May Day demonstration in Cuba where millions of workers and youth attended. The demonstrations called for the release of the Cuban Five and the lifting of the embargo against the Caribbean nation by the United States., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Havana. August 23, 2012
Details revealed of U.S. government efforts to deny the Cuban Five a fair trial
ON August 20, a groundbreaking affidavit on behalf of Gerardo Hernández, one of five Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the United States for their anti-terrorist activities, was filed in Federal District Court in Miami, by attorney Martin Garbus. The renowned First Amendment and civil rights attorney joined the Five's legal defense team in April 2012.
The affidavit supports Hernández's habeas corpus appeal and seeks the overturning of his conviction, based on the government’s misconduct, which included multi-million-dollar payments to Miami journalists to create an environment hostile to the Five during their trial.
Gerardo was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years, in prison, the most severe sentence imposed on the group, which includes René González, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González, all arrested in 1998 for monitoring violent organizations based in Miami which were carrying out attacks on Cuba.
According to Garbus, between 1998 and 2001 the Miami area was subjected to a barrage of propaganda in the written press and over the airwaves, paid for by the U.S. government, in order to prejudice potential jurors.
Large sums of money, day after day, produced more than a thousand articles and reports, in an unprecedented effort to deny the Five a fair trial, according to Grabus.
Reports were published and broadcast in the Nuevo Herald, The Miami Herald, the Diario las Américas, Radio/TV Martí and WAQI (Radio Mambí), among others.
According to Gerardo’s lawyer, over a span of only 194 days, the Nuevo Herald published 806 articles negatively describing the accused, while during the same period The Miami Herald printed 305 others.
The two papers together disseminated 1,111 articles, an average of five a day.
Garbus questioned the choice of journalists paid to generate an environment prejudicial to the Five and why these individuals chose to take the money.
The list of "independent" journalists paid includes Pablo Alfonso, Humberto Cortina, Julio Estorino, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Olance Nogueras, Enrique Encinosa, Ariel Remos, Luis Aguilar, Wilfredo Cancio, Helen Ferre, Caridad Roque, Enrique Patterson and Alberto Muller.
Many of those cited have made a career of participating in violent actions and subversive activity against Cuba; in a few cases, as open associates of the CIA.
Cortina is a veteran of the failed U.S. mercenary invasion at Playa Girón, on the Bay of Pigs, in April, 1961. Muller was in charge of armed bands perpetrating terrorist attacks after the Revolution, while Estorino, Montaner and Encinosa were members of violent organizations, according to the affidavit.
The sums paid by the government for services rendered, range from $3,000 to tens of thousands of dollars.
Despite the extensive evidence submitted, procured through the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. government is resisting a discovery process requested by the defense, to reveal the exact number of journalists paid and the funds dispensed.
What has been released is more than enough, the defense states in its affidavit, to support the demand to overturn Gerardo’s conviction. (PL)
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