[Ppnews] 6/14: Cuban 5 Conference Bronx

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 27 10:44:01 EDT 2008

FREE THE CUBAN 5! Saturday June 14, 2008
NY/Tri-State Area WORKING CONFERENCE on the Cuban 
5 @ Hostos Community College 149th St. and Grand Concourse in the Bronx

Take the 4,5,or 2 train to 149th and Grand Concourse


Plenary Speakers:
Leonard Weinglass, Cuban 5 Legal Team A 
Representative of the Cuban Mission to the United Nations

pre register: 


September 12, 2008 marks the 10th year of the 
arrest of five Cuban citizens – Fernando 
Gonzales, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon 
Labanino, Gerardo Hernandez –who were portrayed 
as "spies" and "murderers" in the service of 
"Castro's Cuba." They were tried and convicted in 
an atmosphere of hype and hysteria in Miami, 
Florida. The verdict was goaded by ultra-right 
politicians and a highly orchestrated media 
campaign of disinformation with the tone of a lynch mob.

At the trial there was not a single page of 
classified information produced showing evidence 
of espionage or any action directed against the 
US government. The frame-up charges were packaged 
as a necessarily vague "conspiracy" to, as the 
prosecutor actually put it to the jury, "destroy 
the United States of America." In the period of 
17 months between arrest and trial, the five 
Cubans were subjected to brutal conditions of 
solitary confinement and near-total isolation to 
hinder the preparation of their defense. This 
psychological torture was aimed at breaking their 
will, in blatant violation of their rights under 
US law. The hope was to break their spirit and 
force "confessions" to the trumped-up 
"conspiracy" charges. But this failed and the 
trial was finally held in November 2000. They were convicted in June 2001.

The truth is that the Cuban Five infiltrated 
ultra-right Cuban-American organizations, with a 
clear history of terrorist attacks organized on 
US soil against the sovereign Cuban state in 
violation of US law. Over 3,500 Cuban citizens 
have died in such attacks since the Cuban 
Revolution triumphed against the Batista 
dictatorship in 1959. Many tens of billions of 
dollars worth of damage have been done to the 
Cuban economy. These attacks stepped up in the 
mid-1990s as the Cuban economy reeled from an 
economic depression. Tourist hotels were bombed 
resulting in death and destruction. Low flying 
planes – originating from US territory in 
violation of US law – repeatedly violated Cuban 
airspace. Only after the Cuban government 
presented clear evidence of such terrorist and 
criminal activities and repeatedly implored, to 
no avail, the Clinton Administration to do 
something about it did the Cuban Five carry out 
its courageous and dangerous work which the record shows saved lives in Cuba.

Today, a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of 
Appeals is considering the range of egregious 
violations committed by the prosecution in the 
original trial. In August 2005 a panel from the 
same Appeals Court ruled, in a stunning decision 
with virtually no precedent, to overturn the 
original trial verdict on the grounds that there 
could not be a fair and impartial hearing in the 
hostile climate of Miami, Florida. This ruling 
was subsequently reversed by the full court under 
heavy pressure from the Bush Administration's Justice Department.

Around the world, and increasingly inside the 
United States, the case of the Cuban Five, stands 
as one of the most brutal and outrageous 
injustices in modern history. As the facts have 
emerged and the truth about the Cuban Five 
becomes more known and publicized, Committees to 
support the Cuban Five have spread all over the 
world. Their incarceration continues under brutal 
conditions that have included solitary 
confinement and denial of family visitations and 
other violations of formal US laws.

Washington is paying an increasing political 
price as this ongoing travesty of justice enters 
its second decade. On May 2005, the Working Group 
on Arbitrary Detentions of the Human Rights 
Commission of the United Nations issued a 
stinging exposure of the arbitrary and iniquitous 
nature of the trial and conviction. The UN body 
emphasized that the Cuban Five were held in 
solitary confinement for 17 months, weakening 
their ability to mount an adequate defense; that 
most of the evidence against them was withheld 
from their attorneys, undermining an equal 
balance between the prosecution and the defense; 
and that the trial was held in Miami where it was 
impossible to select an impartial jury in a case linked with Cuba.

On January 2006 Amnesty International condemned 
the Bush Administration and US authorities for 
the treatment of the Cuban Five, specifically for 
the denials of family visitation rights for some of the Cuban Five prisoners.

An international call for world protests in 
solidarity with the Cuban Five in September and 
October 2008 has been issued. Now is the time for 
all supporters of the Cuban Five and all 
supporters of civil liberties and justice to step 
up our work on their behalf. Now is the time to 
reach out to broad layers of the US population, 
whatever their political views in general and on 
the Cuban Revolution in particular. Supporters of 
the Cuban Five begin by demanding that US 
authorities comply with US law and allow family 
members to visit their loved ones. In this 
Presidential and Congressional election year we 
aim to raise the issue of the Cuban Five and to 
reach out and win support from elected 
officials.  To mark the 10th anniversary of their 
arrests there will be organized public protests 
on Saturday, September 13. Out of this activity 
we aim to build support for a National Conference 
in October 2008 in New York City to support of the Cuban Five.

In this spirit, activists in New York, New 
Jersey, and Connecticut are issuing this Appeal 
to Organize a Working Conference in Solidarity 
With the Cuban Five on Saturday, June 14, 2008. 
The Working Conference will be just that, a 
Working Conference, not a political rally or 
solely a gathering of already engaged and 
committed activists. We want this Working 
Conference to generate activity and concrete 
campaigns from the grass roots – from religious 
communities and organizations; from the trade 
union movement; from young people, students and 
the broader academic community; from 
African-American and Latino communities; from 
fighters for women's rights; from gay and lesbian 
rights organizations; from consistent advocates 
for civil liberties and constitutional rights; 
from artists and cultural workers.

This is our challenge. This is our appeal. Now is 
the time. Please Join Us June 14!

The Free the Cuban 5 Conference Committee: Casa 
de las Americas, The Popular Education Project to 
Free the Cuban 5, Cuba Solidarity New York, 
National Committee to Free the Cuban 5, 
IFCO-Pastors for Peace, Venceremos Brigade, 
Bolivarian Circles, Peoples Organization for 
Progress, Fuerzas de la Revolucion Dominicana, La 
Igelsia San Romero de las Americas, El Partido 
Nacionalista de Puerto Rico, International Action 
Center, New York Jericho, The ProLibertad Freedom 
Campagn, Young Socialists, Socialist Workers 
Party, Workers World Party, Frente Socialista de Puerto Rico

<mailto:FreeTheCuban5Conference at gmail.com>FreeTheCuban5Conference at gmail.com

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