Obscure Group Honors Cuban Spy-Trainee Adriana Pérez 3

The husband-wife spy team of Adriana Perez and Gerardo Hernandez

The husband-wife spy team of Adriana Perez and Gerardo Hernandez

Prensa Latina (PRELA) announced that Adriana Perez, wife of imprisoned spy Gerardo Hernandez, “was awarded the Silver Dove international prize” for her efforts in support of the Cuban Five. The honor appears to have been bestowed by a little-known group called the Central Council of the International Union of World Leaders.

The award ceremony was held in Moscow at the headquarters of the Russian presidency. According to PRELA, other honorees included citizens from Russia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, India,  Ukraine, Poland and Macedonia. PRELA reported that the awards recognize contributions to “social, cultural, moral and spiritual traditions.”

Editor’s Note:  PRELA failed to report was that Adriana Pérez O’Connor was in training as a Directorate of Intelligence (DI) asset when the Wasp Network (La Red Avispa) was brought down in September 1998. She and her children were deported and permanently banned re-entry visas. Her mission had been to courier messages and material between Havana and Miami.

 

 

 

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UN Human Rights Commissioner Meets Cuban Spy 4

"Former" DI officer Adriana Perez

“Former” DI officer Adriana Perez

Radio Cadena Agramonte has reported that UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, met in Geneva with “former” Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Adriana Pérez. She is the wife of Gerardo Hernández, the Military Intelligence officer “loaned” to the DI to run the Wasp Network. It was under his supervision that the massive spy network conducted Operation Scorpion. This mission supported the Cuban Air Force’s murder of four search and rescue crewmen flying with Brothers to the Rescue.

During yesterday’s meeting, the “former” spy asked the UN to urge Washington to release Havana’s three remaining jailed spies. She also told the UN official that her husband and the others, physically and mentally, are not doing well in prison. Speaking for myself, that’s probably something they should have considered before they spied against the US and engaged in a conspiracy to commit murder.

Editor’s Note: Hernández’s wife, Adriana Pérez O’Connor, was still in training as a Directorate of Intelligence (DI) asset when the Wasp Network (La Red Avispa) was brought down in September 1998. She and her children were deported and permanently banned re-entry visas. Her mission had been to courier messages and material between Havana and Miami.

Mirta Rodriguez Praises Pastors for Peace Solidarity 2

(Escambray – Cuban News Agency) A meeting between relatives of the Cuban Five and members of the Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan, reaffirmed the solidarity between the two peoples, in favor of the release the antiterrorist fighters. Present at the meeting, held at the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), were Mirta Rodriguez, mother of Antonio Guerrero, and Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of Ramon Labañino, as well as Gail Walker, daughter of late U.S. Reverend Lucius Walker and current co-director of the movement.

During the meeting, in which a group of young Belgians of the organization Christians for Socialism participated, Rodriguez expressed her gratitude for the solidarity and courage of those who have supported the cause of the five antiterrorist heroes since the beginning. Likewise, she stressed the importance of continue spreading the issue, particularly now, when it has been demonstrated that the U.S. government paid journalists so they lied in everything related to this judicial case.

Along with Antonio and Ramon, Gerardo Hernandez and Fernando Gonzalez continue to be in U.S. prisons, while Rene Gonzalez could return to his family in Cuba after 13 years and one month in prison, a year and a half of supervised release, and the relinquishment of his U.S. citizenship. Also during the meeting, Gail Walker reiterated the commitment of the Caravan members of maintaining a continuous struggle with respect to the cause of The Five, and expressed the pride that participating in such honorable battle represents for them.

Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Communities of Vancouver in Solidarity with Cuba, commented about the importance of consistency in the struggle for the return of these fighters to their homeland and spoke about the activities carried out in Canada in favor of their cause.

Editor’s Note: According to several former members of the Directorate of Intelligence, Cuba’s foreign intelligence service, Pastors for Peace has been a key religious target for decades.

The Militant OP/ED: Build Defense Campaign to Free the Cuban Five! 2

The Militant, Vol. 77/No. 27, July 15, 2013, front page, editorial

Join us in mobilizing support in the U.S. and worldwide for the defense campaign to win freedom for all the Cuban Five — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.

