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Thursday, September 29, 2011


More U.S. punishment of Cuba

The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five has put up an urgent online petition here, which they (and I) urge you to sign. I'll let the text of the petition explain what it's all about:
René González is one of the "Cuban Five" prisoners who have now spent 13 years in U.S. prisons, having been falsely labeled as "spies," unjustly convicted in the anti-Cuban environment of Miami, and condemned to long terms in prison, all for the "crime" of fighting terrorism by infiltrating Miami-based terrorist groups to expose their continuing terrorist plots against Cuba. González will be the first of the Five to be released from prison on October 7, and, in a measure that can only be described as vindictive, the U.S. government wants to force him to spend his three years on probation in the United States, where he has no family, rather than allowing him to return to Cuba.

González' wife, Olga Salanueva, has been continually denied visas to enter the U.S. to visit him in prison, and as a result the two have not seen each other since August, 2000 - more than eleven years. The U.S. government now wants to add three more years to this punishment, something which surely qualifies as "cruel and unusual," not to mention a violation of all standards of human rights.

Judge Joan Lenard has issued an order which forces González to live in Florida. Her decision also dictates certain conditions of parole, including prohibiting him “from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence, organized crime figures are known to be or frequent..." This is an incredible admission by the court that terrorists run free in Miami! Those terrorists, the very ones whose actions González was in the U.S. to monitor and expose, pose a constant danger to him while he is forced to reside in the United States.

Furthermore, although he was never charged with, much less convicted of, "espionage," the U.S. government calls him a "spy" and a "threat to national security." Yet they want to force this "spy" to remain in the U.S. for three more years! Surely only pure vindictiveness can explain this almost absurd state of affairs.

I add my name to those calling on President Obama to end this injustice immediately, and to allow René González, a man whose anti-terrorist mission was saving lives, a man who has been a model prisoner for more than 13 years, to return immediately to his beloved family and country of Cuba upon his release on October 7.

For more information about the case, please visit http://www.freethefive.org
Adding my own $0.02 to this petition - one may wonder why the U.S. would be so vindictive against this individual (and against Cuba)? What purpose does it serve? As I see it, there are two purposes. One, that was reported (or rumored might be a better word) in the press, is that the U.S. was trying to "trade" González' immediate return to Cuba for the release of Alan Gross (as opposed to swapping all five of the Cuban Five for Gross, something which various commentators have argued for). It's probably not a coincidence that the Judge's order requiring González to remain in the U.S. for three years was issued just days after Bill Richardson returned empty-handed from Cuba, reportedly having tried to arrange such a swap.

There is a larger purpose, however, which explains why the Cuban Five were put in prison in the first place, rather than being sent back to Cuba like most "spies". The U.S. is sending a message to Cuba, and to future potential Cubans who attempt to infiltrate the right-wing terrorist groups in Miami to prevent acts of terrorism against Cuba, that they may pay a terrible price if they are caught doing so. And why would they U.S. want to send such a message? Because terrorism against Cuba is one weapon in their arsenal in overthrowing the Cuban revolution, and one which they do not wish to see weakened by Cuban agents exposing future plots.

Anyway, please sign the petition.

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