A Year of Freedom

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Granma | Wednesday, 30 December 2015 | Click here for original article

A year has passed since the Miami Five / Cuban Five returned home and were reunited with their families and friends. Granma spoke to them about what this year has meant

Antonio Guerrero: Ready as always

“After 16 years and, I think, three months and four days in prison, being released and returning to my homeland, there is no way, no words to describe that moment (…) What I can say is that from that moment on (…) all that time spent in prison was erased.

“(…) First of all, we would have been willing to fulfill the task we had been sent to complete under the greatest secrecy, and could have died there like other comrades (…). Later came prison, where some of us were sentenced to life, we would have also been willing to die in jail. We knew from day one that the leaders of the Revolution, our government and people weren’t going to abandon us (…). Even in the worst times, we felt that freedom, that joy, that feeling of usefulness of being there denouncing every day the double standard of the empire’s policy in its much-vaunted fight against terrorism. And that was useful, this cause brought many people from around the world together (…) This inspired me to write, to paint, which was another way of feeling even more useful and free.

“So we arrived here, and the year has flown by in the blink of an eye (…) Its been a year in which we have wanted, above all, to express our gratitude to our people and all our friends.

“Just to be clear, from the day we arrived we expressed our willingness to undertake whichever task might be needed to our President, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz; we told him ‘Please also let Fidel know that we are here.’ And our country decided that we would spend the year, not only sharing with our families, but also meeting with many collectives, many young people…

“So sometimes, when we ask, ‘where are we going, what is there to do?’ they tell us: ‘but you are working.’ And yes, all these activities throughout this intense year have been genuinely useful and beneficial (…) I think we have received feedback and learned more about the Cuban reality every day. I believe this is also important for any other task that will no doubt come our way, which we will take on with the same willingness as the very first day.”

Continue reading A Year of Freedom

Answering to our friends:

Cuban flagVatican FlagAmerican Flag

 

The following questionaire is a debt with three italians, friends of Cuba and the Five, who pled with the Pope for our freedom: Father Antonio Tarzia, Proffesor Luciano Vasapollo and Dr. Rita Martufi.

It was prepared by them for several Cuban friends, in preparation for a book. Because of the interests of the issues it seems to us of interest to reproduce our exchange with them.

 From 9 to 16 February a delegation composed by Father Antonio Tarzia (father Paolino), Prof. Luciano Vasapollo (Sapienza University of Rome, Rector’s delegate for international relations with Latin America and the Caribbean) and the Dr. Rita Martufi (together with Luciano Vasapollo, Director of the Center for study CESTES of the USB-Italy and the Italian chapter of the intellectual network Coord.(, Artists and movements in defence of humanity), are in a visit to Cuba, invited by ICAP (Cuban Institute of friendship with peoples) and the Ministry of culture for various meetings. they  asked the following questions to several representatives of the Government of Cuba, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and many intellectuals in universities and schools of the island.

Continue reading Answering to our friends:

The president in his labyrinth

Obama

A story by Reuters gives an account of the process which would have taken to the events on last December 17th, whose impact on the relations Cuba-United States is impossible to foresee. Assembled with fragmentary information, from several sources, it is probably a partial approach to a portion of a more rich and complex history, told mostly by one of the parties and adorned with inferences from the writers.

It has probably the virtue of being the first attempt to take up the process, at least on what refers to the options and tribulations of the American administration. It is to be expected that many more attempts will be helping to complete this puzzle, which with all certainty would make a good movie script.

It is because of this quality that we offer it to the readers, even though it is only a part -probably on some degree inaccurate- if  a bigger story.

Continue reading The president in his labyrinth

The Dream Team, a lock of hair and the fifth leg of the chair

los cincsonsA dream team consumed itself on a more than two week vigil to discover the obvious: There is no worst seer than the one who wants to see something.

