The unjust incarceration of the five Cuban heroes by the US imperialism is a crime against humanity
On the occasion of the January 8 rally this year the President of the ANC and our Republic, Cde Jacob Zuma, reiterated a clarion call to the people of our country and the world, to intensify the campaign for the immediate end of the US led economic blockade against the Republic of Cuba and the release of the five Cuban heroes. The statement to demand for the immediate end of the US led economic blockade against the people of Cuba and the release of the Cuban five heroes by our National Executive Committee, is consistent with the historic traditions of our movement to embrace working class solidarity and internationalism.
The statement by the National Executive Committee of the ANC has confirmed that our liberation movement is still part of the progressive struggles of the people of the world to emancipate themselves from the acrimonious system of imperialism and neo colonialism. Therefore our solidarity with the struggles of the people of Cuba against the US led aggression on the sovereignty of their state, is part of our contribution to the noble cause of human solidarity and internationalism.
Our campaign to demand for the immediate end of the US economic blockade against the Republic of Cuba and the release of the Cuban five, is part of the traditions to consolidate the unity of the working class struggles and solidarity against the brutality of the system of imperialism and colonialism. The struggles of the people of Cuba against the US aggression and imperialism represents the vanguard struggles of the international working class.
In other words the victory of the struggles of the people of Cuba to against the US led economic blockade and the release of the five Cuban heroes, will be a victory of the people of the world against imperialist domination and colonial exploitation. Our contribution to the noble cause of the struggles of the heroic people of Cuba, is a contribution to the solidarity of the international working class to create a better world for humanity.There is no nobler a cause than to serve the working class.
The people of our mother continent and our country in particular will forever appreciate the generosity and the heroic contribution of the Cuban revolution to our own struggles for liberation. The common purpose and fulfillment of the Cuban people to the cause of liberating our continent from the shackles of imperialism and colonialism cannot be measured by any historical period. Three of the five heroes serving lengthy prison sentences in the imperialist jails on the US soil, fought side by side with the liberation movements of our continent during our struggles against the racist apartheid regime in Angola.
They understood the teachings of their Commander in Chief Fidel Castro that the struggles of the people of the African Continent was part of the struggles for freedom and equality of the people of Latin America and the whole world. They understood the objective circumstances that the liberation of the African people from the yoke of imperialism and colonialism was an obligation to fulfill human solidarity. They understood that the struggles of the people of the African Continent represent the vanguard struggles of the international proletariat.
The five Cuban heroes continue to be the living exemplary of working class solidarity and internationalism from the deep end of the American prison walls. Last year the five Cuban heroes and the leaders of our future, wrote a courageous letter of solidarity on behalf of the people of Cuba and the world, to one of the world most longest serving political prisoner languishing in the American jails.
The letter by the five Cuban heroes to the Puerto Rican freedom fighter, Oscar Lopez Rivera, who is serving 33 years of his life sentence for leading the struggle the freedom and sovereignty of the people of Puerto Rico against US imperialism reads as follows “
With the same unyielding and moral spirit that we share in common, we send you our strongest hug of solidarity as we reiterate our admiration and affection.
Oscar needs all the solidarity we can give him, and he is an example to follow by current and future generations of Puerto Ricans.
Men like Oscar are indispensable if we are to build a society for human beings, which has encouraged the noblest actions ever, since history began to be written”.
The archives of our history books will record the contents of the letter of the five Cuban heroes to Oscar Lopez Rivera, as a letter which has distinguished them from the rest of the human race to be the best teachers of working class solidarity and internationalism in the current epoch of our struggles. Their courage against repression and abuse of human rights represent the humane posture and character of the Cuban revolution to the people of the world.
Indeed the five Cuban heroes, Oscar Lopez Rivera and many other brave men and women across the whole world serving harsh prison sentences for the noble cause of the freedom and dignity of our own people, need all the solidarity we can give, as they are the example to be followed by current and future generations to come. Men and women like them, are the most indispensable if we are to build a society for human beings, which has encouraged the noblest actions ever, since history began to be written.
