The Cuban Five
As you may know, there are some seriously right wing Cuban organizations in Miami dedicated to overthrowing the Castro government, and who cheerfully use violence to further their aims.
“Since 1959, these organizations have conducted bombings, assassinations and other sabotage, killing hundreds of innocent Cuban civilians. Groups like Alpha 66, Omega 7, Brothers to the Rescue, and Cuban American National Foundation have terrorized the Cuban people for years with impunity.”
Five Cubans, now known as the Cuban Five, infiltrated these groups, so they could learn what they were planning next. They did so at great personal cost, as not even family and friends knew the truth about them, and thus despised them as traitors.
The Cuban Five did successfully infiltrate these groups, and uncovered plans of new violence against Cuba. They reported this to Cuba, who tipped off the U.S. government – who promptly arrested the Five for espionage.
The Miami judge refused a change of venue, which should have been granted, given the hard right sentiment of powerful Cuban interests in Miami.
They were convicted and given stiff sentences, in some cases life. In 14,000 pages of transcripts, no espionage evidence was ever introduced. And remember, they were infiltrating private organizations, not the government, and that these organizations can be termed “terrorist” by any standard.
They were put into solitary confinement as “national security risks”, and the government was forced to released them into the general prison population only after much public pressure. But they are still denied much.
“The U.S. Government has not yet finished with its arbitrary, discriminatory and illegal acts. It still maintains inadmissible prohibitions against the Cubans related to use of the phone, correspondence, consular access and family visits”.
In short, the arrests, trials, and imprisonments were bogus. Precisely the same type of kangaroo courts that our government complains about when they happen elsewhere. The Cuban Five are political prisoners, captives of the unholy alliances between extreme right wing Cubans in Miami and U.S. intelligence. Not to mention the Bush family, who need Florida to get re-elected.
The Five are now heroes to Cuba (and to their families and friends who now know the truth about them) as well as heroes to many in South America. The mothers of the Five were in Venezuela recently and received a huge and heartfelt welcome from the government and populace.
Y’see, to much of Latin America (and elsewhere), Cuba is a shining light. Why? Cuba has, against massive odds, stood against the U.S. for years. This alone gives them huge credibility in countries where the U.S. may have been mucking about. Cuba also has free education for all, a very high literacy rate, free quality health care for all, and complete social security. Another reason for respect. Plus, they have also exported countless doctors, nurses and teachers worldwide, gaining them the gratitude of many countries. And, of course, they have sent troops to aid in other struggles.
This may come as news to most Americans (it did to me). Cuba is respected? Yes, Cuba is indeed respected. And I suggest that America would be more respected if it didn’t engage in odious kangaroo courts like those which have imprisoned the Cuban Five.