Fernando González of Cuban 5 released!

From ABC News:

A second member of the “Cuban Five” — the spy ring whose arrests and convictions have caused repeated tensions between Washington and Havana — was released Thursday from a U.S. prison after spending more than 15 years behind bars.

Fifty-year-old Fernando Gonzalez, known to U.S. authorities by the alias Ruben Campa, completed his sentence at 4 a.m. local time a prison in Safford, Ariz., Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

Now the Five, as they are sometimes called, are down to three.

Gonzalez was turned over immediately to the custody of immigration officials, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez. For security reasons, she said she could not disclose exactly where he was being held or when he would be returned to Cuba, but a deportation order has already been issued.

The five men, who are hailed as heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S. They were known as part of the “Wasp Network” sent by Cuba’s then-President Fidel Castro to spy in South Florida.

Trial testimony showed they sought to infiltrate military bases, including the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command and installations in the Florida Keys. They also kept tabs on Cuban exiles opposed to the communist government in Havana and sought to place operatives inside campaigns of U.S. politicians opposed to that government, prosecutors said.

Havana maintains that the agents posed no threat to U.S. sovereignty and were only monitoring militant exiles to prevent terrorist attacks in Cuba, the best known of which was a series of bombings of Havana hotels that killed an Italian tourist in 1997. Cuban leaders regularly call for the men to be released.

Cuba announced a concert Saturday night at the University of Havana in honor of the five men, though it was not immediately clear whether Gonzalez would be in Cuba by then.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma published interviews Thursday with two of Gonzalez’s friends back home. Rafael Hojas said the two knew each other as young students and crossed paths on international missions in Africa.

“I hope he spends as little time as possible in an immigration jail and can enjoy as soon as possible his mother, his wife, his family, and we’ll see when we might be able to meet,” Hojas was quoted as saying.

Gonzalez’s mother, Magali Llort, told The Associated Press that she sometimes thinks her son’s release is a dream “but luckily it’s a great reality. But we can’t feel satisfied with Fernando arriving and Rene having come. We have to keep up the fight so that the rest, their brothers, are here,” she said.

The Cuban Five have sometimes been linked to the case of American Alan Gross, who has spent four years in a Cuban prison after he was arrested while working covertly to set up Internet access for the island’s Jewish community. He was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, which Cuba considers bent on undermining its government.

Cuba has suggested it might swap Gross for the Cuban Five, but Washington has rejected any such deal.

Rene Gonzalez Released from Marianna Prison

www.antiterroristas.cu

The first of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters in US soil was released from the Florida prison at 4:30 am where he spent 13 years while being unjustly sanctioned.

Cuban antiterrorist fighter Rene Gonzalez, imprisoned in the United States for 13 years, was released from a jail in Marianna, Florida. However, Rene is to remain in that country during three years under supervised freedom.

Gonzalez walked out of prison at 4:30 am this Friday and was welcomed by his daughters Irma and Ivette, his brother Roberto, his father Candido and his lawyer Philip Horowitz, reported Telesur. Nevertheless, his wife Olga Salanueva can not enter USA as the government denied her the visa.

Horowitz said that the Cuban fighter was examined after he got out and he was in good health conditions.

Emergency Appeal for Gerardo Hernandez

ACT NOW
For Over A Week Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo Has Been Held In The Hole At Victorville Prison Without Committing Any Infraction

Once Again the US government has imposed another cruel punishment against Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban 5 imprisoned in the US for fighting against terrorism.

On July 21st, without committing any infraction, Gerardo was taken to the hole. The hole is an inhumane windowless space of 7 x 3 feet reserved for prisoners who the prison authorities, for what ever reason, want to isolate. Gerardo is sharing this small space with another prisoner and there is very little ventilation because the air comes from just a small vent on the top of a wall. Temperatures in Victorville are running as high as 105 degrees now and in the space of this tiny cell it is around 95 degrees. He is not allowed to take a shower and is being taken outside in a cage only one hour every other day. Gerardo has been seen by his sister Isabel through a glass with a phone.
Continue reading

Cuban Five Prisoner Ramón Labañino Relocated to a Medium Security Prison

Last December, Ramon Labañino‘s sentence was reduced from life imprisonment plus 18 years to 30 years. As a result of that reduction, as well as of his exemplary behavior throughout 11 long years in prison,  Ramón has now been moved from the maximum security facility in which he was imprisoned to a medium security prison in Jesup, Georgia. His new address is:

Ramon Labanino

Luis Medina
No. 58739-004
FCI JESUP
2680 301 SOUTH
JESUP, GA  31599

Please make sure to use the new address to write to Ramón.
Although this is good news for Ramón, the fight for real justice for the Five continues.

Cuban Five Prisoner Ramón Labañino Turns 47

Ramon y Eli

Eli y Lis Aili y Lisb
By Teresita Jorge (AIN)

Ramon Labañino will celebrate his 47th birthday on June 9th in a US prison for having
infiltrated extreme right wing Cuban American organizations based in southern Florida to stop
them from carrying out terrorist activities against the Cuban people.

This fighter in favor of freedom and justice was detained in 1998 and submitted to a biased trial in Miami in 2001, where his other four brothers, Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez were also sentenced to long unjust prison terms.

Another birthday will be celebrated far from his daughters and wife Elizabeth Palmeiro, whom he has been married to for 20 years. Although his conditions in prison are harsh, Ramon maintains his strong revolutionary convictions.

