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The Cuban Five: Criminals or Anti-Terrorism

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Introduction

The Cuban Five was the group of intelligence officers from Cuba that were convicted of conspiring to commit espionage, murder and other illegal activities in Miami, USA. The five were on a mission in the US to observe and infiltrate the Cuban-American groups that were based in the US, and were a threat to the peace and stability of the Cuban Government. The evidence that was presented on their trial that indicated that they had infiltrated the Miami based group of exiled Cubans and had obtained employment in the US naval air station sending reports about the base to the Cuban Government.

They had also been accused of penetrating the southern command of the US. The Cuban Government acknowledged that the five men are the intelligence agents that were sent to spy on the Cuban exiled community and not the US Government. The Five had been sent to the south of Florida as there were bombings in Havana, Cuba, which were thought to be masterminded by the anti-communist militants who are based in Miami. The Five in their defense were pointing that they were monitoring the actions that were perpetrated by the terrorist groups that were based in Miami and preventing further attacks on their country. Their actions had not been directed on the US Government as they did not harm or were in possession of arms while they were in the US.

The terrorists based in Miami had been engaging in terrorist activities against Cuba. The terrorist groups that comprised of commandos and F4's were operating inside the territories of the US with complete impunity, attacking Cuba with the knowledge and the support of the US Government agencies.

The necessary decision was made by Cuba to send the group of five agents to Miami so that they could monitor the activities of these terrorists and infiltrate them to prevent further attacks. The clandestine operation by the Cuban Five risking their lives was to curb the criminal acts with the aim of protecting the citizens of Cuba. The US agencies arrested the five anti-terrorists rather than the terrorists that were on their territory, and illegally held them in confinement for over 17 months.

Forbidden Heroes

The five Cubans were arbitrary deprived of their freedom and subjected to unfair judgments as the Cuban revolutionaries did not conceive a fair trial in the Miami justice system. They had been prosecuted though they had peacefully, without any weapons, penetrated the terrorists groups that acted against the Cuban government. The large and the diverse community of Miami is heterogeneous and it was capable of handling sensitive issues of the Cuban revolution (committee).

This is the sentiments that the prosecutor relied upon when rejecting the motions that were presented by the defense lawyers during the trials of the Cuban Five. The trial of the Five had been kept secret, and it was the longest in the US, as it was the Miami press that covered the proceedings when the testifying was being done by the army generals. It was the case that involved the foreign policy and terrorism, and the refusal to cover the case was indeed the violation of the fundamental rights and the rights of prisoners (Hidalgo 2010).

Criminal liability was crucial to prove that the defendants (Cuban Five) were guilty of committing crimes. The Miami court was supposed to prove  if the Cuban Five were criminally responsible. Here the prosecution should have proved whether the Cuban Five committed a criminal act and that they did it with the required criminal mindset. Accomplice liability permits the court to find a individual criminally responsible for acts committed by a different person.  If an individual aids, facilitates, or encourages another in the commission of a crime, he is taken to be an “accomplice” to the crime.  The one who commits the act is called the “principal”.  The offense for which an accomplice gives aid is called the “target crime”.

The covering of the case by the media was exceedingly intrusive as they had condemned the Five much earlier the court had indicted them. The media had depicted the Five as being Cuban agents that were terrible with the aim of destroying the US as they were spying on them. The propaganda that was launched against the five made them defenseless as they had already spent a long time in isolation from the rest of the world.

A Case of Impunity

The jurors in the case of the Cuban Five based their conviction on the sentiments of anti-Cuba referring to the Five as an odd parade of individuals, and these speeches threatened the defense lawyers and demanded the worst punishment to the convicts (Walker, 2005). This was after the realization that there were violent actions against the Cuban government that were formulated and implemented on the US territory (Franklin & Weinglass 2003).

There was a clandestine activity of the Five and the terrorists groups operating in Miami, and there was a perception that the jurors could end up harmed by the terrorists if they rendered unfavorable verdict. The abundance of evidence of the terrorist acts the Five were averting led the court to take the right to exonerate the Five on necessity basis, which was their only fundamental defense. Thus, Cuba was to protect its people from the terrorist attempts who enjoyed total impunity in the US (Fernandez, 2006).

In criminal law, actus rea and mens rea are important elements of crime. The test of criminal liability referred to as mens rea means that the act does not subject the person to be guilty unless the mind is also guilty. Therefore in the Cuban Five case there’re should have been an actus reus and some level of mens rea to constitute a crime. In this case there is no proving that the Cuban Five had a criminal intent. Concurrence is the evident need to prove the simultaneous happening of both actus reus and mens rea to amount to a crime.

Spies without Espionage

The Five was charged as being unregistered agents from Cuba alongside other violations. They were never accused of any actual espionage as nothing like that took place. The prosecutor had warned the jury from expecting any secrets in their presentation as it only needed to convince the jury that the Five were dangerous and capable of committing security bleach to the US currently or in the future (Fernandez, 2006). This made sure that the Five were severely punished as failure to do so was seen as a betrayal to the US. The media portrayed them as spies, even after the appeal court ruled that there was no evidence that connected the group to secret information transfer to the Cuban government.

Thus, there was nothing that was involved concerning the secrets and military information that affected the national security of the US. The Cuban Five were sentenced not because they worked in the Pentagon or the White House; they had never sought the accessing of the secret information, but it was unforgivable to fight against the anti-Cuban terrorism in Miami.

Conclusion

The Cuban Five are regarded as heroes by the whole population of Cuba because they are unjustly held by the US as prisoners. They are regarded as the nationalists and patriots who endured harsh punishments due to the hostility of the US. It has also been seen that the government of the US has the tendency to apply double standards in its proclaimed war against terrorism while, on the other side of the coin, it was blind to the terrorist attacks that have been carried out by the anti-Cuban militants. Thus, the Cuban Five were personifying the will of the Cuban people in deciding their destiny of having the government that they wished.

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