The “crime” for which these five Cuban revolutionaries were framed up and imprisoned some 15 years ago by the U.S. government was volunteering to come to this country to monitor activity by counterrevolutionary Cuban-American groups. Operating on U.S. soil with virtual impunity, these outfits have a long record of violent assaults on Cuba and supporters of Cuba’s socialist revolution there, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. During their trials and ever since, the Five have affirmed their determination and pride in doing their part to head off provocations that could have served as a pretext for military action by Washington against Cuba.

By no choice of their own, the Five find themselves on the front lines of the class struggle in the U.S. and conduct themselves accordingly. Like millions of workers, they’ve been run through the “justice system” of cops, courts and jails. Working people in the U.S. face a plea-bargain expressway to prison, mandatory sentences, lockdown and “solitary,” and conditions aimed at corroding their morale, sense of self-worth and human solidarity.

René González explains that when the Five tell fellow prisoners why they refused to cop a plea with U.S. prosecutors and courts, they win respect for standing up for what they believe and for the socialist revolution they defend. González was released last year after 14 years, and is now back in Cuba after international defense efforts pushed back punitive steps by Washington to make him stay in the U.S. three years on probation.

As shown earlier this summer by the “5 Days for the Cuban 5” — the most successful defense activities so far in the U.S. — there are growing opportunities to organize meetings and events of all kinds to win support for this worldwide campaign. These include working with others to organize broadly sponsored exhibits of the political cartoons of Gerardo Hernández and works by Antonio Guerrero — the latest of which features a collection of 15 watercolors, one for each of the 15 years since the arrests, entitled “I will die the way I lived.”

We need to reach out to unions, Black rights organizations, Puerto Rican groups, opponents of deportations and other targeting of immigrants, church-related human rights organizations, and other labor, political and social rights groups.

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists voted to join the fight at their May convention. The United Steelworkers union in Canada, one of the country’s largest labor organizations, unanimously adopted a resolution in April. John McCullough, executive director of Church World Services, has called on Washington to release the Five. Supporters of the campaign to win freedom for Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera are linking their efforts to those for the Five.

The integrity, dignity and steadfastness that marks the political conduct of the Cuban Five and their relations with others inspires such support — if their supporters are able to make the facts more and more widely known.

Join with others to broaden support for this international defense campaign. Order copies of The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free to spread the word.

It is along this road, as Gerardo Hernández has said, that the “jury of millions” will be built that will win their freedom.

Editor’s Note: The Militant is an international Socialist newsweekly associated with the Socialist Workers Party and the leftist publisher, Pathfinder Press.

Cuban Five Case is Priority for Cuba’s Foreign Policy 2

Havana, Cuba (Cuban News Agency – ACN) Cuba will intensify actions aimed at achieving justice in the case of the antiterrorist fighters held in US prisons since 1998. The Cuban Five issue is priority for the country’s Foreign Policy, said deputy foreign minister Ana Teresita Gonzalez.

Addressing deputies with the Parliament Commission on International Affairs at Havana’s Conventions Palace, Gonzalez said that some of the actions considered by the Foreign Ministry include an international colloquium in Havana beginning September 12, a day that will mark fifteen years of the imprisonment of Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González. The latter one is already free in Cuba. The initiatives will mainly aim at breaking the silence wall raised by the US mainstream media against the case and at informing public opinion in that country about the injustice committed against the Cuban Five.

The deputy foreign minister briefed lawmakers on legal actions filed with US courts, which include a Habeas Corpus and a Discovery Motion allowing the judge in charge to order the release of confidential documents in the hands of the US administration. Cuba is still waiting to hear a word from Washington in this process, which has been delayed despite the growing international support of the Cuban Five cause expressed through statements by personalities, such as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay.

Presidents of five countries joined the international claim over the past six months, said the deputy minister. The world claim has also been backed by Nobel laureates and important figures from the political and culture arenas.

Speaking with reporters, Adriana Perez, who is the wife of Gerardo Hernandez, called for actions on the social Internet networks and alternative media in order to break the silence of the mainstream media. Perez also stressed the need to reach out to international institutions and agencies backing the cause and to all those who have not yet joined in, in order to have Washington take a fair and humanitarian decision with respect to the Cuban Five case. President Barack Obama can give a definitive solution to the case and end the anguish of these patriots and their families after nearly 15 years of suffering, said Perez.

