News on Cuba - March 7, 2014 Print

Extensive Debate in London on Cuban Antiterrorists' Case

London, Mar 6 (Prensa Latina) Everything is ready in this capital to begin tomorrow two working days of an international commission that will inquiry about the case of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly condemned in 2001 in the United States.

The inquiry will demonstrate the influence the U.S. government has exercised on the Miami press during the trial that handed down harsh sentences against those men, who preventing terrorist plans by anti-Cuban right wing groups based in Florida.

Another objective is to ratify the real magnitude of the terrorist aggressions Cuba has suffered by those organizations, and The Five's work to prevent those attacks against the Cuban population.

Rene Gonzalez, one of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters arrested in 1998 and who completed his prison sentences two years ago, should participate in the first day of sessions at the London Law Society.

However, the United Kingdom authorities denied him a visa to travel to London, a decision that was immediately condemned by the sponsors of the meeting, particularly the Cuba Solidarity Campaign from this European country. Gonzalez could not attend today a reception the House of Commons will offer to mark the works of the international commission.

Fernando Gonzalez, another of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly condemned in 2001, was released from prison one week ago, after completing his sentence and returned to Cuba.

Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero remain in prison.

Sara Chandler, president of the Human Rights Commission of the European Bar Associations, former Indian Justice Minister Yogesh Sabharwal, and Zac Jacoob, former judge of the South African Constitutional Court, among others, will participate in the first session on Friday.

The forum's program is divided in issues that will discuss the activities of The Five in Miami, to prevent terrorist attacks against Cuba, and partiality of the trial against them, and includes the testimonies of victims of those attacks.

The president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Kenia Serrano, and the former president of island Parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, are already in London for the works of the commission.

Other figures attending this sessions are former U.S. federal attorney Ramsey Clark, and awarded American novelist Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple. American lawyer Martin Garbus, who defended the Cuban Antiterrorist fighters, will talk about the influence by Washington about the Miami press during the trial against The Five.

The meeting has received more than 6,000 examples of support by renowned figures, such as former Canterbury Archbishop Rowan Williams, former European Parliament president Miguel Angel Martínez (Spain), and Baroness Helena Kennedy (United Kingdom).

Also on the list are famous American actor Danny Glover, Brazilian writer Fernando Morais, British novelist John Le Carre, and Nobel Prizewinners Gunter Grass (Germany), Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina), and Nadine Gordimer (South Africa).


Canadian Author Captures Interest in USA re Antiterrorists' Case

Washington, Mar 5 (Prensa Latina) Canadian writer Stephen Kimber has completed a successful book tour in the United States, arousing interest in the case of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters unjustly condemned in this country, said the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five today.

Kimber's tour included stops at six universities, community centers, and churches in northern California, as part of the launch of his book "What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five." That volume is the result of extensive research that included the review of more than 20,000 pages of court records about the case of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez.

The men are known as the Cuban Five, and received harsh sentences after a rigged trial in 2001, for monitoring violent groups based in Florida that were planning and executing terrorist actions like those that have claimed more than 3,400 victims in Cuba over the last 53 years.

Three of the men remain in prison. Rene González was the first to be released on October 7, 2001, after completing his prison sentence. He returned to his homeland in May 2013 after resigning his U.S. citizenship, ending an additional punishment of three years of probation in the U.S. after his release from prison.

Fernando González (no relation) returned to Cuba on February 28, 2014, after completing his sentence the previous day at an Arizona prison, in the southwestern United States.

Among the outstanding moments of the tour, the Committee mentioned the discussion by a group of students at San Francisco State University about the importance of achieving justice for the Five, and linking the case to other problems of injustice and inequality in the United States.

Kimber's tour began February 24 and continued through yesterday, with Richmond's Mayor Gayle McLauglin participating in the presentations. The writer will continue his activities from today through Saturday, March 8, in additional U.S. and Canadian cities, as part of the program to commemorate the 100th consecutive month of actions by the Vancouver Committee for the Release of the Five.


Canada Holds 100th Months Support to Cuban Antiterrorists

Ottawa, Mar 5 (Prensa Latina) The Vancouver Committee for the Release of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly condemned in the United States will hold today 100th consecutive months of solidarity actions with those men, in such Canadian city.

