[Ppnews] =?MACINTOSH?Q?Re:__BBC_interview_with_Gerardo_Hern=87nde?= =?MACINTOSH?Q?z, _one__of_the_Cuban_Five?=

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Nov 22 14:21:16 EST 2008

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On Jul 3, 2007, at 7:29 AM, Political Prisoner News <ppnews at freedomarchives.org 
 > wrote:

> BBC interview with Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five
> BBC World Service
> 2007/7/2
> Transcript of < http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/ondemand/rams/nh27166____2007.ram 
> >BBC interview with Gerardo Hernández
> July 2, 2007
> Well next month, a court in Florida is going to hear an appeal in a  
> case that sums up much about the relationship between the United  
> States and Cuba. Gerardo Hernández and four other Cubans were  
> convicted in Florida in December, 2001 on a range of charges  
> including trying to obtain U.S. military secrets, spying on Cuban  
> exile groups, and, in Mr. Hernández' case, conspiracy in the deaths  
> of four Cuban-Americans whose planes were shot down by the Cuban  
> government in 1996.
> Gerardo Hernández is serving a double life sentence, but he argues  
> that all he was trying to do was protect Cuba from what he calls  
> "terrorist groups," anti-Castro organizations based in the U.S. He  
> and his fellow defendants also argue that their trial was unfair  
> because of the anti-Castro mood in Florida where it was held.
> In the first-ever media interview given by any of the five  
> prisoners, I spoke to Mr. Hernández on the telephone from his  
> maximum security prison in Victorville, California, and asked him to  
> explain his story from the beginning. What was he doing in Florida  
> in the first place?
> Gerardo Hernández: Well in the first place, I was gathering  
> information on terrorist groups that used to operate in Florida with  
> total impunity. So at a certain point Cuba decided to send some  
> people to gather information on those groups and send it back to  
> Cuba to prevent those actions. In 1998, Cuba passed to the FBI some  
> information regarding those groups, hoping that the FBI would do  
> something against them. And unfortunately, what they did was  
> arresting the people that have gathered that information.
> But you do acknowledge that you were working as an agent for a  
> foreign government, and in one of your defense statements you do say  
> that you were working with false documents, falsee identity documents?
> GH: Yes, I do acknowlege that. But there is something called  
> "necessity defense," that says that if in order to prevent crime you  
> have to violate a law you can understand that. In my case, yes I  
> have fake I.D., I was working for foreign government, but not to  
> affect the U.S. interest, but to defend Cuban interests, to defend  
> the Cuban people from terrorism.
> And the crime you were trying to stop, what exactly were they, the  
> crimes?
> GH: Well, for example, in 1997, a bomb exploded in a Cuban hotel and  
> killed an Italian tourist. And in 1976, as you know, a bomb exploded  
> in a Cuban airplane and killed 73 people. And that's only two  
> samples of terrorist acts committed against Cuba. Anybody who lives  
> in Miami, they know what Commandos F-4 is, and they know what Alpha  
> 66 is. They've got training camps in the Everglades, they dress  
> camoflage, and got weapons, and they train for the day they're  
> gonna' liberate Cuba. They used to go to Cuba in boats and fire at  
> Cuban buildings and they tried to organize an internal sabotage and  
> all kinds of actions. Hopefully the U.S. government and the U.S.  
> authorities will do something, because they say they have a war  
> against terrorists, but how come you gonna' allow those terrorists  
> to operate freely in Miami?
> There is one very contentious charge on which you were convicted and  
> the reason why you are serving such a long sentence ­ the shooting  
> down by Cuba of two civilian planes from the United States in 1996.  
> Did you have any role connected to that?
> GH: No, absolutely not. I was in Miami and the plane was shot down  
> in Cuban waters, a long way away.
> So you didn't pass any information that would have helped the Cuban  
> government to shoot down the planes?
> GH: No, of course not. If you go to the records of those times, you  
> will see that José Basulto announced way before the trip, he said we  
> are going there on February 24, everybody knew that. And the  
> government charged me for conspiracy, and they said that is because  
> I knew that the plane would be shot down, and because I knew that  
> the plane would be shot down over international waters, which has no  
> sense at all. It's something crazy, but they need to blame somebody  
> and they chose me.
> You have an appeal coming up. What will be the grounds for the appeal?
> GH: We argue that the trial wasn't fair in Miami. Our trial lasted  
> over seven months and there were over 100 witnesses. The jury  
> deliberated a few hours and they didn't ask a single question. They  
> just found us guilty on every single count, and then the judge gave  
> us the higher sentence possible on every count.
> And you say that that is because of the influence of the Cuban exile  
> community in Florida?
> GH: Yes, of course. During the trial there were all kinds of  
> irregularities, to call it like that. People were phoning [?] the  
> jurors, and following the jurors, the press was following the jurors  
> to their cars, and there were riots or some kind of contest [?] in  
> front of the courts, all kind of things.
> So you think the jury was intimidated, or even tampered with? Was it  
> as serious as that?
> GH: I believe the jury was intimidated. Anybody who lives in Miami  
> or who knows what is going on there would understand that nothing  
> related to Cuba is normal in Miami.
> Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the past has taken quite an interest in  
> your case and he's spoken on your behalf. Have you heard from him  
> directly at all?
> GH: Well I had the opportunity to talk to him by phone on his  
> birthday two years ago.
> And what did he say?
> GH: Well he said that he's confident that justice will prevail  
> because he has always been confident that when the American people  
> find out about what has been done in our case, when the American  
> people find out the truth about our case, justice will prevail.  
> Everybody are confident on that.
> Gerardo Hernández of the so-called Cuban Five, < http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/ondemand/rams/nh27166____2007.ra 
> m >on the phone from prison in California.
> Freedom Archives
> 522 Valencia Street
> San Francisco, CA 94110
> 415 863-9977
> www.Freedomarchives.org Questions and comments may be sent to claude at freedomarchives.org
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