need actions

sherrynstan at igc.org sherrynstan at igc.org
Tue Dec 11 12:31:13 MST 2001


EMERGENCY RESPONSE NEEDED IN SUPPORT OF THE FIVE CUBAN PATRIOTS BEING HELD IN
MIAMI PRISON. SENTENCING TO BEGIN TUESDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2001.

The case of the 5 Cuban companeros who are imprisoned in federal prison in
Miami – victims of U.S. hostility against Cuba -- has reached a critical
stage. Although accused of espionage on the U.S. military, they showed in
their trial that they were infiltrating the right-wing terrorist groups in
Miami to be able to warn Cuba of imminent attack on the island. This week,
starting with individual sessions, they will be sentenced by federal judge
Joan Lenard in Miami, and it is likely that they will receive the maximum
sentences applicable to their convictions. Two, Ramon Labañino and Antonio
Guerrero, face life sentences. Gerardo Hernández faces two life sentences.

Two, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez, face ten years. Gerardo Hernandez
faces two life sentences. As you know, they were convicted on June 8, 2001,
after a long trial and 27 months imprisonment, 18 months in solitary. They
were convicted on spurious and outrageous charges, including conspiracy to
commit murder (Gerardo Hernandez could receive life for this) for the deaths
of the 4 "Brothers to the Rescue" pilots who were shot down by Cuba in 1996.
All of them were convicted of failure to register as foreign agents, as well
as other charges. There is a national call-in on Tuesday, December 11, in
which all Cuba supporters are being asked to call or fax George Bush and call
for their immediate release.

Their names are Gerardo Hernandez (aka Manuel Viramontes), Fernando Gonzalez
(aka Ruben Campa), Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, and Rene Gonzalez. By
doing the call-ins, their supporters want to show that there is awareness of
their case nationally, and nternationally, and that a campaign exists for
their freedom. The National Committee to Free the Five Cuban Political
Prisoners in U.S. Prison has been doing considerable work. The member
organizations of the coalition, International Action Center, Pastors for
Peace, National Lawyers Guild, Partnership for Civil Justice, National Network
on Cuba, and many others in the U.S. and internationally.

There have been a series of meetings in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles,
Miami and elsewhere. The committee has also done a considerable amount of
solidarity with them, including successful meetings in L.A. and S.F. over the
weekend. They have sent them each a Spanish-English dictionary, the People's
History of the U.S. in Spanish, and "History Will Absolve Me," Fidel's
historic speech just before his conviction and sentencing for the Moncada
attack. They made a special request for this book and they just received it
last week. It will serve as inspiration for them in these difficult times.

They have written several times, expressing deep gratitude for the solidarity
they have extended. The Committee is producing a video, based on interviews
that Gloria La Riva did with all their family members in Cuba. There is a
10-minute piece that features interviews with the mothers and wives of the
Five compañeros, it is subtitled, and is an excellent accompaniment to any
meeting. Please consider holding a meeting. There is very little knowledge of
their struggle, and such meetings can help to raise awareness of their case,
and organize much-needed support.

Also, in New York, there will be a picket on December 17, which is one of the
scheduled dates of the sentencing. At this moment, Bill Hackwell and Gloria La
Riva of the Committee are in Miami to attend the first days of the sentencing.
The atmosphere is extremely hostile to the Cuban compañeros; they have been
portrayed as being Responsible for the deaths of the four pilots of Brothers
to the Rescue. Four mothers of the Five Cuban heroes have received visas and
arrived Friday, December 7, and the 16-year-old daughter of René González. But
they were denied the right to have any other Cuban accompany them to help them
navigate in Miami.

Cruelly, one of the wives, Elizabeth Pereiro, is being granted a visa only two
days after her husband, Ramon Labañino, is sentenced. The mothers have been
acting so heroically. They are deeply appreciative of all the support efforts
in the United States, and were a source of inspiration for all of us today in
the courtroom. Andrés Gomez of the Antonio Maceo Brigade is heading up the
week's work in Miami, and all are working closely.

WE ASK ALL

SUPPORTERS FOR JUSTICE TO:

1. Please take the time to call the White House at: 202-456-2461, or fax:
202-456-1414. It should be a quick and simple message: to free the Five
Cubans, Gerardo Hérnandez, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, René González,
and Fernando González, who were acting in defense of their people, to protect
them from terrorist acts.

2. Also, there is a petition being circulated. Hold a street rally or
picketline if you can, and/or distribute the petition with the very
informative brochures (Spanish and English) to any political activities that
are occurring. The brochures have been produced by the Free the Five Committee
(see the www.iacsf.org webpage to download the PDF). An initial petition is
available on the www.iacsf.org page, and a very nice version with the Cubans'
pictures may be up on the IAC national webpage.

3. Please send out the Call-in and Petition requests to your list- serves, so
more people can respond.

4. STAY POSTED FOR THE LATEST UPDATE ON THE FIRST SENTENCE THAT WILL BE HANDED
DOWN TO GERARDO HERNANDEZ, ON TUESDAY AND SUBSEQUENT DAYS OF SENTENCING. Call
415-269-7917, cell phone in Miami through Thursday.

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