Originally posted by International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
Actor Danny Glover Prevented from Visiting Gerardo Hernandez, One of the Cuban 5 Imprisoned in the U.S.
Oakland, CA April 8th(IC)
Yesterday another incident of injustice against one of the Cuban 5 took place at the Victorville Penitentiary in the high Mojave desert of California.
In a planned visit well known actor and social activist Danny Glover was prohibited from visiting Gerardo Hernandez. Glover, who has visited Gerardo on 9 different occasions since 2010, was told that he would not be admitted because they did not know he was coming. This is an arbitrary decision; any person who is on a prisoner’s list has a right to visitation. Glover had flown yesterday morning from Northern California and then rented a car to reach the remote location of the prison 10 miles outside of Victorville only to have to turn around and go back without having seeing his friend. Undaunted Danny Glover has made it clear that he will return to Victorville soon.
Isolating Gerardo from his friends and family has been a pattern of the US government for almost 15 years. Over that period of time his wife Adriana Perez has been consistently denied visa to visit her husband on a regular basis.
The International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 thanks Danny Glover for his continued effort to support Gerardo and his four brothers in the struggle for their freedom.
Actor and Activist Danny Glover Seeks Justice for the Cuban Five
Casa de Las Américas is in the house
By Dominic Redmond
On September 12th, 1998 five Cuban men–Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, FernandoGonzález and René González– were arrested and wrongfully placed in prison to serve two life sentences. The Cuban Five, as they are called was convicted of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States. However, they maintain that they were on assignment to watch terrorist groups throughout Miami.
Tuesday evening, at the Howard University School of Law, students and activists gathered to address The Cuban Five. The Moot Court Room was almost filled to capacity as the discussion, headed by actor and activist Danny Glover discussed the case. Nearly 100 people sat in the room anxiously awaiting every word.
The forum began with Gloria La Riva, the coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. The audience sat in awe as Gloria spoke on the details of the case and why she feels this is a national issue that should be made more public.
“This injustice is one that needs to be stopped” were Gloria’s closing remarks.
Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover injected the audience with enthusiasm and passion for the case. His first remarks were ones of honor and praise to the Howard University law school and to the people of Howard University.
“[It’s a] pleasure to be here with such courageous students, thank you Howard University for having me,” said Glover.
From this remark arose a common feeling of pride amongst the crowd. He spoke about the need for justice to be brought about and there is no better time than right now. Gerardo Hernandez, one of the men arrested with the Cuban Five, is one of Glover’s close friends and brothers. Glover’s only wish is that Howard can help in getting this case more notarized and bringing justice to these men.
The evening continued with remarks on the case from Martin Garbus, one of the country’s leading trial lawyers, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a professor of Government and Public Policy, Kurt Schmoke, Vice President and General Counsel of Howard University, Anderson Francois, Supervising Attorney of the civil rights clinic and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the partnership for civil justice fund.
Each panelist shared the same message–people must use social media to spread awareness about The Cuban Five and bring justice to these men. It is the job of the students, leaders and activists to spread awareness through social media efforts and educate others about the injustices of this case.
Irene Barnes, a Howard University Law student, said that she “found [the forum] very informative and an important topic for us to be informed on.”
Important Cuban Five Forum, Tue. Nov. 13: Howard University School of Law Washington, DC
“Unjustly Imprisoned in the U.S. for Defending Cuba: The Case of the Cuban Five” is the title of an important forum, sponsored by Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC, Tuesday, November 13.
The panel of speakers at the forum includes:
* Danny Glover (pictured at right with Gerardo), actor and social activist who has visited Gerardo Hernández at Victorville Prison many times. * Martin Garbus (pictured below), member of the Cuban Five’s legal team, spearheading the latest appeals in Gerardo’s case on the issue of the U.S. government’s massive misconduct in influencing the Five’s trial by paying journalists. These reporter-agents covered the trial in an extremely prejudicial manner. * Okianer Christian Dark, Dean of Howard University School of Law. The Law School submitted an Amicus brief for the Five’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. * Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, attorney and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice, instrumental in forcing the government to reveal some of the information about its illegal payments to journalists. * Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell 2002-2005, vocal supporter of freedom for the Cuban Five. * Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, leading efforts to expose the government journalists and their influence on the trial.
The forum is free and open to the public, and offers an important opportunity to the students of Howard University, the public, and audiences far beyond, to learn about the grave injustice dealt to the Cuban Five, and learn about their freedom campaign. If you are within driving distance of Washington, D.C., you won’t want to miss this important meeting. Make sure your friends in the area know about as well!
Details of the forum:
Date, Time: Tuesday, November 13, 6:00 pm Location: Howard University School of Law
Moot Court Room
2900 Van Ness St. NW
Washington, DC Admission: Free
Foro importante para los Cinco Facultad de Derecho de Howard University Washington, DC, martes, 13 de nov.
“Injustamente encarcelados en Estados Unidos por defender a Cuba: El Caso de los Cinco Cubanos” es el título de un importante foro, auspiciado por la Facultad de Derecho de Howard University, en Washington, DC, el martes, 13 de noviembre.
