Statement from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five on the Release from Prison of René González
René González, one of the five men known as the Cuban Five, today will walk out of Federal Prison in Marianna, Florida. He will walk out with his head held high after more than 13 years in prison, having served his utterly unjust sentence with complete dignity. He has been a model prisoner, even while suffering the indignity of being inhumanely deprived visits from his wife for more than 11 years.
Unable to afford René even the small victory of his release, however, the U.S. government insists on punishing him and his family even more by requiring him to remain in Florida for the three years of his parole, even though René has no family in Florida and his life will be in danger from the very terrorist groups he helped to infiltrate.
That danger cannot be underestimated. Florida Congressperson Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was quoted in the Miami Herald on Monday calling René an "enemy of America" with "American blood on his hands." These utterly false charges are a clear incitement to violence, and demonstrate all too clearly the necessity of allowing René to return immediately to Cuba.
The very fact that a man who the government called a "spy" and a "threat to national security" is required to remain in the United States, rather than being immediately deported, demonstrates quite clearly what the prosecution and persecution is all about. The government never thought for one minute that René and his brothers were "spies" or a "threat to national security"; if they did, they would be putting René on the first plane back to Cuba. Instead, the punishment meted out to René and his brothers was all about protecting the terrorists who serve the interests of the U.S. government by trying to destabilize the Cuban government and overturn the Cuban Revolution.
Cuba has suffered the scourge of terrorism not just since Sept. 11, 2001, but for more than 50 years. A scourge that over those years has killed at least 3,478 people, most of them Cuban but also many others including 11 Guyanese and five North Koreans killed in the 1976 bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 and an Italian (Fabio di Celmo) killed in a hotel bombing in 1997. Thousands more have been seriously injured by the terrorists.
René and his brothers - Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino - can be proud that they came to the United States, unarmed and risking their lives, to fight that scourge by infiltrating the right-wing terrorist groups based in Miami who were responsible for that terrorism, and exposing their ongoing plots. The U.S. government helped organize, finance, and direct the actions of those terrorist groups from the beginning, and protected them from the consequences of their actions. It continued that collaboration and protection by arresting René and the others, and continues that protection with the unjust punishment of René and the other four.
That same government continues to this day to resist Venezuela's valid extradition request for the most notorious terrorist of them all, Luis Posada Carriles, responsible not only the 1976 plane bombing which took the lives of 73 people, but also for the torture of numerous Venezuelans when he was part of the secret police in that country.
If the U.S. government wants to continue to claim it is engaged in a "war on terror," it can help back up that claim with some very simple actions. Allow René González to return to Cuba immediately, free the remaining members of the Cuban Five and allow them to return to Cuba as well, extradite Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela, and arrest the other known terrorists in Miami. Until those acts have been performed, any claims by the U.S. government of "fighting terrorism" will continue to ring hollow.
The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five has an online petition to President Obama to allow René González to return to Cuba, which has been signed by people across the United States and from around the world. We urge all people of conscience the world over to add their voices to this demand at: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-persecution-of-ren-gonzlez-let-him-return-to-cuba
For background on the case including legal documents, as well as other recent articles on the current situation, visit http://www.freethefive.org.