RICARDO ALARCÓN DE QUESADA, President of the Cuban Parliament
THE habeas corpus relief petitions on behalf of the five Cubans unjustly sentenced in the United States and, in particular, the affidavit submitted by Martin Garbus, Gerardo Hernández’ lawyer, primarily focus on the role played by "journalists" who, in the pay of the U.S. government, created an atmosphere of hysteria and irrational hatred which terrorized the jury into finding them guilty despite the prosecution’s lack of evidence. Worse still, the prosecution acknowledged that it could not substantiate the principal charge.
Nevertheless, this is not a confrontation of the Five and their defense with journalism and journalists; in fact, quite the opposite.
In addition to being in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the regulations of due process, the operation mounted by the prosecution in Miami was also an insult to a profession which deserves respect. It was a Miami newspaper – The Miami Herald – which first revealed the existence of this secret operation, in which some of its own journalists participated. They were sacked for what the editor considered a violation of journalistic ethics.
The author of the revelation, Oscar Corral, paid a high price for sticking to the rules of his profession. Instead of receiving a prize for his investigative work, he was subjected to, in his own words, "a campaign orchestrated to intimidate, harass and silence. It was concentrated artillery fire." He added that certain threats were very specific and his family was mentioned, prompting his editors to move them to a place of safety.
Genuine journalism was also a victim of government deceit.
But, who were the government paid "journalists" and why were they hired to do what they did?
All of them, without exception, were members of or closely linked to Miami organizations cultivating violence and terrorism, and some of them are themselves convicted and confessed terrorists; some had previously worked in journalism and were capable of writing a couple of pages, while others had never passed the entrance exam to any school of journalism; all of them have a lot of experience as provocateurs and assiduously participate in radio and television programs characterized by the brazenness and stridency of those openly advocating the use of force against Cuba. All of them met the criteria to be hired by Washington to fulfill a clandestine task. In other words, they were people who could be trusted, and that is why they were given the job and paid generously because, after all, they didn’t use money from their own pockets but that of taxpayers.
All of them were paid out of budgets for Radio and TV Martí, which are government enterprises, funded by the federal budget which is fed by taxes and other public contributions; in other words, U.S. citizens and residents. However, those who without knowing it, payrolled them, knew nothing about this covert operation.
For this reason, Garbus’ affidavit emphasizes that this is an issue of exceptional importance. Above all, for our five compatriots who have now served 14 years of their sentences. But it is also important, very much so, for those who are not in prison.
It is particularly important for genuine journalists, without quote marks, those who honestly exercise a professional which others have prostituted and turned into an instrument for the kidnapping of five innocent men.
At the end of his affidavit, Garbus mentions the U.S. Attorney General: "Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. was not responsible for this prosecution when it began. He is now."
Journalism professionals and the printed media outside of Miami were not responsible for this crime when it took place. But now that they know what happened they cannot evade their responsibility. Silence now would be complicity.
-A CHALLENGE TO JOURNALISTS (I) (II)