Category Archives: The Cuban Five

A year of freedom, A year has passed since the Cuban Five returned home

A year of freedom
A year has passed since the Cuban Five returned home and were reunited with their families and friends. Granma spoke to them about what this year has meant

f0010267 Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu

december 30, 2015 18:12:49

ANTONIO GUERRERO. Photo: www.radiorebelde.cu

ANTONIO GUERRERO: Ready as always

“After 16 years and, I think, three months and four days in prison, being released and returning to my homeland, there is no way, no words to describe that moment (…) What I can say is that from that moment on (…) all that time spent in prison was erased.

“(…) First of all, we would have been willing to fulfill the task we had been sent to complete under the greatest secrecy, and could have died there like other comrades (…). Later came prison, where some of us were sentenced to life, we would have also been willing to die in jail. We knew from day one that the leaders of the Revolution, our government and people weren’t going to abandon us (…). Even in the worst times, we felt that freedom, that joy, that feeling of usefulness of being there denouncing every day the double standard of the empire’s policy in its much-vaunted fight against terrorism. And that was useful, this cause brought many people from around the world together (…) This inspired me to write, to paint, which was another way of feeling even more useful and free.

“So we arrived here, and the year has flown by in the blink of an eye (…) Its been a year in which we have wanted, above all, to express our gratitude to our people and all our friends.

“Just to be clear, from the day we arrived we expressed our willingness to undertake whichever task might be needed to our President, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz; we told him ‘Please also let Fidel know that we are here.’ And our country decided that we would spend the year, not only sharing with our families, but also meeting with many collectives, many young people…

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The Five on Robben Island: A tribute to Mandela

The Five on Robben Island: A tribute to Mandela
Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René visited the island where Mandela was imprisoned and paid tribute to his example of the triumph of human spirit over adversity

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Author: Deisy Francis Mexidor | internet@granma.cu
june 25, 2015 12:06:55

The Five toured the prison when Nelson Mandela was held by the apartheid regime for 18 years. Photo: Prensa Latina
ROBBEN ISLAND, South Africa.—A sign in English and Afrikaans announces arrival on Robben Island, situated off the coast of Cape Town, a site which encompasses a painful history, thankfully now past for South Africans.

The island of dry sand and strong winds, surrounded by sharp reefs and the unique sound of the thousands of birds that fly overhead, is today a symbol of freedom.

To get there, you have to board a boat at the Nelson Mandela memorial located in the commercial and tourist district of Waterfront.

The journey is about 12 kilometers, a half hour boat ride, enough to reflect on the triumph of human spirit over adversity encompassed by this historical site.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, the Five Cuban anti-terrorists who themselves were greatly inspired by the spirit of resistance of Prisoner No.46664, Nelson Mandela, during their imprisonment in the U.S., traveled to the island as part of their tour of South Africa.

Mandela spent 18 of the 27 years that the apartheid regime kept him imprisoned on Robben Island.

Accompanied by Ahmed Kathrada, who was also imprisoned alongside Mandela, the Five toured the historical site that was opened as a museum on January 1st, 1997 and declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999.

Certain areas are usually off-limits to tourists, but Kathrada provided the Five with access to Mandela’s cell, a small, damp and unimaginable space.

They studied the iron bars through which only hands could pass, the blanket on the floor that was all Mandela had for a bed, the bench and a small window.

Each of them looked, touched the walls and tried to take an almost photographic image with their own eyes. It was a private moment of reflection. No questions were required.

Then, as they gathered to take a photo, Fernando noted the date: “Today is June 23. In 2001, 14 years ago, the Comandante en Jefe (Fidel Castro) said we would return (to Cuba).” Meanwhile, Gerardo wrote in the guestbook on behalf of the Five: “It has been a great honor to visit this place together with some of the brave compañeros of Nelson Mandela.”

The message continued, “all of them were a source of inspiration and strength for the Five Cubans to withstand the more than 16 years in U.S. jails.”

Gerardo stressed that this was a legacy that “the Five will honor for the rest of our lives.”

CUBAN ANTI-TERRORISTS RECEIVED BY SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT

CAPE TOWN.—Members of the African National Congress (ANC) in the South African parliament received the Five during their visit to the legislative capital of the country.

The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, said that the Five are an inspiration across the world.

In exclusive statements to Prensa Latina, Tsenoli highlighted the example of resistance that these men provided whilst in U.S. prisons, where they remained confined for an extended and unjust period of time.

The legislator also stressed the contribution of Cuban solidarity to the African cause, a sentiment that is continuously repeated.

Since their arrival on June 21, when they were welcomed by ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe, the Five have had the chance to talk with the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

They were also warmly welcomed by members of the Society of Friendship with Cuba in South Africa (FOCUS) and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), who did so much to secure their release.

The visit by Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René will conclude on July 3 and forms part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

According to their busy schedule, they will travel this Thursday, June 25, to the province of Gauteng to complete their tour of five of the nine South African provinces.

The Five then continue on to Namibia and conclude their tour of Africa in Angola, where three of them (Gerardo, Fernando and René) served as internationalist fighters.

