Cuban Spies “Testify” in Show For Castro Supporters in London Reply

From March 7-8th, an “International Commission” was held in London as part of the “Free the Five” campaign. In a grossly bigoted piece of political theater, alleged expert witnesses, pro-Castro attorneys, and family members of the five spies provided “testimony” before an audience said to number roughly 250 persons. Only claims supporting the immediate release of the failed spies were permitted.

The absurd proceedings included Lawyers for the Cuban 5 parroting their long-running denial that their spy-clients had no connection to the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down. Even more hypocritical was the “testimony” of expelled spies Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, and Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández. Completing this 3-ring circus was the appearance of senior Cuban Intelligence officer, Roberto Hernández Caballero.

I will give them credit — what regime supporters lack in credibility, they certainly make up for in chutzpah!

The highly entertaining Press Release from “Free the 5” can be read here: International Commission in London calls on Obama to free the Five

Cuban Ambassador Accompanies Castro Apologist Stephen Kimber on Book Tour Reply

THURSDAY, MARCH 6 5 p.m. Stephen Kimber, author of ‘What Lies Across the Water: the Real Story of the Cuban Five,’ reads at Harbourfront Library. Cuban Ambassador to Canada Julio Garmendia Pena will accompany Kimber. Open to the public. - See more at: Nanaimo Daily News (British Columbia)

Britain Denies Visa For Cuban Spy Freed By US 1

(AFP) Havana — One of the so-called “Cuban Five” intelligence agents convicted by the US of spying has been denied a British visa to attend a London symposium, Cuban media said Wednesday.

Rene Gonzalez, who served 13 years in US prison before his release in 2011, had been invited to a two-day conference put on by “Voice for the Five,” an organization that fights “for freedom and justice for the Cuban Five.”

The men were convicted in a 2001 US spy case that made them heroes in Havana. Three of the men are still in prison in the United States.

Cuba has acknowledged that they were its agents but says they were spying on exiles to prevent terror attacks in Cuba.

The Cuban state-run newspaper Juventud Rebelde said Gonzales (sic), 55, received notice that he had been denied a visa a few hours before he was to depart from Havana for the March 7-8 event.

It added that British law prohibits entry of a person sentenced to more than four years in prison and that the British government “doesn’t consider Gonzalez‘s attendance at the international commission sufficient to justify his visa.”

Gonzalez is the principal witness for the event,” Juventud Rebelde said.

The Cuban Five were arrested in 1998 and tried as part of a ring linked to the shoot-down of two private aircraft belonging to an exile group called Brothers to the Rescue. Four people were killed in the incident.

Gonzalez, who was to serve three years of parole in the United States after being released in October 2011, returned to Cuba in April 2013 to visit his family.

From there, he renounced his US citizenship, effectively ending his sentence in a move accepted by Washington.

A second member of the Five, Fernando Gonzalez, was released last Thursday from a maximum-security prison in the US state of Arizona and then deported to Cuba, after spending more than 15 years behind bars.

The other three agents are serving life sentences in the United States.

Another “Cuban 5” Spy Released From US Prison After More Than 15 years; Will Be Deported 1

By Curt Anderson, Associated Press

MIAMI — A second member of the “Cuban Five” — the spy ring whose arrests and convictions have caused repeated tensions between Washington and Havana — was released Thursday from a U.S. prison after spending more than 15 years behind bars.

Fifty-year-old Fernando Gonzalez, known to U.S. authorities by the alias Ruben Campa, completed his sentence at 4 a.m. local time a prison in Safford, Ariz., Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

Now the Five, as they are sometimes called, are down to three.

Gonzalez was turned over immediately to the custody of immigration officials, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez. For security reasons, she said she could not disclose exactly where he was being held or when he would be returned to Cuba, but a deportation order has already been issued.

The five men, who are hailed as heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S. They were known as part of the “Wasp Network” sent by Cuba’s then-President Fidel Castro to spy in South Florida.

Trial testimony showed they sought to infiltrate military bases, including the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command and installations in the Florida Keys. They also kept tabs on Cuban exiles opposed to the communist government in Havana and sought to place operatives inside campaigns of U.S. politicians opposed to that government, prosecutors said.