The group's coordinator Tamara Hansen told Prensa Latina that the 100th campaign will be held in front of the U.S. consulate in this city, to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero.

Since 2005, the members of that Canadian organization supported by the local population carry out the fifth day of each month similar actions in support to the Cuban antiterrorist fighters, who along to his already released compatriots, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez, are international known as The Five.

The Five were arrested on September 12, 1998, while monitoring violent groups based in southern Florida, from where they planned actions like those that have killed more than 3,400 people in Cuba over the last 53 years.

Rene was released from prison on October 7, 2011 after completing his prison sentence and returned to his homeland in May 2013, after resigning his U.S. citizenship, to end a three-year additional punishment under supervised release.

Meanwhile, Fernando returned to the Caribbean country on Feb. 28, after completing the day before his sentence at an Arizona prison, in the south-western United States.

According to Hansen, several activities are holding from today to Saturday, Mar. 8, in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Kamloops, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, to commemorate 100th consecutive months of solidarity initiatives.

He said that as part of the program, there will be a tribute to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, concerts with Canadian and foreign artists, vigils, and talks with journalist Stephen Kimber, author of the book "What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five."


New Mexican Samples in Solidarity with Cuban Five

Mexico, Mar 5 (Prensa Latina) The Mexican Movement of Solidarity with Cuba (MMSC) presented today at the US Embassy a letter to President Barack Obama demanding the release of the Cuban Five imprisoned in the northern country.

This movement carries a letter with the demand to be let the Cuban antiterrorist fighters free, "the Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the U.S. for over 15 years", every 5th day of every month.

Representing the MMSC, Ana and Mario Rodrigo Zárate delivered the letter to U.S. diplomats.

Both activists agreed to state that after the release of Fernando González and René González, after serving their long and unfair sentences, the struggle continues for the freedom of their three companions, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino.

Moreover, the Association of Cuban Residents in the Mexican city of Cancun issued a statement in support of those countrymen and also demands "the immediate release of the three other heroes who deserve to go home."

The Cuban Five were arrested and unfairly convicted in the United States for monitoring the actions by terrorist groups operating in the US, with a great impunity.


Cuba Rejects Interference in Venezuela and Ukraine

Havana, Mar 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez condemned today pro-interference policies against Venezuela and Ukraine that encourage violence and prevent citizens in those countries from exercising their rights.

In a press conference, Rodriguez rejected the resolutions approved by the UN Senate and House and the pro-interference attempts by the Organization of American States against Venezuela.

He expressed Cuba's unswerving, full solidarity with Venezuela against attempts to destabilize and topple the government and the interference into its internal affairs, mainly by the United States.

He commented that violence generated in that country by right wing groups has caused several deaths and numerous wounded, and prevented Venezuelan citizens from exercvising their rights, and all this deserves condemnation.

"Venezuela has the right to defend its independence and sovereignty," said Cuba's top diplomat, who added that Cuban workers will continue fulfilling their duty and sharing the fate of the heroic Venezuelan people under any circumstance..

Regarding Ukraine, Rodriguez stressed that the violent toppling of a constitutional government at the price of dozens of dead and wounded through the intervcention of the United States and some NATO allies cannot be accepted.

Cuba rejects the evident hipocrisy and double standard in the NATO discourse, said Rodriguez.

History will demand responsibility from the United States and its allies for the consequences of this increasingly offensive military doctrine that threatens sovereignty and independence of all states without exception, he said.

Rodriguez stated that the attempt to extend NATO to the borders of the Russian Federation constitutes a flagrant violation of international lawe and the UN Charter, and threatens international peace, security and stability.


Geneva Denounces Case of Cuban Antiterrorists Imprisoned in USA

Geneva, Mar 6 (Prensa Latina) Former Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Abelardo Moreno today denounced at the Human Rights Council the case of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters who are serving long and unjust sentences in U.S. prisons.

The Five, as they are universally known, were convicted by a federal court in Florida on charges that were never proven, during a long and legal trial full of irregularities and violations of legal and human rights, Moreno stated. Those fighters actually worked to prevent terrorist actions against Cuba, as well as against citizens from other countries, including the United States.

