Campaign to free Cuban 5 presses forward

News Analysis

The legal struggle for the freedom of the Cuban Five continues, despite a recent adverse appeals court ruling. Defense lawyer Leonard Weinglass, however, has called for enlarging the political fight.

Weinglass is confident that someday the five unjustly imprisoned men will go free. But “this is an essentially political trial and, in particular, a trial of U.S. policy against Cuba,” he told the Florida-based Progresso Weekly, Aug. 28.

“The United States cannot be an accomplice to a crime and at the same time try the people who oppose it,” he said.

The crime here is U.S. terrorism against Cuba’s sovereignty and its socialist revolution. The Cuban Five were defending their homeland and the people of the U.S. against repeated acts of terror organized by right-wing extremists in Miami. While doing so, they were arrested by federal agents and charged with a variety of conspiracy-related crimes.

The “Worldwide Days of Action in Solidarity with the Cuban Five,” now in progress, are all about exposing how terrorism has been used to further Washington’s political ends. The days run from Sept. 12, the day eight, years ago when Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, René González, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramon Labañino were arrested, through Oct. 6. On that day, 30 years ago, Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch bombed a Cuban airliner, killing 73.

In between falls Sept. 21, the 30th anniversary of the murders of ex-Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and Roni Moffitt in Washington on orders of the Chilean dictator, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, with the connivance of Posada and others.

On Sept. 23, supporters of Cuban Five will march to the White House. They will be coming from throughout the nation. Other actions are taking place in San Francisco, Detroit and New York.

Meanwhile, new revelations about the anti-Cuba, right-wing terror network have surfaced.

• In June, Jose Antonio Llama revealed that he and other Cuban American National Foundation leaders spent $1.5 million in the 1990s on 11 aircraft, seven boats and weapons to mount attacks on Cuban leaders. He was confessing to crimes. Law enforcement officials are silent.

• Santiago Alvarez was jailed November 2005 for possession of weapons intended for use against Cuba. Alvarez, a wealthy Miami developer, brought Posada to Florida illegally in March 2005. Faced with a trial outside Miami and deprived of a supportive Miami bias, Alvarez pleaded guilty Sept. 11 to a reduced charge carrying minimal jail time.

• Former CIA agent and past plotter Robert Ferro was jailed April 14 in Upland, Calif., for possession of 1,571 automatic weapons. He claimed membership in the terrorist group Alpha 66 and alleged that the U.S. government had supplied the weapons for use against Cuba. His trial date is still pending.

• Orlando Bosch, instigator of death and destruction, received a pardon from the first President Bush. Living unmolested in Miami, he recently boasted to the Vanguardia of Barcelona, Spain, about a 1971 assassination attempt against Fidel Castro and the destruction of the Cuban airliner.

• Luis Posada is still detained, charged only with illegal entry, despite a lifetime of crime. Treaties exist and court proceedings are pending in Venezuela, but Washington rejects Venezuela’s request for extradition. Six countries have refused to take him in as a deportee. Posada has applied for U.S. citizenship based on his CIA service.

• The story of Hector Pesquera, who as FBI prosecutor kept the Cuban Five in solitary confinement for 17 pre-trial months, exemplifies U.S. government complicity in terror. In 2004 he attended planning sessions in Panama for the killing that year of Venezuelan prosecutor Danilo Anderson. In August, his role as “consultant” to Guantanamo torturers in 2002 and 2003 became public knowledge.

Richard Klugh, defense attorney for Fernando González, one of the Cuban Five, told reporters that the new revelations of terrorist plotting could back up demands for a new trial.

Solidarity activists say the new reports bolster the political fight for the five prisoners by showing why they were doing what they were doing. They say the jailing of the Five, who were trying to stop terrorism, exposes the hypocrisy of the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism.”

For more information on the Five or the days of action, visit .