Last Sept. 12 marked the 10th year since the political prisoners known as the “Cuban Five” – Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzales, and Rene Gonzales were arrested and detained in Miami, Florida.
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Last Sept. 12 marked the 10th year since the political prisoners known as the “Cuban Five” were arrested and detained in Miami, Florida.
The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzales, and Rene Gonzales – Cuban nationals currently serving prison terms in the US for alleged espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other illegal activities.
Gerardo Hernandez was born in Havana in 1965, and has a degree in International Political Relations. He has been a cartoonist and humorist from his youth, and while at school he was also part of a theater group. In 1989 he was part of the Cuban forces supporting Angola against the invading South African apartheid regime. Several of his cartoons and jokes were published in 2002 in the book You Can Achieve Everything with Love and Humor.
Antonio Guerrero was born in 1958 in Miami. Their family returned to their native Cuba the following year, after the victory of the Cuban Revolution. He trained as an airfield construction engineer in Kiev, Ukraine and graduated in 1983. As an engineer he was responsible for, among other things, the expansion of the Santiago de Cuba International Airport. Also a poet, he has published several poems in both Spanish and English in the book Desde Mi Altura (From My Altitude).
Ramon Labañino was born in Havana in 1963 and was schooled in Economics at the University of Havana, where he graduated with honors.
Fernando Gonzalez, who was born in 1963 in Havana, earned a degree in International Political Relations with high honors. He was active in theater and participated in international cultural festivals. From 1987 to 1989 he was part of the Cuban forces supporting Angola against the South African apartheid regime.
Rene Gonzalez was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1963. Their family returned to Cuba in 1963. He served in Angola from 1977 to 1979. He studied aviation after that and graduated as a pilot and flight instructor in 1982.
The five Cubans had been sent to Miami, Florida in the 1990s on a mission to infiltrate organizations conducting terrorist activities against Cuba, particularly Brothers to the Rescue, and relay information about their activities to the Cuban government.
On June 16-17, 1998 the Cuban government and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) met in Havana.
The Cuban government presented to the FBI the results of its investigations into the activities of Miami-based anti-Cuba groups like Commandos F4, Coalition of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), Alpha 66, Omega 7, and Brothers to the Rescue – all based in Miami. These included documents, photographs and surveillance reports showing that these groups were planning to stage a number of new “terrorist” attacks against Cuba.
In a Dec. 15, 2005 article for the website Voltairenet.org, Salim Lamrani, a French writer with expertise on US-Cuba relations, wrote thus of terrorist attacks against Cuba:
US official documents that have been recently been declassified show that, between October 1960 and April 1961, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) smuggled in 75 tons of explosives into Cuba during 30 clandestine air operations, and infiltrated 45 tons of weapons and explosives during 31 sea incursions. Also during that short seven-month time span, the CIA carried out 110 attacks with dynamite, planted 200 bombs, derailed six trains and burned 150 factories and 800 plantations.
Between 1959 and 1997, the United States carried out 5,780 terrorist actions against Cuba – 804 of them considered as terrorist attacks of significant magnitude, including 78 bombings against the civil population that caused thousands of victims.