by Stephen Kimber
What Lies Across the Water recounts the events leading up to the arrest of the Cuban Five, five Cuban anti-terrorism agents wrongfully arrested and convicted of “conspiracy to commit” espionage against the United States. In response to decades of deadly attacks by Miami-based, anti-Cuban terrorist organizations, Cuba dispatched five agents — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González — to Florida to infiltrate and report on the activities of these terrorist groups. Cuba even passed on information their agents learned about illegal activities to the FBI. But, instead of arresting the terrorists, the FBI arrested the Cuban Five on September 12, 1998. The five men would be illegally held in solitary confinement for seventeen months and sentenced to four life sentences in 2001. The terrorists these five men tried to stop remain free to this day.
In light of America’s supposed post-9/11 zero tolerance policy toward countries harbouring terrorists, the story of the Cuban Five illustrates the injustice and hypocrisy of this case: why were these men who tried to prevent terrorist attacks against Cuba charged with espionage against the U.S? And why does the U.S. continue to protect and harbour known terrorists?