"We will be able to withstand anything"
by Pedro A Garcia* Five anti-terrorist fighters, unjustly condemned to long prison sentences in the United States, have been sent to different maximum-security prisons. Shackled and handcuffed, they received no food or water during the 12-hour transfer. Among the demands of protestors during the World Economic Forum in New York was the release of the five Cuban prisoners. Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez were given long prison sentences at the end of a manipulated trial in which they were found guilty of espionage and other false charges. What they had actually been doing was collecting information from within terrorist organisations located in Florida, in order to defend their country against acts of sabotage and crimes that are planned and financed on US territory. Devices called "black boxes" were attached to the handcuffs of Gerardo, Ramon and Antonio, the three given life sentences. This apparatus, which reinforces the handcuffs' lock and electronically tracks allegedly dangerous prisoners over long distances, is very uncomfortable and lacerates the skin. When they arrived at the Atlanta penitentiary, they were photographed, fingerprinted and placed in "the hole" (punishment cell). At that time, Rene was separated from the others, who have not seen him since. Unlike the time they spent at the Miami Federal Detention Center, they had to go into the corridor to receive their food, and at that time Gerardo, Ramsn and Antonio were able to see each other. Occasionally they were able to distinguish Fernando, on a lower floor. A spokesperson for the Miami Federal Detention Center quoted by AFP confirmed that the five Cuban patriots had been sent temporarily to a maximum-security prison in Atlanta, from where they would be transferred to their final destinations. He announced that Gerardo would be in the prison in Lompoc, California; Ramon would go to Beaumont, Texas; Antonio to Florence, Colorado; Rene to Loretto, Pennsylvania; and Fernando to Minnesota. In a telephone conversation with Cuban TV journalist Miguel Angel Masjuan, Gerardo's lawyer Paul McKeena said that the legal team is working on an appeal and does not feel that the trial was fair. He commented that the sentences for espionage should be revoked, because he knows that they never intended to hurt the United States or its citizens. In the meantime, solidarity with the five Cuban patriots continues to grow around the world. In Peru, the Cuban-Peruvian Friendship House has collected thousands of signatures on a petition, and the Puerto Rican Committee of Solidarity with Cuba organised a large demonstration in front of the federal court in San Juan, calling for the prisoners' release. In Uruguay, representatives of leftist parties also demanded the liberation of the Cuban heroes, and the same is true of rallies recently held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In France there is a letter-writing campaign in solidarity with those anti-terrorist fighters.
* * ** Granma daily staff writer, (abridged).