FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Fabricated Murder

by RICARDO ALARCÓN de QUESADA

On February 24, 1996, a lamentable event took place in front of the Malecón in Havana. Two small planes belonging to a terrorist group in Miami were shot down by anti-aircraft defenses when they violated Cuban national territory. Dozens of similar violations had taken place that year and the government had publicly warned it would not tolerate repetitions of such actions.

This event greatly increased tensions between the United States and Cuba and was the subject of intense debates within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the UN Security Council. 

On May 7, 1999 — more than three years and two months after the event– the government of the United States, irresponsibly and capriciously, used the incident and turned it into Count No. 3, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, against Gerardo Hernández Nordelo alone.

The proceedings against the Five focused mostly on this charge.

To this accusation the court devoted most of its sessions, experts and witnesses Relatives of the men who lost their lives on February 24 were present every day in the courtroom, made public demonstrations, and gave press conferences right then and there in front of the members of the jury. 

This issue was the focus of the media campaign. Thousands of articles and comments were produced about it for the press, radio and television.

Strangely, the media paid great attention to Count No. 3 even before it existed. It can be stated without a doubt that the charge was the result of a conspiracy between the government and the terrorist groups responsible for the event. In this conspiracy, the “journalists” paid by the government had a decisive role.

In September 1998, when the FBI arrested the Five, the US Attorney pressed charges against the accused. Count 3 was not there, there was no mention of aircraft incidents, shot-down planes or anything of the sort. The accusation against Gerardo was added more than seven months later when he and his comrades were in solitary confinement, isolated from the world, in their first visit to “The Hole” that lasted 17 months.

An analysis of the Miami press between September 1998 and May 1999 is evidence of the previous statement. We can find many declarations by leaders of terrorists groups widely spread and amplified by “journalists”, asking the government to add the new allegation. Among other things we can read extensive information on the meetings between prosecutors and terrorists, from which the “Second Superseding Indictment” would emerge to take the place of the first and include Count 3.

A reading of both documents from the US Attorney would make any self-respecting journalist be surprised and feel an obligation to enquire. According to these documents, the FBI had managed to discover who Gerardo Hernández Nordelo was really, and what he was doing in the United States, at least since 1994, more than two years before the 1996 incident. They had been able to decipher his communications with Havana; they knew what he was doing and what he was being instructed to do. Thus, they did not act against Gerardo and his comrades, because they knew his work was not at all damaging to the US or the American people.

They also knew that Gerardo had nothing to do with the 1996 events. In those days, there was a great uproar, not only in Miami, but also in Washington. Bill Clinton, the president at the time, has written that he had received proposals even of a military attack against Cuba. The more aggressive groups in South Florida ranted night and day, calling for war. The complicity of these groups with the local FBI is well-known. Can anyone believe they would have done nothing against “the culprit” for the shooting down of the planes? That they would have done nothing against him if they had had him right there, surveilled by the FBI, in Miami?

And Cuba? None of the communications between Havana and Gerardo, in the FBI’s possession and presented at the trial, suggest that there was even the slightest concern about his safety or the need to protect him from the risks he could face if he had had any participation in the incident. Gerardo continued his work in Miami for almost three more years. He came to Cuba for vacation and nobody thought he should stay here to protect his life.

When he was arrested in September 1998, he was not charged with anything related to the 1996 events simply because the FBI knew, at least since 1994, what Gerardo was doing and therefore knew he had nothing to do with that unfortunate incident.

However, in 1999 they came up with the unbelievable slander of accusing him of first degree murder – with malice aforethought – and they did this – the FBI, that is, the government– to satisfy the wishes of the terrorist mafia and their lip-servicing buddies in the media who were also on the government payroll.

So weak was the charge that the US Attorney understood later they could not prove it and asked to withdraw it. This would have made front page news in any other case, but not in the case against the Five.

Ricardo Alarcón is the president of the Cuban National Assembly.

Translated by CubaNews.

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada has served as Cuba’s UN ambassador, Foreign Minister and president of the National Assembly.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Dmitry Kolesnik
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus, as, Fear and Loathing Grip Europe.
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail