A Cynical End for Castro’s Faux-Beloved “Cuban Five” 4

Cuban FiveBy Chris Simmons

Several spies, collectively known as the “Cuban Five,” have been hosted and toasted before adoring socialist crowds around the world for several months. Decorated with much fanfare in Havana, these over-hyped “Heroes of the Revolution” are the latest circus performers in Havana’s theater of the absurd.

You see, in reality, the “Five” have been put out to pasture. “Golden Exile” you might say. Members of the Wasp Network, they were five of an estimated 42 spies in the largest espionage ring ever known to have operated in the United States. A rare joint venture between Havana’s civilian and military intelligence services, it was led by Cuba’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (DIM). Its primary targets were the Pentagon’s regional headquarters responsible for military operations in the Americas (SOUTHCOM) and the Middle East (CENTCOM), as well as US special operations worldwide (SOCOM).

In a massive sweep stretching 152 miles, the FBI arrested 10 of the spies in September 1998. Seven more Wasps were arrested or expelled over the next several years. Many of those arrested accepted plea agreements and turned against their masters in Havana. The “Five” held fast and were found guilty of espionage associated-crimes. Career DIM case officer Gerardo Hernandez, the former head of the deadly network, was sentenced to two life terms for conspiracy to commit murder in the February 1996 deaths of four Americans.

Once convicted, the regime could ill-afford for its lethal cabal to switch sides like their subordinates. The destitute island invested considerable monies to sustain their morale with family visits and a never-ending parade of diplomats from the (then) Cuban Interests Section in Washington and the Cuban Mission to the United Nations. A global propaganda campaign known as “Free the Five” was initiated. During the secret talks to restore diplomatic ties, the United States even helped artificially inseminate Adriana Perez, the spy-wife of incarcerated killer, Gerardo Hernandez. The effort, which tragically misguided Obama officials saw as a goodwill gesture, was prompted by Perez’s personal appeal to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), who passed the request to White House officials.

But to the ever cynical regime, its “heroes” are now little more than famous liabilities.

Moscow’s KGB long ago taught its Cuban allies that incarcerated spies can never again be trusted. The leftist dictatorship sees its freed spies as failures. After all, three were spy-handlers (“Case Officers”). Theoretically the best of the best, it was their mistakes – or that of their underlings – that had attracted the attention of US spy-catchers.

Despite the propaganda mission of the “Felonious Five,” there is an important lesson for America to learn. Given Havana’s extraordinary investment in five men who meant nothing to it — imagine what it can accomplish when it truly cares.

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Cubans Urged to Display Yellow Ribbons for Jailed Spies 1

Agence France-Presse

A Cuban intelligence agent has called on his countrymen to adopt a US custom by wearing yellow ribbons for four fellow spies still in US prison after 15 years.

Rene Gonzalez, who served 13 years in prison in the United States on espionage charges alongside the four, urged Cubans in a televised speech late Tuesday to display the ribbons on September 12 to mark their 15th year in prison. “On that day, may yellow ribbons appear on the trees, on balconies, on people, wherever it occurs to you, on pets — you decide — so that the country is filled with yellow ribbons and can’t be ignored,” he said. He said the yellow ribbon is “a symbol for the North American who waits for someone to return from a foreign mission, who waits for a soldier, a loved one. “And that’s the message we want you to convey to the North American people,” he said.

Cuba has waged a long campaign to win the release of the so-called “Cuban Five,” who were arrested in 1998 on charges of spying on US military installations in south Florida.
The Cuban government later acknowledged they were intelligence agents, but said they were in the United States to spy on Cuban exiles, not the US government.

Cuba’s National Assembly has declared the five “Heroes of the Republic.”

Gonzalez, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, was released on probation in 2011 and allowed to return to Cuba for his father’s funeral. A US judge then ruled he could stay after renouncing his US citizenship. Three of the remaining four — Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labanino — are serving life sentences. Fernando Gonzalez was sentenced to 19 years.

