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