Press Coverage on the Cuban Five

The following is two pieces of press coverage on the case of the Cuban Five that is relatively favorable. It includes an excerpt from a Fox News Interview with lawyers of the Five and a "good" piece from the Nuevo Herald.

ON TO BUILDING MARCH 5!

From Transcript of the Fox News Channel segment on the Cuban Five, on Rita Cosby’s program. Saturday, February 21, 2004

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COSBY: But their defense attorneys said the Cuban agents' primary mission was not the U.S. at all, but to thwart plans by Cuban-American exiles to attack Cuba. The five Cubans are now focused on March 10, when their attorneys go before three appeals court judges and will raise several facts: That all the men were given maximum sentences, kept in solitary confinement for more than a year, barred from seeing certain family members and what they believe was the most prejudicial, they were not granted a change of venue out of Miami.  

LEONARD WEINGLASS, ATTORNEY FOR CUBAN PRISONER: They couldn't get a fair trial in Miami, because there are 650,000 Cuban exiles and families of exiles living in Miami.  

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COSBY: So, what rights should the Cuban five be given by the United States, and did they get a fair trial after all? Joining us now from Miami criminal defense attorney Paul McKenna, who represents the lead defendant in the case, Gerardo Hernandez. And in Washington, Camila Ruiz.  She's the Washington, D.C., director of the Cuban American Foundation.  

Paul, I want to start with you. Are the five in your opinion victims of politics and why?  

PAUL MCKENNA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, absolutely, Rita. They are.  

Historically, people like these five that were snooping for a foreign government, and that's really what they were doing. They were over here snooping. They were, during the Cold War period, just either swapped or sent home. These men didn't do anything that harmed our national security, unlike the Pollards or the Walkers that people may know about. There were no breaches of national security, nor was there ever an intent to do any harm to the United States.  

They came here basically on a mission to infiltrate various exile groups that were posing a threat to Cuba during a period where there was a wave of bombings of hotels and tourist attractions in Cuba by exile groups.  

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El Nuevo Herald
Wilfredo Cancio Isla

February 26, 2004-- As the time approaches for a crucial legal hearing, the battle for the freedom of five Cubans condemned for espionage in the United States is going ahead full steam with strategies that include a paid advert in The New York Times and forums to show support in both public and academic centers.

 The National Committee to Free the Five, headquartered in San Francisco, today announced that between tomorrow and the next 10 days, an ad will be published in The New York Times to bring to the attention of its US readers the situation of those who are called “Prisoners of the Empire”, serving long sentences in US prisons.

“We chose this option as the least expensive one”, explained Gloria La Riva, the National Committee coordinator yesterday. “We want to make known the truth about these five Cubans who never hurt anybody but rather helped to protect Cuba and US citizens from terrorist groups among the Cuban exile community”.

The Mexican-American activist revealed that her organization had collected $50,000 from organizations in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Topping the donations is the German group Netzwerk Cuba-¡Basta Ya! which raised $11,000 followed by a coalition of Miami groups with $10,000.

“We are very proud of the coalition of Miami groups and their contribution, because they achieved a great deal of support from many poor people”, said La Riva referring to organizations working to normalize relations with the Castro government such as the Brigada Antonio Maceo (Antonio Maceo Brigade), the Alianza Martiana (the Marti Alliance), the Asociación de Trabajadores Cubanos (ATC or Cuban Workers Association) and Rescate Cultural Afrocubano (Afro-Cuban Cultural Rescue).

The intensification of the campaign in favor of the five prisoners comes on the eve of a hearing before judges from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, set to take place on March 10th in Miami.

 “We are now discussing what we will do on that day in Miami”, said La Riva who added that there are no plans to mount a large demonstration in from of the federal courthouse where the hearing will take place.

Lawyers and activists from Argentina, Belgium, Italy, England and Germany will be traveling to Miami to attend the hearing. The National Committee to Free the Five has programmed public events on March 10th and 11th in Milwaukee, San Francisco, New York, Madison, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Los Angeles

 

 

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