New Internationalist

Free the Cuban Five!

Actor Danny Glover has expressed his solidarity with Cuban political prisoners incarcerated in US for nearly 12 years.

In a recent message posted on You Tube, the Lethal Weapon star reads a letter from Gerardo Hernández, sentenced to double life plus 15 years, to his wife Adriana Pérez. In another video, he reads a letter from Adriana to Gerardo.
Hernandez is one of the internationally known 'Cuban Five'. He is unjustly serving two life sentences in a US prison for defending his country against terrorism. The five men were monitoring Cuban-American terrorist groups in Miami in order to report their planned threats back to Cuba. Previous and current US administrations have tolerated the activities of these violent groups since 1959, and as a result, more than 3,400 Cubans have died.

While the Cuban Five are languishing in US prisons, dangerous terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch walk free in the streets of Miami. The story of Gerardo Hernández is just a glimpse into the kind of people the Cuban Five are.
Hernández was arrested on 12 September 1998 and subjected to punishment and degrading treatment, and placed in an isolation cell for 17 months and 48 days. Throughout the legal process, held in Miami, the US authorities hindered the work of the defence by delaying access to classified documents.

Adriana Pérez and Gerardo Hernández have not seen each other for almost 12 years. They have been married since 1988. During all these years Adriana has attempted over and over again to get authorization from the US government to visit her husband in California. She has submitted multiple requests for visas - 10 in total - and all these applications have been denied for a wide range of reasons that hold no real justification whatsoever. The one time she was granted a visa, in July 2002, she was detained, photographed, finger-printed and interrogated for 11 hours on arrival at Houston airport. She was prevented from speaking to a lawyer or Cuban diplomats and was subsequently sent back to Cuba - without being allowed to see her husband. Why so much cruelty? Why is the US government continuing to violate such a basic human right? What is the US government afraid of?

This week there was also an exhibition of paintings by Antonio Guerrero (another of the Cuban Five) in California, where visitors signed cards addressed to President Barack Obama calling for the release of the five Cubans imprisoned in their country. Guerrero, who was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison, created his paintings in total isolation and in them he reflects his nostalgia for Cuba, and his love and attachment to the principles that bind him and his brothers. Alicia Jrapko, co-ordinator of the committee for their freedom in the US, updated visitors on the case and urged all to join the just demand for the release of Gerardo Hernández, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.

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