Thursday, 5 January 2012

Amnesty Intl's 2011 Report on U.S.Calls Cuban Five Trial "Unfair,"

Amnesty International has released its 2011 report on human rights around the world. In its chapter on the United States, the section entitled "Unfair Trials" lists just one - the trial of the Cuban Five. The writeup spotlights the issue which has been the focus of the work of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five for more than a year, and which forms a central part of the current round of appeals of the Five - the U.S. government-paid journalists who helped poison the atmosphere during the trial.
In June, a new appeal was filed in the case of Gerardo Hernández, one of five men convicted in 2001 of acting as intelligence agents for Cuba and related charges. The appeal was based, in part, on evidence that the US government had secretly paid journalists to write prejudicial articles in the media at the time of trial, thereby undermining the defendants' due process rights. In October, Amnesty International sent a report to the Attorney General outlining the organization's concerns in the case.
On October 2010 Amnesty International had published a Report on the case of the Cuban Five concluding that:
"The organization believes that the concerns outlined above combine to raise serious doubts about the fairness of the proceedings leading to their conviction, in particular the prejudicial impact of publicity about the case on a jury in Miami. Amnesty International hopes that these concerns can still be given due consideration by the appropriate appeal channels. Should the legal appeals process not provide a timely remedy, and given the long prison terms imposed and length of time the prisoners have already served, Amnesty International is supporting calls for a review of the case by the US executive authorities through the clemency process or other appropriate means."

Amnesty Report 2011

Who are the paid journalists?

Sunday, 18 December 2011


From René:

Dear Friends:

With the end of another year, and the festivities and symbolism that these dates signify for each one of you - in your space of our diversity - the family spirit is renewed and our best wishes are conveyed for the near future; a reflection of our aspirations, dreams, realities and devotion.

For the five of us who have been separated from our families and our people for more than 13 years, the recurrent wish that this injustice finally be rectified, is once again our main hope. All of you, our constant companions throughout this arduous struggle for something as simple as seeing the law applied, have demonstrated the sensitivity that allows you to feel personally the wounds caused by the denial of that most basic dream of ours and our loved ones. You have made a place in your hearts for this prolonged battle that would have caused many to give up. For that perseverance we thank you and we reiterate to you the certainty of our eternal gratitude.

We await an important year, possibly a decisive one, in which the results from the last legal skirmish in this long and tortuous process may finally come to light. As the prosecutors themselves have admitted, the impact of solidarity cannot be dismissed. To know that we can continue counting on your efforts sustains and comforts us. We have no doubt that we will continue together in this struggle until victory, and it will be thanks to the actions of people like you that we will finally be reunited with our families.

It is for that mutual connection that your happiness is ours as well, we share in your projects, we enjoy your successes, and together we project the optimism and perseverance that makes us one. With that spirit of fraternity and shared feelings, we wish you the best possible New Year's celebration. May you have success in all your endeavors, which are ours as well.

A happy and prosperous 2012.


René González Sehwerert


From Ramón:

This year 2011 is reaching an end, and we want to use this opportunity to extend our gratitude and love to everyone.

We are very honored to count on you, and in this moment your solidarity and support is extremely important, more than ever before. We are certain that with your help, we shall overcome! and embrace you in freedom and happiness, then all our dreams will become true!!!

Best wishes for everybody!!!

On behalf of "the Cuban five", our families and the Cuban people:

"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011!!!!!"

Ramón Labañino Salazar
Dec. 8th, 2011
FCI Jesup, Georgia


From Fernando:

Dear friends:

I wish to convey to all of you my most sincere appreciation for another year of company in solidarity with this struggle for truth and justice.

The year which will soon end is yet another year of significant efforts of all those, who in one way or another, contribute to the objective of making the freedom of the Cuban Five a reality.

We are aware of the activities and events that all of you organize everywhere in the world as part of the campaign for our freedom. To each one of you, in each place on the planet where you show the universal value of human solidarity, with the closing of the year 2011, receive my gratitude and my certainty that we will achieve victory.

May you have a happy and fruitful New Year, and that 2012 be another year of gains and victories for the causes that we defend.

Happy 2012!

Fernando González Llort


From Antonio:

Dear friends,

René is free, but it is a freedom with many conditions, it is a freedom where he is in constant physical danger, it is a freedom without being able to have Olguita and his daughters next to him, it is a freedom without freedom.

Gerardo continues under the terrible conditions of a penitentiary, something I know very well. His strength remains high against the injustice of the double life sentence and despite not being able to receive visits from Adriana.

Perhaps soon we will hear about the Habeas Corpus this December. I am wondering what Judge Lenard's response will be? It gave great strength to us to hear about the participation of friends from all over the world who attended the VII Colloquium for our freedom in Holguin. Once again the success of this yearly event shows that the struggle for our cause is growing.