Two of the five, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez, were released from prison after completing their sentence, while Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero remain in prison.

In his speech at the high-level segment of the Human Rights Council, the deputy foreign minister recalled that those Cubans were held in solitary confinement for more than 17 months, the access to their lawyers was limited, and the visit of their relatives was prohibited.

He said that during all this time, they have had to suffer in the distance the loss of their loved ones, have been separated from their relatives, and left to see their children grow up, and one of them suffers a serious medical problem on his knees that may affect his ability motion.

"The U.S. President has legal authority to order their immediate release, the former Cuban foreign minister said.


Machado Ventura Reaffirms Support of Cuba to Venezuela

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 6 (acn) José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, reaffirmed in Havana that Cuba supports the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, in the face of the onslaught of the fascist opposition in that country.

Speaking at the central act of homage to Hugo Chavez, on the first anniversary of the passing of the Bolivarian leader, held at the Universal Hall of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Machado Ventura denounced the attempt to coup in that nation.

He also expressed the belief that the Venezuelan revolutionary people will defeat the local reactionary forces, supported by the international extreme right that seeks to eliminate the gains of the process that began with the rise to power of Chavez in 1999.

The life and work of the eternal Commander-president was evoked in the emotional ceremony, also attended by members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, and the Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdés and the Hero of the Republic René González, one of the five antiterrorist fighters unjustly convicted in the United States.

Edgar Antonio González Martínez, charge d'affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Venezuela in Cuba thanked the solidarity of the Government and people of the island, and reaffirmed the U.S. complicity with the violence aimed at destabilizing the Bolivarian Revolution.


In Geneva, Cuba Rejects Destabilizing Actions Against. Venezuela

Geneva, Mar 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuba denounced today at the Council on Human Rights the destabilizing actions perpetrated in Venezuela that, in addition of violating law and order, are intended to forcibly overthrow the constitutional government.

Speaking at the 25th ordinary session of the Council, Cuban Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abelardo Moreno recalled that Venezualan authorities were elected by a sovereign vote in that nation, the only one with the ability to decide its own destiny.

"The actions by destabilizing groups incited from abroad and promoted by irresponsible media manipulation and by minority fascist sectors in Venezuela should be condemned and repudiated in the strongest terms by the international community," he said.

During his speech at the high-level segment of the Council, Moreno stated that when that agency was established, there were many doubts concering an entity where cooperation and genuine dialogue should prevail.

Cuba, which had suffered politicization, double standards, and selectivity from the former Commission on Human Rights, always gave it the benefit of the doubt, he stressed.

"Seven years after the establishment of that Council we confirm that the same formula, double standards and ideological manipulation that brought about the discredit of the Commission have unfortunately transferred now to Venezuela in many cases.

Moreno also alluded to the violations of the right to privacy of millions of citizens worldwide due to scandalous global spying, which is another violation of State sovereignty


Kenia Serrano: Commission in London, a unique experience

London, March 7. - The president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Kenia Serrano, wrote on Facebook that the first session of the International Commission of Inquiry on the case of the Cuban Five, sitting in London, "is a unique experience in the struggle for the freedom of Tony, Ramon and Gerardo".

The also Member of the Cuban Parliament attends in the British capital the deliberations of the International Commission of Inquiry, integrated among others by Yogesh Sabharwal, a former head of Justice of India; Zac Jacoob, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; and Phillipe Texier, judge of the French Court of Appeals, who will dictate on the case.

The participants – renowned jurists, parliamentarians, intellectuals, artists – come from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, Vietnam, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Norway, Romania, El Salvador, Chile and Cuba.

At the end of the first session of the meeting, Kenia Serrano posted on Facebook: "the testimonies of victims of terrorism, experts, and lawyers have been overwhelming. Tell and tell our truth, we will not tire in the urgent need to pull out the Five from these prisons".

The President of the ICAP commented on the statement made by Ricardo Alarcón, former president of the Cuban Parliament, in the afternoon panel, "on the way in which, in 2008, the charge of conspiracy to commit espionage was dismissed by the Court of Atlanta when Fernando, Ramon and Antonio were re-sentenced ".

