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Entries tagged "anti-Castro terrorism"

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.

A Convenient Refuge: Review of "Will The Real Terrorist Please Stand Up"

April 29, 2011 ·

As the curious life and career of Luis Posada Carriles illustrates, justice is wielded when it is convenient for the institutions tasked with enforcing it. The 83-year-old has had a horrifyingly prolific career, including participating in the Bay of Pigs invasion, blowing up Cubana Flight 455 and its 73 passengers, and planting a series of bombs in Havana hotels that killed one and injured 11. He has dodged justice numerous times, always slipping by on his CIA connections.

Contrary to the stern declaration by George W. Bush that the United States would "make no Poster of Landau's film, distinction between terrorists and the nations that harbor them – and hold both to account," Carriles has found sanctuary in this country. Saul Landau’s new film “Will the Real Terrorists Please Stand Up?” explores the sordid history of U.S. support for violent counter-revolutionaries and regime change in Cuba, explaining why someone like Carriles could end up inside the United States.

Landau grabs some startlingly candid interviews with the major players in the bloody drama. What emerges is a portrait of men who are accustomed to a culture of total impunity and who operate solely through the application and threatened application of violence.

A perfect example of these characters is Orlando Bosch a former CIA backed operative and head of Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations. In an interview, Bosch – described by the FBI as an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization – dismisses his killing of innocent civilians as “unfortunate”. Declassified documents in 2005 show Bosch likely collaborated with Carriles to carry out the airline bombing. Landau turns the camera on Carriles, showing him strutting through the Cuban exile community in Miami, treated like a hero and grinning from ear to ear.

Throughout, Landau keeps things interesting and quickly paced. He narrates, relating how his personal history intersects with the history of Cuba (the set of his film Fidel was even bombed by members of a terrorist group). It helps to give the documentary structure and a relatable point of view. There is a large cast of characters, but effective titles help to keep everyone identifiable.

By the time the Cuban Five come into play, Landau has made the case that these men were responding to a legitimate threat coming from the exile community in Miami. Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up? is an effective and at times chilling portrait of one of the last Cold War conflicts still playing out. 

Zach Kreinik is an intern at the Institute for Policy Studies and an undergraduate student at Evergreen College.