Gerardo Hernandez, a spy for Communist Cuba and the man responsible for the murder of four humanitarian workers (three of whom were American citizens) over international waters, was freed from prison last year by the Obama administration, due in part to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
This was revealed at a February 6, 2015, celebration of Hernandez’s release, along with two of his fellow Cuban agents (collectively known as the “Cuban 5”; the other two members had previously been released), organized by the influential, pro-communist Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)–a tax-exempt organization.
At the beginning of the event, an IPS official thanked all who who took part in the 17-year campaign and singled out a number of organizations that played a significant role in their success, including IPS, the National Lawyers Guild, the Salvadoran Communist Party FMLN, Casa de Maryland, and the SEIU. Another organizer thanked SEIU for letting the Cuban 5 support groups use the SEIU building in Washington, D.C. Hernandez himself spoke to the group from Cuba via Skype to thank them for their work.
The Cuban-American columnist Humberto Fontova writes that the “Free the Cuban Five” campaign “features a rogue’s gallery of Castro’s American agents-of-influence on the payroll and off; from Danny Glover to Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon, from Oliver Stone … and Tom Hayden and Jimmy Carter.” Citing the FBI, Fontova details that the Cuban spies were:
* Gathering intelligence against the Boca Chica Air Naval Station in Key West, the McDill Air Force Base in Tampa and the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Homestead, Fla.
* Compiling the names, home addresses and medical files of the U.S. Southern Command’s top officers, along with those of hundreds of officers stationed at Boca Chica.
* Infiltrating the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command.
* Sending letter bombs to Cuban-Americans.
* Spying on McDill Air Force Base, the U.S. armed forces’ worldwide headquarters for fighting “low-intensity” conflicts.
* Locating entry points into Florida for smuggling explosive material.
Turning to the spies’ most serious crime, Fontova writes:
One of these Castro agents, Gerardo Hernandez, also infiltrated the Cuban-exile group Brothers to the Rescue, who flew unarmed planes to rescue Cuban rafters in the Florida straits, also known as “the cemetery without crosses.” The estimates of the number of Cubans dying horribly in the “cemetery without crosses” run from 50-85,000. Brothers to [t]he Rescue risked their lives almost daily, flying over the straits, alerting and guiding the Coast Guard to any balseros, and saving thousands of these desperate people from joining that terrible tally. …
By February of 1996, Brothers to [t]he Rescue had flown 1,800 of these humanitarian missions and helped rescue 4,200 men, women and children. That month Danny Glover’s and Jimmy Carter’s cause célèbre’ passed to Castro the flight plan for one of the Brothers’ humanitarian flights over the straits. With this info in hand, Castro’s Top Guns, jumped into their MIGs, took off and valiantly blasted apart (in international air space) the lumbering and utterly defenseless Cessnas. Four members of the humanitarian flights were thus murdered in cold blood by communists. Three of these murdered men were U.S. citizens, one a decorated Vietnam veteran.
In the late 1980s, Hernandez was sent to Cabinda, Angola, as part of Castro’s Soviet-sponsored campaign to eliminate the popular resistance to the Communist MPLA dictatorship. The war, in which the Cubans resorted to the use of chemical weapons not seen in Africa since the time of Mussolini, resulted in 1 million deaths–mostly poor Africans. Cubans in Cabinda were assigned to protect Angola’s oil fields from the Angolan people. This was a priority because, as New York Times reporter Tad Szulc wrote in Fidel: A Critical Portrait, “It was much cheaper for the Russians to ship at least some of the oil to Cuba from Cabinda rather than from the Black Sea.”
Outside the Reagan administration, the strongest opposition to the Communist war on Angola came from the hawkish, anti-Communist socialists of the Social Democrats, USA. In particular, it came from Bayard Rustin, a friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. In his definitive 1977 essay on the war, “Africa, Soviet Imperialism, and the Retreat of American Power,” he condemned the “neo-colonialist” Soviet/Cuban plunder of the poor African nation and demanded that the United States stand up to the Communist aggression.
It was these men–the anti-Communist Social Democrats, USA, and their allies–who controlled the unions. But in the mid-1990s, a Marxist cabal lead by then-SEIU head John Sweeney and United Mine Workers’ head Richard Trumka overthrew the anti-Communists and midwifed a Marxist revolution in the AFL-CIO. A number of Fidelista cadres who had taken part in the DGI’s (the Cuban KGB) Venceremos Brigades in the 70s and have risen to prominence in the SEIU include:
Karen Ackerman – Who “became Political Director of Public Employees Federation, SEIU/AFT. Ackerman joined the Sweeney team as AFL-CIO Deputy Political Director and in 2003 became Political Director.” On a visit to the 1973 Tenth World Festival of Youth and Students in communist East Germany, Ackerman said, “What the festival has done for me, and I’m sure for many others, is help us to understand just what imperialism has done to the rest of the world. We tend to get demoralized struggling in the U.S., but when we see what others are struggling against and the victories they have won, it gives us strength.” The “imperialism” she is referring to is the American effect to defend non-Communist South Vietnam from the aggression of Communist North Vietnam; she is not referring to the example right in front of her of the Soviet Union’s subjugation of Eastern Europe.
Karen Nussbaum – Who “was Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor under President Clinton” and “has been active for four decades in the organized labor movement, including at the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO.” She describes Cuba in 1970 as “thrilling, you know. It was a society that was combating racism, that had provided free health and educational care to every person in society, that had reduced income inequality more dramatically than any place else on earth, that had created literacy in an illiterate country by having middle schoolers going out and teaching adults. It was very, very exciting. So, that was terrific-and to understand what struggle was like.” She had dinner with Fidel Castro himself during the trip.
Rosie Martinez – Who is SEIU’s “Latino Caucus leader.” Speaking at an event for the pro-North Korea Worker’s World Party, she “reminded the listeners of the importance of the Cuban Revolution to trade unionists and workers in the United States. She recounted her trip to Cuba in the 1970s with the Venceremos Brigade and how it changed her life forever.”
It was also revealed at the IPS event that a number of the “Free the Five” committees were started by the Salvadoran FMLN. The FMLN was formed by Fidel Castro himself in 1980 and waged a terror war on El Salvador throughout the 80s. Having been forced to give up armed struggle after the end of the Soviet Union, they entered electoral politics but did not have any success until an infusion of illegal money from Hugo Chavez’s regime enabled them to bribe their way into power in 2009. Once in, President Mauricio Funes, a former CNN anchor who became the electoral leader of the Communist political party, formed an alliance with the extremely violent drug gang MS-13–which is active in cities across the United States–and last year “admitted to personally approving payoffs, prostitutes and other privileges for gang kingpins in exchange for their political support.” FMLN’s new president, one of its five leaders during FMLN’s terrorist days, Salvador Sanchez Ceren (aka Leonel Gonzalez), was reported by The New York Times in 1985 to have “defended the rebel killing of four United States [M]arines” and “said American officials were legitimate targets.”
The event made sure to acknowledge the help that the “Free the Five” campaign received from late Communist writer Howard Zinn, who, they revealed, sent Hernandez a signed copy of his anti-American polemic, A People’s History of the United States (which Hernandez had already read). Pictures were also shown of Hernandez’s newborn daughter, which was made possible by the Obama administration’s willingness to let Hernandez impregnate his wife via artificial insemination while he was still in maximum security prison in the United States.