This Friday will continue the appearances of well-known personalities from Cuba and other countries, and victims of terrorism against the Caribbean nation, before the commission enquiring on the case of the Cuban terrorist fighters imprisoned in the United States.


International Commission on Cuban Antiterrorists Begins

London, Mar 7 (Prensa Latina) Convincing testimonies by experts and victims of terrorist actions against Cuba marked the beginning today here of the works of an international commission investigating the case of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly condemned in the United States.

Hearings began with a criticism to the decision by the United Kingdom government of not granting visa to travel to London to Rene Gonzalez, the first of those men who was released from prison, after completing his sentence imposed by U.S. courts.

The almost 300 participants in the meeting listened to a detailed explanation by lawyer Martin Garbus, defender of The Five, about the development of the case since the detention of Rene, Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, and Fernando Gonzalez in 1998.

They also knew the personal matters of the work by notorious terrorists against Cuba, such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosh, during an explanation given by Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Hernandez Caballero, a researcher of the Cuban Ministry of Interior.

Two of the most shocking moments of the first session of the commission were starred by Bettina Palenzuela and Margarita Morales.

The first one is the daughter of Adriana Corcho, a diplomatic official who died as a result of a bomb attack in April 1976 against the Cuban embassy in Lisbon.

The second one lost his father, a technical director of the fencing team who died in the sabotage to a Cubana de Aviacion airplane in Barbados in 1976, in which 73 people were killed.

Both agreed that fighting for the release of The Five is to honor the memory of thousands of victims of terrorism in Cuba, and pointed out the need to imprison Posada Carriles, who lives freely in Miami, despite his many crimes.

The investigating commission is comprised of former Indian Justice Minister Yogesh Sabharwal, Zac Yaccob, former member of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and France's Court of Cassation judge Phillipe Texier.

Participants come from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, Vietnam, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Norway, Romania, El Salvador, Chile, and Cuba, organizers said.


British Lawmakers Support Cuban Antiterrorists Jailed in the US

HAVANA, Cuba, March 7 (acn) Lawmakers of different political parties in the United Kingdom demanded the release of three Cuban anti-terrorist fighters who are still held in US prisons and they also called for more international actions.

The initiative was put forth by Baroness Angela Smith, who chairs the All Party Group, which supports the cause of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino; Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, the two latter ones are already free in Cuba.

Known as the Cuban Five, these men were arrested in 1998 in the United States while trying to thwart violent plans against Cuba by Florida-based terrorist organizations.

Smith, a member of the Labor Party, headed a meeting of the All Party Group on Thursday with personalities from different countries, who are attending an international investigation commission on the case of the anti-terrorist fighters.

Also attending the meeting was Baroness Gloria Hopper, member of the Conservative Party, as well as deputies from Scotland and Northern Ireland, Germany and Belgium.

The forum, held at the House of Commons was also attended by the vicepresident of the European Parliament Miguel Angel Martinez and by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

On the Cuban side were former parliament president Ricardo Alarcon, the president of the Cuban Friendship Institute and also deputy Kenia Serrano and relatives of the Cuban Five, as well as victims of terrorist actions committed against Cuba.

In remarks during the meeting, Ricardo Alarcon said that the solution to the case of the three jailed anti-terrorist fighters is out of the courts and he recalled that Rene and Fernando were freed only after they served their complete prison sentences.


Argentinian Youth Undertake International Tour of The Five

Buenos Aires, Mar 7 (Prensa Latina) Two Argentinian youth undertook an international tour including 16 countries to take the message of support to the release of the three Cuban antiterrorist fighters who are still imprisoned in the United States.

Grace Prounesti, recent graduate in labor law with outstanding marks, and Diego Suarez, took flight first to New Zealand, to continue later to Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, and meet with the committees of solidarity and friendship with Cuba of those countries.

Also on the list is to visit this year the Republic of Congo, Angola, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Spain.

The idea is to share the claim of the Argentinians who want the release of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero. Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez are already in Cuba, Prounesti told Prensa Latina.


