International month of action set for Cuban Five

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Commentary

The hurricane season is under way and Cuba once again finds itself in the eye of a political storm. While five Cuban political prisoners languish in U.S. jails waiting to hear the decision of a counter-appeal lodged with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta last September, the Bush administration released a second report from the so-called Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. The report reinforces the administration’s aggressive annexationist plans for the socialist island.

Unashamedly committed to the idea of illegal regime change in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro, the commission calls for $80 million in spending over the next two years to fund “opposition groups” in Cuba, a propaganda offensive to break “the Castro regime’s information blockade,” and support for international efforts to assist U.S. corporations and their cronies in a bid to recolonize the island.

In addition to promising “emergency food supplies, water, fuel and medical equipment” for an eventual compliant “transitional government,” the plan provides for the return of property to the oligarchy of pre-revolutionary times, the dismantling of social security from which millions of Cubans benefit, the privatization of schools and hospitals, and the persecution and trial of members of the island’s political and mass organizations.

The most disturbing element of the report is the inclusion of a secret appendix that remains classified in the interests of national security. In short, the report is written in a way that would gladden the hearts of individuals like Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, who have been called the Osama bin Ladens of the Western Hemisphere, and enjoy impunity as a reward for their past services.

It is in this hostile climate that Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez remain unjustly imprisoned in the U.S. for defending their people against such terrorists responsible for the lives of almost 3,500 Cubans and the injury of 2,000 compatriots.

The Cuban Five won their appeal last year against the phony charges of conspiracy to commit espionage and murder, on the grounds that they could not have received a fair trial in Miami.

An International Month of Action from Sept. 12 – Oct. 6 is set to highlight the case. Unfortunately, in the U.S. the case has only seen the light of day in the mass media when the U.S. Free the Five Committee placed an advertisement in The New York Times in 2004 and recently the Washington Post ran a front-page article (see PWW Online eXtra http://www.pww.org/

article/articleview/9266/1/266/).

In the UK there will be delegations to the U.S. Embassy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the anniversary of the arrest of the Five on Sept. 12, 1998, together with caucus meetings at the Labour Party and Trades Union Congress conferences later in the month.

This author along with lawyer Steve Cottingham will also tour the UK speaking about the case and raising awareness.

In Washington, D.C., there will be a rally and demonstration on Sept. 23 to highlight the ongoing struggle for justice against U.S.-sponsored terrorism in Cuba and Latin America. Thirty years after the car-bombing assassination of Orlando Letelier, former Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister under Salvador Allende, and U.S. activist Ronnie Moffit on Washington’s Embassy Row, and 30 years after the midair bombing of the Cubana plane that killed 73 people — crimes perpetrated by U.S.-backed terrorists — justice for the victims of terrorism is still out of reach.

Justice is still delayed in the case of the Cuban Five, who are now paying the price for blocking terrorism directed toward their own country.

Those of us who share the belief that “another world is possible” should show our solidarity by turning out in force across the world during this Month of Action and demonstrate our support for these fighters against terrorism and its causes.

Geoff Bottoms is the coordinator of the UK’s Cuba Solidarity Campaign to Free the Cuban Five.