As of December 17, 2014, all of the Cuban 5 are free!
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo is part of the Cuban Five and was previously serving two life terms plus 15 years before being freed on 12/17/14.
He was born in Havana on June 4, 1965. In 1989 he graduated with a degree in International Political Relations. While in school he participated in amateur festivals as part of a theater group and also as a cartoonist-humorist. In 1989 Hernández served as part of the Cuban forces in Angola against the invading South African apartheid regime. He distinguished himself in 54 combat missions and was awarded a medal of honor. Hernández has had his drawings published since 1982 and displayed in gallery exhibitions. His book of caricatures and humor, “You Can Achieve Everything with Love and Humor” was published in 2002. He has been married since 1988 to Adriana Pérez O’Connor.
For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in Miami engaged in countless terrorist activities against Cuba, and against anyone who advocates a normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. More than 3,000 Cubans have died as a result of these terrorists’ attacks.
Terrorist Miami groups like Comandos F4 and Brothers to the Rescue operate with complete impunity from within the United States to attack Cuba—with the knowledge and support of the FBI and CIA.
Therefore, Cuba made the careful and necessary decision to send Gerardo along with four other Cubans to Miami to monitor the terrorists. The Cuban Five infiltrated the terrorist organizations in Miami to inform Cuba of imminent attacks.
The aim of such a clandestine operation by the Cuban Five—at great personal risk—was to prevent criminal acts, and thus protect the lives of Cubans and other people.
But instead of arresting the terrorists, the FBI arrested the Cuban Five ANTI-terrorists on September 12, 1998.
The trial began in November 2000. With the seven-month trial based in Miami, a virtual witchhunt atmosphere existed. Defense attorneys’ motions for a change of venue were denied five times by the judge, although it was obvious that a fair trial was impossible in that city.
In a blow to justice, the Cuban Five were convicted June 8, 2001 and sentenced to four life terms and 75 years in December, 2001.
Appeals Victory and then Surprising Reversal
On August 9, 2005, after seven years of unjust imprisonment, the Cuban Five won an unprecedented victory on appeal. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of the Cuban Five and ordered a new trial outside of Miami.
However, in an unexpected reversal on Oct. 31, the 11th Circuit Court vacated the three-judge panel’s ruling and granted an “en banc” hearing before the full panel of 12 judges. Exactly one year after the victory that granted the Five a new trial, the panel voted 10 to 2 to deny the Five heroes a new trial, and instead affirmed the trial court.
Nine remaining issues of appeal are before the three-judge panel (it is actually two judges now, one has retired), and as of December 2006, final supplemental documents were submitted by defense and prosecution. For an explanation of the legal issues, read the Nov. 21 interview with Leonard Weinglass here.
Recently, it also came out that the US government has covertly paid tens of thousands of dollars to Miami journalists working for major media outlets who, during the federal government’s politically-charged Miami prosecution, published often incendiary stories about Cuba and the five Cubans.
Life in Prison
Initially, the Cuban Five were illegally held in solitary confinement for 17 months in Miami jail. His wife has been denied entry to the United States by U.S. authorities seven times and has not been able to see her husband in more than ten years.
Challenging His Sentence and Conviction
Gerardo is currently appealing his conviction and life sentence. First, he is challenging his conviction, which is conspiracy to kill. The charge relates to Cuba’s shootdown of two BTTR planes. The evidence is overwhelming that Hernandez had nothing to do with the shootdown and that Cuba’s intention to address unlawful overflights of its territory was consistent with international law. Hernandes’conviction resulted from serious errors by his attorney as well as the government’s failure to disclose important evidence.
Second, the trial – held in Miami, the U.S. city that is the most hostile to the Cuban government – was fundamentally unfair because the jury pool was tainted by U.S.-funded propaganda.
Many people have spoken out in support of Gerardo and the rest of the Cuban Five. Their 2001 trial is the only U.S. criminal proceeding to be condemned by the U.N.Human Rights Commission. Celebrities such as Danny Glover have come forward in protest of the five being locked up.
Important declarations have been made by hundreds of parliamentarians in Britain, Italy, and the European and Latin American Parliaments. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, with five judges, ruled that there were irregularities in the Five’s trial and arrest, effectively denying them a fair trial and calls on the U.S. government to remedy this injustice.
- Support Site- www.freethefive.org