The avalanche of criticism and complete intolerance surrounding statements from Florida Marlin's manager Ozzie Guillen in Time Magazine certainly demonstrates how anyone who says any comment even remotely favorable to Cuba will be viciously attacked by right wing anti Cuban circles in Miami. This is a clear example as to why the Cuban 5, who infiltrated right-wing exile groups in Miami in the mid-nineties to stop their plans for violence against the island, and who ended up serving lengthy sentences in U.S. Prisons, couldn't have possibly received a fair trial in Miami.
Alicia Jrapko, of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 stated, "Those groups in Miami, who have made careers out of howling about the lack of freedom of speech in Cuba, have now fully exposed themselves in the case of Ozzie Guillen. They have shown that it is they who will not tolerate a person's opinion if it does not line up with their backward way of thinking about Cuba. If he could be so vilified and forced to repent it shows there is no way the Cuban 5 could receive a fair trial in that city."
Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel, US Army (Retired) and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, wrote, "The only reason there is such a hue and cry over Guillen's remarks is the deadly stranglehold over Miami politics maintained by hard-line Cuban-Americans. This same deadly stranglehold ensured the Cuban Five were railroaded to jail with sentences their 'crimes' did not in any way warrant."
The Cuban 5 were arrested in 1998 and although they made no threats or injury to anyone and there was no transfer of U.S. government documents or classified material, the Cuban 5 were convicted on conspiracy to commit espionage charges and sentenced originally to four life sentences and 77 years in U.S. prisons.
On August 9, 2005, a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta commented on the political atmosphere that exists in Miami: "Here, a new trial was mandated by the perfect storm created when the surge of pervasive community sentiment, and extensive publicity both before and during the trial, merged with the improper prosecutorial references." These federal judges affirmed "the perception that these groups could harm jurors that rendered a verdict unfavorable to their views was palpable."
Activists from around the U.S. and international representatives working for the freedom of the Cuban 5 are gathering for five days of activities in Washington, DC next week from April 17th to the 21st. They will demand that President Obama free the Cuban 5 who have been in U.S. prisons now for more than 13 years.
To see the full schedule of events and activities plus a list of endorsers for 5 days for the Cuban 5 go to www.thecuban5.org
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
Contact: Nancy Kohn 617-504-9773 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alicia Jrapko 510-219-0092 email@example.com
For more information about the Cuban 5 visit www.thecuban5.org
International Committee Advisory Board