Embassy of Cuba in NZ - Newsletter - Special Edition 6
Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand
Special Edition 6 24th October 2013
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO FREE THE CUBAN FIVE: 15th ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNJUST IMPRISONMENT
FIFTEEN YEARS TOO MANY. YELLOW RIBBONS IN HAGLEY PARK
September 12. In the early hours of this morning activists from the Christchurch Cuba Friendship Society swathed Hagley Park in Yellow Ribbons to mark the 15th anniversary of the imprisonment of the Cuban Five.
Spokesman for the group, Warren Brewer, said in a media release that the ribbons are part of an international campaign to publicly raise the demand to for the return anti-terrorist fights, imprisoned for years in the U.S., to their homes and families.
Their only crime was to investigate and report on the activities of terrorist groups based in Miami. These groups have been responsible for bombing a Cuban airliner and Cuban tourist hotels.
When advised of these terrorists, the U.S. did not arrest and charge them. Instead, Mr Brewer said, they jailed the anti-terrorists. 'Thus, the “war on terrorism” depends on which terrorists the U.S. protects and encourages.
The campaign to release the Cuban Five is supported world-wide by Nobel Prize winners, senior European and Latin American political leaders and a wide range of honest Americans.
IMPRISONED FOR FIGHTING TERRORISM. PRESS RELEASE
Thursday, 12 September 2013, 4:10 pm
Press Release: Cuba Solidarity Christchurch
People may wonder about some yellow ribbons that have appeared attached to trees in Hagley Park.
Spokesman for the Christchurch Cuba Friendship Society Warren Brewer says the ribbons are part of an international campaign to raise publicly the demand to obtain the return of four Cuban citizens, imprisoned for years in the U.S., to their homes and families. There were five, but one has been released.
Their crime says Mr. Brewer, was to investigate and report on the activities of terrorist groups based in Miami. These terrorist groups have been responsible for bombing a Cuban airliner and Cuban tourist hotels.
When advised of these terrorists, the U.S. did not arrest and charge them. Instead, Mr. Brewer says, they jailed the anti-terrorists. Thus, he claims the “war on terrorism” depends on which terrorists the U.S. protects and encourages.
The campaign to release the Cuban Five is supported world-wide by Nobel Prize winners, senior European and Latin American political leaders and a wide range of honest Americans, says Mr. Brewer.
“We would like to think’, he added, “that N.Z. parliamentarians would show the same integrity, courage and compassion.”
Christchurch - Cuba Friendship Society
GERARDO’S CARTOONS EXHIBITION OPENS IN MASSEY UNIVERSITY/ALBANY
Albany, New Zealand, September 16, 2013. As part of the activities organized in New Zealand in the context of the International Campaign to Free the Cuban Five it was inaugurated at Massey University in Albany City the Exhibition of cartoons by Gerardo Hernandez "Humor from My Pen”, which will remain displayed until next 27th September.
The event, organized by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University, was attended by the Head of the institution, Mr. Kerry Taylor, as well as professors, students, members of the Association of Friendship with Cuba and representatives of the Latin American community in New Zealand.
The opening of the exhibition was conducted by the Ambassador of Cuba, Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro, who spoke extensively about the case of the Five, emphasizing the manipulation of the trial and the gross injustices and violations committed throughout the process. In this context, she referred to the conspiracy organized by the United States government that used federal budget to finance called journalists in Miami in order to create an atmosphere of hate and fear and secure the conviction of the Cuban Five and the imposition of abusive sentences on them.
Likewise, the Cuban diplomat explained the long history of terrorist acts against Cuba, highlighting the noble and courageous feat of the Cuban Five, who just traveled to U.S. to monitor and prevent these actions from anti-Cuban terrorist groups operating from Florida. She recalled the 15 years of injustice suffered by the five Cuban patriots and called to continue the battle for their freedom through actions to influence the U.S. government, including President Obama, to commute the unjust sentences.
THE STORY BEHIND THE INJUSTICE: 15 YEARS OF UNJUST IMPRISONMENT
September 12 marked 15 years since the unfair arrest and frame-up of René González, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero y Gerardo Hernández, known as the ‘Cuban Five’.
