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Frederick Douglass & Jose Marti for Justice
Appeal hearing in Miami
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Report from the Eleventh Circuit Appeal hearing in Miami:

Five people who shook the world. At night, from the air, Miami, Florida is a beautiful city. The contrasts are abundant, the dark night with the colorful lights, black ocean against the contour of beach speckled with twinkling boats and streetlights beyond. From above, the earth looks so stable and solid; the earth quakes that frequent other regions are unimaginable here. But, in this city at this time, the foundations of society are shaking at the truth five human beings are holding up for all to see.

The cab ride in from the airport is most instructive. The driver, a Haitian immigrant, fills us in on the politics that enforce the social caste. "Its a mess," he tells us referring to the recent coup in Haiti by the US Department of State. People are poor and poverty stricken the world over, but the rich United States has to have a finger in every pot. In Miami too, things are divided up; Little Haiti, Little Havana, and Overtown, groups of people segregated and controlled by a small clique of exiles wealthy beyond belief.

A political discussion can be a dangerous activity in an environment saturated with fear. Miami is no exception; the privileged use hype to maintain the status quo. One approaches every conversation with caution and deliberate blandness. Another cab ride finds us in the company of a Cuban driver who, when asked about his origins, tells of a "beautiful Caribbean island" that we should visit after the embargo is lifted. We admit our eagerness to see that day and he volunteers how senseless it is, "[the] United States fought a war, lost many, many soldiers in Viet Nam yet there is no embargo now. China shares tourism with the United States, why not Cuba?"

Indeed, there is from this city a most nefarious trade going on with that beautiful Caribbean Island. It is the assiduous export of terror and frustrated ego from Miami contrasted with the import (however unintended by some Floridians) of courage and heroic humanity.

The self-coronated elite maintain their privilege by purchasing an army of mercenaries. Scratching a cold war itch that our State Department dog loves to make bleed. This paramilitary collection of hoodlums and parasites have plotted, schemed, poisoned and bombed their way to infamy. The target is truth, their violent method intones the dictum, might makes right. Decades of attacks and provocations are the staple of their existence. Blowing up a civilian airliner in mid air, detonating explosives in tourist hotels killing and injuring young and old alike.

As elicit, debauched and calculated this is as an export, the Cuban import and antidote contrasts. Anti-terrorist and principled in its defense of peoples dignity and national sovereignty, this is what motivates the courageous actions of the Five Cuban patriots. They heroically serve the unjustified sentences in US prisons.

From the prosecutors hypocritical objection to a change of venue, (one year later arguing a venue change themselves for the same reasons) to the racist striking of black citizens from the jury panel, their politically staged show trial and "conviction" challenged the limits of credulity. Finally, to claim that the accused could portend the exact location of a future event (the murder conspiracy charge was based on the theory that the defendants knew an incident would occur between aircraft outside Cuban air space). The Appeals Court judges hearing the oral argument pilloried the attorney for the Government on point after point.

From the beginning the case was weak for the State, as evidenced by the cowardly activities of the Interior Department, harassing and torturing the Fives relatives, friends and diplomatic representatives, brutally sanctioning the Five themselves, arbitrarily applying solitary confinement and prolonged depravation of sleeping conditions and clothing.

This hearing before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Miami occurs at a time when the so-called war on terrorism seethes outrage upon outrage; state terrorism times ten in response to terrorism launched by small criminal groups. From the vigilante attack on Afghanistan to the annexation of Iraq and the vicious massacre of its virtually defenseless people; from the coup in Venezuela, to the coup in Haiti, the moral profile of the government of the United States of America has assumed anorexic proportions.

We rode the extensive monorail that surrounds the urban center of this metropolis. In a neighborhood called Overtown, a predominately black community in Miami, we found the reason the governments attorney required such lengths to prevent people of this environment from sitting in the jurors box. In spite of extreme oppression and poverty, the residents here time and again expressed and showed us their commitment to justice. Several mentioned the railroaded nature of the Fives trial as it was reported in the press five years ago. This is a community schooled in the experience of intimidation, prejudice and exploitation. Theyve earned their equivalent of post Doctors degrees in the righteous struggle called the peoples movement. They know a fake when they see one. And the real thing? Well, The Five, theyre the Real McCoy.

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