ON THE CUBAN FIVE AND THE LACK OF U.S. COMPLIANCE WITH THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS FINDINGS AND REQUESTS FOR REMEDIAL ACTION

The General Assembly of the 17th Congress of the IADL, meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on June 9, 2009 adopts and issues the following resolution:

WHEREAS: Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, Cuba and its people have suffered from continued terrorism including sabotage and assassinations (completed and attempted), killing over 3,000 of its citizens and maiming thousands of others;

WHEREAS: Cuba has repeatedly protested the planning, financing and launching of such attacks from the U.S., in private and public protests and requests to the U.S. government, and Cuba also determined the necessity of sending its own agents to monitor continuing plots in order to deter or minimize further such attacks;

WHEREAS: Cuba’s protective measures taken in self-defense have been largely but not entirely successful, such as resulting in the arrest of Luis Posada Carriles in Panama before he could carry out a likely act of mass murder in order to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in the year 2000, but Posada and all of his operatives were subsequently pardoned in Panama after being convicted of relatively minor charges and all of them subsequently entered the U.S., where most of them are completely free and all are allowed to stay in their residences. This is despite repeated extradition requests from Venezuela to try Posada for a prior act of mass murder, and the failure of the U.S. government to process these which are based on the provisions of its long-standing extradition treaty with Venezuela, and the failure of the U.S. government to classify or charge Posada as a suspected terrorist;

WHEREAS: In September 1998, the U.S. Government arrested the Cuban Five who were in Florida to try to monitor continuing plots against Cuba in order to deter or minimize further such attacks; they were then held in solitary confinement for 17 months, and were tried and convicted in Miami (over the objections of the defendants that a fair trial could not be held there), and they were sentenced to long prison terms ranging from 15 years to more than two life terms;

WHEREAS: The United States government has repeatedly violated the rights of the five prisoners and their families to regular visitation, most severely in the cases of Gerardo Hernandez and his wife Adriana Perez, and Rene Gonzalez and his wife Olga Salanueva. Both women have requested visas on at least seven occasions and each time the United States government has denied their requests for approximately a decade. Denying these families the right to see each other is, according to Amnesty International (AI), which has repeatedly raised this issue with the U.S. government since 2002, “unnecessarily punitive and contrary to standards for humane treatment of prisoners and states’ obligations to protect family life.” As to the circumstances leading to their conviction and confinement, AI states that it is continuing to review the case and gather information;

WHEREAS: On May 27, 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Commission, issued its Conclusion that depriving these five Cubans of their liberty contravened Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), based on the conditions of their confinement including the long period in solitary confinement, the limitation of defense access to the potential evidence, and the conditions and location of the Miami trial, combined with “the severe sentences received.” It therefore “requested the U.S. Government to adopt the necessary steps to remedy the situation,” in conformity with the principles stated in the ICCPR;

WHEREAS: In August 2005, a unanimous panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Miami trial of the Five was unfair and their convictions should be vacated based on a “perfect storm” of intense community hostility against anyone identified with the government of Cuba, combined with prosecutorial misconduct designed to inflame such passions. That opinion was subsequently vacated by the full 11th Circuit, which issued a ruling en banc one year later in August 2006, upholding the venue as being proper, and in August, 2007, remaining issues on appeal were again argued to a three judge panel which affirmed their convictions and most of their sentences on June  4, 2008.  A petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court was subsequently filed and that Court’s response is expected in the near future, well over 10 years since the arrests;

WHEREAS: The IADL has previously called attention to these injustices, including by calling on its affiliates to study and act on this case, and also by the IADL (joined by a number of its affiliates) filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and with the U.S. Supreme Court.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the IADL at its 17th Congress reaffirms its commitment to fight for justice in this case, and that it specifically calls upon:

A) the United States government to honor the more than four year old finding of the appropriate UN body, by either releasing these prisoners forthwith or providing them with a new trial;

B) the UN, and its Human Rights Commission (HRC) now meeting in Geneva and further considering this case, to investigate and publicize these continuing violations and the lack of timely or meaningful compliance by the U.S. Government to date;

C) the mass media of the U.S. and the world to give appropriate coverage, which has so far been lacking,  to this important case and its implications for the U.S. government’s claimed opposition to terrorism;

D) the U.S. government to promptly approve visas for family members so that they may enter the United States to visit the five prisoners on a regular basis; and

E) all human rights and peace organizations to review and address this case after nearly 11 years, and to act appropriately in the cause of justice.

Download resolution: Cuban Five Resolution.doc (28.5 KB)