HOUSTON — Noted civil rights lawyer Leonard Weinglass blasted U.S. policy on Cuba at Texas Southern University here April 5, charging that the government has been “overtly or covertly attacking” the socialist island since 1960. Over the past 40 years, he said, more than 3,000 Cubans have been killed as a result of bombings and other attacks by right-wing Cuban exiles.

Weinglass was particularly critical of the Bush administration’s “hypocrisy on terrorism,” citing its policy of coddling of well-known anti-Castro terrorists while, at the same time, keeping the “Cuban Five” in prison.

The Cuban Five were arrested in 1998 and convicted on various charges — including, in three cases, conspiracy to commit espionage — for trying to prevent Miami-based terrorist attacks against Cuba. They were sentenced to long prison terms and remain in jail today.

Weinglass is the attorney for one of the five, Antonio Guerrero. He and the other lawyers for the five appealed the convictions on March 10, 2004, arguing that it was impossible to get a fair trial in Miami and that the judge had improperly refused a request for a change in venue. A decision on the appeal is expected any day.

Weinglass contrasted the prosecution of the Cuban Five with the case of Orlando Bosch. Bosch was implicated in the deaths of 73 men, women and children when a bomb destroyed a Cubana Airlines passenger plane in 1976. Once described as “the most notorious terrorist in the hemisphere,” Bosch has friends close to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Despite a Justice Department recommendation that Bosch be denied residency, the Bush administration intervened on his behalf and today he walks the streets of Miami a free man.

Touching on the Bush administration’s general foreign policy and its “bizarre acceptance of the use of torture” in Afghanistan and Iraq, Weinglass said, “We are undergoing a crisis of illegality and lawlessness at the highest levels of government.”

Weinglass spoke at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at TSU, a state-supported, predominantly African American school. His audience of over 100 people gave him a warm reception.

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