Gerardo Hernández: We will always be the Cuban Five

A May 3 message about his Cuban 5 comrade René González, who is being allowed to stay in Cuba.

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Fernando González Llort, Ramón Labañino Salazar, and Rene González Sehewert.

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Fernando González Llort, Ramón Labañino Salazar, and Rene González Sehewert.

He could have used the same reasons of those who very soon decided to plead guilty and cooperate with the authorities. After long years of separation, he already had at his side Olga and Irmita and had been able to enjoy for just four months the newborn Ivette.

What to do? Cling to the principles, leaving the three of them alone in a strange country and face again years of separation? Or “negotiate” and give them what they asked for in exchange for forgiveness and a new life? In his mind there was never a doubt, nor was there in his conduct a moment of hesitation.

Prosecutors knew they had very little against him, and tried to get him out of the way with offers. It bothered them that he sang “El Necio” (“The Fool”) and so they got tough on him. No one saw him crying when they separated Olga from the girls and they threw her into a cell. He had to do that in silence, as we all did because of the indignation and pain we felt when we heard the news, but we never noticed even minimal despair from him.

He fulfilled with dignity every day of his sentence, and came out with his head held as high as when he went in, but yet he still had to suffer the loss of his brother and his father in solitude.

Today each one of the Five is a little more free. Part of us wanders through the streets of this island with him, and we can almost breathe the air, and bathe under the sun.

Someone asked me if we will now say that we are not five, but four. That would be a mistake! We are five and we will continue to be five! Today we have to continue the fight not only for the other four, but for Rene as well, because we know him, and we know that he will never be really free until we’re all back in the homeland. The difference now is that this battle, which will be until the end for the Five, has from this day on a new standard bearer.

Congratulations, Rene! Your four brothers celebrate with you, proudly!