Marc Masferrer, in his excellent blog Uncommon Sense, reported on September 12 that a group of American artists were petitioning President Barack Obama to release five Cuban spies convicted at trial of various crimes, including involvement in the shoot down of the Brothers to the Rescue airplanes in 1996, killing three American citizens and one American resident. I decided to present my contrasting point of view in the letter I sent to President Obama (reproduced below) and also encourage you to sign an online petition opposing the release of Gerardo Hernandez and calling on the remaining killers at large to be placed on an Interpol watch list.
Dear President Obama,
Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez are currently serving prison sentences for acts of espionage and what amounts to state terrorism against US citizens. They plotted to sabotage planes, set warehouses on fire, and discussed in their coded communications sending a mail bomb to a South Florida resident with the goal of causing their death. None of these men have demonstrated any remorse for their actions.
Then on February 24, 1996 the murders of Armando Alejandre, Carlos Costa, Mario de la Peña and Pablo Morales, condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the United Nation’s Security Council, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights along with many others gave proof to the deadly seriousness of their planning.
Despite regime claims Brothers to the Rescue, infiltrated by Cuban spies, never advocated violence. On the contrary the organization had a close relationships with the Martin Luther King Jr. Institute and the Albert Einstein Institute and organized teach-ins on nonviolence.
I am writing you Mr. President because two issues concern me greatly.
First, I am troubled that General Ruben Martinez Puente, Francisco Perez-Perez, Lorenzo Alberto Perez Perez who were indicted on four counts of murder, two counts of destruction of aircraft and one count of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals in August of 2003 and Juan Pablo Roque indicted in May 1999 as a foreign agent (although he played a role in the shootdown) have not been pursued to the full extent of the law.
Why hasn't the U.S. Department of Justice under your Administration or the previous one of George W. Bush presented Interpol with an arrest warrant for the three Cuban Air Force officials indicted for the 1996 murder of four U.S. nationals in international airspace and for the Cuban agent involved in the conspiracy to have them killed? It has already been 11 years in the case of Juan Pablo Roque and seven years in the case of the men who gave the order and pulled the trigger committing an act of state terrorism in which Americans were murdered.
What is the United States government waiting for?
Secondly, it is dismaying to learn that Gerardo Hernandez’s name is being raised in a possible exchange or release. He has had due process in a trial with the best attorney’s money could buy that have put on a zealous defense and appeals process for their client. Gerardo Hernandez’s conviction on conspiracy to commit murder is the only justice the victims and their families have achieved to date.
I am opposed to the exchange or release of Gerardo Hernandez and ask that the others responsible for the extrajudicial killing of these four human beings be placed on the Interpol terrorism watch list.
Sign petition addressed to the President here.