[Ppnews] Anti-Castro Terrorist Gets Only 4 Years

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Nov 16 12:55:30 EST 2006


http://www.counterpunch.org/lariva11162006.html

November 16, 2006


Where is the Justice?


Anti-Castro Terrorist Gets Only 4 Years

By GLORIA La RIVA

A man like Santiago Alvarez, who can be heard on 
a telephone, calling on one of his underlings to 
throw C-4 explosives into Havana's Tropicana 
nightclub and "do away with all that"--all that 
being hundreds of people--a man like Santiago 
Alvarez who had machine guns, bazookas and 
grenades in a massive Miami arsenal, is sentenced 
to only a four-year prison sentence this week in 
a southern Florida federal court.

Yet, the Cuban Five, five men who were in Miami 
working to prevent a terrorist like Alvarez from 
killing innocent people, who never possessed a 
weapon, who never engaged nor intended to engage 
in the "espionage conspiracy" they were falsely 
convicted of, received 15 years to double life 
after their 2001 trial, and the added punishment of being denied family visits.

Alvarez and his accomplice Osvaldo Mitat were 
allowed to plead guilty to only one charge of 
weapons possession. Before their sentencing, 
federal judge James Cohn said, "This court 
recognizes the ultimate objective and goal of Mr. 
Alvarez and Mr. Mitat has always been a free and 
democratic Cuba. This court does not question the 
altruistic motive here. However we are a nation of laws."

The government's and courts' impunity towards the 
Miami terrorists is becoming more and more blatant.

Almost every day it seems, more news is coming to 
light in Miami of the vast and deep network of 
rightwing Cuban-American terrorists and their 
murderous plots: Antonio Llama, Roberto Ferro, 
Alvarez, Mitat, and of course, the most dangerous 
of them all, Luis Posada Carriles. Posada's 
cohort, Orlando Bosch, gets to appear regularly 
on Miami TV, itching to admit his atrocious crime 
of the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455 that 
killed 73 people. Bosch and Posada worked hand-in-hand in the plane bombing.

Where is the justice?

Last Aug. 9, 2005, an historic and unprecedented 
ruling was made by a panel of three judges in the 
case of the Cuban Five. With a powerfully-worded 
93-page decision granting the Five a new trial, 
the 11th Circuit Court judges ruled that the 
situation in Miami was a "perfect storm" 
effectively denying Gerardo Hernández, Ramón 
Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and 
René González the constitutional right to due process.

Part of that "perfect storm" described by the 
judges was the evidence of terrorist plots the 
Five had gathered while infiltrating the 
extremist Miami organizations. The trial judge 
Joan Lenard denied much of that evidence as irrelevant..

A new trial outside of Miami for the Cuban Five 
would have undoubtedly exonerated them. However, 
the hand of the Bush administration intervened 
last year, when U.S. Attorney General Alberto 
Gonzales appealed the Five's victory, to try to 
overturn the panel's ruling for a new trial.

Unfortunately, the en banc panel of the 11th 
Circuit Court of Appeals set aside the Cuban 
Five's victory. It ruled ignominiously on Aug. 9, 
2005, that the Five received a fair trial in 
Miami, and that Judge Lenard properly denied them 
a change of venue out of Miami.

While George W. Bush unleashes bombs and 
destruction causing the deaths of Iraqis, 
Afghanis and U.S. soldiers--all in the name of a 
supposed war on terror--he has remained 
completely silent about the rightwing 
Cuban-American terrorists who reside in the United States.

His actions are those of coddling the 
Cuban-American terrorists. U.S. Homeland Security 
waited two full months before arresting Luis 
Posada Carriles after he entered the United 
States illegally last year. When DHS was finally 
forced to detain Posada on May 17 because of a 
public press conference he held that morning, 
Homeland Security prosecutors avoided charging 
him with more serious crimes, like the Cubana plane bombing.

Instead, Posada's only formal charge to date is 
illegal immigration entry. To the extent that 
federal authorities may currently be 
investigating him for his role into several 1997 
Cuban hotel bombings, it is probably to avoid 
prosecuting him for the plane bombing. That is 
because Bush Sr. was CIA director at the time of 
the Cubana bombing; Posada was a longtime CIA operative.

It is more than an oversight by Bush or previous 
presidents that Miami terrorists have existed, 
organized plots, and carried out attacks with total impunity.

The Miami terrorist phenomenon is financed, 
armed, and given a green light by the CIA, FBI 
and other arms of the government.

There is mounting evidence that proves without a 
doubt, terrorism against Cuba is part of U.S. government policy.

If the government won't listen to justice and 
reason in the case of the Cuban Five, if it 
instead chooses to vengefully prosecute them to 
keep them locked up for years for daring to 
defend their homeland of Cuba, then it is up to 
the people to fight ever more for their freedom. 
The Cuban Five's mission was not only saving 
Cuban lives, but protecting all potential victims 
of the Miami mafia, including U.S. people.

The American people would embrace the Five if 
they were only aware of their cause and mission. 
September 11 and Oklahoma are permanent reminders 
of the horror of terrorism. Terrorism against the 
Cuban people is no less criminal. More than 3,400 
Cuban people have died from U.S.-originated terrorist attacks.

Justice demands that the Cuban Five 
anti-terrorist activists be freed immediately. In 
addition, Posada should be extradited to 
Venezuela or prosecuted fully in the United 
States for bombing of Cubana Flight 455.

Gloria La Riva is coordinator of the National 
Committee to Free the Cuban Five in San 
Francisco. She can be reached at: 
<mailto:glorialariva at hotmail.com>glorialariva at hotmail.com


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