Cuban Five Art Exhibit Opens September 12 1

By Frank Forrestal, Twin Cities (MN) Daily Planet — Community Voices

The Minnesota Cuba Committee and Obsidian Arts are sponsoring a month-long exhibit of the paintings of Antonio Guerrero, one of five Cuban revolutionaries locked up in U.S. prisons on trumped-up charges. The opening reception will take place on September 12, from 6-8 PM, at the Pillsbury House in South Minneapolis.

The art show, “I will die the way I lived,” features 15 watercolor paintings by Guerrero, who learned to paint and draw from fellow inmates. “After finishing the painting number 15, I made the decision to stop in this number, because it coincides with the number of years that soon will mark our captivity,” writes Guerrero in his introductory note to the exhibit. Most of their time has been in maximum-security prisons, including many months in solitary confinement.

Also at the Pillsbury House, “The Cuban Wives,” an award-winning documentary about the families of the Cuban Five will be shown on September 19 at 7 PM.

Guerrero, along with four other Cubans — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González — were convicted on frame-up charges, including “conspiracy to commit espionage” and, in the case of Hernández, “conspiracy to commit murder,” and received long prison sentences. René Gonzalez was released in 2011 after serving more than 13 years in prison.

Known internationally as the Cuban Five, these revolutionaries were arrested in September 1998 in Miami by the FBI. The five had been gathering information on right-wing Cuban exile groups in Florida that have a long history of carrying out violent acts against the Cuban Revolution, with the complicity of the U.S. government. Their assignment was to keep the Cuban government informed of these deadly operations in order to prevent as many as possible from coming to fruition. Over five decades, more than 3,500 Cubans have been killed and 2,100 injured in attacks, most originating from U.S. soil.

Guerrero was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years. On October 13, 2009, his sentence was reduced to 21 years and 10 months, after an appeals court ruled that the sentences of three of the five — Guerrero, Labañino, and Fernando González — were excessive. The reduction in the draconian sentences was an acknowledgement of the pressure put on the U.S. government from the worldwide campaign demanding freedom for the Cuban Five.

More than 350 committees in 114 countries, hundreds of political organizations, and thousands of individuals around the world are working to win the freedom of the Cuban Five. Support ranges from the National Conference of Black Lawyers to the National Council of Churches, actors like Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte, 12 Nobel Prize laureates, to several trade unions, and many others.

The painting exhibit will continue through the month of September.

Havana Fuels Influence Operation Marking 15th Anniversary of Spy Network’s Collapse 1

Cuban Hero Urges to Boost Initiatives for the Cuban Five

Havana, Aug 30 (Prensa Latina) The antiterrorist Rene Gonzalez, called today to boost popular initiatives during the journey of solidarity with the Cuban Five to achieve their excarceration.

The Five, as Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez are known, were arrested in Miami in 1998, for aborting anti-Cuban plans organized by violent groups. The Five were given long and severe sentences including more than one life imprisonment.

Only Rene Gonzalez returned to Cuba, after renouncing his US citizenship, a requisite set by North American authorities to modify the conditions of supervised liberty he was supposed to complete after his ex carceration (sic) in October, 2011.

In a meeting with workers of the Cuban Civil Aviation Institute (IACC) González commented that the solidarity movement had to do everything for the return of the other four heroes when they are about to arrive to their 15th years in jails of the United States, reported Cuban TV news.

When Rene Gonzalez referred to this set of activities, he said it is organized by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples from September 5 thru October 6, and should be days of caring and expression of love of the people for them.

Editor’s Note: Prensa Latina (PRELA) and the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) have a long and distinguished history of collaboration with Cuban Intelligence. Use the search icon to review previous coverage of both spy ties.

The Five” remain in prison, in part, for their extensive involvement in Operation Scorpion, the premeditated murder of four Americans flying with a search-and-rescue group known as “Brothers to the Rescue.”

