Posts Tagged ‘Fernando González’

We Will Never Give up Denouncing the Injustice, Says René Gonzàlez

September 10, 2014

10653732_693390934063516_8206938822187071800_n

Lisbon (Prensa Latina) Cuban hero René González, who is attending today a Festival of the Communist journal Avante, said his priority is to fight for the release of his three comrades still in U.S. prisons.

Rene, along with Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino and Gerardo Hernandez, were arrested in the United States in September, 1998, and subject to a trial plagued with irregularities and given unfair, harsh prison sentences for monitoring Miami-based violent groups operating against Cuba.

Rene and Fernando are back in Cuba after fully serving their prison sentences, but Ramon, Gerardo and Antonio remain in prison.
“We wil never give up the right to continue denouncing the injustice that has been committed,” said Rene in an exclusive interview with Prensa Latina, the full version of which we are posting here now:
PL: The Cuban Five were arrested nearly 16 years ago in Miami and given harsh sentences. Could you refer to the circumstances under which the trial was conducted?
Rene: The trial was carried out in an atmosphere that could be compared to a Roman circus. A frightening atmosphere of overwhelming propaganda against The Cuban Five which was orchestrated by journalists secretly paid by the U.S. government. It was held in Miami, which was wrong, as this is the only place in the world where you were unable to get an impartial jury to have a fair trial.
This has been acknowledged by human rights bodies, which said the trial was in violation of all international regulations, including the U.S. Constitution.
PL: What has helped you be so firm through all these years?
René: I think it is the morale. Knowing that we had morale in facing the prosecutors that they will never have gave us strength. Besides the justice of what we had been doing. You cannot judge anyone for protecting human life, which is the most valuable asset.
That combination of factors has given us the necessary strength and will continue doing so, plus our formation as a result of our Revolution that taught us a commitment to human dignity.
PL: You and Fernando Gonzalez returned to your country, but three of your comrades are still in prison. What is their legal situation?
Rene: The legal solution rests on the judge to rule about the motion 2255 or habeas corpus that later, if needed, would go all over the winding road from the district court to the supreme court.
This is an extrajudicial appeal because all judicial appeals have been lodged already. The process got to the end when the supreme court arbitrarily refused to revise it.
What is important for the people to know is that this is a case determined by political reasons and their solution will be motivated by the political calculations to be made by the judge and the U.S. government.
Hence the importance we attach to solidarity and to demand the U.S. government to do justice.
As the case becomes a burden to them and keeping our comrades in prison turns into a heavier burden to them they will make the right political decision, which is to apply their laws to the 2255 and in this case the comrades will return to Cuba.
PL:Regarding world solidarity, what is your opinion about the fact that so many world figures and movements support the release of The Cuban Five?
René: First we have to thank all these people for all their solidarity. After hard work for many years the wall of silence of the media has been broken and many honest people worldwide have joined the cause of The Cuban Five. We need to boost solidarity, multiply it and above all launch it over Washington, over the U.S. establishment that in the end will have to make a decision and we need all that energy to focus on them so they make the right decision.
PL: If your attitude has been brave, so has been your family’s. I think this has also given you plenty of strength all this time.
Rene: Of course, the role of the family is invaluable. The wives, the children, our parents and siblings, all have played an important role in this struggle.
They have represented the cause abroad. We cannot forget that I left prison just a year and a half ago, but for 15 years our relatives fought the political and public battles.
And they have done it good, with great dignity. Every success has been a source of resistance for us. I think they are heroes in this story.
PL-¿How do you feel back in your country?
René: I feel happy, fulfilled, honored, also because of the privilege that the Cuban people offer me every time we walk the streets of Havana and they come to us and greet us. I also feel committed to my three brothers who were in fact defending the Cuban people.
P: ¿What is your mission now?
Rene: My priority is to fight for my three comrades to be released and sent back to Cuba.

Member of Cuba 5 says he’s optimistic about deal

September 5, 2014

_1-5ae061eeccc5c5225e0f6a7067003b59_r620x349
Fernando Gonzalez, a member of the Cuban Five, talks during an interview with The Associated Press in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Gonzalez, a Cuban intelligence agent who spent more than 15 years in a United States prison, says he’s optimistic that softening U.S. attitudes will lead to the liberation of three fellow agents who remain behind bars. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) The Associated Press

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, ANNE-MARIE GARCIA

A Cuban intelligence agent who spent more than 15 years in a United States prison said Thursday that he’s optimistic that softening U.S. attitudes will lead to the liberation of three fellow agents who remain behind bars.

