Tag Archives: shootdown

Jimmy Carter urges release of Cuban Five

Interview with former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, by Arleen Rodríguez Derivet, Cuban Television journalist español


Translation: Machetera

Arleen Rodríguez: Hello!  A greeting to all of those who are watching Cuban Television right now.   I welcome all of you, along with the former President of the United States, James Carter, who just moments before leaving to return to his country has graciously agreed to give us an interview, and an exclusive statement for our television broadcast.

Welcome.  Thank you for accepting our invitation.

Jimmy Carter: It’s a great pleasure to return to Cuba, to Havana.

Rodríguez: It’s a great pleasure to have you here as well.  You told me that you’d like to say something to the Cuban people before our interview.

Carter: Yes.

Rodríguez: The camera is yours.

Carter: To the people of Cuba I would like to say that I am very grateful for the chance to return to your wonderful country once again.  Continue reading


Teaching the Miami Herald to read: Gerardo Hernández’s habeas corpus appeal

On Sunday, December 28, Jay Weaver filed a story for the Miami Herald about the habeas corpus appeal for Gerardo Hernández, one of the “Cuban Five” who is currently serving a double life sentence in the maximum security federal prison at Victorville, California.  The article was subsequently translated for publication in the Herald’s Spanish language subsidiary, El Nuevo Herald.  The story and its headline (“In about-face, Cuban spy says planes were shot down over international waters”) made the sensational claim that in his appeal, Hernández had made a 180 degree turn, and is now contradicting the Cuban government’s position regarding the events of February 24, 1996, when two light aircraft belonging to the Miami group “Brothers to the Rescue” were shot down by Cuban fighter jets after being led toward Cuban airspace by their commander, José Basulto.

Sensationalism certainly attracts readers.  But it is not a substitute for a well-researched story, or the truth.  A careful reading of Hernández’s appeal does not lead to the conclusion stated by Weaver or the Herald.  I will write further about this in upcoming posts.  For now, these are my comments at both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald (Spanish below). Continue reading

A State Department at the Service of Petty Interests: The Ongoing Torture of Adriana Pérez and her Husband, Gerardo Hernández

c_0016 copyCORRECTIONS: The news that Gerardo Hernández received on his birthday, June 4, 2008, was not that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear the Cuban Five’s case, but that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals had reinstated his two life sentences, after a previous ruling had overturned them.  The Supreme Court’s announcement of the refusal to hear the Five’s case would come a year later, on June 15, 2009.  In a sense, the timing was even more cruel, petty and personal than outlined below.  The interview with Adriana Pérez, Gerardo’s wife, attributed in the article below to California’s La Opinión, was actually an Associated Press interview, from which La Opinión collected selected excerpts.

A State Department at the Service of Petty Interests:
Visa Denial as a Form of Torture

By Machetera

When the U.S. Government announced that it would deny Adriana Pérez a visa for the tenth time in eleven years in order to come from Cuba to the United States and visit her husband, Gerardo Hernández, incarcerated at the federal prison in Victorville, California, it carefully chose the date to break the news.  The denial was announced on July 15, the couple’s 21st wedding anniversary.  When the Supreme Court announced that it would refuse to hear the case of the Cuban Five, of whom Hernández is one, and the one facing the largest sentence, it chose the date with equal care: June 4, Hernández’s birthday.  The timing of both events was as certainly deliberate as it was petty – a stamp of the U.S. State Department, where cruelty and pettiness abound.

Pérez has not seen her husband for almost twelve years, starting since almost a year before a SWAT team tore down the door to his tiny apartment in Miami in September of 1998 and arrested him, answering his question about why he was being arrested with a snarling “You know why.”  So much for due process.  It would be only the first violation of its kind in a never-ending chain. Continue reading

Leonard Weinglass’s questions for Hillary Clinton

21mccain-533A story filed by Associated Press journalist Anita Snow last Tuesday, April 21, included the following sentences: “Obama could suffer serious political fallout if he agreed to swap the so-called Cuban Five — communist agents who were convicted of espionage in Miami in 2001. The ringleader was implicated in the death of four exiles killed when Cuban military fighters shot their planes down off the island’s coast in 1996.”

In a reflection published soon afterwards, Fidel wrote, “Isn’t that…an indirect threat to the president of the United States?”

Indeed it is a curious comment, detached from any person interviewed in the story, and therefore presumably Snow’s original creation.  Nevertheless, the fallout Obama might expect to encounter through such a swap would likely rest with the minority of Cuban exiles in Miami who never voted for him in the first place.  He won Florida without, or despite, them, and most U.S. citizens outside of Miami have little memory of the February 24, 1996 shootdown and less still of the Miami trial of five Cubans, five years later, where the U.S. Government, the families of the downed pilots and Cuban exiles with a long history of terrorist action against Cuba joined in a simmering fury in search of a victim.

Ultimately they found five victims, but their rage was focused on one in particular: the one Snow pejoratively calls the “ringleader,” Gerardo Hernandez.  Continue reading