Interview with Rene Gonzalez, one of the Five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters
The unjust imprisonment in the United States of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and René González, – known internationally as the Cuban Five – has been widely condemned by public opinion around the world. In addition, heads of government, politicians, intellectuals (including several Nobel Peace Prize winners but no, not President Barak Obama) and religious leaders from many countries, including the United States, have been calling for the release of the Five.
Jamaicans and the Caribbean people generally have consistently voiced their opposition to the injustice of the arbitrary and rigged political trial in a Miami Court in the United States which imposed harsh unjust sentences on the Five Cuban Heroes.
In an effort to inform the Jamaican people about the details of and background to the imprisonment of the Five, the book “The Story of the Five Cuban Heroes” was launched on October 6, 2006 by the Jamaican-Cuba Solidarity Network
Speaking at this function was Rene’s daughter, Irma, who thanked the Jamaican solidarity network for the publication of the book and their efforts to make more Jamaicans aware of the plight of her father and his four comrades. Irma spoke about the injustice of the case and the effort worldwide to free the Cuban Five.(Photo: Irma speaking at the book launch on Oct 6 2006)
Five years later, in May 2011, Rene’s wife,Olga Salanueva and Gerardo’s wife, Adriana Perez, visited Jamaica and participated in,among other activities, a workshop of solidarity within the context of an International Peace Forum.
Olga and Adriana updated the participants on the legal status of the Cuban anti-terrorists.(Photo: Adriana and Olga at the University of the West Indies)
Rene returns home
After serving the sentence imposed by the Miami Court, René González returned to his homeland, Cuba, in October 2012. René, who is still considered one of the Five and who wants to be seen like that has declared that he will continue to fight for the freedom of his brothers who remain unjustly imprisoned in the USA.
Fernando González Llort, one of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, was recently released after having served fifteen years in U.S. prison. Fernando returned to Cuba on February 28 as a deportee and was handcuffed during all the flight to his motherland. Upon arrival, he announced that he would join the struggle for the release of his brothers Gerardo, Antonio and Ramón.
Rene barred from participating in the International Commission of Inquiry for the Cuban Five in London
René, who was due to be the main witness of the International Commission of Inquiry for the Cuban Five in London,was denied a visa by the British authorities. The UK Commission Organizing Committee´s demand for a visa was to no avail.
JSC had an exclusive interview with René González Sehwerert to discuss further details of the trial that resulted in long sentences that were inconsistent with the charges against the Five and the current situation of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio.
Rene: The objective was to punish Cuba
René has firmly stated that the trial was the result of a political manoeuvre against Cuba and that the long sentences meted out to the Five had the objective of punishing Cuba. It is part of the U.S. policy against Cuba, he said. Unleashed on the Five was the hatred of the Miami right-wing and U.S. authorities for the Cuban Revolution and its people – a hatred spawned by the fact that the revolution dared to determine its own political and social system.
René reminded us that
- extremely long sentences were imposed on the Five;
- irregularities and violations of the U.S. judicial system were committed in the trial;
- coercion and harassment were inflicted upon the jury;
- the Miami media was bribed to create a hostile atmosphere in general against Cuba and the Five. (This has been admitted by the U.S. and international authorities and media).
All legal possibilities to lodge appeals have been exhausted, he said, and noted that the U.S. government authorities have blocked those possibilities. They have given instructions not to accept any appeals. Therefore, René remarked, it is necessary now for us to reverse the decisions against the Five. We must change that situation by informing the public about the Five and the campaigns launched against them. We must force the executive and the judicial branch of the United States government to apply their own laws, whose articles they have violated in this trial. The right thing must be done, that is, the legal system of that country must be applied.
International public opinion plays a decisive role
In this regard, the international public opinion plays a decisive role. It is necessary, said Rene, to bring the truth about the trial against the Five to the American people. A wall of silence has been erected by the media in those countries to keep the truth about the Five from spreading. We must break that wall and let people know about the injustice which is like a punishment against Cuba for its political stance as an independent and sovereign State.
International solidarity and, in particular the solidarity of the American people can make Barak Obama use his powers as president and release our three Cuban brothers, who have been in prison for over 15 years now in inhumane conditions.
In these years, Gerardo has been able to see neither his wife nor his mother, who died while he was in jail. My wife was not allowed to visit me in those years, said Rene.