Cuban speakers to raise issue of ‘Miami Five’ in Galway
By Kernan Andrews
Señora Magali Llort, mother of Fernando Gonzalez – one of the “Miami Five” – will address a public meeting in Galway tomorrow at 7.30pm in the SIPTU Hall, Brendan O’Hehir Road.
The talk is part of a short tour of Irish cities to highlight the Irish campaign for justice for the group of Cuban prisoners in US jails known as the Miami Five.
The Miami Five - Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez - were convicted, as Cuban intelligence officers, in Miami in 2001 of conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, acting as the agent of a foreign government, and other illegal activities in the USA.
The five were in the US to observe and infiltrate extremist anti-Castro groups engaged in terrorist activities against civilian Cuban targets including resort hotels and airlines. Following conviction the men received sentences varying from life to 15 years in prison.
Señora Llort will be joined by Dr Haymel Espinosa Gomez, daughter of the co-pilot on the 1976 Cubana Airliner blown up in mid-air by a bomb planted by anti-Castro extremists facilitated by US intelligence operatives in a terrorist campaign against Cuba. Dr Gomez will give the context to the activities of the Miami Five in the US in combating anti-Cuban terrorism.
From the beginning human rights observers, legal experts and others called attention to serious concerns about the conduct of the men’s trials, including the refusal of defence requests that the trials be held in a neutral venue other than Miami - a centre of anti-Castro opinion - judicial bias and an orchestrated media campaign against the accused.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights noted concerns relating to the trials and called on the US to remedy the situation.
All interested are invited to attend the meeting, which is free. The meeting, on behalf of the Irish Campaign for Justice for the Miami Five, is facilitated by the Galway Council of Trade Unions, SIPTU, and Cuba Solidarity Ireland.