Global support for Cuba Five grows

On June 5, the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five — the five Cubans who infiltrated right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist groups in Miami and have been imprisoned in the US since 1997 — issued a statement condemning the decision the previous day by an Atlanta court of appeals to uphold the sentences against the men.

The statement urged solidarity groups around the world to increase protest actions in defence of the "Cuban Five", who are serving sentences ranging from 15 years to double life sentences for their role in helping prevent terrorist attacks against their country. By contrast, the US refuses to extradite convicted terrorist Luis Posada Carilles to Venezuela, where he is wanted for his role in a bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in 1976 that killed all passengers.

According to the statement: "The Atlanta Appeals Court's written opinion, which employs startling political rhetoric, states that the defense's arguments lacked merit and clearly favors the government.

"The court's ruling exposes various contradictions between the opinions of two of the justices and the author of the opinion, Judge William H. Pryor, an ultraconservative appointed to the bench with the help of Republican John McCain despite opposition from the Senate."

The statement, which reports that legal avenues will continue to be explored on behalf of the five, notes: "Given the United States' government's legal ploys to expand the sentences of our Five Brothers, we are not surprised by the judicial ruling. On the contrary, it reaffirms our need to continue fighting tirelessly to denounce this colossal injustice.

"Exposed once again is the contempt of the United States government, which yesterday, in another U.S. city, defended the criminal Luis Posada Carriles ... the U.S. government has granted him full liberty."

Gerardo Hernandez, serving two life sentences, said he was not surprised at the verdict: "We will endure as many years as necessary, 30, 40, whatever it takes. As long as one of you is resisting, we will also resist until there is justice."

The statement concluded: "Only solidarity, constant condemnation and international mobilization will secure freedom for the Five."

The Cuba News Agency (ACN) reported on June 9, "Protest actions continued around the world against the recent decision". "In Montreal, Canada, dozens of activists gathered in front of the US Consulate to condemn the court decision", ACN reported.

"Meanwhile, the US National Lawyers Guild issued a declaration denouncing the decision", the article said. "And in France, the director of the Europe Department of the Cuban Friendship Institute, Holmedo Perez, reiterated a call to go ahead with an international campaign in favor of the release of the Cuban Five." Perez stressed that solidarity actiosn occurring in Europe were very important.

Actions in support of the five also took place in numerous Latin American countries, according to ACN. In New Zealand, dozens of supporters of civil rights, including unionists, law professors and student activists, added their names to a letter in support of the Cuban Five delivered to the US Consulate in Auckland on June 12.

Slidarity actions were also held in cities in Australia.