These are some of the things that 2011 ends with, in the middle of a world that cannot take it anymore and is dying of pain. It is a world that is asking us to run to help it in order to save humanity from so much selfishness, a world that is taking us, as Fidel affirmed, "in a relentless pace, toward a definite and total catastrophe."

For me, the recent visit of my two sons has been the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in these 13 years of imprisonment.

With great thanks for your support, on behalf of the 5, I wish you a Happy New Year 2012! Peace, health, and happiness. ¡Venceremos! Cinco abrazos.

Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez
Dec. 2011

Saturday, 23 July 2011

US Trade Unionists Give Their Support to the Cuban Five

WASHINGTON, July 22.— Trade unionists from the United States and the United Kingdom will gather in the city of Los Angeles, to give their support to the Cuban Five, the antiterrorist fighters who for almost 13 years have been unfairly imprisoned in the United States, the Prensa Latina news agency reports.

The event will coincide with the birthday of one of the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez (August 13), the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five announced in a communiqué.

Taking part in the solidarity meeting will be former Joint-General Secretary of Unite, Tony Woodley, who currently leads the trade union’s movement of support for the Cuban Five in the UK; Trabajadores Unidos (United Workers) leader Cristina R. Vazquez, who is also a member of the Western Region States Board of Directors; and Coordinator of the Committee to Free the Cuban Five Alicia Jrapko.

An exhibition entitled Humor desde el encierro (Humor in Captivity) comprising of political cartoons by one of the Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernandez, will be open during the event. The exhibition has toured other cities in the United States.

A short film by American actor Danny Glover on the case of the Cuban Five —as Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez are known internationally— will be also screened.

“These men are sons, husbands, brothers, poets, pilots, university graduates and artists. For 11 million Cubans they are considered heroes,” the communiqué by the solidarity organization reads.

Taking part at the solidarity meeting will be former Joint-General Secretary of the Unite Union, Tony Woodley, who currently leads the trade union’s movement of support for the Cuban Five in the UK

Sunday, 10 July 2011

UK government signs formal cooperation agreement with Cuba

On Tuesday 5 July 2011, the UK and Cuba signed a formal declaration to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

CSC Director, Rob Miller welcomed the declaration saying:

“CSC has been campaigning vigorously on this issue for many of years through lobbying campaigns of MPs and ministers, Early Day Motions in parliament, and ministerial delegations, all calling for the UK to break from the 'EU Common Position' which has imposed restrictions on relations between EU member states since 1996. CSC and affiliated Trade Unions have consistently called for a policy based on respect for Cuba's sovereignty and independence. We believe that this declaration is a significant first step in this direction.

"CSC hopes that this will signal the beginning of the development of bilateral exchanges in the fields of scientific, educational and cultural links. Most importantly we hope that there will be a real effort to explore and facilitate economic exchange between the two nations. Present trade levels are paltry in comparison to many other Europeann countries and it is in the interests of the people of both the UK and Cuba to see this change for the better.

"The signing of this agreement should be another nail in the coffin of the unjust and discredited 'EU Common Position' which has so hampered the development of relations between our two countries. Now that the UK has, along with many other EU nations, signed forward looking cooperation agreements, we very much hope that this will see a new and better era of relations to the mutual benefit of the people of Cuba and the UK"

A press release from the British Embassy dated 5 July read:

“The UK and Cuba today signed a declaration to strengthen bilateral cooperation. It was signed by British ambassador Dianna Melrose and Cuban Vice Minister Dagoberto Rodríguez.

“Commenting on the declaration, the British ambassador said:

“this declaration formalises bilateral cooperation between the UK and Cuba. It is an important step and part of the British government’s renewed focus on Latin America. With the declaration in place, we look forward to enhanced engagement, deeper dialogue and the opportunity to cooperate more in priority areas including climate change, human rights, trade, investment and counternarcotics.”

Baroness Angela Smith, Chair of the All Party Group on Cuba, and Vice Chair of CSC, stated on behalf of the Campaign: "This bilateral cooperation agreement is an excellent first step in the long overdue development of better UK-Cuba relations. The people of our two countries have so much in common and so much to learn from each other that any moves to better relations based on mutual respect and understanding must be applauded. I very much hope that we can now begin to see real practical steps to increase levels of trade and exchange."

CSC would like to thank all of the members, supporters, trade union affiliates and MPs who have worked with us over the years to pressure the British government to change its policy on Cuba. We are committed to continue working with them both in the UK and Europe until relations are completely normalised and Cuba is fully welcomed with respect as a sovereign and equal state.

The full wording of the declaration between Cuba and the UK can be read here