The Cuban Five: 15 Years Around an Oxymoron 4

By Miguel Fernandez

Shortly after the FBI raid against the Wasp Network on September 12, 1998, Fidel Castro told CNN that his intelligence services infiltrated into the U.S. for gathering “information exclusively on terrorist activities against Cuba. [We] are interested neither in any report on the U.S. military mechanism nor in sending spies to any of the U.S. military bases.”

The conclusive evidence for refuting Castro’s claim is the very communication between his Directorate of Intelligence (DI) in Havana and the Wasp Network in Miami. The FBI deciphered specific orders from the DI and wholehearted attempts of the Wasp Network to infiltrate the South Command (Miami) and the military bases of Boca Chica (Key West) and MacDill (Tampa).

An encrypted message from the DI notified the leader of the cell, Gerardo Hernandez (Giro), that “the Center has decided to assign the South Command, which will be located in Miami soon, to a group of comrades: Mario [Joseph Santos], Julia [Amarylis Silverio], Gabriel [?] and Lorient [Antonio Guerrero], under the leadership of comrade Allan [Ramón Labañino].”

Another message ordered Lorient, who has already got a job in Boca Chica, “to keep on gathering military information [and] to achieve a broader penetration.” Lorient reported back to Giro having befriended some Brian, the son of a military chief in Guantanamo base, and “because of the military ties of this relationship, we will continue developing it (…) Brian is about to start his military service in an Air Force base in Texas [It´s] a relation that surely will provide us important information in the future.”

Thus, it doesn´t matter whether the Wasp Network never got classified military information or put the U.S. national security at risk. It is an issue from old textbooks that conspiring does not concern the outcome, but the agreement and the intention (“Developments in the Law: Criminal Conspiracy,” Harvard Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 5, March 1959, page 922). It is irrelevant even that there wouldn´t have been any intention to inflict damage to the U.S., because espionage is legally defined in a crystal clear disjunctive clause: “to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation” (18 U.S.C. § 794).

For being a spy it is enough to lie in wait at the service of a foreign state. The U.S. National Committee to Free the Cuban Five has simply picked up Castro´s thread to spin a yarn: that intelligence officers and agents from a certain country could infiltrate into another without being deemed as spies.

September 12th: Castro Apologists to Mark 15th Anniversary of Wasp Network’s Destruction 1

Activists Call Demonstration for the Cuban Five in Washington D.C.

HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 19 (ACN) Activists in the United States will stage a vigil in front of the White House September 12, marking the 15th anniversary of the imprisonment of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters in US jails, to urge President Barack Obama to release the heroes and allow them to return home.

The activists will stage their action bearing posters and banners with slogans reading “Its Enough,” “End the Injustice,” “Freedom of the Cuban Five Now,” as part of a monthly initiative to put pressure on the US President to use his constitutional power and free Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez who, along Rene Gonzalez, already in Cuba, were arrested in 1998 after they monitored US-based terrorist organizations.

The call to the action was published by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Five, members of which, along other friends of Cuba, will visit Capitol Hill to continue meeting with US legislators, they originally met with in June and ask them to support the campaign for the release of the Cuban heroes.

As part of actions, Canadian author Stephen Kimber is expected to speak in seven rallies that will take place in eastern United States about his most recent book on the Cuban Five. Kimber will be joined by US philosopher and political analyst Noam Chomsky in Boston, Massachusetts, and by lawyer Martin Garbus, who is part of the defense team for the Cuban Five.

Experts have agreed that the sentences given to the five Cubans were irrational as Gerardo Hernandez was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years, Ramon Labanino was given 30 years, Antonio Guerrero 21 years plus 10 months and a five-year probation, and Fernando Gonzalez was sentenced to 17 years plus nine months.

Rene Gonzalez met 85 percent of his original 15-year prison sentence in 2011 and he managed to have his parole conditions modified in order to stay in Cuba, by renouncing his American citizenship.

The International Committee for the Freedom of the Five has repeatedly called for increasing actions in favor of the anti-terrorist Cubans by stressing that there is no point in waiting for them to be released from prison after meeting their sentences, because one of them, Gerardo Hernandez has no date on the calendar.