Fernando Gonzalez, whom the Cuban government lauds as a national hero, told The Associated Press that one of the most positive signs he’s seen is former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s statement in a recent book that she recommended that President Barack Obama end the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba.

Cuba has linked the case of its three agents to that of Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor serving a 15-year prison sentence for bringing sensitive technology into the country. Havana has said repeatedly it wants to sit down with Washington to negotiate the fate of Gross and the Cubans, who were arrested in 1998 and convicted on charges including espionage. Cuba argues that they were only keeping tabs on militant exile groups blamed for terror attacks on the island.

Gonzalez said that “at this moment there’s a political context that makes me cautiously optimistic.”

“There’s a growing interest there in changing U.S. policy toward Cuba,” he said. “I would like to think that before finishing his term, President Obama would decide to improve relations with Latin America. That would involve a change with Cuba and that would necessarily take place through a solution to the case of my three colleagues.”

Asked if it would be impossible for Cuba to free Gross without the immediate U.S. release of the three imprisoned Cubans, he said, “I think it would be very difficult.”

“From my personal point of view, I think the liberation of my three colleagues would be necessary.”

The U.S. has called for Gross to be released immediately, saying he “has been imprisoned by Cuban authorities for more than four years for doing nothing more than helping Cuban citizens gain access to the Internet.”

A lawyer for Gross, who has spent more than four years imprisoned in Cuba, said last month that his client cannot take life in prison much longer and has said his goodbyes to his wife and a daughter. Gross’ legal team could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Gross was arrested in Cuba in 2009 while working here to covertly set up Internet access. His attorney, Scott Gilbert, said that his client “has withdrawn” and told him “life in prison is not a life worth living.” Gross has previously said through his lawyer that his 65th birthday, which took place in May, would be the last one that he “celebrates in Havana, one way or the other.”

At the time Gross was arrested, he was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. government’s U.S. Agency for International Development. He had traveled repeatedly to Cuba on a mission to expand Internet access using sensitive technology typically available only to governments, a 2012 AP investigation found. Cuba considers USAID’s programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government.

Gonzalez said that as a former prisoner he felt personally sympathetic toward Gross, 65, but felt that the U.S. bore full blame for Gross’ predicament.

“From a human point of view I don’t wish prison on anybody. From that point of I can understand the situation he finds himself in, but I also understand that responsibility for Mr. Gross falls 100 percent on the government of the U.S.,” Gonzalez said.

Cuba Agent: US-Taliban Prisoner Swap a Precedent

June 3, 2014

by Andrea Rodriguez
June 2, 2012
Reprinted from AP

The exchange of five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo for a U.S. Army soldier held captive in Afghanistan could set a precedent for a similar swap with Cuba, a Cuban intelligence agent who spent years imprisoned in the United States said Monday.

Fernando González en conferencia de prensa. Foto: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate.
Fernando González

Fernando Gonzalez, who returned to the island in February after serving more than 15 years behind bars in the United States, said the deal to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has a clear parallel to the cases of U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross and three Cuban agents still imprisoned in the United States.

“It is obvious that the only thing needed is the will on the part of the U.S. government to bring about that swap or exchange,” Gonzalez said in his first news conference back in Havana. “This latest development makes that clear.”

Diplomats at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana had no immediate comment. In the past, U.S. officials have said they consider the cases of Gross and the agents are not comparable.

Gross was arrested in Cuba in 2009 while working to set up hard-to-detect Internet networks for the island’s tiny Jewish community as part of a U.S. government development contract. He says his actions posed no threat to the Cuban state. But Havana considers such programs to be an affront to its sovereignty, and he was sentenced to 15 years.

Havana has said repeatedly it wants to sit down with Washington to negotiate the fate of Gross and the three members of the so-called Cuban Five who remain imprisoned in the United States. The agents were arrested in 1998 and convicted on charges including espionage, although Cuba argues that they were only keeping tabs on militant exile groups blamed for terror attacks on the island.

“On this side there is nothing standing in the way” of an exchange, Gonzalez said. “On this side we have transparently and with clarity shown an intention for this situation to be resolved and for humanitarian concerns to be taken into account on both sides.”

