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Breaking News: Cuban Five are Free!

PCJF heralds release, undertook multi-year investigation and lawsuit exposing corruption of justice

The Cuban Five are free! After 16 years as political prisoners in the United States through a prosecution and trial that demonstrated a gross corruption of justice, the remaining three, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, and Antonio Guerrero are going home to Cuba.

Actor Danny Glover speaks at a forum on the Cuban Five with PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

This is a testament to the fight by the people in the United States and around the world demanding justice and a new day in U.S.-Cuba relations. Now is the time to turn the page. The U.S. must end the blockade against Cuba.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a federal lawsuit in addition to its multi-year investigation uncovering thousands of pages of documents related to a U.S. government operation in which it funded Miami “journalists” who presented themselves as independent reporters and who also saturated the Miami media with false, inflammatory and hostile stories during the prosecution and trial of the Cuban Five. This conduct, which would have influenced the jury pool and the un-sequestered jury, violated the fundamental right to a fair trial.

The presence of Miami journalists on the U.S. government payroll, who purported to report as “independent” press, goes to the heart of the unjust conviction of the Five. The Five were not only victims of a politically-motivated prosecution, but a government-funded propaganda operation as well. This corruption of justice became a central part of the pending habeas petitions.

Background on the Five:

In 1998, five Cuban men were arrested by the U.S. government and tried in Miami on charges of conspiring to commit espionage on the United States.

The five men’s mission was to stop terrorism, keeping watch on Miami’s ultra-right extremists to prevent their violent attacks against Cuba. “The Cuban Five,” as they are now known, were convicted after repeated denials by the judge to move the trial venue out of Miami. The U.S. government insisted that they be tried in Miami.

Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for Colin Powell when he was Secretary State from 2001 to 2005, commented about the inability of the Cuban Five to receive a fair trial in Miami:

When the case came to trial, a change of venue was warranted and asked for because no Miami court was going to give the Cuban Five a fair trial, since the city is largely in the hands of some of the very Cuban-Americans and their supporters who’ve allegedly perpetrated these atrocities on the Cuban people and are prepared to invade the island. But the change of venue motion was denied. And of course the five were convicted.