Saturday, February 27, 2010

La Jornada: Please, Read the Transcripts!

La Jornada: Please, Read the Transcripts!

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada*

La Jornada

February 23, 2010

Havana - The exclamation that I used to entitle this article was raised by an eminent jurist when, in his time, he tried to do Sacco and Vanzzetti justice. And it is relevant now regarding the Five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for fighting against terrorism.

Because Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René, who are suffering cruel and unjust prison sentences for more than 11 years, are in one word, innocent. This is known by those who have looked for the truth in the official site of the United States government (US Department of Justice, US District Court of Southern Florida, United States vs. Gerardo Hernandez et al).

They were kidnapped, confined in solitary during 17 months, at the same time that the kidnapping of Elián González was taking place, a case that the entire world knew well about because the media was tirelessly reporting on it day and night. But very few people knew about the kidnapping of the other five Cubans.

So, it was easy for the government to deny the detainees an impartial trial in another venue and to impose them to stand trial precisely in Miami, in an environment of illegality and violence that gave universal notoriety to that city.

On top of that, the reason why the Cuban Five were arrested was because of their efforts to discover plans against Cuba by these same terrorist groups accustomed to kill and to threaten people also in Miami. Complying with that risky and difficult mission required of our compatriots to ignore some norms and legal dispositions. They could not inform the US authorities what they were doing simply because these authorities have always been accomplices of the terrorists. The trial in Miami is the best proof of that.

From the preparatory stage of the trial the prosecutors openly recognized it: "The fight against terrorism is the motivation of the accused and motivation should not be aired in front of the jury” (Official documents, US District Attorney Motion in Limine, 2000). When the trial started, the prosecutors returned to the fray: “The court is strongly advised that witnesses exercise their right to base on the Fifth Amendment so that terrorist activities against Cuba are not made public.” (Official documents from the trial, District attorney Motion, March 20, 2001).

On her part, the judge agreed: “The terrorist acts by others cannot excuse the wrongful and illegal conduct of this defendant or any other” (Joan Lenard, Transcripts of the Trial, December 14, 2001).

The government asked for the most outrageous sentences – 4 lives plus 77 years as a whole – but insisted that that punishment was not enough. It was necessary according to the prosecutors, to make sure that none of the Five could conduct any future action against terrorist groups.

The judge agreed adding this unusual sentence: “As a further special condition of supervised release the defendant is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists are known to be or frequent.” (Lenard ibidem).

Those who read the pages of the infamous process against them in Miami will discover immediately that the Cuban Five are fighters against terrorism, truly heroes, who have sacrificed their lives to save the lives of their people. Those who read these pages will also realize that the United States government is to blame for promoting terrorism against Cuba, and also for defending and protecting terrorists.

This is the great truth that the US government has strived to hidden. And without a doubt they have been successful. Its enormous media machinery - the “disciplined media” according to Chomsky­ has taken it upon itself to impose the silence and misinformation.

People in the United States and in many other places are prevented for knowing the truth. What would happen if they could read what really happened in Miami?

* President of the Cuban National Assembly of the People’s Power.

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