The Cuban Five–Injustice Prolonged

Against the Current, No. 141, July/August 2009

The Editors

THE U.S. SUPREME Court has refused to hear the final appeal of the “Cuban Five,” who were convicted in 2001 and are serving prison terms ranging from 15 years to life for “espionage conspiracy” and acting as illegal agents for the Cuban government. Their appeal had received widespread international support, including 10 Nobel laureates Indeed, according to their lawyer Leonard Weinglass in an interview broadcast May 14 on Radio Havana, the Cuban Five “probably have more support internationally than any case that has come before the court.”

The Cuban Five — Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Rene González and Gerardo Hernández — were intelligence operatives who reported to Havana on activities of Cuban exile groups, including those plotting acts of violence and sabotage.

The June 16 Miami Herald noted that “Gerardo Hernández also was convicted of conspiring to commit murder for his supporting role in the Cuban government’s highly controversial shoot-down in 1996 of two Miami-based planes over international waters — killing four members of the Brothers to the Rescue exile group.”

Given the history of U.S.-sponsored activity by exile organizations, is this “conspiracy to murder”? The Brothers to the Rescue incident enraged Miami’s Cuban exile community and profoundly affected the Cuban Five’s ability to receive a fair trial. That was the basis of the appeal that the Supreme Court refused to hear — prolonging an injustice already a decade old.

ATC 141, July/August 2009