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Free the Cuban Five

Published Mar 11, 2012 10:09 PM

On Feb. 24, attorneys for René González of the Cuban Five filed a motion with Judge Joan Lenard in Miami requesting humanitarian permission to travel to Cuba for two weeks to visit his gravely ill younger brother, Roberto. González was released from prison on Oct. 7 last year after serving 13 years on a trumped-up conspiracy charge but is forced to remain in the U.S. — against his wishes — for an additional three years of supervised release.

To date, there has been no response from the court. The movement demanding freedom for the Cuban Five — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González — has thus begun a phone and email campaign to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Current information can be found at theCuban5.org and freethefive.org.

The Cuban Five were the eyes and ears of the Cuban Revolution in Florida at a time when counterrevolutionary elements planned hotel bombings and other violent attacks from U.S. territory and executed them in Cuba. These terrorist attacks were part of the continuing U.S. covert and overt moves for more than 50 years to destroy the self-determination and sovereignty of the Cuban people.

At a March 2 press conference call, attorney Phil Horowitz said that granting the type of humanitarian permission that González requested is customary and gave precedents for such international travel. The court must give permission, not the supervising probation officer. Horowitz himself has filed for such humanitarian international travel in other cases that have been approved, even for travel to Cuba.

Both González brothers were born in Chicago before the 1959 Cuban revolution and hold dual Cuban-U.S. citizenship. Roberto González, an attorney in Cuba, participated in the Cuban Five legal defense team.

The U.S. government has also refused entry visas for González’s spouse, Olga Salanueva. The couple have not seen each other during his imprisonment or since his release.

Gerardo Hernández, who is still serving two life terms plus 15 years at the federal prison in Victorville, Calif., has also not seen his spouse, Adriana Pérez, whom the U.S. government prevents from even visiting him in prison.

Although the current request for the two-week travel permission is specifically linked to the late stage cancer illness of René González’s only sibling, it highlights the 14 years of unjust imprisonment endured by all of the Cuban Five.

In a March 1 letter to his brother, González wrote:

“Today I’ve been remembering those great days from your time as a sportsman. You in the pool and us up in the stands, shouting your name as you swam. Our voices reached you intermittently, when you raised your head to breathe. … So we trained ourselves to wait ’till your head was out of the water and then all shouted your name in unison. You couldn’t see us, but the din we made told you we were with you, even if we couldn’t intervene directly in the fierce struggle taking place in the swimming pool.

“History is now repeating itself. While you are committing all your efforts to this struggle, I am here cheering you on. … You know that this brother, from his strange exile, from the sorrow of forced separation, under the most absurd conditions of supervised freedom, based on the dignity of his status as a Cuban patriot (like you) and on the affection nurtured by the ties of kinship and shared experience that unite us, is and always will be with you. Every time you raise your head, you’ll be able to hear me shouting, together with my nephews and nieces.

“Breathe, brother, breathe!!” (antiterroristas.cu)

Justice demands the immediate and humanitarian release and return to Cuba of all of the Cuban Five.