Five Cuban Patriots are political prisoners of the Empire. They have already suffered more than 34 months of unjustified incarceration in a South Florida penitentiary. René González Sehwerert, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Fernando González Llort, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Gerardo Hernández Nordelo have sustained almost three years of constant humiliation, gross and systematic violation of their human rights and long and arbitrary periods of solitary confinement.
They are innocent. They have committed no crime whatsoever.
They are being punished because Cuba’s enemies see in them an outstanding combination of the virtues, dignity and courage compound in the country these enemies are bent on destroying. They are victims of an infamous and enormous injustice that marks the beginning, under the current Administration of Mr. Bush, of a new and even more cruel and shameless stage in the long and dirty war that the United States has been carrying out against the Cuban people and their Revolution.
They were condemned for alleged espionage under completely false charges and unfair pressure applied to the jury. The charges were never proved and during the trial even the prosecution admitted that the defendants had never been in possession of any secrets nor carried out the alleged crime.
In Miami it is impossible to receive a fair ruling in any case related to Cuba. There, professed terrorists walk the streets and boast of their dreadful deeds that they publicly announce and prepare while the authorities do absolutely nothing to prevent or condemn these actions. Lies, hysteria and anti-Cuban hatred, under the sway of a corrupt and fascist lobby group, poison the Miami environment. We have only to remember the kidnapping of Elián González, a six year old child brutally separated from his father and family, shamelessly mistreated and exploited in front of the television cameras and surrounded by armed killers and strident demagogues who challenged the law, insulted and threatened the Federal Government, desecrated the American banner, damaged private property and even threatened to burn down the city.
According to the U.S. authorities, a delicate operation was necessary to rescue the child due to the immense risk posed by the stubborn opposition mounted by heavily armed individuals. Where were the FBI and Florida’s District Attorneys? What was their reaction to the shameful impudence witnessed by the whole world and repudiated by humanity and by all the American people? The basic rights of a child, including his physical and psychological integrity, were flagrantly offended and the American legal system, decency and honor defamed but nobody was ever tried or indicted, or even arrested.
Those individuals, recruited and trained by the CIA to act against Cuba, paid for decades with federal budget funds, have lived in permanent and intimate connivance with the extreme right-wing and interfered with domestic life in America paying lip service to the interests of the American people. They have been linked to the most outrageous episodes there such as the assassination of President Kennedy, the Watergate scandal, the murder of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, the secret supply of weapons to the Nicaraguan contras and the related drug trafficking, the smuggling of people and of illegal drugs, the kidnapping of Elián González and the fraudulent denial of the rights of tens of thousands of African American voters in the November 2000 elections in Florida.
Cuba has always told the full and honest truth: we have never made any attempts against the national security of the United States. However, we do proclaim our irreversible right and sacred obligation to defend ourselves from the terrorist and criminal actions that the annexionist Mafiosi plan, arrange, announce and launch with impunity against Cuba from U.S. territory. To expose these actions is a noble, heroic and worthy mission that saves Cuban and American lives and is in keeping with the vital interests of both our peoples.
Throughout its history, the Cuban Revolution has been the target of a systematic policy of aggression, a real war, in which terrorism, sabotage and murder have not been missing. This war is now over 42 years old. The aggressor has been, and it continues to be, the government of the United States. Nobody should ignore this fact that can be easily confirmed through official American documents, most of which were kept secret until recently. A large part of their content remains undisclosed, but even so the total responsibility of that Government for the unceasing aggression shows clearly beyond any doubt. Following are some data that are explicitly acknowledged and described in those documents by their protagonists, thus becoming irrefutable truths:
The above are only a few examples. Emboldened by the long-standing support of authorities that enlisted, trained and directed them to kill; who have supported and protected them; who have participated in and tolerated their outrages, these terrorists have described their actions in reports, statements and public interviews and have been given extensive coverage by the press, radio and television in Miami. Those whose responsibility should be to stop their crimes have ever reprimanded not one of them.
In November 1996, for example, Channel 23 of Miami television carried a live interview with Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles (a CIA veteran, one of the masterminds of the 1976 sabotage of the Cuban plane, a secret official of the White House responsible for the illegal supply of weapons to the Nicaraguan contra) who, aware that nobody would dare touch them, boasted of their criminal history and stressed that their terrorist campaign against Cuba would go on undeterred.
