Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cuba urges world-wide communications blitz of White House Jan. 5, for Miami 5

In an effort to free the Miami Five -- who are known in Havana as the Five Heroes -- the Cuban government is asking persons all over the world to call, fax or e-mail president Barack Obama this Thursday, January 5. The announcement was made yesterday (Jan. 2) on the website Cubadebate, a government controlled news service. A list of White House telephone and fax numbers is included, as is a URL link for sending an e-mail to Obama.

The Miami Five are Cubans arrested in south Florida in 1998. The Five were accused of spying for the Castro regime, and all were given lengthy sentences for espionage. Four of them remain in prison, but one was released on October 7, 2011 after serving 13 years. He asked to be allowed to return to his family in Havana, but the U.S. government objected, insisting that he serve another 36 months of conditional release (parole) in the United States. In a September 16 ruling a federal judge in Miami sided with prosecutors, although she may reconsider her decision. Meanwhile, the released Cuban remains in the U.S. That decision was unfair, cruel and needlessly punishes a man who has already paid a heavy price.

The case of the Five has become closely linked with the fate of imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who is serving a 15 year sentence in Cuba for state security crimes. Gross was arrested in December 2009 and convicted in a Havana criminal court in March 2011. Full details of the case are here: Alan Gross knew USAID mission was illegal and lied to Cuban authorities.

The Miami Five are regarded as national heroes in Cuba. The Castro government has repeatedly demanded their release, arguing that they were not spies. The president of Cuba's parliament has implied that Alan Gross will never be unilaterally released, and that if the U.S. wants him back it must free the Five. Cuban officials, including Fidel Castro, were infuriated when the judge refused to let the paroled member of the Five return home after his lengthy incarceration in the United States. Last week the Cuban government granted unconditional amnesty to about 3,000 prisoners, including convicts from 25 nations. Alan Gross was not among them.

Why the U.S. should do a prisoner swap with Cuba (en español): http://mexicogulfreporter-supplement.blogspot.com/2011/11/alan-gross-y-los-cinco-de-miami.html.
Hillary Clinton's worn out Cuban game plan: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/hillary-clinton-sticks-to-same-old-game.html.
United Nations condemns U.S. embargo of Cuba (186-2) for the 20th time: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/united-nations-condemns-us-embargo-of.html.
It's time to end the Cuban embargo: http://mexicogulfreporter-supplement.blogspot.com/2011/11/us-embargo-of-cuba.html.

René González, the paroled member of the Miami Five, still waiting to rejoin his wife & family in Cuba

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