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Politics Trumps Justice…

Just as the U.S. prison system is the largest on the planet, it should be little surprise that it also has more political prisoners than any other nation.

The Cuban 5

One of the groups that is top-heavy in this regard are Cubans.  The vast majority—like all other prisoners—are statutory “criminals” guilty of consensual law violations, or “detainees” guilty of nothing more than a failure to have a home acceptable to the INS.

The prevailing public opinion is that Cubans are all anti-Castro and anti-communist.  The truth is very different.

While the early wave of emigrants from Cuba in the 1960s were professional, middle- and upper-class, most of  the later groups were far poorer and simply seeking their vision of opportunity and freedom—however they defined it.

Adriana (Hernandez)

They were generally rejected by the Miami community of established 1960’s gusanos.  In part, they were perceived as not quite politically pure enough.  While they all exhibited the requisite “anti-Castro/anti-communism” required by U.S. authorities, it was mostly an empty gesture.

In the prisons, my conversations with, say, Marielitos (assuming a basic knowledge and respect of Cuban culture, history and language), would elicit a very sympathetic view of Cuba and a desire to return if given the opportunity.

At the time, the word they had from their families in Cuba was that those accepted back in the country were detained for a 1-month period, and then released to their home communities.

Havana Harborfront

A number of the Cubans I knew had decent-paying jobs in UNICOR and/or had prison hustles (stores, cleaning, laundry, etc.) in which they earned money to send back to Cuba (thru a Canadiancompany).  They were looking forward to going home.

One of the more egregious examples of political “justice” is the case of the Cuban Five.  They’ve been down now for 12 years, and are serving sentences ranging from 15 years to double-life.  The basic facts of their case are not in dispute.

After Cuba turned to international tourism in the mid-‘90s, anti-Castro terror groups based in Miami embarked on a campaign to bomb resorts and murder foreigners to sabotage the industry .  The USG ignored all Cuban protests.

Cuba sent in a team of five intelligence officers to infiltrate these groups.  Receiving documentation, the Cuban gov’t invited a team of FBI personnel to Cuba and gave them some 64 folders of information, anticipating that they would prosecute these terrorists and stop the terrorism.  A laudable but naive hope.

The U.S. Gov’t tacitly supported the gusano terrorists and, instead, used the information to hunt down the Cuban officers, arrest and prosecute them.  The Administration and Justice Department ignored the fact that the mission of the Cubans was explicitly not to commit espionage against the U.S., and they were prosecuted under the conspiracy statutes.

(Conspiracy is unique to American law.  Having no evidence of spying against the U.S., the officers were prosecuted for their “intent to commit a crime.”  Having been prosecuted and convicted myself under the statute, and sentenced to 25-yrs, it’s my experience that a significant percentage of the prison population are actually victims of such law.)

Some 30 nations, and a host of international bodies and courts have protested, all to no avail.

While politics may trump justice in the short term, I believe that paradoxically a very different future is being writ in America’s gulag.  We are achieving more cultural community and human commonality in prison than all the gov’ts and their privateers over the past 50+ years have dreamed of…surely not their intent…

  Dr. Publico

Category: Cubans
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3 Responses
  1. publico says:

    I don’t know about y’all, but if I step on a puppy, I don’t kick him, too. Dr. Publico.

  2. […] cooperated with the FBI back in 2006 concerning info on Posada, the FBI instead used it to imprison five Cuban agents in the US (none of which were even accused of any criminal activity…they were anti-terror […]

  3. […] of the Cuban Five group that tried to prevent gusano terrorism against their people and were imprisoned by the ruling […]

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