A UN panel questioned, in 2005, the illegal and arbitrary arrest of the Cuban Five and concluded that analysis by suggesting the immediate solution to the case; however, the US administration has done nothing in that respect.

Wasp Network Spy-Handler Suffering From Arthritis; US to Blame Claims Cuba 1

Cuban Hero suffers from medical neglect in the U.S.

Prensa Latina News Agency

The Cuban antiterrorist fighter imprisoned in the United States Ramón Labañino trudge (sic) due to lack of proper medical care, said his wife Elizabeth Palmeiro in Abancay, Peru.

Elizabeth Palmeiro said Ramon has walking troubles, as he suffer (sic) from osteoarthritis and has not been treated properly.

However, she stressed the optimism and high morale that keeps the prisoner, who, along with two of his daughters, she recently visited in his prison in Ashland, Kentucky.

Labañino is one of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters imprisoned for nearly 15 years, while collecting information on terrorist groups and their plannings (sic) of attacks against Cuba, and unjustly sentenced to long prison terms.

Of the five, only René González has been released after serving most of his sentence, and the release of prisoners is one of the main agenda items of the XIV Peruvian Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba which opens tomorrow in Peru with Palmeiro as a guest.

She said in the interview to be the bearer of an appreciation message from Ramón, René and his companions Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, and their families, by the publicity work that takes place in Peru on the case, mainly by part of the Peruvian Committee of Solidarity with the Cuban Five.

He stressed the need for strengthened international solidarity with the Five, as they has been devoted his people, so they could be released and return to their homeland, and she also advised the Peruvian solidarity to extended they labor about the case to new sectors of population.

She also called the Peruvians to learn about the issue by simply deepen (sic) it online or through solidarity activists to understand that it is a tremendous injustice suffered by the families of prisoners and the entire people of Cuba.

According to Palmeiro, strengthen solidarity with the Five is vital because today it is a decisive stage of the battle for the freedom of the antiterrorist fighters.

She e (sic) explained that the U.S. President Barack Obama, serving his second term, has greater scope for taking action as Cuban prisoners reprieve, so activities such as letters, messages and other means should be multiplied to demand the fighters´ liberation.

Leftist Author Claims Cuban Spies Prevented Reagan’s Assassination 5

See the italicized paragraph (second from bottom)

August 5, 2013

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
USA

Dear President Obama,

You were born in 1961 so you were not old enough to experience in person the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, and the Anti-War Movement, all flowing together in a beautiful wave of change. You were only six years old (coming up on seven) when came the shocks of the assassinations of Reverend Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy, changing the politics of a crucial presidential election that had held the possibility of real change.

If you had been a decade older, I think you, as an African-American, might now be in a position to better understand the Cuban Revolution and why its destruction has been a persistent goal of U.S. foreign policy ever since 1959 when Cuban revolutionaries won their battle for independence and sovereignty.

The State of Siege began under President Eisenhower with the trade embargo explicitly designed to starve the Cuban people into submission and has continued to this day. When invasion failed to overthrow the Cuban Government in 1961, the year of your birth, the CIA and the FBI trained thousands of Cuban operatives for the covert war against Cuba — more armed attacks including the buildup to a planned second invasion timed for October 1962 (Operation Mongoose), infiltration, propaganda, arson, and murders. A network of terrorists continues to thrive in Florida and New Jersey.

I wonder if you know much about Operation Mongoose. It led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was pregnant with my third child when that happened, and you cannot imagine how it felt to be a mother of two young daughters and an unborn son when the whole world was threatened with annihilation. My five-year-old woke me up one morning to ask, “Mommy, is the world going to end?” You can read all about that invasion plan in my book, Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History, in case you need a reminder.

