, issued a final declaration opposing the US blockade of Cuba and initiating an international campaign for the release of the Miami 5. At the anti-imperialist camp held in Assisi, Italy, in August, delegates pledged support for the five men. Increasingly their cause is being recognised worldwide, making their names synonymous with the struggle for Cuban socialism.

Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez were in the USA to gather information about terrorist plots against Cuba organised by counter-revolutionary exile groups in Miami. They were arrested in 1998 and held in solitary confinement in maximum security cells for up to two years, with no access to phone calls or post or contact with their families. They are now serving sentences ranging from 15 years to life in gaols across the USA. Their sole ‘crime’ was combating terrorism against Cuba – terrorism organised from within the USA and sanctioned by the FBI, the CIA and the Bush administration.

Their families face constant harassment from the US administration when attempting to visit them. On 25 July, Adriana Perez, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, was illegally detained at Houston Airport for 11 hours, interrogated, fingerprinted and photographed before being forced to return to Cuba without seeing her husband, despite having a visa to enter the USA.

Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba’s National Assembly, has pointed out the US administration’s fear that, as knowledge about the case of Miami 5 widens, so will the government’s hypocrisy and connivance with terrorist groups be exposed.

Rene Gonzalez’s brother Roberto, a lawyer, has condemned the ‘dirty tricks played by the prosecution, who handled the case by creating negative publicity against the Five’. He also highlighted how the prosecution hampered the work of the defence team by placing the case under the Classified Information Protection Act. This meant that defence attorneys were prevented from taking documents home or to their offices. All evidence was kept well away from the public domain – even the Miami press complained that the substantial evidence the government claimed it had against the ‘spies’ was missing. Since the sentencing, the US press has remained silent.

However, the revolutionaries cannot be silenced and currently the five men are receiving so many letters from around the world and from within the USA itself they can barely keep up with their correspondence! Rene’s father has said that in the ‘years of struggle in defence of our sons, I’ve learned more than in all my 70 years. I feel much more revolutionary now.’
Hannah Caller

Rock around the Blockade campaigns for the release of the Miami 5 and in defence of socialist Cuba. We have received many inspiring letters from the five men (see Letters, page 15). To get involved in the campaign, fill in the RATB form on page 14.