Free the Cuban Five, and…

Free the Cuban Five, and others wrongfully held

ANSWER LA and the Committee to Free the Cuban Five held a special meeting Friday night concerning the Cuban Five who have been imprisoned in the US for “spying” when what they actually did was infiltrate ultra right wing Cuban exile groups in Miami – private right wing groups, not government, not military.

Some of their “spying” consisted of such nefarious activities as counting planes taking off from a military base, a base with such low security that there is no guard at the gate and a sign tells you where to take photos of the planes.

The Cuban Five were working undercover for the Cuba government, who had just cause to find out what the ultra right in Miami was up to, as these paramilitaries have committed murder and terrorism on Cuban soil and had threatened to bomb Havana with their private airforce.

When the Five learned of these planned bombings they notified Cuba. When they learned the paramilitaries were dealing heroin, they notified the FBI. They were then promptly arrested as “spies”, convicted on little evidence, and given very long prison sentences. Did I mention the Miami paramilitaries have always had strong links to the loony Right in our government? 

Other speakers gave updates on Leonard Peltier, who has served 27 years for a murder he almost certainly didn’t commit. His prosecutors later admitted in court they don’t know who did the murders.

The L.A. Eight, a case that has been dragging on so long the joke is, they should be called the L.A. Fifty, as many of them have had kids and grandkids in the 16 years the U.S. government has been attempting to deport them. What was their crime? Expressing their opinions apparently.

The eight immigrants, seven of them Palestinians and the eighth a Kenyan, were targeted for deportation, not because of violent acts, but because of their political opinions. Their political activity consisted of fundraising, public speeches and other conduct which would be perfectly legal if carried out by US citizens

John Yai is a Korean in L.A. arrested for, you got it, “spying”. He appears to have done such dastardly deeds as fax and email from his home computer, commonly available news articles and Internet research.  The FBI has apparently admitted he was targetted by them. And what “spy” would send stuff using his home fax and email?

There was a taped message from Mumia, thanking Cuba for their support of him through the years.

As far as I can tell, all of them are being harrassed or imprisoned unfairly on trumped-up charges by an out of control government. We can do better than this, we really can. And must.

The event was held at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in L.A. They are “dedicated to the empowerment of Central Americans in Los Angeles; to the defense of their civil and human rights; and to build bridges between the Salvadoran community in the United States and the people of El Salvador.

The photos show the amazing mural in their meeting room. It is of El Salvador. In the top photo a woman organizer (based on a real person, I don’t know her name) rallies the people while in the background the death squads kill.  In the bottom photo, the peasants and workers march, carrying a picture of Oscar Romero, the Catholic Archbishop who was assassinated by the paramilitary Right.

And you thought the U.S. had a turbulent history…