HAVANA TIMES — The long awaited reunion between Fidel Castro and the Cuban Five finally took place on Saturday February 28, disclosed the retired leader himself on Sunday night.
Over ten weeks since their return to Cuba on December 17, 2014, the happy encounter took place at Fidel’s home in Punto Cero, extending for five hours, with photos taken by Estudios Revolución.
The Cuban Five, arrested in 1998 and tried and convicted in 2001, became the focus of an endless national and international campaign by Castro during the last years of his presidency. The Cuban leader argued that their mission in the US had been to gather information on groups planning terrorist actions against Cuba and was never to spy on the US military.
Here is the official English translation of Fidel Castro’s account of the meeting with the Cuban Five.
I received them on Saturday, February 28, 73 days after they stepped foot on Cuban soil. Three of them had served 15 long years of their youth breathing in the damp, foul smelling, repugnant air of yankee prison cells, after being convicted by venal judges. The other two, who also attempted to stop the empire’s criminal plans against their homeland, were also sentenced to various years of brutal imprisonment.
The very same investigating bodies, completely devoid of the most basic sense of justice, participated in their inhumane incarceration.
Cuban intelligence services had absolutely no need to track the movements of a single U.S. military team, as they could observe from space everything that moved on our planet through the Lourdes Radio Electronic Exploration Centre, located to the south of the Cuban capital. This center was able to detect any moving object thousands of miles from our country.
The Five anti-terrorist Heroes, who never did any harm to the United States, worked to anticipate and prevent terrorist acts against our people, organized by U.S. intelligence agencies which the world knows more than enough about.
None of the Five Heroes carried out their work in search of applause, awards or glory. They received their honorific titles because they didn’t seek them out. They, their wives, parents, children, siblings and fellow citizens, we all have the legitimate right to feel proud.
In July 1953, when we attacked the Moncada barracks, I was 26 years old and had far less experience than that which they demonstrated. If they were in the U.S. it wasn’t to harm that country, or take revenge for the crimes being organized there and the explosives that were being stockpiled to be used against our country. Attempting to stop this was absolutely legitimate.
The first thing they did upon arrival was greet their families, friends and people, without neglecting for a minute the rigorous health checkup.
I was happy for hours yesterday. I heard amazing tales of heroism from the group presided by Gerardo and supported by them all, including the painter and poet, whom I met while he was building one of his works in the Santiago de Cuba airfield. And their wives? Their sons and daughters? Sisters and mothers? Was I not also going to receive them? Well, their return and joy must also be celebrated with the family!
Yesterday, I immediately wanted to converse with the Five Heroes. For five hours this is what we did. Fortunately, yesterday I also had enough time to request that they invest part of their immense prestige in something that will be extremely useful for our people.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 1, 2015