Double standard: The Untold Story of the Cuban Five

Published on, by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, August 21, 2009.

Since September 1998, five Cuban intelligence agents have been incarcerated in the United States. Without breaching the law, they had infiltrated anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in that country. Thanks to their information, the Cuban authorities were able to pre-empt a significant number of planned attacks. On the one hand, Washington promotes international co-operation to fight terrorism while, on the other hand, it surreptitiously supports anti-Castrist terrorist groups. As a result, the five Cuban agents were accused of and sentenced for complicity in the death of US nationals, killed during a Cuban anti-terrorist operation. The President of the Cuban National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, revisits this affair …

… Justice in Wonderland:   

Having been defeated on the issue of venue the outcome of the Cuban Five’s trial was predetermined. It will go strictly in accordance with the Queen’s prophecy.

The American media played a very important two-pronged role. Outside Miami it was, and it continues to be, how Attorney Leonard Weinglass so aptly described contrasting sharply with their role within Dade County, both offering an impressive show of discipline.

The local media not only intensively covered the case, but intervened actively in it, as if they were part of the prosecution. The Five were condemned by the media even before they were indicted.

Very early in the morning on Saturday September 12th 1998, each media outlet in Miami was talking breathlessly about the capture of some “terrible” Cuban agents “bent to destroy the United States” (the phrase that prosecutors love so much and will repeat time and again during the entire process). “Spies among us” was the headline that morning. At the same time, by the way, the Miami FBI chief was meeting with Lincoln Díaz-Balart and Ileana Ross Lehtinen, representatives of the old Batista gang in federal Congress …

… Judge Leonard more than once protested and begged the government to stop such a deplorable masquerade. She did that at the very beginning of the trial, on several occasions thereafter and until the very end. To no avail. [6].

The government was not interested in having a fair trial. During the jury selection process, the prosecution was very keen to exclude the majority of African American prospective jurors. It also excluded the three individuals who didn’t manifest strong anti-Castro sentiments.

By that time Elian González has been rescued but he was very much in the minds of the jurors. As one of them said during voir dire: “I would be concerned about the reaction that might take place … I don’t want rioting and stuff like that to happen like what happened in the Elian case”. Or in the words of another: “I would be a nervous wreck if you wanted to know the truth … I would have actual fear for my own safety if I didn’t come back with a verdict that was in agreement with the Cuban community”.

In that ambience of fear begun the longest trial at the moment in American history. And the one that the big media “chose” to ignore. (full text).

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