Havana maintains that the agents posed no threat to U.S. sovereignty and were only monitoring militant exiles to prevent terrorist attacks in Cuba, the best known of which was a series of bombings of Havana hotels that killed an Italian tourist in 1997. Cuban leaders regularly call for the men to be released.

Cuba announced a concert Saturday night at the University of Havana in honor of the five men, though it was not immediately clear whether Gonzalez would be in Cuba by then.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma published interviews Thursday with two of Gonzalez’s friends back home. Rafael Hojas said the two knew each other as young students and crossed paths on international missions in Africa.

“I hope he spends as little time as possible in an immigration jail and can enjoy as soon as possible his mother, his wife, his family, and we’ll see when we might be able to meet,” Hojas was quoted as saying.

Gonzalez‘s mother, Magali Llort, told The Associated Press that she sometimes thinks her son’s release is a dream “but luckily it’s a great reality. But we can’t feel satisfied with Fernando arriving and Rene having come. We have to keep up the fight so that the rest, their brothers, are here,” she said.

The Cuban Five have sometimes been linked to the case of American Alan Gross, who has spent four years in a Cuban prison after he was arrested while working covertly to set up Internet access for the island’s Jewish community. He was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, which Cuba considers bent on undermining its government.

Cuba has suggested it might swap Gross for the Cuban Five, but Washington has rejected any such deal.

Gonzalez was originally sentenced to 19 years but had his prison term reduced after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said he was wrongly labeled a supervisor of other spies for certain activities. Two others also had their prison sentences reduced by that same court order, including 55-year-old Antonio Guerrero, who is set for release in September 2017.

Rene Gonzalez, who is not related to Fernando Gonzalez, finished his prison sentence in 2011 but spent more than a year on probation in the U.S. until a judge allowed him to return to Cuba. Rene Gonzalez, a Chicago native, had dual U.S.-Cuban citizenship, and he renounced his U.S. citizenship after returning to Havana.

One of the five, Gerardo Hernandez, is serving a life prison sentence for murder conspiracy for his role in the 1996 killings of four “Brothers to the Rescue” pilots whose planes were shot down by Cuban fighter jets. The organization dropped pro-democracy leaflets over Cuba and assisted Cuban migrants trying to reach the U.S.

Hilda Cardenas, a 47-year-old Cuban civil engineer, said people on the island follow the case closely and Fernando Gonzalez‘s release marks another step forward.

“What we the people of Cuba want is for all of them to be here. They deserve it,” she said.

‘I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived’: A New Book For Fighters to Free Cuban 5 1

The Militant, Vol 78/No. 5 – February 10, 2014

I will die the way I’ve lived. That is the name Antonio Guerrero gave to the 15 watercolors at the center of the new book featured here. The way Guerrero and each of his four Cuban comrades have lived is as combatants of the revolution they are imprisoned in the U.S. for fighting to defend. Each of the Cuban Five is an exemplary product of that revolution’s working-class internationalism, its human solidarity, its dignity and courage in the face of oppression and exploitation worldwide.

And that’s how each of them has conducted himself behind prison walls over the past 15 years.

“The moments of prison life recorded — and transformed — by [Guerrero’s] art will touch a deep chord with millions of working people in the US who have themselves lived similar experiences, or know them through the ordeals of their loved ones, friends, and neighbors,” Mary-Alice Waters writes in “The Cuban Five: Who They Are,” the introductory note to I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived.

Waters is editor of the new book. Accompanying Guerrero’s artwork are accounts by him and by Gerardo Hernández and Ramón Labañino of experiences from their first 17 months in a federal detention center in Miami.

With Second Cuban Spy Release, Is Alan Gross Freedom in Sight? 2

Fernando Gonzalez Is One of ‘Cuban Five’

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

A second Cuban spy of five whose release from prison is seen as critical to the freedom of Alan Gross will likely soon be in Cuba.

Fernando Gonzalez, one of the “Cuban Five” convicted of spying offenses in 2001, will be transferred to immigration lockup at the end of February to await deportation to Cuba, the Miami Herald reported Tuesday. Gonzalez was sentenced to 19 years, but appeals and good behavior reduced his sentence to 15 years.

Gross, 64, a subcontractor for the State Department on a mission to hook up Cuba’s small Jewish community to the Internet, was arrested in December 2009 as he was leaving Cuba. The Maryland resident is serving a 15-year sentence for “crimes against the state.”

