HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 27 (acn) The main witness of the federal prosecution against Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, one of the five Cuban antiterrorists unjustly imprisoned in the U.S. since 1998, was the first officer of an U.S. cruise whose owners were related to the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF).
Gerardo Hernandez was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years imprisonment as connected with the bringing down of two light aircrafts of a Miami-based counterrevolutionary organization, which were flying over
Cuban territory on February 24, 1996, despite warnings and the fact that the prosecution argued that they had been taken down in international waters ––without evidence.
The witness used to falsify the truth about those events in Cuban airspace was Norwegian-American Bjorn Johansen, first officer of the cruise Majesty of the Seas, property of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
According to the Granma newspaper, that company contributed with 25,000 dollars to the creation of CANF, whose paramilitary committee has promoted, organized and financed terrorist actions against Cuba.
The newspaper affirms that second in command in the ship was Pedro G. Whelpton, who introduced himself as a member of CANF and a Commission for Economic Development and Reconstruction of Cuba, known for its attacks against the Caribbean island.
In a series of articles published by The New York Times in 1995, the president of CANF at that time, José Francisco "Pepe" Hernandez Calvo, included the Royal Caribbean Cruises among a number of 40 companies that contributed with financing for the creation of that organization.
More absurdly, in May 2001, in the midst of the legal trials against Gerardo, the prosecution confessed that the evidence available in regards to the taking down of the aircrafts were not enough to sentence him and requested its withdrawal.
However, Judge Joan Leonard, deliberately hostile with these five antiterrorists, overruled the request and then the prosecution appealed once again with the same purpose to the Court of Appeals of Atlanta, which was refused once more.
In consequence, the jury, misguided by the judge, declared Gerardo Hernandez guilty because they believed in the testimony by the Norwegian-American first officer.
The prosecution affirmed that the light aircrafts were taken down in international waters in the case of Gerardo, and the U.S. has repeatedly refused to submit the satellite watch reports worried about confirming statements by the Cuban authorities that claim it all occurred in Cuban jurisdictional waters.
ICAP – Havana