Gross, a 65-year-old Maryland native, suffers from various health problems. His U.S. lawyer said in April that he is determined to go home within the next year, either alive or dead.

Rene Gonzalez, who is not related to Fernando Gonzalez, was the first of the Cuban agents to walk free and returned to Cuba in 2013. Antonio Guerrero is the next one scheduled to be released, in 2017.

The cases of Gross and the Cuban Five have been a major sticking point for Cold War foes Havana and Washington, which have not had formal relations for more than five decades.

Bergdahl was released over the weekend after five years in Taliban captivity, stirring debate in Washington over whether the exchange could put other Americans at greater risk of being taken as bargaining chips.

Fernando González en conferencia de prensa. Foto: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate.

Fernando González to leave prison soon! Fernando saldrá de prisión !

January 30, 2014

7850-fotografia-g

Cuban Five hero Fernando González to be freed from U.S. prison on Feb. 27, 2014
Important that we remain alert and ready to act to assure Fernando’s return home to Cuba

On February 27, 2014, when Fernando González is released from Safford federal prison in Arizona, he will have completed
15 years, 5 months and 15 days of an unjust imprisonment imposed after a U.S. government political prosecution.
Each day has been a cruel punishment for Fernando and his Cuban Five brothers, who courageously sacrificed their well-being to defend their homeland and people of Cuba from the scourge of terrorism that emanates from Miami, with the full knowledge and protection of Washington.
But Fernando will not simply walk out of Safford on Feb. 27. As one of his appeals attorney Richard Klugh explains, since Fernando is not a U.S. citizen, he will be detained temporarily by Immigration authorities.
“In order to facilitate his immediate return to Cuba, he has quashed any pending appeal or Habeas proceeding, so that it cannot be used as a basis to keep him here. And he has waived any right to contest his deportation to Cuba. Fernando has that paperwork completed and negotiations are taking place for what we hope is an immediate return to Cuba and his wonderful family.”
Fernando’s sentence was reduced to 17 years from the original 19-year term, after his resentencing in 2009, and 13% credit reduction is given for good behavior in federal prison. “Fernando has been a model prisoner in everything, he has never had any incident whatsoever.”
As Fernando’s freedom approaches, Klugh says, “Everyone on the defense team has always had strong feelings and a bond with Fernando. He is an extremely sensitive and caring person, extremely mild-mannered, strong and honorable.”
We are hopeful for the return of Fernando to his family and to Cuba. We honor his integrity and the commitment to the freedom and security of his people. We pledge to keep fighting to ensure that justice is done and that Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio can join Fernando and René and return to their families in Cuba as soon as possible.

Organize a rally or other action on Wed. March 5!

The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five is urging all Five supporters to organize public actions for Wed. March 5, especially at this time following Fernando’s release from U.S. prison. If he is home in Cuba by then, the rallies will celebrate his return, and highlight ever more the urgent need for Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio to be freed immediately. If Fernando is still in the United States,
March 5 rallies will contribute greatly in demanding that the U.S. government allow Fernando to return home to Cuba right away.

The Vancouver Free the Cuban Five Committee will celebrate its 100th protest at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver on March 5 calling for the Cuban Five’s freedom. Let’s join our Vancouver friends with actions in the United States and worldwide! March 5 will give special attention as well to the International Commission of Inquiry in London, March 7-8.

Send us your action information to info@freethefive.org and we will post on our calendar!
National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Email: info@freethefive.org * web: http://www.freethefive.org * Tel: 415-821-6545

Fernando González, Héroe de la República de Cuba, saldrá de prisión el próximo 27 de febrero de 2014
Mantengámonos en alerta para asegurar su pronto regreso a Cuba