On the July 12 and 13, 1998, the New York Times ran on its front page an interview with Posada Carriles, the most notorious terrorist of this hemisphere, in which he claimed responsibility for various bomb explosions in Havana in 1997, one of which caused the death of a young Italian tourist. He went on to explain the abundant funding received for his actions from the so-called Cuban American National Foundation, he announced new terrorist attacks against Cuba and boasted of his many visits to the United States as well as his close links to his former colleagues in the CIA. Days later, in another interview with a Florida television channel, he repeated his shameless declarations. Still today in Miami, funds are raised and public rallies called in support of this detestable murderer.
Cuba’s right to defend itself against anyone attempting to destroy and annihilate its people is unquestionable. Our defense has been particularly complex and difficult due to the close alliances between the terrorists groups and agents and officials of the U.S. Government, who have conspired together for many years; also because the U.S. authorities have, at best, been indolent and tolerant with them.
Nevertheless, Cuba has done everything possible to warn Washington, through private channels as well as publicly, of the danger of these actions, even delivering information obtained through the heroic sacrifice of men such as those who are now unjustifiably imprisoned there. We, thus, alerted to the presence of armed individuals around the house where Elián was being held and of plans to oppose his liberation. Once this objective was attained, those involved admitted the truth and accuracy of the information Cuba supplied.
Many contacts have been made in New York, Washington and Havana, in which we have supplied information to the FBI and other U.S. government agencies which would have been useful to act against the terrorists had there been the necessary will to do so. After numerous exchanges, including messages at the top levels, an official delegation came to Havana on June 16 –17, 1998, including two important FBI chiefs to whom extensive information was supplied and operative materiel, such as incriminating tapes and recordings of the actions of 40 criminals. They promised a response within two weeks, but it never came. Neither was there any FBI reaction to the abundant and irrefutable evidence received. On the contrary, three months later, the FBI arrested our heroic comrades, hurled treacherous slander against them and instigated a pseudo-legal process aimed at exalting some ringleaders of the terrorist groups whom, to top it all, they called as witnesses.
The most contemptible, indecent and absurd accusation against our honorable and heroic comrades was that of "conspiracy to murder", suspiciously raised after they had spent more than eight months in solitary confinement, while facing the ridiculous and senseless initial charges which were as baseless as this. Naturally, the corrupt authorities in Miami could not present any evidence to support this infamy, but they shamefully manipulated the incident of February 24, 1996, concealed information in their possession, completely ignored the background, introduced faked evidence and grossly distorted reality.
But, the truth will prevail. The truth will never be defeated by their clumsy and deceitful maneuvers.
If one iota of justice existed in America, others would be sitting in the dock to receive the most severe and unappealable sentence.
The U.S. authorities are perfectly aware of everything related to this incident. They know every detail and are wholly and absolutely responsible for what happened that day.
Since the triumph of the Revolution and from U.S. territory, the CIA has used small planes manned by its agents for sabotage, dropping weapons, to spread chemicals and bacteriological substances and carry out espionage and provocation over the countryside and cities of Cuba. In the previously cited documents there is plenty of information to this effect including the background of the terrorist group involved in the provocation of February 24, 1996.
There is a wealth of information about this group that can be found in these and other official documents, and in the U.S. press. This can be summed up as follows:
As to the incident of February 24, 1996, the information officially provided by the United States to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the evidence later presented under oath to the administrative proceedings referred to in the previous paragraph, states what follows:
The authorities in Washington were the only ones who knew that this provocation was going to take place; they knew when, how, who and with what means it would be carried out. They did nothing, although they could and should have done something to prevent it or avoid it. Neither did they warn Cuba of what they knew was about to occur.
What was the conspiracy and who were involved?
The only ones responsible are those same authorities and the terrorist bosses who are allowed to act wantonly. It is them and no one else who are to be held accountable for the outcome of the incident.
The position adopted by that government was absolutely indescribable. They used the incident to justify the signing of the Helms-Burton Act, they stripped Cuba of funds illegally held in escrow in U.S. banks and handed them over to the annexionist Mafiosi and now, taking cowardice and vileness to their extreme, they want to punish five patriots who are totally innocent and are in no way responsible for that incident.
Nobody but those authorities and the terrorists they nurtured and used against Cuba for four decades, has conspired to kill, attempted to murder and murdered, taking a high toll in human lives and causing significant material damage to our country.
The terribly arbitrary action against our fellow countrymen has nothing to do with justice and law. It is the most repugnant expression of a new stage in the aggression unleashed against Cuba by the extreme right now in power and the annexionist Mafiosi in its service, whose consequences are already affecting many Americans and Cuban Americans.
