The Cuban Five and US Terrorism


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

    The Cuban Five and US Terrorism
    By Michael Parenti and Alicia Jrapko
    t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributors
    Friday 15 December 2006

December 2006 marks five years since the Cuban Five were sentenced to prison.

In 2001, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino 
and René González were unjustly convicted of engaging in "espionage conspiracy" 
and other charges, and sentenced to terms ranging from 15 years to double life. 
In fact, they committed no act of espionage against the United States. What they
were doing was monitoring Cuban-exile terrorist groups in the USA in an attempt 
to track and prevent terrorist attacks against Cuba.

It has been eight years since the five men were arrested. And through all that 
time, "anti-Castro" right-wing terrorist groups have continued to operate with 
impunity in this country. And the corporate media continue to hail them as 
"anti-Castro militants" and "freedom fighters," while leaving their nefarious 
deeds unreported.

Since 1959 Cuba has been subjected to threats, sanctions, invasion, sabotage, 
and terrorist attacks upon its soil resulting in 3,478 deaths - all organized 
from within the United States by terrorist groups that are financed, organized, 
and sheltered by the US national security state.

The US government arrested the Cuban Five for sending information to Havana 
about terrorist plots and actions being planned against Cuba. Needless to say, 
the United States government wanted these groups to remain anonymous and free to
continue their campaigns of destruction.

The judge who convicted the Five actually admitted the existence of these terror
groups. On December 14, 2001, when Judge Lenard sentenced René González to 15 
years in prison, she stated: "As a further special condition of supervised 
release, the defendant is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific 
places where individuals or groups such as terrorists, members of organizations 
advocating violence, and organized-crime figures are known to be or frequent." 
Acknowledging that the terrorist groups were part of the established political 
landscape in Florida, Judge Lenard did not seem to see a problem. The problem 
was Gonzalez's gathering information on them.

Since December 2001, voices demanding the immediate freedom of the Cuban Five 
have been multiplying around the world. The growing international movement for 
freedom of the Five was recently described by Gerardo Hernández, in a message 
sent by him to solidarity groups around the world that were commemorating the 
eighth anniversary of the arrests.

Gerardo, who was sentenced to an outrageous two terms of life in prison, plus 15
years, wrote in his message, "When I remember back on what happened that 
September 12, the first thing that comes to my mind are the words of the FBI 
agent, who in the middle of his efforts to try to turn us into traitors, said: 
'Cuba will do nothing for you. Nobody will do anything for you.' How far off 
were he and his fellow officials, to imagine what has developed over these years
in the struggle to free the Five (to be honest, not even we, the Five, could 
have imagined!). I will not have enough time to tell him about all the examples 
of support and affection that come to us from the Cuban people and from all our 
compañeros from around the world."

In defense of this cause, today there are 288 committees in 97 countries. In 
addition, on May 27, 2005, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the 
United Nations Human Rights Commission declared the detentions of the five 
Cubans to be arbitrary and urged the US government to take immediate measures to
resolve this situation.

On August 30, 2005, six thousand worldwide personalities, including 9 Nobel 
Prize winners, sent an open letter to the United States attorney general, 
demanding immediate freedom for the prisoners.

On January 11, 2006, Amnesty International sent a letter to the government of 
the United States, stating that the refusal to grant visas to Olga Salanueva and
Adriana Pérez, wives of René González and Gerardo Hernández, was an additional 
punishment, contrary to proper treatment of prisoners and their families. The 
letter also raised questions about the guarantee of due process in the Miami 

Meanwhile, the White House continues to tolerate the existence of anti-Cuban 
terrorists on US soil. In March 2005, the well-known dangerous terrorist of 
Cuban origin, Luis Posada Carriles, entered the United States illegally. Today 
he is detained in El Paso, Texas, not because of the crimes he committed in 
several countries, including the United States itself, but only because of his 
illegal entry. Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, another terrorist who today 
freely walks the streets of Miami, are responsible for the 1976 bombing of the 
Cuban commercial airliner that killed 73 innocent people.

In November 2005, Santiago Álvarez and Osvaldo Mitat, two confederates of Posada
Carriles who helped him enter the US by boat, were arrested. Their arrest was 
not for aiding and abetting a terrorist (as it should have been) but for the 
lesser charge of illegal possession of weapons.

In June 2006, another scandal came to light in Miami when José Antonio Llama, a 
former director of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) threatened 
several of his former criminal accomplices with legal action, accusing them of 
defrauding him. In an open statement to the Miami media, Llama revealed that in 
a secret meeting in 1993 in Naples, Florida, CANF created a paramilitary group. 
He accused the group of failing to repay him a loan of almost $2 million. The 
loan was to buy eight ships, one helicopter, a high-speed motorboat, and ten 
planes for terrorist acts against Cuba. Even after revealing this, Llama was not
questioned by US authorities.

In April 2006, Cuban-born Roberto Ferro was arrested for illegal possession of 
an arsenal of 1,571 weapons at his house in Upland, California. In his 
statements, Ferro confessed to being a member of the anti-Cuban terrorist 
organization Alpha 66. Yet US authorities did nothing to find out why Ferro had 
this arsenal in his home. And no investigation was made of his links to any 
terrorist organization.

In January 2002, a few months after the September 11 attacks, Bush announced in 
his State of the Union address, "First, we will shut down terrorist camps, 
disrupt terrorist plans, and bring terrorists to justice.... My hope is that all
nations will heed our call, and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten 
their countries and our own." If the White House were really interested in 
fighting terrorism, it would shut down the anti-Cuban terrorist camps in South 
Florida and bring Posada Carriles and his accomplices to justice for the murders
they have committed.

Instead, the Cuban Five, who have broken no US law, who possessed no weapons, 
and who committed no act of terror, sabotage or espionage, are languishing in 
prison for defending their homeland by attempting to monitor US-sponsored 


Michael Parenti received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. He
has taught at a number of colleges and universities, in the United States and 
abroad. Michael Parenti has won awards from Project Censored, the Caucus for a 
New Political Science, the city of Santa Cruz, Social Science Research Council, 
the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and other organizations. He 
also serves on the board of judges for Project Censored, and on the advisory 
boards of Independent Progressive Politics Network, Education Without Borders, 
and the Jasenovic Foundation. Alicia Jrapko was born and raised in Cordoba, 
Argentina. In 1976, during the repressive military dictatorship, she was forced 
to leave her homeland and relocate in the San Francisco Bay Area. Alicia first 
traveled to Cuba in 1994.

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
  cyberjournal forum  
  Achieving real democracy
  for readers of ETM  
  Community Empowerment
  Blogger made easy