Cuban Hero Thanks Brazilians for his Freedom

Cuban Hero Thanks Brazilians for his Freedom

Submitted by editor on Tue, 06/09/2015 – 00:00

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BRAZIL, June 9th, 2015. Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, one of the five Cuban antiterrorists who suffered imprisonment in the United States, thanked here today the solidarity of Brazilian activists who fought for his freedom and that of his other four fellow countrymen.
If it were not for all of you who struggled in an intense campaign for the excarceration of The Five and called the attention of parliaments, presidents and even the United States society, we would still be in prison, affirmed Hernandez the eve in an act with members of political groups and friends of Cuba.
After welcoming the presence of ambassadors of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Countries of Our America (ALBA), he said that several presidents, among them that of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who defended his excarceration and that of Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez.
He remembered the resistance of all of them, during 16 years of detainment, in favor of their liberation from prison was inspired in the Cubans´ integrity and the battle of solidarity movements in many countries. even in the United States, undertaken in favor of their excarceration.
We today live an indescribable happiness and great emotions due to the hospitality received from the people of Venezuela and Brazil, he affirmed when pointing that some of his companions had visited other nations, where they were equally warmly received.
When referring to the concluded 22nd Brazilian Convention of Solidarity with Cuba, held in Recife, he said he had felt great emotion when he embraced those who for years participated in actions demanding the freedom of the Five.
We know we can count on you to continue this struggle for the end of the economic, financial, commercial blockade of the United States on Cuba and for the closing and return of the occupied territory of Guantanamo, he added.
The Hero of the Republic of Cuba also stressed that new times are coming for his country, according to the process of negotiations with the government of the United States to reestablish diplomatic relations.
This, however, is not a setback, as Cuba is firm in its principles, in defense of its sovereignty.
The occasion was appropriate to salute representatives of Cuban doctors from all states of Brazil in this venue called “Reunion with Cuba” on occasion of the 56 years of Brazilian solidarity with the Revolution. Present at the meeting were leaders of trade unions, political parties, deputies, social and student movements who spoke to extol the Five, as well as Cuban ambassador, Marielena Ruiz Capote and members of the diplomatic mission. (Cubaminrex-Embacuba Brazil)

Fidel meets with the Five heroes

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On February 28, the Cuban leader received the Five anti-terrorists and conversed about the many years of injustice they suffered

Author: Fidel Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu
march 2, 2015 11:03:08

I received them on Saturday, February 28, 73 days after they stepped foot on Cuban soil. Three of them had served 15 long years of their youth breathing in the damp, foul smelling, repugnant air of yankee prison cells, after being convicted by venal judges. The other two, who also attempted to stop the empire’s criminal plans against their homeland, were also sentenced to various years of brutal imprisonment.
The very same investigating bodies, completely devoid of the most basic sense of justice, participated in their inhumane incarceration.

Cuban intelligence services had absolutely no need to track the movements of a single U.S. military team, as they could observe from space everything that moved on our planet through the Lourdes Radio Electronic Exploration Centre, located to the south of the Cuban capital. This center was able to detect any moving object thousands of miles from our country.

more pictures at end of article

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Casa de las Américas, nuestro más sincero agradecimiento al Comité Internacional para la liberación de los 5 cubanos

 

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Estimada Alicia Jrapko,

Casa de las Américas en nombre de todos los cubanos progresistas de la diáspora deseamos expresarles nuestro más sincero agradecimiento al Comité Internacional para la liberación de los 5 cubanos, por el extraordinario trabajo que realizaron en pro de la excarcelación de nuestros héroes. Ha quedado comprobado que cuando personas de buena voluntad se unen para luchar por una causa justa, el triunfo por dicha causa esta asegurado, no importa el tiempo que tome.

Decía nuestro José Martí que, “Hacer es la mejor forma de decir”. Con la satisfacción del deber cumplido, nos despedimos, no sin antes reiterar nuestro agradecimiento al Comité Internacional y a todas las organizaciones y personas que se unión en esta lucha de tanto significado para nuestra patria Cuba. “Patria o Muerte venceremos.

Nota: En Casa pensamos que el Comité Internacional podría integrarse de lleno a la causa de la liberación del compañero bóricua Oscar López Rivera y todos los presos políticos.

Jaime Mendieta Presidente
Gilberto Villa Vise Presidente
Nancy Cabrero Vise Presidente
Franklin Flores Secretario de Organización

“Cuban Five” at Heart of US-Cuba Deal

By Marjorie Cohn

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Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, aka the “Cuban Five,” have now all been freed. (Photo: Mario Carvajal/flickr)

In the course of delivering his historic speech dramatically altering US Cuba policy, President Barack Obama briefly mentioned that the United States released three Cuban agents. These men are members of the “Cuban Five,” who were imprisoned for gathering information on US-based Cuban exile groups planning terrorist actions against Cuba. Without their release, Cuba would never have freed Alan Gross. And Obama could not have undertaken what ten presidents before him refused to do: normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.
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