All of the judicial proceedings surrounding the case of the Miami 5 were marred in the tribunal and by the jury which condemned them. The pressure of the Cuban right wing in Miami was a major factor in the stiff penalties that were handed down.
It was so obvious that the Miami 5 did not get a fair trial that a panel of judges from the Atlanta Court of Appeal overturned the decision on August 9, 2005 and called for a retrial. Even the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions found that the trial was not objective or impartial and asked the US government to rectify the situation.
Finally, in August 2006, the Atlanta Court of Appeal decided by a vote of 10 to 2, to overturn the decision that the panel of judges had taken the year before, declaring the trial and the sentences in 2001 valid. All of the irregularities were ignored and the clear lack of evidence in the trial was overlooked.
It is obvious that the Court of Appeal bent itself to the interests of the Bush administration, a common occurrence in a country where the word democracy has no value if it stands against the interest of the ruling class.
Solidarity of the Frederick Engels Foundation (FEF)
The FEF, as part of our defence of the Cuban Revolution and defence of the country against imperialist aggression, has publicly expressed its unconditional solidarity with the cause of the Miami 5. 2007 will mark the third time that the FEF participates in the Havana Book Fair, denouncing the cultural blockade that the leaders of the association of Spanish editors with the assistance of the government (Zapatero's coming to power has not made any difference) are carrying out against Cuba. As part of the campaign of support for the 5 imprisoned comrades, we got directly in contact with them last April, sending letters of support and books edited by the FEF to the prisons where they are being held. Amazingly the prison authorities have prevented Ramon Labanino, Gerardo Hernandez-Nordelo and Fernando Gonzalez (Ruben Campa) from receiving our books and material, even though we jumped through all the hoops demanded by the law. The rights of the prisoners to receive books, a part of the right to freedom of speech, has been denied in a blunt and overt act of political censorship.
In any case, this is one more case of a violation of fundamental human rights to which we must add the multiple violations committed by the Bush administration. As an example, last January, Susan Lee, Amnesty International's regional director in the Americas denounced the fact that Olga Salanueva, the wife of Rene Gonzalez, has been repeatedly denied access to the United States since 2002, meaning that Rene has not been able to see his little daughter since she was four months old. Adriana Perez, wife of Gerardo Hernadez (sentenced to life in prison), has not been able to visit her husband since his arrest in 1998. These are clear examples of what North American democracy and what its respect for civil liberties really mean, something that people of Iraq and Afghanistan are familiar with after the last few years of military occupation.
Letters from 5
The Miami 5 are not alone. They have the support of millions of activists around the world who are fighting for their freedom. The last letters that the FEF received from 5 are proof of their revolutionary will: "Surely you know about the recent appeal to the Court in which our right to a retrial was denied," wrote Fernando Gonzalez (Ruben Campa). "This was a deceptive decision and deeply unjust, but not at all surprising. We know that our many friends will be with us in this battle and I thank the FEF for its support and solidarity. Revolutionary greetings to all of you. We will continue the struggle! Hasta la Victoria Siempre!"
The letter that we received from Antonio Guerrero is also full of the same convictions: "We could ask ourselves many questions about this latest injustice. But there is no time for feeling sorry for ourselves and for vague questioning. We stand to grow from these developments and act. It is time to strengthen unity and to look for strategies for the battle that lies ahead. I can just imagine the pain of our friends when they heard the news. I can also imagine that we have been in the thoughts of our families. I can tell you that we are all well, very firm, and have a strong will to continue until justice is achieved so that we can return home. Nothing will dent our integrity nor our happiness at being honest and useful men. We are sons of heroic people, who will always be in our hearts. And we are friends with many good and honest men and women who fight on a daily basis for a better world. Today more than ever, with ever more strength and firmness, on behalf of the 5 I would like to say, Hasta la Victoria Siempre!"
The words of acknowledgment from the Cuban comrades fill those working on the FEF with enthusiasm. "... The work you are doing to spread socialist literature is very important to me," wrote Fernando Gonzalez, "especially in today's world, with its complexities, contradictions and its anarchy, but also because of the hope for its transformation and change. I think that this change can only be towards socialism... I would like to thank all the comrades of the FEF for their solidarity with the 5 Cuban brothers imprisoned by the empire. I would also like to send you, on behalf of the 5, warm and revolutionary greetings."
For the FFE as well as for the Marxists of El Militante and the International Marxist Tendency, as internationalists, revolutionary solidarity with Cuba and the Miami 5 is a duty. Their struggle is our struggle and we will not stop until they are free. In the same way we will denounce the political censorship of the US authorities which prevents our comrades from receiving revolutionary literature.
For the immediate release of the Miami 5!
Defend the gains of the Cuban Revolution!
Down with the imperialist blockade!
For the Socialist Federation of Latin America!
- Cuban News Agency press release: US Denies Cuban Five Access to Books (October 13, 2006)
- International days of solidarity with the Cuban Five have begun (September 18, 2006)
- Resolution for the Freedom of the Miami Five by the International Marxist Tendency (September 2006)
- The Cuban "Miami Five": Jailed in the US for fighting terrorism by Jorge Martin (October 15, 2004)