Thank you very much for inviting me to speak about the Cuban 5. You have always been strong supporters of the case, as you have been with the cases of other political prisoners in the United States.
And thank you again, because you made me update myself on recent developments in the case. Recently I have toured people to Chicago to speak about Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. One said the Cuba 5 case is a hard one, because only supporters of Cuba would support their cause. But having read about the broad support for the case, I see his view, however widespread, is quite wrong.
Let me review 8 noteworthy developments this year.
1.Jose Pertierra, a lawyer for the Cuban 5, wrote, and it is in this weekend’s edition of Counterpunch, at counterpunch.org. It summarizes the whole case:
“American double-standards: the terrorists are allowed to roam free in Miami and those who went to Miami to protect Cuba against the terrorists are thrown in jail.
The Cuban Five are part of a team of agents that Cuba sent to Miami to gather evidence against those guilty of orchestrating a campaign of terror against civilian targets in the island: a campaign of terror that has claimed over 3,000 lives. The team infiltrated Cuban-American terrorist groups in Miami, and using the evidence that the 5 gathered Cuba provided the FBI with the names and whereabouts of the terrorists. Rather than arrest and prosecute the terrorists, the FBI learned that Cuba had penetrated the Miami-based terrorist network and arrested the Cuban Five in 1998. On June 8, 2001, they were convicted and sentenced to four life sentences and 75 years collectively.”
2. The most important activity around the Cuban 5 has been its presentation for review before the Supreme Court. This is the attempt to have the Supreme Court take up the case and, if they do, make a decision whether or not they deserve a new trial.
There were an unprecedented number of amicus briefs – unprecedented in the entire history of the US Supreme Court. This is the largest number of amicus briefs ever to have urged Supreme Court to review a criminal conviction. This means letters of support for the appeal of the Cuban 5 to the Supreme Court.
Some of those who sent amicus briefs to the Supreme Court:
The Senate of the Mexican government submitted a brief.
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Belgium Bar Association
Indian Association of Lawyers
10 Nobel Prize winners, Rigoberta Menchu, Wole Soyinka, from Nigeria who won the prize in literature, Nadine Gordimer, who won the same prize, Gunther Grass
Hundreds of parliamentarians around the world, including two former Presidents (of East Timor and Ireland) and three current Vice Presidents of the European Parliament,
numerous US and foreign bar associations and human rights organizations.
former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson
Even our very own Felix Masud, DePaul University
Mary Robinson and Jose Ramos-Horta, former Presidents of Ireland and East Timor respectively.
3. On Feb. 6 their case was featured by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. She noted that the trial of the Cuban 5 is the only trial in US history condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
One of the lawyers who has taken the case up to the Supreme Court has defended over 30 cases in front of the Supreme Court. Thomas Goldstein
Jose Pertierra, another lawyer for the Cuban 5, writes in this weekend’s edition of Counterpunch on the Cuban 5 case. He noted that the US and Cuba made a deal that led to the US releasing the 4 Puerto Rican prisoners and Cuban released 4 jailed US government agents.
4. The National Law Journal featured the case in its March 20 edition.
5. The brother of the Italian man killed by a bomb planted in a Havana by a Miami Cuban terrorist, sent an open letter to various legal organizations on March 24 to Attorney General Eric Holder. He asks for prosecution of the terrorist Posada Carriles, living in Miami, who was responsible for the murder of his brother.
6. On March 26, 3 days ago, Amnesty International came out with a statement protesting the US government’s denial of visas to two of the wives of the Cuban 5. They have not seen their husbands since they were arrested 10 and a half years ago. The US government has repeated denied them visas to enter the US on the grounds they are threats to national security, but provides no evidence.
2002 US government legislation restricts the “issuance of visas to non-immigrant’s from countries that are state sponsors of international terrorism.” Nevertheless, other family members of the Cuban 5 have been given visas.
7. After the campaign to submit briefs to the Supreme Court to review the case, has begun the campaign to get the US government to give visas to the 2 wives of the Cuban 5
The President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel D’ Escoto,
by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Rigoberta Menchu and Adolfo Perez Esquivel;
American writers Noam Chomsky
Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.
ILWU local 10
SEIU President Andrew Stern.
former French president Mitterand’s wife,
Former head of the National Council of Churches
You here can sign cards I have brought.
In a previously unheard of twelve separate briefs, array of supporters worldwide – including ten Nobel Prize winners who have championed human rights (including East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta and Irish peacemaker Máiread Corrigan Maguire); the Mexican Senate; and Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland – today filed amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs imploring the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Miami convictions of five Cuban government agents, the so-called “Cuban Five”
8. This is the only US case in the history of the UN where the UN has condemned the trial of any case in the US
I do not really want to focus in any one particular problem to US-Cuban relations. But I must admit, first, it teaches you a lot how the US government, the US system works. For one, it shows you a lot about the US media, without having to read a lot of books about it. Here is an unprecedented case, a scandal, and you know nothing about it. Why is the whole US media covering for this gang of Cuban exile thugs in Miami. Even the NYTimes. all the liberal media. These Miami Cuban gangs are drug dealers, murderers, basically your basic organized crime mobsters, and even the NYT won’t expose it or report on it.
Second, it tells you a lot about where the real government in the US is. I am not some advocate of conspiracy theory, but it does show you where the real government lies, and it shows you how the media works to cover that up. These CIA organizations have a well-financed, well-organized network of drug runners, murderers and terrorists who act with complete impunity, above the law, beyond media investigation.