Rene Gonzalez Recalls his Life as a Cuban State Security Agent 2

Guantanamo’s Venceremos Newspaper –- After making his probably most risky flight on December 8th, 1990, René González Sehwerert, the first of the Five to return to his homeland, got infiltrated into Florida-based terrorist organizations such as Hermanos al Rescate, Movimiento Democracia, Partido Unido Nacional Democrático y la Fundación Nacional Cubano-Americana. In exclusive interview with Escambray newspaper and Radio Sancti Spiritus, the Cuban anti-terrorist fighter recalls his life as Cuban State Security agent, without putting aside his own personal life.

“If you say it could be tonight, I will figure out how to go to Havana”, I anxiously said when I made the telephone call to request an interview with René González Sehwerert. “Call us within 10 days”, he answered himself. Taking into consideration his legal condition at the moment, it was the appropriate thing to do.

The interview was scheduled to take place at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP, in Spanish), where he would later on said that returning to Cuba without his fellow comrades –Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González – was the nightmare of his imprisonment.

After having served a fifteen-year sentence on October 7th, 2011, Rene was required to complete 3 more years of supervised release. But this decision was modified last May 3rd by Judge Joan Lenard, who accepted his permanent stay in Cuba if he renounced to his US citizenship. On May 9th, Gonzalez received the US citizenship renouncement certification.

It is a cloudy afternoon. The noises of the street can be heard from the large ICAP hall, where Rene Gonzalez arrives accompanied by his wife Olga Salanueva. She attentively looks and his eyes and watches his hands, which he constantly crosses while recalling the few years he lived in Chicago, where he was born on August 13th, 1956.

It is just fragments of memories, he says. The family lived near Michigan Lake. He remembers the wooden pier on the lake, and the trip made to Cuba on board the Guadalupe.

It happened after the mercenary invasion to Playa Giron.

“Yes. My parents were members of the Pro justo trato a Cuba committee, so they demonstrated against the invasion. Thus, they faced retaliations, and were even victims of aggressions by right wing-people. After that they decided to come to Cuba. We came here in October 1961.

Rene Gonzalez, better known as “Beaver” within the State Security bodies -according to Brazilian Fernando Morais’s Los últimos soldados de la guerra fría (The last soldiers of the cold war)- returned to US on December 8th, 1990, after highjacking a plane in San Nicolas de Bari, in the present Cuban western province of Mayabeque.

Before departing, you left Olga some money and the lyrics of a song by Pablito Milanes inside a magazine. Was it a coded message?

It is a difficult thing to leave without letting your family knows what you’re going to do. During all these years, I fulfilled the most difficult tasks in Cuba, both of them in San Nicolas de Bari: saying no to the Cuban Communist Party membership process, and highjacking the aircraft. There are things not are not assignments, but where feelings are involved, leaving the family behind is one of them. It is a very hard thing to do. I left Olga the money I had saved, and the song inside a Bohemia magazine.

How many times did you revise the plan to highjack the aircraft that took you to Boca Chica, where you arrived almost without fuel?

It was not possible for me to check anything. I had to wait for the right moment and take advantage of it. And I did so, even when I knew the fuel was barely enough to get there. It was probably the most dangerous and risky flight I’ve ever made.

Upon arrival in Miami, you made a statement to the so-called Radio Marti radio station saying that after seeing Florida Keys, you felt like a real Cristobal Colon. How did you manage to play the traitor character, and convince public opinion?

I asked myself the question since the very moment I was assigned the mission. I don’t think anyone could be trained for that. Besides, I was all the opposite; I have never been a hypocrite person. Then, the key to play such role is the sense of duty, the satisfaction of deceiving someone who wants to inflict harm on my people.

I remember when I first met Félix Rodríguez, the Cat; it was the same day in which Hermanos al Rescate group was created. I had been invited by the head a group called CUPA (Cuban Pilots Association) to attend a press conference in Miami airport in which the group will be announced.

As soon as I arrived in the airport hall, I was introduced to Félix Rodríguez. I remembered some said: “This is the the man who killed Che”. I don’t know what I really felt. I shook hands with him and said: you are the one. I got amazed to myself, how could I have said that? When I left the place I knew I was ready for the task.

