[Ppnews] Cuban Five and the Assassination of Fabio di Celmo

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 12 14:27:01 EDT 2010

The Cuban Five and the Assassination of Fabio di 
Celmo: Washington’s Double Standards

April 12, 2010,
By Arnold August*

The alternative media in countries such as the 
USA and Canada are trying their utmost to further 
break the silence regarding the Cuban Five. One 
such media is Radio-Montréal in Quebec. The host 
of the weekly program in French, Le Monde, cette 
semaine (the World this Week), André Pesant, 
invited me once again to exchange views with him 
about this case and inform the listeners of this 
popular radio station. André has consistently 
offered his program to allow guests to tell the truth about the Cuban Five.

He opened the show by outlining some of the 
history of the case, complemented by my input.
Together we provided the following information. 
The five Cubans were sent to south Florida in the 
1990s in order to infiltrate terrorist 
organisations operating for decades with impunity 
against Cuba from that area in the USA. Over 
3,000 Cubans were killed and 2,000 seriously 
maimed by terrorists activities in Cuba since the 
revolution of January 1, 1959. The Cuban 
authorities have continuously pressed upon 
Washington to stop this action emanating from 
their territory, but to no avail. The only choice 
open to Cuba was to gather the information and 
provide it to the US authorities so that action 
is taken against those responsible. This is what 
the five Cuban citizens did. However, when all 
the evidence was presented to the FBI 
representatives in Havana, instead of arresting 
the perpetrators of these crimes, they arrested the five Cubans.

André showed a great deal of interest in the 
kangaroo courts proceedings held in Miami despite 
the objections of their lawyer to the 
impossibility of having a free, fair and 
impartial trial in that city. Miami is the 
hot-bead for violent anti-Cuban action. The Five 
were also held in solitary confinement (the 
“hole”) for 17 months after their arrest in Miami 
on September 12, 1998, unable to communicate with 
each other or their families. Their confinement 
prevented them from properly preparing for their defence.

The result:
Gerardo Hernández: 2 life sentences and the 
continued refusal for over 11 years to receive 
the visit of his wife Adriana Perez.
Rene Gonzales: 15 years and the continued refusal 
for over 10 years to receive the visit of his wife Olga Salanueva,
Antonio Guerrero: Life sentence plus 10 years, 
subsequently reduced in the fall of 2009 to 22 years.
Ramón Labañino: Life sentence later reduced to 30 years.
Fernando González: 19 years subsequently reduced to 17 years and 9 months.

The families of Antonio, Ramón and Fernando have 
to overcome one obstacle after another to visit 
the prisoners. In addition all five have been 
kept in the worst conditions in an obvious 
attempt to break their spirit: Gerardo, Antonio 
and Ramon are kept in high security prisons, 
while Fernando and Rene are in FDC (Federal 
Detention Facilities). The original trial coupled 
with the double punishment which consists of 
refusing appropriate family visits, violates US 
laws, jurisprudence and penitentiary rules. André 
was interested in the violation of international 
law regarding the holding of the jury trial in 
Miami. This law consists, amongst others of 
article 14 of the The United Nations 
International Covenant on Civil and Political 
Rights, which states in part that “all persons 
shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. 
In the determination of any criminal charge 
against him, or of his rights and obligations in 
a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a 
fair and public hearing by a competent, 
independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”

Those who have taken a stand from around the 
globe: Parliamentarians (such as 56 members of 
the Canadian Parliament from Quebec and Canada), 
heads of states, trade unions (such as the most 
of the main unions in Canada and Quebec), student 
associations such as the Canadian Federation of 
Students, 10 Nobel Prize laureates, human rights 
organizations and innumerable personalities. On 
May 27, 2005 the United Nations Working Group on 
Arbitrary Detention also took a stand in favour 
of the Five. A record number of 12 prestigious 
“Friends of the Court” petitioned the US Supreme 
Court to revise the case which was brought to 
this highest court in the land by the Cuban 5 
lawyers. However, despite the world-wide 
condemnation, the US Supreme Court refused to 
review the case in 2009. To add insult to injury, 
the Supreme Court did not give any reason for its denial.

André asked why the Cuban Five committee in 
Quebec is called the Comité Fabio di Celmo pour 
les 5. I explained that Fabio di Celmo was one of 
the victims of the terrorist attacks in Cuba, the 
very type of activity that the Cuban Five were 
trying to halt. In 1997 the Miami-based 
terrorists organized a program to disrupt the 
tourist industry on the island. Fabio di Celmo 
was in a Havana hotel when a bomb placed in the 
lobby exploded and killed him. Fabio di Celmo was 
a young Italian, living at the time in Italy as 
well as in Montreal. He had been granted 
residence status in Canada. At the time of his 
assassination he was awaiting Canadian 
citizenship. And so the Table de concertation de 
solidarite Québec-Cuba (the Concertation Table of 
Quebec-Cuba Solidarity) decided to name its 
special committee in honour of Fabio di Celmo. 
Some of his family, André noted, lives in 
Montreal. This is a fact, notably his brother 
Livio di Celmo. The self-admitted assassin of 
Fabio di Celmo and author of  others actions such 
as the blowing up the Cubana de Aviación airline 
flight in 1976 which killed 76 Cuban civilians is 
Luis Posada Carriles. André read out portions of 
a New York Times interview with Carriles in which 
he actually takes credit for these activities. 
Carriles and others like him presently walk the 
streets in Miami, free as a bird. He even 
actively takes part at this time in the current media campaign against Cuba.

And so the discussion invariably turned to the 
double standards on human rights and terrorism 
practiced by Washington. How is it that 5 Cubans 
are in prison for opposing terrorism, while 
avowed terrorists such as Carriles are in 
liberty? This and other similar examples, I 
stated, show the double standard and hypocritical 
policy of the USA. The family of Fabio di Celmo 
is understandably outraged by this double 
standard on terrorism and human rights, demanding 
that justice be carried out: Carriles should be 
tried for his crimes. This frustrating lack of 
justice is all the more reason to support the 
work of Committees such as the International 
Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five which 
have organized a massive post card campaign. Tens 
of thousands of post cards are being sent from 
all continents in dozens of languages directly to 
Obama. In Quebec, the Fabio di Celmo committee 
organizes monthly pickets in front of the US 
consulate in Montreal and is circulating a 
petition. These actions and similar ones in 
Canada such as in Vancouver and Toronto all have 
one main goal: to force president Obama to use 
his constitutional right to grant pardon and free 
the Cuban Five. With the stroke of a pen Obama 
can do so. In the meantime, all the committees, 
organizations and personalities around the world 
are demanding the granting of visas on a 
humanitarian basis to Adriana Perez and Olga 
Salanueva so that they can visit their respective 
husbands imprisoned in the USA.

*Arnold August is a member of the International 
Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and 
the Comité Fabio di Celmo pour les Cinq of the 
Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba.

Freedom Archives
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