Fernando saldrá de la prisión federal de Safford, en Arizona, después de cumplir su injusta condena de 15 años, 5 meses y 15 días, resultado de un amañado procesamiento y juicio por parte del gobierno estadounidense. Fernando, al igual que sus otro cuatro hermanos: Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio y René, los Cinco Cubanos, sacrificaron sus vidas para defender al pueblo cubano de una infame campaña terrorista llevada a cabo por terroristas de la extrema derecha cubanoamericana radicados principalmente en Miami, con el conocimiento y la protección de Washington.
Ya que Fernando no es ciudadano estadounidense, las leyes, según nos explica su abogado, Richard Klugh, requieren que al finalizar su condena Fernando pase a la jurisdicción de las autoridades de Inmigración.
Según explica su abogado: ¨Para facilitar su pronto regreso a Cuba, Fernando ha desistido de continuar siendo parte del proceso de apelación extraordinaria, llamado de Habeas Corpus, junto con sus otros tres hermanos que permanecen en prisión, Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio. Como también ha renunciado a impugnar su deportación a Cuba. Fernando tiene todos los trámites en orden y hay negociaciones con las autoridades pertinentes para lograr su inmediato regreso a Cuba y a su maravillosa familia.”
En 2009, por orden del Tribunal de Apelaciones del Onceno Distrito, su condena original de 19 años fue reducida a 17 años. De acuerdo a las regulaciones del sistema federal de prisiones, los presos en sus cárceles reciben una reducción de un 13% del total de las mismas por buen comportamiento. Su abogado Klugh mantiene que “Fernando ha sido un preso ejemplar en todo, nunca tuvo ningún tipo de incidente”. Continúa Klugh, “Todos los abogados que hemos participado en la defensa de los Cinco siempre hemos tenido un fuerte sentimiento de afinidad con Fernando. Es una persona extremadamente sensible, gentil, fuerte y honorable.”
Nos sentimos aliviados con el regreso de Fernando a su familia y a Cuba. Reconocemos su entereza y compromiso con la libertad y la seguridad de su pueblo al igual que siempre lo han hecho sus otros cuatro hermanos. Nos mantendremos luchando hasta lograr que se haga justicia y que Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio también puedan regresar lo antes posible a su familia en Cuba.

El 5 de marzo: ¡Organicen mítines en apoyo a los Cinco!

El Comité Nacional para la Libertad de los Cinco les urge a todos los comités y amigos solidarios con los Cinco a que organicen acciones públicas para el miércoles, 5 de marzo, especialmente en los días después de la salida de Fernando de la prisión. Si él esté ya en Cuba, será celebración de su regreso y evento para exigir la liberación inmediata de Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio. Si Fernando todavía esté en Estados Unidos, las acciones serán importantes para exigir que el gobierno de EEUU permita a Fernando regresar sin más demora a Cuba.

También, el comité Vancouver Free the Five realizará su protesta número 100 frente al consulado estadounidense en Vancouver, exigiendo la libertad de los Cinco. Es buen tiempo para unirnos con nuestros amigos y amigas de Vancouver, con acciones en Estados Unidos y por todo el mundo! El 5 de marzo dará atención a la Comisión Internacional de Investigación en el Caso de los Cinco, en Londres, 7 a 8 de marzo.

Envíenos la información de su acción y ¡lo pondremos en nuestro calendario!
Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco
Email: info@freethefive.org * web: http://www.freethefive.org * Tel: 415-821-6545

Media Silence on Cuban Anti-terrorists” Case Denounced

January 14, 2014

_1- en cardenas-img_8117

Havana, Jan 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuban antiterrorist fighter Rene Gonzalez posted at the website Voices for the Five that the legal process he and his four compatriots have lived through since 1998 is one of the most silenced events in the history of the United States.
Gonzalez stated in his message that the trial against him, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, and Fernando Gonzalez was deliberately hidden from the U.S. people by large media corporations.

The trial was minimized despite being one of the longest ever in the United States, related to issues such as terrorism, charge of conspiracy to commit murder, and the direct implications for relations between Washington and Havana, Gonzalez stated.

The sentences of the Cuban Five, as these men are internationally known, are described as unjust by more than 3,500 messages posted at http://www.voicesforthefive.com, responding to the fact that they were punished for preventing terrorist actions against Cuba sponsored by groups based in Miami.

Rene Gonzalez, who is in Cuba after completing his prison sentence and renouncing his U.S. citizenship, thanked the website’s subscribers for their support to the case of the Five and the initiative to organize an International Commission of Inquiry in London, to investigate the case.

The commission, to be held on March 7-8, will be essential to breaking the wall of silence built around the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, and to showing the world the violations and injustice committed during the judicial process, he said.

This project is supported by 100 figures from various walks of life around the world, who will try to show the world the reality about terrorism and the real struggle against it.

Among the activities scheduled for those days are statements by Rene Gonzalez, relatives of his four compatriots who remain imprisoned, and a review of the evidence in the case by a panel of recognized lawyers.


%d bloggers like this: