Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Cuban Five Sentences Reduced

Three of the Cuban Five have recently won a battle to have their sentences reduced: Ramon Labanino from life plus 18 years to 30 years, Fernando Gonzalez from 19 years to 17 years plus nine months, and Antonio Guerrero from life plus ten years to 21 years plus ten months. This is a significant step forward for the international movement to free the five Cuban anti-terrorists from their political imprisonment at the hands of US imperialism. After their resentencing the three men said they 'feel profoundly moved and grateful for the permanent solidarity…so crucial in this long battle for justice.'

The Cuban Five are political prisoners held in US gaols for trying to stop terrorist attacks against their country. They were working to foil the persistent attempts by right-wing counter-revolutionary groups based in Miami to commit acts of sabotage and terrorism against Cuba. Among those they attempted to expose was Luis Posada Carrilles, who has openly admitted to terrorist acts including the bombing of a Cuban aeroplane in 1976 which killed 73 people. However when the Cuban government submitted information to the US government which would have helped prevent further terrorist action, the Cuban Five themselves were arrested in 1998, on trumped-up charges of ‘espionage’, sentenced in 2001 in a hostile Miami courtroom, and have been held in US gaols since, including spells in solitary confinement, while confessed terrorists like Posada Carilles continue to walk free on US soil.

In Cuba and around the world, the five are national heroes and symbols of anti-imperialist resistance. There are regular international protests demanding their release, in Cuba, Latin America, Britain and even the US itself. The five have continued their fight for over 11 years and resisted frequent pressure from the US to sell-out and spread lies about Cuban socialism in return for their freedom. In a joint statement made by Ramon, Fernando and Antonio after having their sentences reduced they said “we did not give an inch in our principles, decorum and honour, always defending our innocence and the dignity of our Homeland” and they reiterated that “although three of our sentences were partially reduced, the injustice remains for all of us.” They also noted that “the prosecutor publicly recognised the existence of a strong international movement in support of our immediate freedom that affects the image of the US judicial system…the absolute political character of this process is confirmed.”

Both inside and outside of the corrupt and racist US judicial system, the struggle continues. The campaign to free the five is an important part of Cuba’s ongoing socialist revolution. In a new year’s message Antonio Guerrero, one of the five, stated that we must "say with one voice, ENOUGH!”, that we must “think of socialism as a solution to the problems of the peoples” and as something “we have to defend and perfect daily.”

The Cuban Five were falsely tried, free the Cuban Five!

Luke Lucas