Increased Hopes for Freedom of ‘Miami Five’

Hope is growing that the Miami Five Cuban patriots will soon be released, writes Sarah Duffy.

Five Cubans — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González — are serving lengthy sentences in different U.S. prisons after being arrested in 1998 and sentenced in 2001 for attempting to protect their home¬land from terrorist attacks.

In 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions declared that the im-prisonment of the five men was arbitrary and urged the U.S. government to remedy the situation.

The five were convicted of espionage, al¬though the prosecution failed to prove that any of them had obtained documents consid¬ered secret or sensitive by the U.S. security services.

In Cuba they are seen as heroes in the fight against terrorism, because they had infiltrat¬ed and were monitoring anti-Castro Cuban exile groups in Miami, Florida.

In recent weeks, former president Fidel Cas¬tro has raised expectations about the possi¬bility that the Miami Five may be freed “by the end of the year.”

Cuban academic Esteban Morales said Presi¬dent Barack Obama has full powers to par¬don the Miami Five.

Morales said; “there was no evidence against them, and as for the charge that they were not registered as agents in the United States, they have already served their time for that.” In his view, the Miami Five represent a clear case of political aggression against Cuba.

Unite Joint General Secretary Tony Woodley said; “The Miami Five were acting to defend their country and have paid an enormous price. They are locked up in prison thousands of miles away from their children and wives. Unite is committed to building the broadest possible public support to gain family visi¬tation rights and is seeking, ultimately, the release of the Miami five.”