In order to combat the terrorism, Cuba has spent precious resources on developing an amazingly effective State Security Department and assigning agents like the Cuban Five to investigate terrorist groups. But Cuban intelligence agents were not able to stop terrorists from blowing up a Cubana passenger plane in 1976, the first time in the Western Hemisphere that a passenger plane was used as a terrorist weapon. That didn’t happen again until 9/11. Both the CIA and the FBI knew at that time that Luis Posada and the late Orlando Bosch masterminded the bombing. Yet I’m sure you must be aware that Bosch walked free in Miami until his death and of course you know that Posada continues to live as a hero in Miami despite Venezuela’s request for his extradition for trial on 73 murder charges after killing 73 people aboard that plane. As Venezuelan President Maduro has recently pointed out, it’s hypocritical to demand that nobody give asylum to Edward Snowden while at the same time refusing to respond to Venezuela’s request for extradition of Luis Posada.

Just two months before the arrests of the Cuban Five in 1998, Posada told New York Times reporters that “the CIA taught us everything – everything….They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage.” He prided himself on his long years of support from the CIA, the FBI, and the Cuban American National Foundation. He bragged about masterminding the bombing campaign that struck Havana hotels and restaurants in 1997 and 1998, killing one Italian businessman and injuring other people.

Cuba charged that those responsible for the Havana bombings were based in the United States. The U.S. State Department responded that it would investigate if Cuba would provide “substantive information” to support its contention. That was in September 1997.

Nine months later, in June 1998, Cuba gave the FBI reams of “substantive information” gathered by Cuban agents. Then in July, a month later, came those confessions of Posada himself on the front pages of The New York Times for two days! Yet nevertheless, with all that information and the confessions in hand, instead of investigating the terrorists, as the State Department had said it would, the FBI arrested the investigators.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, and René González were put in solitary confinement for 17 months even before trial. Thus began the long story of their unjust trial and incarceration. You hold in your hands the power to release them to Cuba as lawmakers from around the world have urged you to do.

Think of the carnage if all the Cuban agents had been imprisoned by the U.S. Justice Department. For example, in the year 2000, even as the Cuban Five were going to trial, Cuban intelligence agents foiled a major assassination plot in Panama where Posada and his co-assassins planned to use plastique to blow up the auditorium in which President Castro was to speak. Those Cuban agents not only saved the life of Fidel Castro but saved from danger about 2,000 people who filled the auditorium to hear him speak.

Cuban agents have even saved the life of a U.S. president. In 1984 Cuba informed U.S. United Nations Mission Security Chief Robert Muller that an extreme right-wing group was planning to assassinate President Ronald Reagan during a planned trip to North Carolina. The FBI consequently arrested several people and Robert Muller thanked the Cuban official who had given him information that included the names of the would-be assassins; the date, time and hour of their plan; the location of their weapons; etc.[emphasis added]

The Cuban Five are counterterrorists whose investigations were to expose terrorist plots against Cuba and perhaps even against the United States. Please use your power to release the Cuban Five.

Sincerely,

Jane Franklin
Born and raised in North Carolina and now a resident of New Jersey

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.

Castro Apologist Releases Latest Book on Jailed Spies 2

“What Lies Across the Water”: Revealing New Book on Cuban 5

by W. T. Whitney Jr., People’s World

Publication of Stephen Kimber’s book about Cuban anti-terrorists serving wildly extravagant terms in U.S. jails is a remarkable event. Previously appearing as an e-book, “What Lies Across the Water” is the first full-length book published in English on the so-called Cuban Five. They were arrested in Miami on Sept. 12, 1998, and a worldwide movement on their behalf is demanding their freedom. Many view them as political prisoners.

In comprehensive and convincing fashion the book explains how Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González came to be arrested, tried, and imprisoned. Its coverage of bias and legal failings that marred their prosecution and trial is adequate, but less detailed. Kimber devotes more attention to events and personalities directly affecting the Five than to the context of early anti-Cuban terror attacks and the Cuban revolution. Kimber, a journalism professor at the University of King’s College, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, drew upon news stories in the Florida, Central American, and Cuban media and read 20,000 pages of court transcripts. He interviewed officials and contacts in Florida, Cuba, and elsewhere, and also family members of the Five and the prisoners themselves, via correspondence. The author’s clear, flowing, and often seat-gripping, even entertaining, narrative is an added plus. The book is highly recommended.