Being an intelligence agent might lead to the assumption that you had a comfortable life. How did you survive during the first months from the economic point of view?

I had the help of the many relatives I had there. I didn’t have any extra money, but I had where to live. I was welcomed by my grandmother. I began to work as soon as I arrived there, but it was my purpose to get closer to aviation people. Sometime after, I managed to get involved in Hermanos al Rescate group. I had to spend a lot on licence applications, which is very expensive. So, I had to do several different jobs. I had a modest life, and moving forward as a pilot was always my major goal.

Story continues here: Rene Gonzalez Recalls his Life as a Cuban State Security Agent

Newspaper Sues US Government for Withholding Information on the “Cuban Five” 1

Washington, Jan 7 (Prensa Latina) U.S. Liberation newspaper sued today the State Department for denying access to the information necessary to address the case of the Cuban Five convicted and imprisoned in the U.S.A, said the attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard. The lawyer, executive director of the Fund for Civil Justice Association, stated at a press conference that the legal action is brought under the Freedom of Information Act to enforce the public’s right to information about the federal government’s payments to journalists in the United States to saturated the Miami media with hostile, inflammatory and prejudicial stories regarding the Cuban Five.

Between 1998 and 2001, the population of Florida received through the press, radio and television a flow of negative propaganda to persuade the jury and interfere in the legal process of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and René González. They are internationally known as The Five, and severe penalties were imposed to them in 2001 because they were monitoring violent groups based in Miami, from where actions have been organized during the past 53 years resulting in more than 3.400 victims in Cuba.

René González was released from prison in October 2011 after serving his sentence, but was subjected to three years of supervised release and only returned to the Caribbean nation last April when he renounced to his U.S. citizenship.

“They have refused to hand over documents from before November 1999, arguing that to that date Radio and Television Martí belonged to the United States Information Agency (USIA), said Verheyden-Hilliard while specifying that they did no authorized the access to any other data. The lawyer gave the press conference as part of a global day of solidarity with the Five which took place in Washington from May 30 to June 5.

Wall Street Journal OP/ED: Cuba Admits Gross is a Pawn 1

Is Washington Negotiating with Havana to Free Imprisoned U.S. Contractor Alan Gross?

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Is Washington engaged in a negotiation with Havana to try to free U.S. Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross from a Cuban jail? If so, what’s on the table?

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Albio Sires (D., N.J.), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) didn’t ask exactly these questions when they wrote to the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of Western Hemispheric Affairs Roberta Jackson Monday, requesting a meeting, but there can be little doubt about their concerns.

The letter was prompted by the issuance of a visa last month to Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Cuba’s director of North American affairs for the Cuban foreign ministry, so that she could meet with Ms. Jackson. It is the second time Ms. Vidal was granted a U.S. visa in just over 12 months. This has raised some congressional eyebrows, and not only because Ms. Vidal’s husband is a former diplomat to Washington who was “declared persona non grata and expelled for his ‘activities hostile to the national security,’” according to the letter.

A larger problem is that Ms. Vidal is a high-ranking member of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As such, the congressmen pointed out in their letter, “her sole mission is to promote the Cuban regime’s propaganda, undermine U.S. interests, and justify” Cuba’s repression of its own people. “In addition, she has been at the forefront defending the Cuban regime’s unjust holding of a U.S. citizen and harboring U.S. fugitives.”

The implication is that the Obama administration is playing footsie with the Castros. If so, it would seem to be exactly what Ms. Vidal was asking for when she appeared in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on May 10. The CNN host asked, “What would be good for Cuba that could potentially open the door to freeing Mr. Gross?” Ms. Vidal answered: “For Cuba it would be a right to have a response on the part of the U.S. government about its willingness to respond to our proposal to sit down and initiate a negotiation on [the Gross case] and many other matters concerning our bilateral relationship.”

In other words, Mr. Gross is a negotiating chip. Ms. Vidal would not say what Cuba wants in exchange for letting him go, but the release of several Cuban intelligence officers convicted in 2001 of spying on the U.S. is likely on the list.

