HAVANA.- Cuba marks the 14th annivesary of the arrest by FBI agents of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters, who were given extremely long and unfair sentences by a Miami court in 2001. Forteen years later the world keeps demanding justice and their return home.
Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero, known as the Cuban Five, were in US territory monitoring Florida-based organizations that have planned and carried out terrorist actions against the Cuban people over the past five decades.
Such violent actions against the island have claimed nearly 3 500 lives and have left 2 000 people mutilated; add to this other damage caused by the introduction in the country of pests to affect agricultural production and the destructive impact by bomb blasts in tourist resorts, back in 1997.
For Giustino di Celmo, father of a young Italian man murdered in one of the 1997 attacks, understanding the incarceration of the Cuban Five is quite difficult, since their mission in the U.S. precisely was that of preventing actions such as the one that took his son’s life. Di Celmo has repeateldy condemned terrorism and denounced Washington for harboring those, who have masterminded those violent actions.
The role played by the heroes in trying to save innocent lives and the countless arbitrary actions by US authorities against them have triggered an overwhelming demand around the world in support of their cause.
According to the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP), over 300 solidarity committees in 110 countries are demanding the return of the Five to Cuba.
In statements to PL news agency, the coordinator of the US National Committee for the Release of the Five, Gloria la Riva, described solidarity as the key factor to bring them home.
The Five Cubans were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage, though the US government could never prove the veracity of the charge, since the Cubans never had any classified documents in their possession.
The trial against the antiterrorists was held in the US city of Miami, which is home to violent anti-Cuba organizations.
US attorney Martin Garbus recently exposed in details how Washington paid journalists from several US media outlets to mount a campaign in Miami to guarantee that the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters were convicted during the trial held in 2001.
The US lawyer said that between 1998 and 2001, public opinion in Miami was bombarded with media propaganda against the Five. Such operation translated into at least 1 000 articles and other information pursuing a negative impact on the trial and against the defendants in order to guarantee their conviction, said the lawyer.
Along with these facts, the Five have been submitted to psychological punishment, prohibition of family visits, while their defense attorneys have faced hurdles during the process.
Relatives of the Five have been welcomed in different countries, in forums and parliaments, where they have exposed the truth of the case.
Adriana Perez, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, recently visited Peru and Bolivia where she recalled that the five heroes helped put an end to terrorist attempts like the bombing of civil planes in mid air, and other violent actions against Cuba.
Nobel Peace laureates, parliamentarians, activists, heads of state and people from all walks of life have restlessly demanded the freedom of the Five, while President Obama has turned a deaf ear to their claim, despite the fact that he has the prerrogatives to free the Cubans and send them home.
This week, and particularly Wednesday, September 12, actions in solidarity with the five Cubans gain momentum as activists are staging demonstrations, rallies and concerts in different countries of the world. Like Cubans they are aware, as history has proven in other cases, that solidarity is the way.