Who are they? Why they were framed? Why they should be free?
They are brave Cuban patriots that became political prisoners in the US after facing an unfair and manipulated trial and grave injustices and violations of their rights, and having abusive sentences imposed on them. Their ‘crime’? — to prevent and defend the Cuban people from terrorist actions prepared and organized from the US territory and with the knowledge of the US government.
They refused to plea bargain. They won’t cave-in to pressure by the US government and prison authorities to break their spirit. They proudly acknowledge their assignment from the Cuban government to defend their homeland.
Throughout the years Cuba has been victim of terrorist and hostile actions. As a result, more than 3000 Cubans have died and more than 2000 have been permanently disabled.
In the 1990s, Florida-based Cuban exile paramilitary groups — who have a fifty-year record of planning and carrying out bombings, assassinations and other assaults against Cuba — began bombing Cuban tourist sites. When the FBI refused to do anything to deter these actions the Cuban government sent the five men to Miami to infiltrate the groups in order to prevent those deadly operations as much as possible.
They were NOT gathering information about the US military, or US security or any other U S government activity. They were searching information on actions against Cuba. In a spirit of cooperation the Cuban government passed the information to the FBI, hoping that it would act on the evidence and break up the terrorists in Florida. Instead, the FBI used the information to identify the Five Cubans and arrested them.
Their trial took place in Miami, the home of the anti-Cuba groups they infiltrated, and it was politically motivated and manipulated.
The US government and the Miami media conspired to create a hostile environment of propaganda and prejudice for that trial. This prevented them from receiving justice, and the sentences imposed on these brave men were unjust and abusive.
The nature of the conspiracy was to use these media to unleash an unprecedented propaganda campaign of hatred and hostility. To this end they used a large group of “journalists” –in true fact government cover agents- who published articles and comments time and again, day and night, to produce an authentic flood of misinformation. From November 27, 2000 — when the trial started — to July 8, 2001 when they were found guilty, the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald alone had published 1111 articles, an average of more than 5 per day.
In Miami, the case had out-of-proportion coverage, and the “journalists” and local media were instrumental in the creation of an environment of irrational hatred that would result in the outcome anticipated by the US government. Self-appointed journalists distorted the facts, lied and fabricated an image that showed the accused as current threats to the community.
Outside Miami, the trial of the ‘Cuban Five’ did not catch the interest of the big corporate media. Details of the case were not reported in news agency dispatches, published in the print media, or covered by radio or TV outside Florida. It found no space — not even once — on the TV channels that are devoted exclusively, 24 hours a day, to reporting US court news.
How to explain such lack of interest? It was, at the time, the longest trial in the history of the United States. Generals, colonels, high-ranking officials and experts, an admiral and an advisor to the president were called as witnesses; well-known terrorists identified as such — some of them wearing their insignia– took the stand. This was a squabble involving international relations and issues related — truly or allegedly — to national security and terrorism, the favourite topics of the big media. Yet nobody said anything except the local media. For the rest of the population the trial simply did not exist.
The environment created for the hearing permitted the amazing impunity with which the authorities protected the terrorists and, unjustly and cruelly, punished five men who confronted them heroically, unarmed, without resorting to violence, without hurting anyone.
On May 27, 2005, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, after reviewing the arguments advanced by the family of the Cuban Five and the US government, concluded that their imprisonment was arbitrary and urged the US government to take the measures needed to rectify the situation.
The Working Group stated that, based on the facts and the circumstances in which the trial was held, the nature of the charges and the severity of the convictions, the imprisonment of ‘The Five’ violated Article 14 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Liberties, to which the United States is a signatory.
In August 2005, the three judge panel in the Court of Appeals unanimously ruled the Miami process a mistrial because it had taken place under what they described as “a perfect storm of prejudice and hostility”, created by the local media. Then in an unexpected move, the US government asked the twelve judges of the Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit to review the panel's decision through a so-called banc procedure.
On August 2006, in spite of the strong disagreement voiced by two of the three judges who made up the panel, the Court of Appeals revoked, by majority, the decision of the three judges.
