Conspiracy against the Five
by Andrés Gómez, editor of Areítodigital
Miami — On June 2, the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five (U.S.) held an important press conference in the National Press Club of Washington, D.C., in which the committee’s coordinator, Gloria La Riva, made known its suit against the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the autonomous entity of the federal government responsible for all U.S. government broadcasts.
The National Committee also publicized the names and payments made by the BBG to several journalists in Miami, before and during the trial of the Five in this city, between Nov. 2000 and June 2001. The National Committee announced the beginning of an international campaign to demand — based on these payments — that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder bring about justice by freeing the Five immediately: Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando y René.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a non-profit lawyers’ association, spoke at the conference. She said the lawsuit was filed against the BBG because it refused to hand over to the National Committee — as required by law — information requested about the BBG payments that were made to journalists who covered issues related to Cuba, between 1996 and 1999.
Such information would demonstrate that by making these payments, the BBG and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) violated federal law, specifically the Smith-Mundt Law of 1948, which prohibits the BBG from using U.S.-based or financed propaganda inside the United States.
The OCB is part of the BBG and directs the Radio Marti and TV Marti broadcasts. Their objective is subverting the constitutional order in Cuba.
According to Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, who also spoke at the conference, “the pay to these journalists suggests the existence of a plan to subvert the judicial proceedings and influence the decision of the jury toward guilty verdicts.”
This fact makes the federal government — represented in the trial by the prosecution — guilty of the crime of jury tampering even before the jury started, thus violating the constitutional right of all accused persons to an impartial jury, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.
The panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals — which in August 2005 unanimously overturned the trial of the Five and ordered a new trial, based its decision on what it characterized as “inflammatory, prejudicial pretrial publicity that so pervades or saturates the community as to render virtually impossible a fair trial.”
The research carried out by the National Committee — and made public at the press conference — reveals the payments made by the BBG to several Miami journalists, for work supposedly carried out by them for Radio Marti and TV Marti, and paid during the detention and trial of the Five. Among these journalists are: Pablo Alfonso, who worked for El Nuevo Herald and received $58,600; Wilfredo Cancio Isla who worked for El Nuevo Herald and received $4,725; Enrique Encinosa, who worked for Radio Mambí and received $5,200; and Ariel Remos, who worked for Diario Las Américas and received $4,725.
These amounts are just the payments received by these “honorable professionals” during the detention and trial of the Five. Between 1999 and 2007, the BBG paid Pablo Alfonso a total of $252,325; between 1999 and 2006, the BBG paid Wilfredo Cancio Isla $21,800; in the same period the BBG paid Ariel Remos $24,350 and to Enrique Encinosa between 1999 and 2003, the BBG paid $10,410.
The level of propaganda that saturated the community was shown in part by the National Committee’s research, and as well by our compañero and colleague, Salvador Capote.
In his valuable article of October 2009, “The Cuban Five and the covert propaganda,” Capote maintains: “Although it seems incredible, in the Miami press, during the period from November 27, 2000 to June 8, 2001 — which corresponds to the start of the judicial process against the Five until they were found guilty by the jury, in those 194 days, El Nuevo Herald published 806 articles which could negatively influence the trial. This is without counting the hundreds of dispatches of selected news agencies (EFE, Reuters, France Press, and Associated Press) equally responsible for tendentious information against Cuba and the Cuban Five.”
“In this same period, The Miami Herald published 305 articles with the same characteristics, not including the numerous news agency dispatches almost exclusively by Associated Press.
“In total, in just these two newspapers, during those 194 days, they published 1,111 articles, an average of more than five per day. This can give you an idea of the media hyper-saturation that Miami was subjected to, with themes related to Cuba.”
Conjura contra los Cinco
por Andrés Gómez, director de Areítodigital
Miami.- El pasado 2 de junio el Comité Nacional de Estados Unidos por la Liberación de los Cinco tuvo una importante conferencia de prensa en el National Press Club de Washington D.C. en la cual dejó saber a través de Gloria la Riva, su Coordinadora Nacional, sobre una demanda del Comité Nacional puesta contra la Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), entidad autónoma del gobierno federal responsable de todas las trasmisiones del gobierno de Estados Unidos o financiadas por ese gobierno.