This message was received from Ramón, who wanted us to inform supporters of the Five about his current status:
I want to use these lines to send you the affection of the Five, together with details related to my personal situation. You will understand then why I have delayed in writing to you and answering emails and letters which have come to me in large amounts in these days. I will try to be brief.
Since June 2012, the authorities of this institution informed me that I could be assigned to an institution of low security, due to the low points and clean record that we have maintained in all these 14 years of imprisonment. That being the case, since December 11 all my belongings were packed and (as I finally found out) I was assigned to Miami FCI-Low (remember that now I am in Jesup FCI, of medium security).
On January 11, 2013, I finally left headed for Tallahassee (Florida), which is an institution of temporary transfer. I was there during that weekend, and Monday the 14th we left for Miami, arriving about 3 pm. The reception there was routine, we were only two people, the other person was going to the adjoining prison. When I was interviewed by the official who receives the new “tenants”, she told me in a few words that I should not be in the population of that institution for obvious reasons of personal security, and therefore she decided to send me to the “hole” where I should wait for the decision that the management of that place would make later. Really it was a logical decision, given the special situation which Miami has always represented for us Five. Of course, I was there the whole time in complete isolation, alone in my cell.
Thanks to your phone calls, the efficient actions of our revolutionary government and our attorneys, they finally decided to remove me quickly not only from Miami but from all Florida.
So on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 5:00 in the morning, they took me from that place, completely restrained in cuffs, directly by car and without delay to here, my first point of departure, Jesup FCI.
Now I am here once again waiting until my case is analyzed and they give me a new assignment to a new place of low security. As always, I will keep you updated. This is how it is up to now, today, January 24, 2013.
Again, the solidarity and support of you all, who were constantly aware of my location at all times, who called the different prisons, as well as the diligent and rapid action of the leadership of our country, of our attorneys, this was essential in this new process, to correct the error of sending me to Miami, and to assure that my stay in such a restricted and delicate situation was minimized.
To all of you we extend our deepest and sincerest gratitude, our affection and the highest expression of respect and brother/sisterhood! Please forgive me for not responding in a timely manner to all your letters and correspondence. You well know how much we love you and admire you. Thanks with all my heart!
With such humanity as yours, victory is certain!
Five eternal embraces!
Ramón Labañino Salazar
Jesup FCI, Georgia
January 24, 2013, 8:51 AM
by Bill Norris, trial and appeals attorney for Ramón Labañino
The Cuban Five are hoping to get a hearing before United States District Judge Joan A. Lenard to present evidence that they were denied the fundamental constitutional right to due process of law in their trial and conviction in Miami. The recent attempt of the Bureau of Prisons to transfer one of The Five, Ramón Labañino, to FCI Miami (Low) demonstrates the pervasiveness of the problem which denied them due process at trial.
Since the trial,the Five have learned that the Office of Cuban Broadcasting, through Radio Marti, was paying nominally independent journalists to disseminate that office’s message.
The message is regime change in Cuba. Conviction of the Five became a sub-text of that message. The Office of Cuban Broadcasting, chartered to send propaganda to Cuba to effect regime change, illegally used its $34 million annual budget to propagandize the community in Miami, of which the jury is a part and for which the jury speaks, to secure the conviction of The Five.
It is said that frogs can boil to death if water is gradually heated; the frogs simply are not aware of how hot the water has gotten. The Bureau of Prisons’ transfer attempt shows just how hot the water actually is.
Ramón was being held in a medium security facility. Removal of what is called an “administrative variable” allowed his transfer to a low security facility. There is such a facility in Miami, Florida. The Bureau of Prisons decided to send Ramón there.
Ramón told the Bureau of Prisons that this was not a good idea, but since he could not identify a specific threat, the transfer went through. When he arrived in Miami on January 15, 2013, the official who interviewed him immediately recognized the problem. In Miami, unlike the rest of the nation and the rest of the Bureau of Prisons, both some inmates and some staff hold deeply rooted animus to the regime in Cuba that makes Ramón’s very safety, let alone his fair treatment, a problem. The result was that Ramón was “thrown in the hole,” the special housing unit, and held incommunicado. Even his attorney was denied the right to meet with him.
Ultimately, a visit by an attorney was allowed, but Ramón and his attorney were locked in the attorney visitation room and a special guard stood watch outside the locked door.
The Warden at the Miami Federal Correctional Institution realizes that Ramón is in danger there. Will the District Judge realize how hot the water is and allow the attorneys for the Five their day in court?