Emotional Meeting with Relatives of the Cuban Five in Havana

III International Meeting of Solidarity with the 5

Relatives of the five Cubans who have been unjustly imprisoned in the US for close to 13 years spoke to participants on Monday at the Third International Solidarity Gathering of Young People for the Release of the Cuban Five.
In a trial plagued with irregularities and held in a highly biased Miami court in 1998, the Cuban Five —Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González— were given harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to consecutive life terms plus 15 years. The five Cubans were working to uncover information about terrorist activities being planned and carried out against Cuba by ultra-rightwing organizations based in southern Florida with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people. When they turned their information over to authorities they were arrested and have been in jail ever since.
“You give us hope that one day our sons will come back home,” Magaly Llort, the mother of Fernando, told the delegates at the solidarity gathering.
The Third International Youth Congress in Solidarity with the Five Cuban Antiterrorists began on June 11 and is held every two years in Havana. Among the goals of the gathering is to provide participants with an update on the current state of the process of the Cuban Five and what needs to be done to have a greater impact in the struggle to obtain their freedom.
Family members of the Cuban Five spoke to participants prior to the start of four workshops on Monday. In the first workshop, participants will share regional experiences and strategies in the struggle to free the Cuban Five. The second workshop is devoted to new technologies and is accessible via Internet and social networks, with an interactive forum open on June 13. The third workshop is on using humor to raise awareness about the case. And finally, the fourth workshop, on culture and nation focuses on the experiences of young artists and their efforts to help gain freedom for the Cuban Five.
The relatives of the Cuban Five spoke about how the injustice has personally affected their families, about the uncertainty and their fears, but also about their dreams and hopes that the five Cubans will soon come home.
They thanked the participants and people around the world for all their efforts to obtain the release of the Cuban Five and called on good-willed people around the world to continue the campaign. Adriana Perez, the wife of Gerardo, called on delegates to multiply the ideas and skills learned at the event once they go home.
Rosa Aurora Freijane, the wife of Fernando, told the 180 delegates from 33 countries: “They deserve this effort we are making. Continue with us in this struggle.”
Irmita, the eldest daughter of René González, spoke about how the Cuban Five helped safeguard the happiness of millions of Cubans. She also spoke about how hard it has been to have her father miss the last 13 years of her life and the life of her sister Ivette, René’s youngest daughter, who has grown up without her father. “Thank-you for being so young and full of this sense of justice,” said Irmita.
Mirta Rodríguez, Tony’s mother, and her grandson Antonio Guerrero Jr., along with Elizabeth Palmeiro, Ramón’s wife, and her daughter Ailín, and René’s sister all expressed their gratitude


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