El panel de oradores del foro incluye a:
* Danny Glover (foto en la derecha, con Gerardo), actor y activista social, quien ha visitado a Gerardo Hernández en la prisión federal de Victorville muchas veces. * Martin Garbus (foto abajo), miembro del equipo legal de los Cinco, está dirigiendo el tema de los periodistas pagados por el gobierno, en la apelación actual de Gerardo. El gobierno de EEUU pagó a decenas de periodistas, quienes influenciaron negativamente al jurado y la comunidad de Miami con su cobertura perjudicial contra los Cinco, durante el juicio. * Okianer Christian Dark, Decana de la Facultad de Derecho de Howard University. La Facultad de Derecho entregó un documento legal a favor de la apelación de los Cinco, ante la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos. * Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, la abogado y co-fundador de la Asociación para la Justicia Civil, instrumental en forzar al gobierno revelar información sobre los pagos ilegales a los periodistas. * Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Asistente principal para Colin Powell, cuando era Secretario de Estado en 2002-2005, quien apoya enérgicamente a los Cinco. * Gloria La Riva, coordinadora del Comité Nacional para la Libertad de los Cinco, dirigiendo los esfuerzos para exponer a los periodistas del gobierno.
El foro es gratis y abierto al públicó. Será una oportunidad importante para los estudiantes de Howard University y al público, para aprender sobre la injusticia tan grave cometida contra los Cinco, y saber de la campaña por su libertad. Si usted está en la región de Washington DC, no deje de asistir este importante foro. ¡Invite a sus amigos también!
Detalles del evento:
Fecha, hora: Martes, 13 de noviembre, 6:00 pm Sede: Howard University, Facultad de Derecho
La Sala “Moot Court Room”
2900 Van Ness St. NW
Washington, DC Entrada: Gratis
People stop in Victorville California 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles because they have to see someone at one of its several prisons (federal, state, county and city) or have prison-related business, or
because they’re hot and tired coming back from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and the thought of a swimming pool and an air conditioned room seem irresistible.
We book rooms so we can get to the prison early and spend more time with Gerardo Hernandez. We know the way from Highway 15 west into rolling desert hills from whence one sees a massive gray concrete structure – the federal penitentiary complex.
We fill out the forms, pass through the X-ray machine, get patted down by a guard, get our wrists stamped with indelible ink that shows up under a scanner in the next room, and by 8:45 we are seated in the Visiting room, with black and Latino wives and kids who are seeing husbands and daddies.
Gerardo emerges; we hug and start talking. He told us that Martin Garbus, his lawyer, had filed a new writ (available at www.thecuban5.org) declaring Gerardo’s trial violated basic law and the Constitution, and should be voided – freeing him and his comrades from their long sentences.
Documents show, according to the brief, that the U.S. government paid a host of Miami-based journalists to file negative stories on Gerardo and his fellow defendants (The Cuban 5). These U.S. government paid-for stories appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV and influenced public opinion in the community, including jury members and their families, the writ argues, and therefore calls into deep question whether a fair trial in Miami was possible for the five accused men.
The brief states that the U.S. “government’s successful secret subversion of the Miami print, radio, and television media to pursue a conviction was unprecedented,” and “violated the integrity of the trial and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.”
Garbus further argues that “The Government, through millions of dollars of illegal payments and at least a thousand articles published over a six- year period, interfered with the trial and persuaded the jury to convict. The Government’s Response to this motion is factually barren and legally incorrect. The conviction must now be vacated.”
In the lengthy brief, Garbus shows how journalists wrote and spoke for news outlets for the sole purpose of painting a distorted picture of what the defendants were doing, which was trying to prevent Miami-based terrorism in Cuba, and instead, as Garbus’ brief shows, to portray them as military spies trying to prepare south Florida for a military invasion from Cuba.
The Miami Herald fired the journalists on the grounds they had broken a basic code – taking money from the government to write stories. The brief states that “Thomas Fiedler, the Executive Editor and Vice President of The Miami Herald, when talking about the monies paid to his staff members and members of other media entities by the Government, said it was wrongful because it was “to carry out the mission of the U.S. Government, a propaganda mission. It was wrong even if it had not been secret.” It was secret because the government officials knew it wrong and illegal.
Gerardo and four companions have served almost 14 years in federal lock up for trying to stop right wing Miami thugs from bombing Havana. In 1997, a series of bombs hit hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs. One tourist died and many Cuban workers in these establishments were wounded. The bombings were orchestrated by Luis Posada Carriles, resident of Miami today, and financed by right wing exile money.
As we sat in the visiting room surrounded by mostly people of color, with four guards watching us and the other visitors, we nibbled on salted snacks from the vending machine (“prison gourmet”).
Gerardo told us about his time in “the hole,” for no bad behavior on his part, but for his “protection”! He spoke of deprivation of the routine monotony. “Look around,” he said, “you don’t see a lot of middle class people here. There were none. Most of the prisoners were black or Latino, plus one who Gerardo thought was a descendent of poor Okies. All share a lack of money to hire good lawyers.
“I was transferred here from Lompoc in 2004 because Lompoc was not going to be a maximum security prison any more,” Gerardo told us. As if this cultured, disciplined man needed maximum security. We wondered how we would endure the punishment of imprisonment in a supposedly correctional and rehabilitative institution, where no correction or rehabilitation takes place.
We drove from the prison to the Ontario airport and asked ourselves: What, we asked ourselves, was a well-educated Cuban man doing in such a place? The U.S. government knew the Cuban agents had infiltrated Cuban exile groups that intended to cause damage to Cuba’s tourist economy. The five were fighting terrorism and sharing information with the FBI. They should never have been charged and now, almost 14 years of prison later, they should at last be freed.
President Obama could and should pardon them and send them home. Cuba has indicated it would respond by freeing Alan Gross, who worked for a company contracted to USAID with a design to destabilize the Cuban government and was convicted in Cuba. It’s time for President Obama to put this issue on his agenda.
Danny Glover is an activist and actor.
Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE
STAND UP plays in Portland Sept. 12, Clinton
Theater and Toronto Sept. 21.