43 today – A Birthday Behind Bars

Having already spent 10 years behind bars in a US jail for fighting terrorism Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five, turns 43 today.
In a trial declared null and void by a three-judge panel of the Atlanta Court of Appeals and condemned by a UN Panel of Experts as lacking juridical elements Gerardo is serving a of sentence of two life terms plus 15 years.

Portrayed as "spies" and "murderers" in the service of "Castro's Cuba" Gerardo and his four compatriots - Fernando González, René González, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino, were tried and convicted in an atmosphere of hype and hysteria in Miami, Florida. Ultra-right politicians and a highly orchestrated media campaign of disinformation with the tone of a lynch mob underpinned the verdict.

At the trial there was not a single page of classified information produced showing evidence of espionage or any action directed against the US government. The frame-up charges were packaged as a necessarily vague "conspiracy" to, as the prosecutor put it to the jury, "destroy the United States of America."

In the period of 17 months between arrest and trial, the five Cubans were subjected to brutal conditions of solitary confinement and near-total isolation to hinder the preparation of their defence. This psychological torture was aimed at breaking their will, in blatant violation of their rights under US law. The hope was to break their spirit and force "confessions" to the trumped-up "conspiracy" charges. But this failed and the trial was finally held in November 2000. They were convicte
d in June 2001.The truth is that the Cuban Five infiltrated ultra-right Cuban-American organizations, with a clear history of terrorist attacks organized on US soil against the sovereign Cuban state in violation of US law.

Over 3,500 Cuban citizens have died in such attacks since the Cuban Revolution triumphed against the Batista dictatorship in 1959. Many tens of billions of dollars worth of damage have been done to the Cuban economy. These attacks stepped up in the mid-1990s as the Cuban economy reeled from an economic depression. Tourist hotels were bombed resulting in death and destruction. Low flying planes - originating from US territory in violation of US law - repeatedly violated Cuban airspace. Only after the Cuban government presented clear evidence of such terrorist and criminal activities and repeatedly implored, to no avail, the Clinton Administration to do something about it did the Cuban Five carry out its courageous and dangerous work, which the record shows saved lives in Cuba.

While no doubt to day Gerardo’s mind will turn to Adriana, his companion of 24 years, he will also be aware that the thoughts of millions of his compatriots and friends around the world are with him. – Seremos Como el Ché.

Write to Gerardo

Gerardo Hernandez
U.S.P. Victorville
P.O. Box 5500
Adelanto, CA 92301

Other resources

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