The clearest evidence that the case against our five compatriots is part of a plan deliberately conceived to support the terrorist groups and to spread terror amongst their opponents, was openly offered on July 10 by the Chief of the FBI, in charge of this operation. On this occasion, Mr. Héctor Pesquera announced that "there will be more arrests related to this case", he assured that he was "constantly informed of all those involved" and promised he would "tirelessly pursue them". A few days later, as if in echo, the same bravado was repeated by the spokeswoman of the annexionist CANF. What else is necessary to understand that we are dealing with an exclusively political process whose aim is to persecute all those who repudiate the criminal practices of the terrorist Mafia?
But these are more than merely shrill boasts. On July 13, the President of the United States made an insolent declaration where in addition to proclaiming new tactics to reinforce the blockade and aggression against Cuba, he announced specific measures and concrete threats against American citizens and residents of Cuban origin. The occupant of the White House explained that he had given instructions to strengthen and expand the mechanisms of the blockade specifically to prevent unauthorized trips to Cuba, and to strictly control the visits and remittances allowed, as well as to increase the funds and material support to the counterrevolutionary grouplets which operate against Cuba.
Bush’s declarations are not simply rhetoric. Hundreds of Americans have already received official court summons, and many have been fined thousands of dollars. Travelers in the Miami airport receive clear written warning of the severe punishments –up to 10 years in prison and a 250 000 US dollars fine– for those who disobey the rigid rules of the blockade which the current President intends to enforce at all costs.
The number of Americans and Cuban Americans, who, threatened with possible criminal action are required to fill in thorough questionnaires reminiscent of the worst days of McCarthyism, continues to increase.
To ensure the implementation of his anti-Cuban policies, the leader of the current Administration has nominated to key positions there various individuals with notorious records in the war against Cuba.
The nominee for the highest position in the Latin American Office of the State Department has naturally created alarm inside as well as outside the United States.
But there are other appointments that have crept silently forward, almost unnoticed. One of these is Mauricio Tamargo for president of the Federal Claims Commission; another is Adolfo Franco who, it is announced, would be mostly responsible for Latin America within the so-called International Development Agency (IDA). Both are on the payroll of Cuba’s worst enemies in the U.S. Congress in Washington.
The choice of Mr. Tamargo is clear proof of the present government support for the Helms-Burton Act, the essence of which, as is known, is the illusory aspiration to return property to Batista’s followers and the old ruling class, robbing Cubans of their land, homes, schools, factories, hospitals and everything that belongs to the people. To choose one of their representatives to front the federal entity that with absolute powers within the American structure is responsible for property claims, is tantamount to putting the issue completely in the hands of that Mafia.
The nomination of Mr. Franco confirms the stated purpose of intensifying subversion against Cuba, increasing funds dedicated to the creation, financing and direction of grouplets of traitors in the service of the United States, part of which funds is distributed by the IDA. Over the last 42 years Washington has dedicated more resources to this end than those assigned to the alleged development aid for our continent. To place a representative of the annexionist Mafiosi in this position is a clear expression of an anti-Cuban policy and a strong message to those that in Latin America still naively believe in the chimerical aid of the Empire.
The ever more hostile and aggressive course towards Cuba pursued by the current Bush Administration constitutes an unforgivable crime against our people which cannot be seen separately from the irresponsible and adventurous policy that endangers peace and life on an international scale but it also seriously undermines the rights of the American people, including those Cuban immigrants and their descendents and all the other Florida residents. These people hope to live free from corruption, illegality and the violence of criminals who enjoy official complicity and tolerance and benefit from the budgetary resources which could better be used for the well-being and development of American families.
It is necessary to put an end to the official connivance with terrorists and halt the McCarthyist campaign, the persecution and threats against American citizens who oppose the blockade and against immigrants and residents in Florida who suffer the outrages of terrorism. Right away, as a first indispensable step, it is necessary to demand the liberation of our five innocent compatriots incarcerated in a Miami jail.
René González Sehwerert, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Fernando González Llort, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, political prisoners of the Empire, exemplary patriots, selfless and admirable heroes who have caused no harm to anyone but who have sacrificed their lives to save their people, must be set free.
Cuba is a free, independent and sovereign nation that has an inalienable right to live in peace and be respected like every other nation. It is Cuba’s right, obligation and necessity to defend itself and it will continue to do so.
The people of Cuba and the United States can and should live in peace. The struggle for truth and justice will allow this to happen.
National Assembly of People’s Power
Havana, August 3, 2001
"Year of the Victorious Revolution in the New Millenium"
Infört på ELAK 2001-09-16