It took the full time work of an investigator-correspondent-dissident, an expert on photography, two atomic scientists, a master on industrial design and two journalists the sensational discovery that the meeting of Fidel with the “Fives” was a fraud. Little tricks by the reds. Continue reading The Dream Team, a lock of hair and the fifth leg of the chair

Chronicle of an anticipated parody (4)

justicia-medio-ciega1

December 6, 2000.

Coincidences that life has. The selection of the jury began the day of the execution of the students of medicine. The trial begins on December 6, birthday of child Elián González .

The session begins at 8:50 by addressing the problem of two jurors. Juanito Millado, the Philippine, has his mother seriously ill. He is freed from serving as a juror.

Following comes Mr Eugene Yagle, who will receive a medical treatment the next day and will be ready on Monday. He is moved from first alternate to a permanent juror -absent our enthusiasm, because her daughter is FBI – and it is decided that we take a break Thursday and Friday.

There remains the obsession of the prosecution with the African American Louis Harrel, and our lawyer Paul Mc’Kenna offers the peace pipe to the prosecutors: as it was only excluded one juror instead of two, as anticipated, we can operate with three alternates instead of four. Prosecutors agree with relief and Mr Harrel is freed from appearing in this story. The oath to the jury is taken:

Gil Page

David Bucker

Diana Barnes

Sonia Portalatin

Omaira Garcia

Elthea Peeples

Wilfred Loperena

Richard Campbell

Migdalia Cento

Sergio Hernán

Deborah Vernon

Eugene Yagle

 

Alternate Jurors:

Miguel Torroba

Marjorie Hahn

Beverly

Holland.

 Opening arguments begin at 9:40 am on December 6, 2000, with the Prosecutor David Buckner. I write in my journal:

Continue reading Chronicle of an anticipated parody (4)

Chronicle of an anticipated parody (2)

justicia-medio-ciega1

November 29, 2000.

The session begins at 8:45 with a discussion about the taking of testimonies in Cuba. The Defense has asked for it, but the prosecutors resist and the judge requests each party to forward their arguments to the Court. The fourth group of would-be jurors makes his entrance at 9:30.

On this occasion there are 29. Out of them:

  • One doesn’t want to hear from the police.
  • Another was assaulted by a policeman and the others tried to conceal it.
  • One doesn’t want to hear from Governments: “The United States because it supports the Palestinians and Cuba because Castro was allied of Sadam Husein in the Gulf war”. A lethal combination of ignorance and islamophobia.
  • One knows Marlene Alejandre, wife of one of the downed on February 24, 1996.
  • Other knows José Basulto.

The fifth panel comes in the afternoon. Now is my turn, as a former associate of the democracy movement is part of the group. Very discreetly she asks for a “side bar” and explains the conflict to the judge, who lets her go. Without finishing the individual questionnaire the session is closed until the next day.

Continue reading Chronicle of an anticipated parody (2)

Chronicle of an anticipated parody (1)

justicia-medio-ciega1

November 27 2000.

First day of the trial. The visible part of the process begins, following two years of “underground” activity in which the route has advanced quite a way away from public scrutiny.

The calendar is discussed. Work will be from Monday to Friday between 8:30 and 1:30 pm. Holiday between December 20 and January 2, 2001.

Prosecutors argue that it will take them a month for the presentation of their case. The Defense estimates in 15 days its refutation. All satisfied of the trial to last until the end of February and there goes the jury selection.

The first group of potential jurors arrives at 9:45. All standing. The solemnity to the detail in the absence of essence. An explanation of what they will do as jurors by the judge before the interrogation or “voir dire” – to tell the truth – that seeks to find reasons which would prevent them to serve as jurors: personal problems, obligations, links with any of the parties, among other reasons.

It calls our attention the amount of people who have ties to the brothers to the rescue. Another interesting thing is that more than half have been victims of crimes. Each responds to a personal questionnaire. Those whose responses are not considered suitable for them to serve on the panel are excused. The ones left are instructed not to read news of the case, or discuss it with anyone even if it is your spouse or close family member. Sort of settling on the Moon while living in Miami.

Continue reading Chronicle of an anticipated parody (1)