Not surprisingly, the three Cuban-American congressmen object to negotiating with the dictatorship and are asking, “What was the purpose and intent” of Ms. Vidal’s trip and “what issues were discussed during her meeting with Ms. Jackson?” In addition, they have asked for an “update” on Mr. Gross’s case, which began in December 2009 when he was arrested by Cuban authorities for having brought satellite telecommunications equipment into the country. The 64 year-old is now serving a 15-year sentence in Havana for his “crime.”

For the record, Ms. Vidal also told CNN viewers that Cuba has free elections, political competition and free speech.

Pace University’s “Left Forum” to Host Panel on The Cuban Five 1

Havana — (Prensa Latina) — The event is part of activities of the Left Forum, to be held on June 7-8, expected to be attended by thousands of people, said the National Free the Five Committee.

According to the solidarity group, the invitation was made in New York to all supporters of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, internationally known as The Cuban Five.

Famous lawyer Martin Garbus, a member of The Cuban Five’s legal team; Stephen Kimber, a professor of the University of King’s College; Peter Roman, a professor in Hostos Community College; Keith Bolender, a professor in the Toronto University and Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the Committee, will be among the panellists.

The communiqué adds that besides the demand for the immediate release of these Cuban heroes, the panellists will examine the hostile US policy of blockade imposed on Cuba for over fifty years by successive US administrations.

The case of the Cuban Five is “an example of the US intransigence,” said the Committee.

Left Forum is a yearly conference that gathers in New York wide range left wing, progressive intellectuals, activists, scholars, organizations and public in general to discuss and share ideas about the current world situation.

Editor’s Note: Summary of the forthcoming Cuban Five session: http://www.leftforum.org/content/changing-cuba-stagnant-america-strategy-and-continuing-plight-cuban-five

A Chat with a Cuban Spy Back from Miami 1

by Fernando Ravsberg

HAVANA TIMES — On September 12, 1998, the FBI dismantled a network of Cuban spies who had been monitoring anti-Castro groups based in Miami. A number of these spies negotiated with the prosecution to have their sentences reduced, but five refused to do so. Their convictions, which included life sentences, were the most severe.

One of these five Cuban men was pilot Rene Gonzalez, recently released from a US prison, following nearly 13 years of incarceration and another nearly two years on parole. Now back living in Cuba, he agreed to talk to me about his life as an agent, his activities in the United States and his time in prison.

Why did you agree to go the United States and act as a spy there?

I am part of a generation of Cubans who grew up under the threat of terrorist actions against the country. I’ve never forgotten the hijacking of Cuban fishing vessels and the murder of their crews, which were often perpetrated by terrorist groups based in Miami. I was one of the millions of people who attended the massive gathering held in honor of those who were killed off the coast of Barbados, in the terrorist bombing of a Cuban airliner. So, when I was asked to do this, I didn’t hesitate. I felt it was my duty as a patriot.

Is it ethical to spy on another country?

I believe it is ethical to defend yourself when you are being attacked and that was what I set out to do. The most powerful nation in the world has attacked us for many years and we have the right to defend ourselves, provided we do no harm to the American people. At no point was it our intention to do anyone any harm, we merely exercised our right to defend ourselves.

When you lead that kind of double-life, you probably also meet good people along the way. Did you feel you were betraying those people at any point?

The human element can complicate things. In all of these groups, you find good people who actually believe in what they’re doing, or people who are manipulated or harbor prejudices. You learn to recognize them, to identify those who are good people and those who are not. You realize that many of these people would have stayed on board (with the Revolution) under different circumstances and you begin to treat them with the kindness that they deserve.

I don’t want to mention any names, so as not to cause anyone any trouble over there, but I met people who had been officials in Batista’s army, elderly people, and I’m still like a son to them, just as they are like parents to me.

What kind of information were you after? It’s my understanding some of you were operating in a military base.

One of us was at a military base. He was divulging public information, he never had access to anything classified and never looked for it. His job was to compile as much publicly available information about the Cayo Hueso base as he could, because the base is a place where you can pick up signs of a possible terrorist attack against Cuba.

What did the others do?

Gerardo was in charge of coordinating the network’s activities. I had infiltrated several organizations: Brothers to the Rescue (Hermanos al Rescate), Democracy (Democracia), United Liberation Command (Comando de Liberación Unido) and others. I went through quite a number of different groups, because anyone who needs a small plane for their operations also needs a pilot and I was available.

Read the full story here: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=93682