[Ppnews] Anti-Castro Terrorist Gets Only 4 Years
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Nov 16 12:55:30 EST 2006
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
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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