using an old USA tradition
By Isaac Risco (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES — Cuba recalled today the arrest of five of its intelligence agents in the United States 15 years ago with a wear a yellow ribbon campaign that recalls an old US military tradition.
For several days Cuban authorities have gone all out promoting the campaign. Declared “heroes” on the island and sentenced as spies in the United States, four of them are still imprisoned, serving long prison sentences.
The fifth, Rene Gonzalez, was released in October 2011. He returned to Cuba in May of this year, after giving up his US citizenship. Gonzalez, who was born in the US and lived there for many years, announced the yellow ribbon campaign just over a week ago with a national TV address.
“I want the country to be filled with yellow ribbons on September 12,” Gonzalez said on his TV appearance on September 3.
The US tradition of the yellow ribbon came from a song from 1917, in which a woman wears a yellow ribbon tied around her neck as a sign of waiting for your partner, a soldier who is “very, very far.”
This is a message with a known symbol for the “average American “, “a symbol that they will understand in their language,” said Gonzalez .
Cuba holds frequent international campaigns to demand the release of the Cuban Five. In recent times they have intensified with the arrival to the island of Gonzalez.
Many government buildings, private homes and cars in Havana heeded Gonzalez’s call today and many individuals on the street were wearing a yellow ribbon pin.
A concert for the Cuban Five takes place tonight at the Antimperialist Plaza, located in front of the US Interests Section in Havana.
The two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 1961 and only have an interest section in their respective capitals.
The Cuban Five is one of the thorns preventing improved US-Cuba relations. The five intelligence agents operated on US soil as part of a wide network known as the “Wasp Network “.
Havana maintains that they were only monitoring right wing Cuban exile groups in Florida that have carried out violent acts against Cuba and its interests abroad. The Cuban government denies the agents were of any threat to US military installations or national security.