By Cheryl LaBash
Published May 15, 2011 9:23 AM Miami Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Heck Miller once again attempted to block any justice in the case of the Cuban Five on April 25, by opposing the current motion asking for relief for Gerardo Hernández’s convictions and life sentences. Heck Miller also opposed a similar habeas appeal filed for Antonio Guerrero.
The struggle to free the Cuban Five continues to be fought hard in court and in every arena since their arrest on Sept. 12, 1998. Every turn yields new facts to expand support for these five heroic men, who are abused as surrogates for the socialist revolution they defended and that U.S. imperialism has found impossible to destroy.
The Cuban Five monitored the activities of Florida-based anti-Cuba paramilitaries engaged in bombing and violent attacks that have taken more than 3,000 human lives since 1959, primarily in Cuba, but in the U.S. and other countries, too. In the 1990s Cuban tourist hotels became targets in an attempt to block Cuba’s economic development after the collapse of Cuba’s major Eastern European socialist trading partners like the Soviet Union.
One of several issues presented in the current legal action is that “the U.S. government had been paying at least 10 Miami journalists — regarded as ‘among the most popular in South Florida’ — to advance an anti-Cuba propaganda campaign.” (http://tinyurl.com/3k8pq62) According to documents wrested into public view through Freedom of Information Act requests by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Civil Justice, these “widely-read Miami journalists were on the government payroll in the months leading up to and throughout the defendants’ trial, and the stories they published asserted the defendants’ guilt.”
In August 2005 a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the Cuban Five’s convictions, citing extensive publicity before and during the trial that contributed to a “perfect storm” against the defendants in Miami. Although that decision was later reversed by the full court, it acknowledged the effect of these “journalists” a full year before the Miami Herald made it known that they were paid U.S. government propagandists.
As a result of that storm, Hernández was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years and is currently being held in Victorville, Calif. Antonio Guerrero, René González, Fernando González and Ramón Labañino are also unjustly being held in U.S. prisons with long sentences.
Heck Miller’s bias
A self-described mastermind of terror campaigns against Cuba, Luis Posada Carriles was involved in bombings of Havana hotels and the first mid-air bombing of a commercial aircraft. In 2000, possessing C-4 explosives, he was arrested and convicted of attempting to assassinate then-Cuban President Fidel Castro and many other innocent people at a university in Panama.
During a recent perjury trial against Posada in El Paso, Texas, Department of Homeland Security Attorney Gina Garrett-Jackson testified she asked Heck Miller to consider criminal charges against him. According to Attorney José Pertierra’s El Paso Diary, Heck Miller wasn’t interested in doing so. (counterpunch.org, Jan. 21)
Pertierra wrote, “Heck Miller is the Miami prosecutor who insisted on bringing the case of the Five to trial, refused to move the case out of Miami, and was instrumental in seeing that they would be given unjustly long sentences.
“Incredible but true, as we learned today, she is also the prosecutor in Miami who decided not to press criminal charges against Luis Posada Carriles in 2005: the man who directed the terrorist campaign against Cuba that the Five tried to stop in order to save lives.”
It is organizing efforts, large and small, that tell the story of the struggle to build the movement to free the Cuban Five that will finally send them home to their loved ones in Cuba. As the Cubans say, “Volveran” — They shall return.
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