[Ppnews] Alarcon - The Cuban Five: Forbidden Heroes

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 25 11:15:15 EDT 2009


http://www.counterpunch.org/alarcon08252009.html
August 25, 2009


The Cuban Five: Forbidden Heroes
The Face of Impunity




By RICARDO ALARCÓN de QUESADA

This is the third part in Ricardo Alarcón's 
series on the Cuban Five. Click here to read 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/alarcon08112009.html>part 
one and here to read 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/alarcon08122009.html>part two.

As they recognized during voir dire, the 
kidnapping of Elian González and its consequences 
for the community was very much in the minds of 
those chosen to be jurors at the trial of the 
Cuban Five a few months after the six year old boy was rescued by the federals.

Like everybody else they had followed the events 
related to Elian which saturated the news. The 
faces of the kidnapers, their promoters and 
supporters, as well as others involved in the 
scandal have become quite familiar to the jury 
members. The faces, and two features of the Elian 
drama with a unique character and a direct 
connection with the process of the Five Cubans.

First, the perplexing behavior of every Miami 
public official, from its Federal Congressmen, 
the Mayor and the City Commissioners to firemen 
and members of the police force, who openly 
refused to obey the law and did nothing to put an 
end to the most publicized case of child abuse 
ever to occur. And, secondly, but not less 
astonishingly, that nothing happened to a group 
of individuals that so clearly had violated the 
law with the abduction of a child and the 
violence and disturbances they spread over the 
town when he was saved by the federal government. 
Nobody was prosecuted, arrested, or fined. No 
local authority was dismissed, substituted or 
invited to resign. The Elian case demonstrated 
how anti-Castro impunity reign over Miami.

When the jurors sat first at the Court room to do 
their citizens duty they were probably surprised. 
There, live, were the “Miami celebrities” that 
they have been so accustomed to watch, day and 
night, on local TV. And they were together, 
sometimes smiling and embracing each other, as 
old pals. The kidnapers and the “law enforcement” 
guys hand and glove with the prosecutors (those 
valiant people who never show up when a little 
boy was being molested in front of the media)

The jurors spent seven months in that room 
looking at, and being watched by the same people 
so acquainted to them who now were at the witness 
stand, at the public area or at the news corner, 
the same people they will find frequently at the 
parking lot, at the building entrance, at the 
corridors. Some now and then proudly showing the 
attire used at their last military incursion to Cuba.

The jurors heard them explaining in detail their 
criminal exploits and saying time and again that 
they were not talking about the past. It was an 
odd parade of individuals appearing in a Court of 
law and recognizing their violent actions against 
Cuba that were planned, prepared and launched from their own neighborhood.

There, making speeches, demanding the worst 
punishment, slandering and threatening the defense lawyers.

The judge did what she could to try to preserve 
calm and dignity. She certainly ordered the jury, 
many times, not to consider certain inappropriate 
remarks, but by so doing their prejudicial and 
fearsome effects could not be erased from juror’s minds.

The consequences were obvious. The Court of 
Appeal panel’s decision stated it in clear terms: 
“The evidence at trial disclosed the clandestine 
activities of not only the defendants, but also 
of the various Cuba exile groups and their 
military camps that continue to operate in the 
Miami area. The perception that these groups 
could harm jurors that rendered a verdict 
unfavorable to their views was palpable”. 
(Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal, No. 01-17176, 03-11087)

Bur there was more. After hearing and seeing the 
abundant evidence of terrorist acts that the 
defendants had tried to avert, the Government 
succeeded in defending the terrorists by having 
the Court inexplicably agreeing to take from the 
jury the right to exonerate the Five on the basis 
of necessity which was the foundation of their defense.

The heart of the matter, in this case, was the 
need for Cuba to protect its people from the 
criminal attempts of terrorists who enjoy total 
impunity on US territory. The law in the United 
States is clear: if one acts to prevent a greater 
harm, even if he/she violates the law in the 
process, he will be excused from any criminality 
because society recognizes the necessity –even 
the benefit- of taking such action.

The United States, the only world superpower, has 
interpreted such universal principle in a manner 
leading to war in faraway lands in the name of 
fighting terrorism. But at the same time it 
refused to recognize it to five unarmed, 
peaceful, non-violent persons who, on behalf of a 
small country, without causing harm to anybody, 
tried to avoid the illegal actions of criminals 
that have found shelter and support in the US.

The US government, through the Miami prosecutors, 
went even farther, to the last mile, to help 
those terrorists. They did it very openly, in 
writing and with passionate speeches that 
curiously were not considered newsworthy.

That was happening in 2001. While the Southern 
Florida prosecutors and the local FBI were very 
busy harshly punishing the Cuban Five and 
protecting “their” terrorists, the criminals 
preparing the 9/11 attack had been training, 
unmolested, in Miami for quite some time. They 
should have had a good reason to prefer that location.

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada is president of the Cuban National Assembly.




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