Monday, February 02, 2004
The Cuban Five
Miami-based right-wing paramilitary groups have been terrorizing Cuba for the past forty years. For example, in 1976 Cuban Airlines flight CUT-1201 was blown up in flight off the coast Barbados killing 76. Over the years Cuban embassies in Lima, Lisbon, Madrid, and Ottawa have been bombed. These groups have also committed a great deal of violence on American soil-- see, for instance, Jim Mullin's article "The Burden of a Violent History" from The Miami New Times which lists 68 acts of violence committed in the Miami area alone. Such actions are just the tip of the iceberg -- terrorists have taken the lives of hundreds of people in Cuba -- but the story of anti-Cuban terrorism is long, complicated and way beyond the scope of this of this post. It'll have to suffice to say that it exists. (Do your own damn google search.) The terrorists operate without much interference from the US government; for example, the man responsible for the bombing of flight CUT-1201 and some of the embassy bombings was pardoned by former president Bush.*
At some point in the past decade or so, Cuba sent five men to the US to monitor the activities of the Miami-based terrorist organizations. The five helped to stop a number of terrorist actions, bombings and assassination attempts. In the spring of 2001, the five were railroaded through a corrupt trial and convicted of espionage and related charges, although under US law espionage only applies to spying on governments. The US claimed the Cuban five were spying on US military bases which was simply a fabrication. Their sentences ranged from fifteen years to two life sentences, while the terrorists in the organizations they were monitoring live freely in Miami.
Leonard Weinglass, the renowned civil rights lawyer, has taken on the case of Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban five. There's an interview with him up on Znet.
Here's Chomsky on the subject:
The thing with the Cuban Five is such a scandal, its hard to talk about it. Cuba was providing the FBI with information about the terrorist actions taking place in the United States, based in the United States - completely criminal. So instead of arresting the terrorists, they arrested the people that provided the information, which is so ridiculous I find it difficult to talk about it. They put them under very hard conditions and it's not recorded. You can't read about it. So one of the reasons it goes on is because nobody knows about it. There were a few brief mentions, but all it said was that these people were informing Cuba that an unarmed plane was going to fly over Havana. That's about the only story that was reported. The actual facts of the matter are not secret but no one knows. *
Also see freethefive.org