Tag Archives: Saul Landau

It is just a journey SAUL, The other is not true

originally posted by International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

Gerardo Hernandez Sends a Heartfelt Letter to his Friend Saul Landau: “It is just a Journey Saul, the other is not true”


(For Saúl Landau, with admiration and affection)

It is not true Saul, do not repeat it. I know, others are also saying it, but it is not true. There is a pain in the voice of Carmen when she answers my call, but it cannot be true.
You may say that Yes, old friends have called you and others have come from afar to see you, and the tributes have already begun. Even your own body loudly says it is true. But that does not matter, I know that it is not true. How could it be true, with so many people who admire you and love you? Adriana, whenever we talk, asks me to call you again. (And if that does not mean much to you it’s because you don’t know how she defends and fights for each and every minute of my phone time). Everyone asks for you Saul from all around the world, and like me they all know that it is just a journey, that the other is not true.

A trip where? I do not know with certainty. It is like a close play in a baseball game where no one can agree on the outcome. It is a journey that many do not return, but you’re one of the privileged ones. You’ll be here whenever Danny visits me, and in Cuba when the Five are reunited. You will return whenever someone reads one of your books, or see one of your documentaries. How could you not be there when someone asks who filmed those images of Fidel pushing the jeep stuck in the mud on that road? Or so many other images you captured while traveling half of Cuba with him in 1968? Do you think that you will not be there when someone sees “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up” and will get to understand the case of the Five? Don’t even mention that my friend! You will always be there when people see the interview with Salvador Allende, perhaps the only or at least the most important written in English, as well as when someone discovers those still unpublished images of Fidel talking at home with Harry Belafonte.

It is just a journey Saul, the other is not true. You’ll come when someone wants to know everything about the bomb that killed Letelier and Moffit in the heart of Washington DC. When someone wants to understand Chiapas or the maquiladoras. When they read your poems, or your always accurate articles. When people mention your Medal of Friendship of Cuba, your Bernardo O’Higgins of Chile, your Emmy, and so many other awards and decorations. You will come whenever I tell someone that I had the privilege to meet you, learn from you, enjoy your sense of humor, and when they ask me to whom do I owe my brotherhood with Danny Glover. You’ll always be with your family, with your friends, with your students.

Of course it is not true Saul, I know that it is only a journey. What I don’t know is if we will be able to communicate, so I don’t want to wait for your departure to tell you; thank you for everything, my brother, it was an honor to share with you. On behalf of the Five, our families, and so many good Cubans, thank you!

I will not deny that we are sad, but at the same time we are happy to know that in your case, when it happens, it will only be a trip, because you knew how to earn that privilege.
Very soon I’ll be calling you again, but you know, do not repeat it, because it is not true Saul. It is not true that you are going to die.

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
United States Penitentiary, Victorville, California.
August10, 2013.

Saul Landau is courageously fighting a life threatening illness.
Gerardo’s letter was read to Saul Landau by one of his children.

A Move to Free the Cuban Five

Danny Glover and Saul Landau


Gerardo Hernandez, Danny Glover y Saul Landau (director del documental). Gerardo Hernandez, Danny Glover and Saul Landau, director of the documentary. Photo courtesy Saul Landau

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.

STAND UP plays in Portland Sept. 12, Clinton
Theater and Toronto Sept. 21.

Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up: Saul Landau

By DemocracyNOW.org – Amy Goodman

Award-winning journalist, filmmaker, author, professor Saul Landau has made more than 45 films and written 14 books, many about Cuba. His latest film is “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up,” about U.S. support for violent anti-Castro militants. Landau joins us to discuss the history of the Cuban Five and U.S. support for a group of anti-Castro militants who have been behind the bombing of airplanes, the blowing up of hotels and assassinations. Today they are allowed to live freely in the United States. “What did Cuba do to us?,” Landau asks. “Well, the answer, I think, is that they were disobedient, in our hemisphere. And they did not ask permission to take away property. They took it away. They nationalized property. And the United States … has never forgiven them.”