In his defense at the trial of the Cuban Five, Ramon said: “We who have devoted our lives to fighting terrorism, to preventing atrocious acts like these from taking place; we who have tried to save the lives of innocent human beings not only in Cuba but in the United States as well, stand in this courtroom today to be sentenced precisely for preventing similar acts”.
Continue reading

A Birthday Tribute to Cuban Five Prisoner Gerardo Hernandez

Gerardo: believing in hope

By Marlene Caboverde Caballero *

“…. I shall wait for you under the green elm,
Under the leafless elm.
I shall wait until the last one has returned
And beyond. ”  Bertolt Brecht

GerardoThey condemned him to the exile of silence, to the punishment of the most sordid solitude; two life sentences they hanged like a piece of iron from his neck, and cast him into the void of a cell, into the empire of evil in a prison. However, and despite everything, he laughed.

They, who tried him and convicted him, did not suspect that he would manage to erect, behind bars, that country in which a man and a woman would never be at risk of wearing out, not even from so many kisses.

They wanted to gnaw away his will, and so he turned Silvio’s “The Fool” into a hymn against rats. They sought to usurp his righteousness, but along came Cardenal, a newborn chick, featherless and death cold, like a renewal in the soul of a friend’s worth.

Someone thought that, so as to put an end to his joy, they would close his file, erase the case, ignore its existence at the old Victorville of gray walls. But solidarity dawned in thousands of hands, faces and voices that light his days with those “we love you”, “don’t give up”, “we’re with you”, “we wait for you”, “we will free you”.

And so the smile on his face grew, so loathed and cursed by the inquisitors of freedom. They decided wistfulness for time and distance would eventually obliterate him if they persisted in denying him the hugs, lips and warm breast of his wife. But all he had to do was look at that springtime mouth leaping from a photograph and he would see himself in her eyes, and she would speak to him and give him back the encounters, the promises, the names of his children, all visible, all possible, all floating somewhere in the universes.

The agony of the two life sentences failed, and those who believed in the infallibility of torment were crushed, amid the embarrassment and the defeat, by the joy that endured on the face of that man.

And, to top it all, they call him Cuba … The livers writhe of those who persist on pestering him with the knives of sorrow. And besides, he gives out drawings of seagulls, rabbits and cucumbers to the other prisoners who want to comfort the children who wait for them at home, and he also makes the visiting room and courtyard burst with laughter, an unusual joy.

He will not last two life sentences, they decide resolved, even relieved, those who condemned him to the exile of silence and punishment of solitude. “Idiots!” he thinks because he only just turned 46. It is June 4, and he talks to the mirror, mocks his baldness, remembers Cardinal again, and he is happy as a child.

After almost twelve years, those of dry spirit and short sight are left in the rear of that simple formula of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, which entails only believing in hope.

* Journalist for municipal Radio Jaruco and coordinator of its “Wings of Freedom” program, dedicated to our five heroes

Continue reading

Cuban 5: New sentences for Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and Ramón Labañino

Free the 5December 8, 2009

Today concluded the re-sentencing process for Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and Ramón Labañino in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, ordered by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Fernando Gonzalez’ original sentence (19 years) was modified to 17 years plus 9 months in prison and Ramón Labañino (1 life term plus 18 years) reduced to 30 years in prison. Antonio Guerrero’s hearing was held on October 13, 2009. His original sentence (1 life term plus 10 years) was reduced to 21 years plus 10 months and 5 years of supervised release. The sentences of Gerardo Hernandez (2 life terms plus 15 years) and René González (15 years), having been ratified by the Court of Appeals, were excluded of this
re-sentencing process.

Following is the statement issued by Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Ramon Labañino on December 8, 2009

Dear Sisters and Brothers from Cuba and from all over the World:

We have already served more than 11 years in prison and there is still no justice at any level of the American legal system.

Three of us have come to the Miami Court to be re-sentenced due to an order from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which determined that our sentences had been erroneously imposed.

Our brother Gerardo Hernandez, who is serving two life terms plus 15 years, has been arbitrarily excluded from this re-sentencing process. His situation remains the principal injustice in our case. The US Government is well aware of the falseness of the accusations against him and the unfairness of his sentence.

This has been a complex process, difficult and much discussed in every detail, in which we participated along with our counsels. We did not give an inch in our principles, decorum and honor, always defending our innocence and the dignity of our Homeland.

Just as it did at the moment of our arrest and at other occasions during these long years, the US Government proposes now that we collaborate to obtain more benevolent sentences. Once again, we have rejected such proposals, something that we never will accept under any circumstances.

Present in the results of these re-sentencing hearings are the work of the legal team and the indestructible solidarity of all of you.

It is significant that the US Government, for the first time in 11 years, was obliged to recognize that we did not cause any damage to its national security.

Also, for the first time, the prosecutor publicly recognized the existence of a strong international movement in support of our immediate freedom, a movement that affects the image of the US judicial system in the eyes of the international community.

Once again the absolute political character of this process is confirmed.

We the Five are punished for accusations that never have been proved. Although three of our sentences were partially reduced, the injustice remains for all of us.

The Cuban-American terrorists continue to enjoy total impunity.

We reiterate: The Five are innocent!

We feel profoundly moved and grateful for the permanent solidarity that you give us, so crucial in this long battle for justice.

Together with you, we will continue until the final victory, which only
will be reached with the return of the Five to our Homeland.

Antonio Guerrero
Fernando González
Ramón Labañino

Miami, December 8, 2009