Cuban Parliament President: 'What is the latest news regarding the Five? The very absence of news!'


In a press conference held during the Third National Assembly of the José Martí Cultural Society, the President of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, condemned the silence of the U.S. press in the case of five Cuban anti-terrorists imprisoned in the United States.

'What is the latest news regarding the Five? The very absence of news!' declared Alarcón when asked. 'Day after day follows without any mention of this case in the United States of America. Since people in the U.S. watch the news at the end of the day, or read it in the newspaper or a magazine, not a day goes by without them being exposed to a barrage of information on some court case or trial. Practically every day this is the main news, except in the event of a political scandal or something on Iraq, some combat or military occurrence.

'The main news received by people in the United States refers to these things – to what is happening in a trial or what happened in a trial. Added to this there are TV channels that are dedicated to nothing but this aim – reporting on trials and news relating to defense, prosecution and appeals.

'The case of the Five began when our compatriots were arrested on September 12, 1998, through to today April 12, 2006. With the exception of seven minutes when Fox News alluded to the case only once in seven years; as well as in an interview which the Atlanta Journal Constitution did with me years ago in which we spoke of this; when The New York Times published an article on Olga Salanueva and her child (the wife and daughter of one of the Five); and a paid ad that was also published in The New York Times and reproduced in The Nation; not once, not a single time on any of the four channels that report on legal proceedings in the United States, nor any other commercial news media, have any of them spoken of the case. What had happened was lost, because what are seven minutes on a TV station when there are thousands and thousands of hours of air time circulating every day?

'What is the real news on the case of the Five? This! That it has been totally silenced! Fortunately, however, they have not been able to do this completely because in spite of the dominance and exploitation of the mass media there is always room. Bernie Dwyer who is of Irish birth, is the co-author of a documentary called 'Mission Agaisnt Terror' which describes the sacrifice of these men very well. The film has been shown in the United States on two occasions, and Bernie Dwyer has participated in a number of gatherings where the documentary has been shown. And they continue to show it. It was shown last week at Columbia University in New York, and also at Georgetown University. It will be shown on other campuses little by little - as if we were back in pre-industrialization times when Gutenberg invented the printing press, in spite of an industry whose technology has taken off dramatically since the last century.

'We are basically faced with communication by word of mouth. But this will not prevent protests such as that in El Paso against the protection being offered to (the international terrorist) Posada Carriles in the United States while thousands of immigrants and undocumented workers are being persecuted. He is an undocumented immigrant who has the privilege of protection. Nobody speaks of deporting him, of punishing him. Nobody speaks of treating him for what he is: a terrorist. This is the fundamental problem.' Director: Ramiro Segura Information Chief: Gerardo González Editor-in-Chief: Leonardo Mastrapa Editor: Maryla García Webmaster: Reynaldo López English Edition: Ihosvanny Cordovés