But Gerardo Hernández, in Victorville maximum-security federal prison on the high desert plateau 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles, has a double-life prison sentence. In U.S. federal prison there is no parole for life imprisonment; a life term is the rest of one’s natural life.
This outrageous and unjust sentence must not stand. The Cuban people and a worldwide and United States movement are determined to fight until Hernández’s imprisonment is lifted and the three remaining Cuban Five heroes return home as soon as possible.
On the legal front, the Habeas Corpus appeal for Gerardo Hernández is based on two essential premises:
He had no role in the Cuban government shoot-down of the Brothers to the Rescue planes of Feb. 24, 1996, for which he was falsely convicted of “murder conspiracy.” Hernández’s affidavit of March 21, 2011 fully explains his innocence on the charge in detail and refutes the government’s false accusations made during trial.
Hernández’s Habeas Corpus appeal of October 12, 2010 and 2011 Affidavit explain in detail that Ineffective Counsel in his trial warrants the granting of a new trial.
New information five years after the Five’s 2001 convictions exposed for the first time the existence of Miami reporters on the U.S. government payroll, secretly working for official propaganda stations Radio and TV Martí in Miami.
Now, years of research and legal challenges by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and Liberation newspaper have exposed a deeper operation of dozens of Miami journalists receiving millions of dollars in government monies, many of whom worked to help convict the Cuban Five with prejudicial and deliberately-tailored coverage to help in the Government’s prosecution.
Appeals counsel have incorporated this extensive new evidence in their Habeas filings for the Cuban Five, arguing that the existence of Government-paid reporters hopelessly corrupted the Five’s constitutional right to Due Process and thus mandates an immediate reversal of all their convictions.
This document will focus on the issue of the government-employed Miami reporters, and the media hysteria they created and sustained from the time of the 1996 BTTR shoot-down through the prosecution of Gerardo Hernández and the Cuban Five.
The defense counsel for the Five have provided abundant evidence and law on the journalists’ issue, to require an immediate vacating of the Cuban Five’s convictions.
But as everyone who supports the Cuban Five knows, this is a political case involving the U.S. government’s longstanding policy of hostility towards Cuba and powerful right-wing anti-Cuba forces in Miami that weigh heavily on Miami society. Many of those exile forces receive government funds, including the media.
Only in Miami could a jury convict Gerardo Hernández for murder conspiracy despite the Government’s own protestations that it could not convict due to “insurmountable hurdles for the United States” and the lack of evidence required to convict.1
Yet the jury, drawn from the community in the poisoned atmosphere of Miami, convicted him.
We believe every avenue must be utilized to the fullest to win freedom for Gerardo Hernández and the other members of the Cuban Five, from popular action that informs and mobilizes public opinion, to the fight in the legal arena.
During prosecutor Caroline Heck-Miller’s comments to the Court in Antonio Guerrero’s re-sentencing of October 13, 2009, she acknowledged the Government’s concerns regarding the international perception of U.S. justice in the case of the Five.
This is a case ... that has generated a lot of contentiousness between the Government and the defense that continues to generate a lot of contentiousness and noise worldwide. The Government considers that it is a service to the public and to the people of the United States for the world to know that the Government and the defense are in agreement as to what is an appropriate sentence on resentencing. We believe that it quiets the waters of contentiousness that swirl about this case ...”2
As the attorneys in Court wage the legal battle, the people’s movement that has arisen around the world can contribute greatly in exposing the Government misconduct to broader audiences. Public denunciation of this monumental injustice can play a significant role in the freedom struggle for Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero.