Fifth Anniversary of Arrest of Five Cubans Falsely Convicted of Espionage against the U.S. Remembered

NYC Committee to Free the Five

Immediate Release
September 12, 2003
Contact: Teresa Gutierrez

This weekend marks the fifth year anniversary of the arrest of five young Cuban men, who were wrongly convicted of spying for Cuba in a politically-charged federal trial in Miami. Attorneys for the five Cubans, including nationally-renown civil rights attorney Leonard Weinglass, maintain that the five did not receive a fair trial in the vehemently anti-Cuba venue of Miami, which is home to many extremist Cuban American exile groups. The five maintain that they were not spies, but rather monitoring the activities of Cuban American terrorist groups in Southern Florida, who have attacked against US and Cuban civilians in their efforts to violently overthrow the Cuban government.

The New York Committee to Free the Five has launched a campaign to inform local officials, community groups and media about the five, who have now been in US prisons -- often times in solitary confinement -- since 1998. "It's important that we remember these five young men this week, as we recall the victims of September 11th, we also remember the more than four thousand Cubans who have lost their lives in terrorist acts committed by the very same groups that these five men were monitoring. These five men were trying to prevent further loss of both US and Cuban lives," said Teresa Gutierrez of the New York Committee to Free the Five.

The New York Committee to Free the Five is also campaigning to gain visitation rights for wives of two of the five men, who have been denied visas from the US government and not allowed to visit their husbands. International legal conventions, signed by the US government, define visitation rights for family members of prisoners as a basic human right. Religious leaders such as Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, the Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, Reverend Lucuis Walker, and others have offered to serve in a "ministry of accompaniment" for the wives to make their visits to their husbands possible.

The defendants' names are Gerardo Hernández, sentenced to two life sentences and 80 months; Ramón Labañino, sentenced to life; Antonio Guerrero, sentenced to life plus five years; Fernando González, sentenced to 19 years, and René González, sentenced to 15 years.  

More analysis of the case and the campaign for a fair trial can be found at the website of the National Committee to Free the Five at . A media packet is also available for interested members of the press from the Committee. A list of prominent national supporters of the campaign follows.


Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
Ossie Davis, actor
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit
Dolores Huerta, Co-founder United Farm Workers
Jane Franklin, author, Historian
Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights *
Rev. Luis Barrio, San Romero Church, John Jay College Professor
Michael Steven Smith, Esq., Exec Comm NYC, NLG
Asha Samad Matias, Professor, Muslims Against Racism
Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., IFCO/Pastors for Peace
Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council
Cuba Solidarity New York
Roger Wareham, Internatl Assoc Against Torture, Dec.12 Movement
Lenora Foerstel, North American Director, Women for Mutual Security
James Petras, Professor Emeritus, SUNY-Binghamton
Anya Mukarji-Connolly, Law Graduate, Queens College of Law
Zara Khan, Hunter Slam, frmr Prez, Student Govt.
Sally O’Brien, Cuba in Focus
Nadia Marsh, MD, Doctors and Nurses Against War
Nicaragua Network
Luis Miranda, CASA
Teresa Gutierrez, International Action Center, Free the Five Committee
Ignacio Jaureguilorda, Law Graduate, Queens College of Law




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