Cuban authorities have made clear that his release could come in an exchange for the Cuban Five, and Gross’ family has suggested that the U.S. government should use this leverage in obtaining his freedom.

One of the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez, was released and is living in Cuba.

The other three are serving longer sentences, the Herald said. One is in for life because of his involvement in the Cuban Air Force’s fatal downing of four planes dropping pamphlets on the island. Four Americans were killed in the attack.

Minneapolis Hosts Repeat Appearance of Cuban Spy’s Artwork 2

The Twin Cities Daily Planet reports that the Minnesota Cuba Committee has partnered with a local art gallery for a month long exhibit of paintings by convicted spy Antonio Guerrero. The show’s overhyped title — “I will die the way I lived,” is reflective of a number of the propaganda themes used by the Castro brothers thus far in their 55-year reign. Last September, the same Cuba Committee joined with Obsidian Arts in south Minneapolis for a showing to mark the 15th year of incarceration for the Cuban spies.

Feb. Prison Release Date for 1 of ‘Cuban 5′ Spies 1

MIAMI (AP) — One of the so-called Cuban Five spy ring convicted in the U.S. is scheduled for release next month from a federal prison in Arizona.

U.S. Bureau of Prisons records show that 50-year-old Fernando Gonzalez — known in the U.S. as Ruben Campa — is set for release on Feb. 27. Gonzalez had his 19-year sentenced reduced on appeal and because of good behavior.

Free The Five spokeswoman Gloria La Riva said Tuesday that Gonzalez will wind up serving just over 15 years. She said he will likely be deported to Cuba.

The five were convicted in 2001 of spying on U.S. military installations in South Florida, Cuban exile groups and politicians opposed to Cuba’s communist government. They are considered heroes in Cuba.

Cuban Five member Rene Gonzalez was released in 2011.

London to Host International Commission Hearing for the Cuban Five 2

Havana, Cuba, Jan 15 – The International London Commission on the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, who were given unfair prison sentences in the United States, will have a significant impact on the US administration in favor of their release, according to organizers of the event. The Commission, to take place March 7 and 8, will hear the testimonies by key witnesses from Cuba and other countries on the cause of Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and René González. They were arrested in 1998, in the US city of Miami, after they monitored violent organizations that planned terrorist actions against Cuba.

Only Rene Gonzalez has returned to the island after he served his prison sentence and renounced his US citizenship. Gonzalez is expected to attend the Commission session to offer his testimony of the Cuban Five case, which was manipulated in biased Miami court that gave the Cubans extremely long sentences.

The president of the UK-Cuba Solidarity Campaign Rob Miller said that the Commission will be attended by renowned world personalities, such as US writer and Pulitzer Laureate Alice Walker, actors Martin Sheen from the United States and Emma Thompson from the UK.

Also on the list of guests is lawyer Martin Garbos, who has been part of the defense of the Cuban Five, along other lawyers from around the world who will make up the Commission that will hear the testimonies, such as the expresident of India’s Supreme Court Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal, ex-magistrate of South Africa’s Constitutional Court Zakeira Mohammed Yacob, and former president of the Supreme Court of France Phillippe Texier.

For Miller, the Commission will be one of the most significant events in the long record of the Cuban Five case. He said that thanks to the support of many personalities from different countries, the conclusions of the commission will have a strong impact on President Barack Obama, who can use his constitutional powers to put an end to the injustice being committed against the Cubans.

The commission will hold sessions at London’s Law Society on the initiative of the campaign known as Voices for the Five. As part of the event a music concert will be launched at the Barbican Hall in London with the participation of renowned Cuban singer Eliades Ochoa and other musicians form several countries. (Cuban News Agency/Radio Havana Cuba)

Cuba Lauds Administration’s Softening – Continues Pressing For Spy Release 1

InSerbia Independent News reports that senior MINREX official Josefina Vidal Ferreiro is pleased with the latest migration talks, declaring, “The talks have taken place in a pleasant and respectful environment.” The Belgrade-based news agency noted that Vidal Ferreiro again called for the US to release the Cuban Five, to which Edward Alex Lee, the Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs,told reporters, the US delegation “took note.” Lee was also cited as claiming President Obama is “open to seeking a new relationship with Havana.”