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In support of the Cuban 5, fight prisons everywhere – BY GINA MARIELA RODRIGUEZ

May 10, 2009

On September 12, 1998, five Cuban men were arrested and falsely accused of illegal espionage activities against the US government. The five—Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, and René González—worked for the Cuban government as undercover agents sent to spy not on the activities of the US but on Miami based anti-Cuba terrorist organizations that attempt to overthrow the Castro regime. Their job was to infiltrate terrorist organizations led by the former CIA operative Luis Posada, who envisioned the string of terrorist bombings that hit Cuba in 1998 and who was responsible for the 1976 bombing of Cuban Flight 455 which killed 73 people, the majority of them teenagers. While Miami-based anti-Cuba terrorist organizations often work with immunity, the Cuban Five, who never committed a violent act, have faced unjust imprisonment. First, the men were held in solitary confinement in a Miami jail for seventeen months before being convicted and sentenced in 2001 to four life terms and 75 years collectively. They were granted an unfair trial in Miami—where anti-Cuba sentiment is high– and appeals for a new and fair trial were denied in 2005. The case is now being petitioned to appear before the Supreme Court.

The 1959 Revolution was fought as a popular movement that after its victory nationalized formerly US-owned industries and expropriated lands that were rightfully theirs. This attack on US imperial aggression was celebrated throughout the world and within freedom fighter movements in the US. Cuba, as a nation, as a military, has not and will not be a threat to the US. Yet the idea of Cuba, as a sovereign nation in the US’s backyard, is. In response, the US government has done all it can to bring down the Castro regime. The US trade embargo against Cuba has economically strangled the island for close to 50 years, keeping basic necessities such as food and medicine from entering the country, not only from the US but from other nations who cannot afford to risk the consequences of trading with Cuba. The US government is also committed to militarily attacking Cuba through covert means. In response to the Cuban Revolution, the School of the Americas, (renamed the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation in 2000) aided the training of thousands of Central and Latin American soldiers in physiological and physical torture techniques. These soldiers then returned to their home countries and worked alongside US intelligence and interests in preventing further “communist” developments in Latin America. It is clear then, why people in the struggle against Ameriklan empire are quick to support the Castro regime and those who work in the name of it. This is why At the same time, however, it is irresponsible to blindly support the Cuban government, or any government, for that matter. We have to remember that the Castro regime is not without its problems and it is certainly not without its prisons. We can guess that Obama’s win is not going to bring any significant changes to the ways the Ameriklan government imprisons people (or the motivations behind those the Empire imprisons). Castro has been teaching us this for the past 50 years—there can be a “progressive” turn in the regime, but the prisons remain. No doubt there is a prison-industrial relationship there, too. And brown and black police in Cuba imprison brown and black Cuban citizens everyday. What are we to do with that?

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