[Ppnews] Alarcon - The Cuban Five: Forbidden Heroes
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 25 11:15:15 EDT 2009
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
one and here to read
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 jurors minds.
The consequences were obvious. The Court of
Appeal panels 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.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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