Now for the prompt return of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio

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by Andrés Gómez, director, Areítodigital

Miami – I was in Havana when one month ago, February 28, our brother Fernando González Llort returned to the homeland the day after completing his sentence. How happy and proud I felt that day watching him on national television, content, firm and healthy, as he came down the stairs of the little plane that brought him from hell. What a relief.

There was happiness, pride and relief shared by his family, especially his compañera Rosa Aurora, and his mother, Magali; by his comrade in arms, René, free in Cuba, and by his other comrades Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio, still in United States prisons. Happiness, pride and relief shared also by the immense majority of a grateful Cuban people, its revolutionary leadership and by thousands of activists in every corner of the planet who for years have been struggling for the freedom of the Cuban Five.

Fernando was originally sentenced in December 2001 in Miami — city where the U.S. government decided to conduct its infamous trial against the Five — to 19 years for three minor charges: general conspiracy, the use of false identity and conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent. For those three charges Judge Joan Lenard, pressured by the federal government, maliciously imposed that excessive sentence. Three minor charges, while the major media in Miami, the United States and most of the world labeled him as a “spy.”

It was a sentence that a panel of three judges in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals annulled in the summer of 2008 for being excessive, and ordered Judge Lenard to re-sentence him to a lesser sentence. This also occurred with the sentences of Ramón and Antonio.

In December 2009, Miami, the same judge in a display of malice and cynicism, lowered his original sentence of 19 years by only one year and three months, to 17 years and 9 months in prison. Fernando completed that sentence on February 27, when he was freed after serving 15 years, five months and 15 days in prison. According to the regulations of the U.S. federal prison system, the prisoners receive a 13% reduction of their sentences for good conduct, as was the case for Fernando and René.

Well, what a relief to see him home, safe and sound, the same as it was for René. It was so good to see him strong and firm and obviously mindful of having fully completed his duty to his people. Fernando expressed himself carefully but with confidence and clarity. I see him as a man with an instinctive need to be precise in his ideas and thoughts when talking, communicating. He has shown himself to be a gentleman, polite and appreciative.

Grateful to everyone in Cuba and elsewhere who for all these long years have struggled not only for the Five’s freedom, but also against the policy of State terrorism that the United States government has maintained against the Cuban people for more than 55 years, to try to force it to surrender its independence and freedom. It is a policy that has required the Cuban government for that same period, to have agents infiltrated in the organizations tasked by the United States to carry out that perverse and criminal policy, according to the declassified documents of U.S. intelligence agencies.

In part of Fernando’s allocution before the judge who arbitrarily sentenced him in December 2001, he said:

“President Bush, in his speech to the Joint Session of Congress on September 20, 2001, declared: ‘Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom.’ […]

“Your Honor:

“My country and my people were forced to awaken to danger and called to defend freedom over 40 years ago. I feel proud to have been one of those who forewarned my people of such dangers.

“Later that night, in that same speech, President Bush stated:

“‘We will come together to strengthen our intelligence capabilities, to know the plans of terrorists before they act and to find them before they strike.’

“Cuba, which has suffered terrorist attacks for 42 years, also has the right to defend itself in this way.”

Fernando and René are home now. Now it is up to them and all of us to continue to struggle for the freedom of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio as soon as possible, as well as continuing the other part of that same struggle: against the perfidious policy of State terrorism by the United States against the Cuban people, which has caused so much damage and hardship.



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