In October 2010 Amnesty International’s report of the case concludes; ‘… the organization believes that the concerns outlined above combine to raise serious doubts about the fairness of the proceedings leading to their conviction, in particular the prejudicial impact of publicity about the case on a jury in Miami. Amnesty International hopes that these concerns can still be given due consideration by the appropriate appeal channels. Should the legal appeals process not provide a timely remedy, and given the long prison terms imposed and length of time the prisoners have already served, Amnesty International is supporting calls for a review of the case by the US executive authorities through the clemency process or other appropriate means’.
The Washington DC-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) is bringing a lawsuit against the US State Department to release evidence it holds covering secret payments by the US government to Miami-based journalists reporting on the case at the time, using 'hostile, inflammatory and prejudicial stories which propagandized US-based domestic public opinion including the jury pool and sitting jury', as described in the complaint. And this month a US Federal Court has ordered the State Department to hand over those materials.
Additionally the ‘Cuban Five’ defence team has presented habeas corpus petitions based on the manipulation of evidence and the fact that the lawyers had access to only 15 percent of it. But although a final decision is still pending the US government has already asked the South Florida District Court to reject the habeas corpus petitions.
The PCJF says it is joined by Amnesty International, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, and individuals including ex-president of the US Jimmy Carter, former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell, author Noam Chomsky, ten Nobel Prize winners and many thousands of people and organizations in the US and world-wide.
Upon completion of 15 years of unjust imprisonment, a wave of solidarity kicked off the movement to support the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters. During this international campaign, from September 5 through October 6, thousands of people worldwide are wearing symbolic yellow ribbons in solidarity with the imprisoned men. They are raising their voices for the freedom of the ‘Cuban Five’ in a collective effort to build what Gerardo Hernández rightly described as the “jury of millions that will make our truth be known”
Embassy of Cuba to New Zealand
GERARDO’S CARTOONS EXHIBITION OPENS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO, DUNEDIN
Dunedin, New Zealand, October 3, 2013. As part of the International Campaign for the Freedom of the Cuban Five it was inaugurated at the University of Otago in the New Zealand city of Dunedin the Exhibition of cartoons by Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo " Humor from my pen " which will remain on display until 24 October.
The presentation of the exhibition in this city follows the exhibition opened in Albany, Auckland, on September 16 that lasted until the 27th of that month, when it was transferred to Dunedin, achieving an almost uninterrupted exposure cycle coinciding with International Campaign which included the two Islands of New Zealand geography thus increasing its impact (16 to 27 September in Albany, North Island, and 3 to 24 October in Dunedin, South Island).
The event, organized by the Faculty of Law, together with the Spanish Program (Humanities) at the University of Otago , was attended by the Mayor of Dunedin, Mr. Dave Cull, and the Dean of the institution, Professor Mark Henaghan, as well as teachers , students, members of the Association of Friendship with Cuba, media and general public.
At the opening the Mayor, the Dean of the Faculty and the Ambassador of Cuba Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro took the floor. Their statements were preceded by the Maori welcome by a representative of the main iwi of the South Island (Ngai Tahu). Dr. Adelso Yanez, professor of Spanish Program at the University, moderated the ceremony.
In thanking the Cuban Ambassador for offering this exhibition, both the Mayor and the Dean referred to the case of the Cuban Five, in particular to the author of the cartoons Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, based on the arguments contained in the synopsis that headed the sample.
On her part, the Cuban diplomat spoke extensively on the case, emphasizing the manipulation of the trial and the gross injustices and violations committed throughout the process. She referred to the conspiracy organized by the United States government that used federal budget to finance called journalists in Miami in order to create an atmosphere of hate and fear and secure the conviction of the Cuban Five and the imposition of abusive sentences on them.
Likewise, the Cuban diplomat explained the long history of terrorist acts against Cuba, highlighting the noble and courageous feat of the Cuban Five, who just traveled to U.S. to monitor and prevent these actions from anti-Cuban terrorist groups operating from Florida. She recalled the 15 years of injustice suffered by the five Cuban patriots and called to continue the battle for their freedom.
