From Tue Mar 29 10:01:01 2005
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 16:12:22 -0600 (CST)
Subject: [NYTr] Amnesty Int’l: How About “71 for 5” ?
Article: 208212
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

A Modest Proposal for Amnesty International: How about a ‘71 for 5’ Campaign?

By P. Waldo, 28 March 2005

Many people think that Amnesty International (AI) is trying hard to do a good job towards human rights at many locations of human mistreatment. However, many believe that there is room for AI to expand and go beyond its present range of work. Recent press releases in Madrid and U.K. have extensively covered the 71 Cuban prisoners jailed in Havana, but offered no details about the 5 Cuban prisoners jailed at five different locations throughout the U.S.

Most would agree that in all fairness and equality AI ought to integrate into its purview the case of the Cuban 5 (Antonio, Fernando, Gerardo, Ramon and Rene). [Note: While the infamous Amnesty USA chapter could not include the Cuban 5 in their reports, since they are not supposed to cover human rights abuses in their home country, the Spanish and British chapters surely could.-NY Transfer]

The stories and issues of both sets of prisoners do have some similarities and characteristics in common such as nationality, politics, trial, disproportionate sentencing, treatment and conditions in prisons, lack of family visits, etc. And, there is an additional very important issue in favor of the Cuban 5 that does not exist in the case of the 71. The mission of the 5 was to collect information in order to avert future terrorist actions being planned in Southern Florida against the island.

During the past 43 years, an estimated 3,000 human beings have died in Cuba as a consequence of innumerable acts of terrorism, aggressions and invasions emanating from abroad, with headquarters in Miami.

AI's expanded task could thus be that of negotiator and conflict resolution facilitator, giving it more prestige while contributing to eased tensions accumulated for over four decades between two equally sovereign nations. AI's mission beyond that could then be physically exchanging political prisoners from both sides of the Florida Strait with a mission statement like: “71 for 5.”