Kimber starts out by confessing he was no expert on the case initially. He was about to write a novel that touched upon Cuba. Then a Cuban friend with political and intelligence experience told him that “nothing can really be resolved between Washington and Havana until they [the Five] are returned to Cuba.” So instead of writing a novel, Kimber began work on a story he realized was important and that “needed to be told by someone who didn’t already know which versions of which stories were true.”
The way Kimber‘s report unfolds serves to highlight convoluted linkages of the prisoners’ experiences and their case to the many-faceted U.S. apparatus set up to undo the Cuban revolution. Implacable, non-stop U.S. enmity sets the stage for obfuscations, contradictions, intrigue, ambiguities, and strange twists. For Kimber, the resulting atmosphere was one where “Nothing, it seems, is ever as it seems.”

For example, Cuba’s “Wasp Network” included at least 22 agents it employed in an effort to block terrorism directed against it, not just the Cuban Five, as is often assumed. Agents were posted throughout the United States, away from Florida. Some of those arrested in 1998 pled guilty and served only short sentences. Cuban agents served as FBI informants. Far from exclusively monitoring private paramilitary groups, as many assume, one Cuban Five agent did gather non-classified intelligence from a U.S. military installation. For years, the FBI monitored movements, contacts, and communications of the Five and other agents. Meanwhile, the Cuban American Nation Foundation (CANF), darling of U.S. presidents, professed non-violence, yet operated a paramilitary wing.

Even the Miami Herald, reviled by Cuba solidarity activists, gains points through its reporter Juan Tamayo, who linked Havana hotel bombings to the Cuban exile terrorist Luis Posada.

The book attests to difficulties attending intelligence gathering in the midst of all but open U.S. war against Cuba. Cuban agents were well prepared, and superior officers in Havana supervised them closely. “Compartmentalized,” they were unable usually to identify fellow agents in the United States. They relied on advanced technical skills, support from loved ones, fearlessness, their own resourcefulness, their sensitive understanding of hazardous situations, and very hard work.

Kimber‘s “What Lies across the Water” has the potential for stimulating new thinking on the case of the Five. Information it provides and the book’s fact-based style of presentation ought to persuade readers to move beyond viewing the prisoners’ fate as a sort of morality tale, one with U.S. over-reaction, prisoners’ revolutionary virtue, and suffering. The book would encourage them instead to develop a response built on considering the larger context of generalized U.S. bullying of Cuba. The book may or may not succeed in this, but in all respects it is essential reading for those either new or old to the case of the Five.

The book exerts an appeal through effective portrayals of characters so far out of the ordinary, with such bizarre purposes, as almost to defy belief. They include: Cuban agent Percy Alvarado Godoy, CANF infiltrator for years; terrorist honchos Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada; the opportunistic Brothers to the Rescue leader Jose Basulto; and even Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, message carrier to the Clinton White House. There is the flamboyant Wasp agent, pilot, unfaithful husband, and FBI informant Juan Pablo Roque, who returned to Cuba; CANF founder and Miami titan Jorge Mas Canosa; and not least, Francisco Avila Azcuy. That FBI informant, Cuban spy for 13 years, and chief of Miami’s Alpha 66 private military formation, was unusual, even in a setting where double agents were, and undoubtedly are, routine.

This book tells the tragic story of the Cuban Five. But here’s hoping it also helps re-orient energies of justice-seeking activists toward joining or rejoining a necessary fight. Their task is to take on the century-long U.S. campaign to impose domination over a Caribbean island. The agenda presently is to end the U.S. economic blockade, end campaigns of internal subversion and international isolation of Cuba, and, surely, free the Cuban Five.

“What Lies across the Water, The Real Story of the Cuban Five”
Stephen Kimber
2013, Fernwood Publishing, Canada
Paperback, $29.95 CAD