As colophon of the activity the Ambassador of Cuba granted recognition to two prominent New Zealand activists in the struggle for liberation of the Five Heroes. the end of the evening, the diplomat gave an interview to the newspaper “Otago Daily Times”, main source of the South Island, which had an impact on the daily.
AMBASSADOR OF CUBA DELIVERS A LECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO IN DUNEDIN
Dunedin, New Zealand, October 3, 2013. Invited by the Faculty of Law, the Ambassador of Cuba Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro gave a Lecture at the University of Otago in this city. This activity was part of the program for the visit organized in the context of the International Campaign for the release of the Cuban Five, which also included the opening of the exhibition of Cartoons by Gerardo Hernandez in the campus.
The Conference had a significant attendance, including teachers, students, friends from solidarity groups and many people interested in the subject, who after the extensive presentation of the Cuban official posed several questions and comments, which made possible to expand on some of the issues raised in the presentation.
In her speech the Ambassador of Cuba conducted an extensive account of the history of Cuba, the struggles for independence, the reason for the Cuban Revolution, the over 200 years of conflict with the United States and the aggressive and hostile policy of the successive U.S. governments in order to destroy the Revolution. In this context, she addressed the situation of the Cuban Five unjustly imprisoned in the U.S. for protecting its people from terrorist actions forged from Florida. She highlighted the achievements of Cuba after the revolutionary triumph of 1959 despite the negative impact of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. against the Cuban people, and explained the steps that are currently taking place to updating the Cuban economic model in order to improve sustainable development and the living standards of the population.
At the same time, she referred to the position and activism of Cuba in the international scenario, highlighting the broad cooperation offered by Cuba to other peoples of the world, particularly in health and education, as well as the performance of the country under the international organizations, the NAM and the strengthening of regional integration in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The answers to the questions asked and the announcement of the opening of the exhibition of cartoons by Gerardo to be held immediately after the conference, allowed extending on the case of the Five Cuban patriots.
CUBAN AMBASSADOR TALKS ABOUT THE CUBAN FIVE CASE
Dunedin, New Zealand, October 4, 2013. In the context of her visit to the city of Dunedin as part of the activities organized for the International Campaign for the liberation of the Five Cuban Heroes, the Ambassador of Cuba Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro gave an exclusive interview to the news channel of television in this city.
In her responses to the questions of journalist John Mackenzie, the Cuban diplomat explained widely the case of the Cuban Five and denounced the injustices committed against them, emphasizing the manipulation of the trial and the gross injustices and violations during the whole process, which prevented a fair trial and that led to the imposition of abusive convictions. Similarly, the official referred to the noble and brave feat of Five Cuban patriots who traveled to the U.S. to monitor and try to prevent actions against Cuba carried out by anti-Cuban terrorist groups operating from Florida. She recalled the 15 years of injustice suffered by the Five, and referred to the broad international campaign for their release.
The interview took place in the room where the Exhibition of Gerardo Hernandez’s cartoons are displayed in the Faculty of Law, University of Otago, allowing the television report to be accompanied of the images of the drawings and the author's photo.
FRIENDSHIP GROUP FORMALLY ESTABLISHED IN DUNEDIN
Dunedin, New Zealand, October 4, 2013. The formal establishment of the Group of Friendship with Cuba in the city of Dunedin marked an important guideline in the context of the International Campaign for the liberation of the Cuban Five. The constitution of the Group took place on the occasion of the visit of the Ambassador of Cuba Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro to this city in connection with the opening of the exhibition of cartoons by Gerardo Hernández.
The formalization of this new group, which will be coordinated by Mr. Victor Billot and Ms. Jenny Olsen, strengthens the solidarity movement with Cuba in the 5 major cities of New Zealand, including: Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and will extend the network of friends who support and defend Cuba over New Zealand geography.
MP Ms. Metira Turei, Co-Leader of the Green Party of New Zealand, attended the constituent meeting of the Group.
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in New Zealand
76 Messines Rd, Karori, Wellington 6012