The 26 July movement under the leadership of the rebel army and the Commander in Chief of the Cuban revolution Fidel led a victorious revolution that saw the collapse of the most repressive regime of the dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. During the period of the reign of terror by the dictator thousands of innocent people of Cuba were exposed to the most gruesome forms of atrocities and abuse of human rights. The repressive Batista regime became the epicenter of the worst forms of violation of the rights of man in the history of the world.
There was no freedom of expression and association. The regime banned all political parties and immediately suspended the constitution of the country. The organized workers were not allowed to join trade union and or strike. US imperialism made him to be an opium of the people, the alpha and omega of the affairs of the Cuban nation.
The dictator Batista was manipulated by wealthiest American business people who owned vast tracks of commercial lands and the Cuban sugar and cigar industry. He was also committing all these economic crimes in collaboration with the American mafia gangs who controlled the drug, gambling and and prostitution business empires in Havana. The mismanagement of the Cuban economy by the American business interest led to severe socio economic living conditions of the people.
As a result of the deteriorating socio economic contradictions the regime embarked on a massive crackdown to suppress the growing discontent and mobilization of the people. Secrete police service was unleashed to kill thousands of members of the Cuban communist party. There was a wide scale of violence, torture and public executions by the regime throughout Cuba. Thousands of innocent people were massacred by the regime under the dictator with the support of the American government.
The political repression and the deteriorating socio economic conditions in the country led to the triumph of the Cuban revolution that overthrew Batista in 1959. The triumph of the Cuban revolution against the dictator regime of Batista subsequently led to the declaration of the socialist character of the Cuban revolution by the Commander in Chief in 1961.
The historic declaration of the first socialist state at the door step of the American shores followed the attempted failure by the US sponsored mercenaries to invade the Cuban revolution during the victorious battle of Playa Giron. The triumph of the revolutionary forces at Playa Giron against the US led invasion signified an important step in the process that led for the unity and cohesion of the Cuban revolution and the people. Play Giron was the first military defeat of the US imperialism in the Latin America.
The humiliation of the US imperialism during the battle of Playa Giron led to the US administration imposing unilateral economic blockade against the peaceful Cuban revolution and its people. The economic blockade against the Republic of Cuba was a reaction by the successive American administrations to oppose the popular will and the support of the Cuban people to the first socialist state in the Americas. The battle of Playa Giron signified the victory of the people of Cuba against the aggression of imperialism and American colonialism.
Since the declaration of the socialist proclamation of the socialist character of the Cuban revolution, the United States through its sponsored mercenaries has been involved in acts of conspiracy to undermine the sovereignty of the Cuban state. The revolutionary government and the people of Cuba have been subjected to endless threads, sanctions, invasions, sabotage and violent attacks by the US sponsored mercenaries that resulted in more than three thousands loss of innocent lifes and many people wounded.
In one of the worst crimes against humanity, seventy three people were killed when a bomb exploded aboard a commercial airliner carrying people in 1976. The people behind this horrible criminal act were two CIA mercenaries of Cuban origin staying in Miami, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, who were never held accountable by the US administration.
The collapse of the soviet block and the communist states in the Eastern Europe changed the balance of forces in the world. The collapse severely weakened the economies of all nation states like Cuba, who most of their exports and imports depended on the Russian economy. To aggravate conditions to the worse, the US sponsored mercenaries started to be involved in acts of conspiracy and sabotage to cripple the growing Cuban tourist industry.
The conspiracy was to commence on a violent campaign targeting tourist hotels and resorts, buses, airports, and other facilities to destroy the booming industry. As a consequence of the sabotage campaign against the revolution and its people, a bomb planted by the US sponsored mercenaries exploded in the lobby of a hotel in Havana killing an innocent Italian tourist. Raul Ernesto Cruz Leon, a citizen of El Salvador, who confessed to have been hired and paid thousands of dollars by the US sponsored mercenaries was arrested.
