HAVANA TIMES — Freedom is one of the most precious of human rights and, of its many different forms, freedom of conscience is doubtless one of the most valuable civil rights we can aspire to. I therefore convey my respects to those who endure prison for their ideas, whatever their political views may be.
On Thursday, former Cuban agent Fernando Gonzalez Llort was released from prison, arriving in Cuba on Friday. He is the second of the Cuban Five who, having completed his sentence in a US prison has returned to the island.
Nearly 16 years after his arrest, the Cuban State Security agent was welcomed at the Jose Marti airport by President Raul Castro and a retinue of high government officials.
Following a military salute, the men embraced in a classic, “mission accomplished” moment. This is the manner in which the original mission will continue to be accomplished by these five men who, owing to a strategic error of the Cuban government, which provided information to the FBI, ended up blowing their cover and being caught.
In my opinion, neither side has ever properly told this story. US authorities handed down excessively cruel convictions and the trial wasn’t very transparent. Cuban authorities, on the other hand, have always wanted to conceal their status as spies with the euphemism of “anti-terrorist activists.”
The truth of the matter is that these men have been and continue to be prisoners of conscience. The political differences between Cuba and the United States are the true reason behind their long convictions.
On Friday, Gonzalez was finally able to hug his aged mother and his wife. He is free, enjoying the greatest and most valuable right a person can have. Magalis Llort and Rosa, his wife, are also Ladies in White. They are not, however, attacked on the streets. Ultimately, it is a question of freedom and what side you stand on.