By Jeffrey Huling
In 1998, the FBI arrested five Cubans in Miami for engaging in “espionage activity.” Oddly, the US government did not use the arrests to publicly demonize Castro, instead they stifled the potential political firestorm by placing the Five in solitary confinement for 17 months, — a violation of penitentiary regulations stipulating that isolation can be applied for a maximum of 60 days. Despite the prosecution’s lack of evidence, the Five were convicted in 2001 and placed in five different prisons deliberately spread across the US (California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Texas, and Florida). These tactics — the pre-trial use of solitary confinement and the dispersion of the Five after the trial — are such that anticipate and actively seek to stifle real or potential opposition. The fact that the Five are hailed in Cuba as heroes and freedom fighters intimates the US Government’s interest in quieting the case.