As a result of the escalating heinous acts of sabotage and conspiracy against the revolution and its innocent people, the Commander in Chief deployed the five Cuban heroes to Miami to counterpose the activities of the organizations involved the acts of sabotage against the republic of Cuba. The determination of the five Cuban heroes to protect their revolution and its people, saw them accessing concrete evidence proving the involvement of US sponsored mercenaries to the acts of sabotage against their revolutionary state.
After receiving evidence from the five heroes about the involvement of the US sponsored mercenaries in these acts of sabotage against the Cuban revolution, the Commander in Chief sent his personal emissary, to deliver a hand written letter to the then President of the USA Bill Clinton in 1998. In the letter Cde Fidel was asking the US President Bill Clinton to persecute the people implicated in the terrorist activities against the Cuban revolution. But instead of arresting the terrorist involved, even if there was enough evidence given to the US administration, the FBI arrested the very same Cuban heroes, who were involved in gathering the information exposing the crimes and activities of individuals and organizations involved in acts of sabotage against the revolutionary state of Cuba.
The five Cuban heroes and leaders of our tomorrow, Cdes Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Rene González Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort were sentenced to maximum prison terms for the crime of exposing syndicates involved in international terrorist activities against their own revolution and its people. Most of this revolutionaries were involved in the struggles for the liberation of the southern African region from the fascist apartheid regime.
In a letters commemorating the 11th anniversary of his incarceration and his fellow comrades, Antonio Querrero Rodriquez writes as follows “
On June 8th eleven years ago, we were declared guilty of all charges by a jury in the city of Miami, where we could never have received an impartial and fair trial.
I think one of us heard something on the Miami radio, or perhaps on television, on the 7th we were pretty certain that the verdict would be the following day. And, indeed, they came to wake us around 4 a.m. to take us to the Court.
We knew not to expect anything good. The members of the jury had barely taken any time to arrive at their decision. Despite that, I remember vividly, in none of us Five was there the slightest bit of defeatism, in fact, just the opposite. We went with our heads high as we sat down before that jury, which obviously had heard only the version of the facts fabricated by the prosecutors, and they had not even expressed one doubt in arriving at their conclusion.
What would the jury’s deliberations have been like, if there had been any doubt?
What could be expected of a jury that felt an immense pressure on them from the very day they were selected?
A jury whose vehicle license plates were filmed. A jury that was told not to read the press nor discuss what was published with anybody (and now we know about all that was published by the [U.S.-] paid journalists), but who went to their homes every day. A jury in which some of their family members had links with government entities. A jury whose foreman came to sit next to Basulto, one of the many admitted terrorists in Miami, on the day of Gerardo’s sentencing, and he was visibly euphoric.
I remember that night of the 8th I wrote a poem, inspired by that thought of our Apostol, José Martí:
“Truth is like a colossal arm, which raises justice up where the avarice of men cannot reach.”
One day after that colossal injustice, our Commander-in-Chief Fidel informed our people and the world of our situation.
Thus began an unstoppable, long and difficult battle to bring us home to our homeland, a battle in which loyal friends of Cuba from around the world have joined together with our people.
Nothing can hold back that great wave of solidarity that grows more each day.
Truth is ours.
There never was nor will there ever be defeatism.
We are encouraged by the revolutionary words of wisdom and solidarity from Cde Antonio, indeed truth is like a colossal arm, which raises justice up where the avarice of man cannot reach. Nothing can hold back the great wave of solidarity that grows more each day.
The episode about the Cuban five is the most gruesome untold story of the brutality of the US led imperialism and the continued phenomenon of violation of fundamental Human rights across the world. Freedom and equality of the people of the world will be incomplete as long as these five heroes and many other freedom fighters across the world are still languishing in jails.
The international community has a moral obligation to rise to the occasion and declare the continuous US led economic blockade against Cuba and the incarceration of the five Cuban heroes as a crime against humanity. We support the worldwide movement and campaign for the immediate end of the US led economic blockade against the Republic of Cuba and the release of the Cuban five. The freedom of the people of Cuba and the five Cuban heroes is the freedom and dignity of the people the world.
Phatse Justice Piitso is the former ambassador to the Republic of Cuba and former provincial secretary of the SACP in Limpopo writing this article on his personal capacity.