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Entries tagged "Cuban Five"

An Interview with Rene Gonzalez, of the Cuban 5

December 22, 2013 ·

November 13th to 16th, 2013 was the 9th International Colloquium for the Freedom of the Five and Against Terrorism held in Holguín, Cuba, at the eastern end of the island, 85 miles west of Guantanamo. The goal of the Colloquium, organized by ICAP (The Cuban Friendship Institute), was to strengthen the unified international strategy to win the release of The Cuban 5; Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and René González; men imprisoned in the US for the last fifteen years essentially for fighting terrorism orchestrated in the US. Due to the lack of response from the FBI to stop such attacks, Cuba sent the Cuban 5 to Miami to monitor the organizations perpetrating these acts of violence. The idea was to gather information about similar acts that were in the planning stages in order to derail them before they were carried out.

photo of ReneOne of The Five, René González, was released on October 7, 2011, after serving his entire sentence. On April 22, 2013 René returned to Cuba for his father’s funeral and on May 11, Judge Lenard allowed him to stay there provided that he renounce his United States citizenship. That wasn’t a hard decision for René.

Soon to be released is Fernando Gonzalez in February. While millions worldwide look forward to this, it is not justice. Justice would be for all five men to have never gone to prison in the first place. The other brothers – Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero – have much too much longer sentences to go and should be freed unconditionally. We still have to work for that.

During my visit to Cuba, I had the honor and privilege of interviewing with René:

Netfa Freeman: I just want to ask you, brother, a few questions to help our listeners understand things more, hopefully be fortified with information. I want to say this is an honor and thank you for giving me this interview.

I’m reading Stephen Kimber’s book right now. First is, I understand that you were born in the US. Your family, your parents moved to the US before the Cuban revolution and then ended up moving back afterward. So the first question is really what knowledge and information might your parents have imparted to you or shared with you that gave you your political consciousness and your commitment to the Cuban Revolution? And particularly if you could share how that might have influenced your choice to fight in Angola. You were one of those who served in Angola against apartheid South Africa, to help Angola get its independence.

René González: I want to start by advising everybody to read Kimber’s book. In my opinion it’s the best thing that’s been written about the case. He did great research. He wrote a book which is tied to the facts, to the most elemental things. So it’s a good way to get acquainted with the case, which on the other side is a very complex case. Now you say my parents. They are working class Cubans who by different ways ended up in the States in the 50’s. They met there and I was born in 1956. Then in 1959 came the Cuban Revolution. Since the beginning of the revolution they felt sympathy for the goals and the purpose of the revolutionary process. So they decided to come home in 1961.

It was an interesting time to be in Cuba…

Read the full interview featured in Black Agenda Report.

Cuban Five: 14 Years of Injustice

October 5, 2012 ·

Five  Cubans fighting terrorism in South Florida have served 14 years of prison, more  than enough time for the U.S. public to learn from its media about the horrific  injustice done by the U.S. government to these Cuban men. But the media has barely touched the grotesque frame-up of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero,  Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino and Rene Gonzalez, the Cuban Five as they are called.

These  Cuban intelligence agents volunteered in the 1990s to infiltrate violent groups of Miami-based Cuban exiles who had orchestrated bombings in Cuba of tourist  spots – hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars, and even the Havana airport where  vacationers from Canada and Europe arrive. By scaring foreigners with violence  they hoped to intimidate tourists from visiting Cuba, and thus hurt the  island’s economy.

Cuban  intelligence chiefs sent agents into South Florida because the FBI had done  nothing to stop the bombing plots or indeed discourage the exile plotters from  continuing their terrorist war against Cuba. The agents’ job was to discover  the plots, and alert Havana so the local police could thwart the violence.

Havana then recycled the agents’ information to the FBI. On some occasions, thanks to  these men’s information, the Bureau did intercept caches of explosives and  weapons destined to do harm inside Cuba. But the Bureau did not bother the  terrorists. Instead in September 1998, FBI agents busted the Cuban agents, and  the Justice Department charged them with conspiracy to commit espionage and one  of them with murder. The last charge referred to a prosecution-concocted story  that Gerardo Hernandez, the controller of the web of agents, had advised Havana  of the date and time of Brothers to the Rescue’s planned flight time on  February 24, 1996, and that he might possibly drop weapons into Cuba. Cuban  aviation authorities warned the three small planes not to enter Cuban air  space, but the pilots ignored the warning, and Cuban MIGs shot down two of the  planes, killing both pilots and co-pilots. The craft carrying the Brothers’  leader, Jose Basulto, returned unscathed to Miami.

Read the rest of the story of the Cuban Five at Progreso Weekly