Cuba Accepts Political Dialogue with the European Union

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 6 (acn) Cuba welcomes the proposal of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union (EU), Catherine Ashton, of starting a political dialogue with Havana, said on Thursday Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

At a press conference held at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in this capital, Rodriguez pointed out that the decision was informed to the EU Ambassador to Cuba, Herman Portocarero, in response to a request made by that block on February 10.

He stated that Cuba will act constructively, in order to resume the political dialogue and cooperation on a reciprocal basis, without conditions, in full respect for the sovereign equality of States, the legal framework and institutional arrangements of the parties.

Also, it will do so in full accordance with the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States, he underlined.


Cuban Women Hold 9th Congress of their National Federation

HAVANA, Cuba, March 7 (acn) With the participation of 373 delegates the Cuban Women´s Federation (FMC) is holding its 9th Congress at Havana´s Conventions Palace focusing on issues related to the role of women in society.

The forum´s agenda also includes other topics such as equality of rights, the image and presence of women and their organization in the media, as well as the performance of the Federation.

Participants will first gather in working commissions prior to a plenary session scheduled to take place Saturday in which they will debate the central report to the Congress and the conclusions reached at the commissions. The presentation of the National Secretariat and Committee of the Federation will take place also on Saturday, final day of the forum, which marks International Women´s Day.

The Congress was preceded by an assembly process in the bases, in which Federation members exposed and debated their concerns and initiatives to have their organization at the center of the social and economic transformations underway in the country.


Cuba Vaccinates its Children against Polio

HAVANA, Cuba, March 7 (acn) The 53rd National Polio Vaccination Campaign kicked off in Cuba on Friday to keep all children immune against that contagious disease that affects the central nervous system, and which was officially eradicated on the island in 1962.

Some 383 thousand 671 Cuban children from 30 days to two years, 11 months and 29 days of age will be administered the dose, while another 119 thousand 899 kids of nine years will have the vaccine reactivated.

Cuba was the first Latin American nation to have eradicated polio. However, other infectious diseases such as neo-natal tetanus, diphtheria, measles, pox and others, were also eradicated. Meanwhile, other diseases like influenza type B, Hepatitis B and meningococcal meningitis are being reported in low levels of appearance and are no longer a health problem in Cuba.

Thanks to the political will of the Cuban state and the improvement of its immunization program, currently administering 11 vaccines, Cuban children are fully protected against preventable diseases.


Neurologic Congress Focuses on Autism on its Final Session on Friday

HAVANA, Cuba, March 7 (acn) Autism disorders have been at the center of discussions during the final session Friday of the 4th International Neurological Restoration Conference, which has session in Havana this week.

Experts with the International Neurological Restoration Center (CIREN) have been debating the disorders in autistic patients, which affect language and social communication.

Cuban and Brazilian specialists have been working in a project to evaluate the effectiveness of tests in patients suffering from the disorder, first analyzed in 1943, said the director of the Children Neurological Clinic at CIREN.

The project was first tested on Cuban children as it includes neuro-physiological, biochemical and other studies to classify the patients before an intensive and personalized treatment is administered by a multidisciplinary team.

The final session of the Conference, attended by over 300 delegates from 20 nations, also addressed neuropathic pain and the dynamic treatment of chronic pain.


Terry Fox Marathon of Hope will be on March 15

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 6 (acn) The Terry Fox Marathon of Hope, in its 14th edition, will be held on March 15th throughout Cuba, with the special motivation of promoting the fight against cancer through exercise.

Children, youth and adults, in all Cuba’s municipalities, rural and mountain population centers of the country, will honor the young Canadian victim of the disease.

At 18, Fox suffered the amputation of his right leg, six inches above the knee, and ran 42 kilometers daily during 143 consecutive days using a prosthesis.

Carlos Gattorno, director of Marabana / Maracuba project, told reporters today that the race can be attended by people in accordance with their physical capabilities, in an event that will not have awards. He added that the starting signal will be given at 10 am by Radio Reloj station.

Gattorno also urged Cubans to massively attend the race, as an expression of solidarity that characterizes the people of Cuba.

Terry Fox died at age 22, but his will, effort and sacrifice in the struggle for life serves as example to the new generations.