Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — “This is the message we want you to take to the people of the United States: we want them to know that the people of Cuba await the return of four of their children. It’s not just their families, not just those who know them personally. An entire country, an entire people is waiting for the four men, unjustly imprisoned in the United States, to come home.”
The statement came from Rene Gonzalez, one of the five Cubans detained in the United States on September 12, 1998 for alerting Cuba to the terrorist plots that violent groups based in Miami were hatching, during a speech last week addressed to the Cuban people, in anticipation of the date marking 15 years since the arrest of the Five.
He called on every Cuban to wear a yellow ribbon, or to hang it up at home or in a tree, such that the country is filled with these, symbols of affection towards a loved one who is away, whom one awaits, for the American people.
Since September 5, Cubans have been organizing activities demanding justice for the anti-terrorist activists who continue to serve long sentences in the United States: Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez (Rene Gonzalez served his 15-year sentence and is now back in Cuba).
Nothing can justify the continued imprisonment of these four men. They were convicted at a highly politicized trial, where the judge and jury were under pressure from the same terrorist mob the men were denouncing, and the one charge brought against them that was ultimately proven was that of working as agents for a foreign government without informing the Attorney General’s Office – a crime which, at the most, calls for 3 years in prison or repatriation.
All honest and well-intentioned people around the world, including many US citizens, agree that the Cuban Five were unjustly convicted.
This was also the opinion of the judges of the Atlanta Court of Appeals, which overturned the ruling after its first review of the case and only gave in to government pressures at a second hearing, when a judge, opposing this decision, issued a more than 90-page statement explaining the reasons why the original ruling ought to have been overturned.
The people of the United States are unaware of these details because the country’s press dares not publish a single article that reveals all of the arbitrary measures and violations of US law that characterized the longest trial in US history.
They are also unaware of the fact that the UN’s Committee on Arbitrary Detentions declared that the arrest of the Cubans was arbitrary and urged the US government to rectify the situation.
The entire world, and the people of the United States most particularly, must know the truth about these four Cubans who continue to serve sentences in US prisons, without having committed any crime that justifies this imprisonment.
The people of the United States must know that the mothers, wives, children and fathers of these four talented young men are still waiting for them to come back home, that they are waiting for President Barack Obama to make the right decision and release them, in order to rectify the situation created by the arbitrary measures taken in this case.
This is the reason why Rene Gonzalez called on all Cubans to fill the island with yellow ribbons: so that, on September 12, all visitors to Cuba, all foreign correspondents, will know that the entire country lovingly awaits their four children.