Orlando Méndez Perera (Photos)
René González is one of the Cuban Five who were convicted and imprisoned in the U.S. for fighting terrorism against Cuba, organized and financed in Florida. After completing his unjust sentence, he returned to Cuba in May, 2013, as did Fernando González who arrived home in February, 2014. Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino remain incarcerated in U.S. prisons, and millions of voices around the world continue to demand their freedom. Granma International spoke with René at the Cuban Friendship Institute.
What message would you send to your three imprisoned brothers?
First I would congratulate Gerardo and Ramón on their birthdays (June 4 and 9, respectively). Remind them that this is a happy occasion, even though they will complete 16 years in prison in September. They have been able to remain happy in adverse circumstances, in the prisons where they are confined, precisely because they defend Cuban children’s happiness, so they don’t grow up without parents, and so they can live without an act of terrorism or crime interrupting their lives.
We will continue the fight for their return home and we won’t rest until we bring this brutal and undeserved punishment to an end. A punishment which I have known, and remember every morning, when I wake up. I think about how they are waking up in a cell like the one I lived in, for more than 13 years, and I am overwhelmed by the urgent need to put an end to this punishment.
In your opinion, why is the 3rd Five Days for the Cuban Five in Washington so important?
Our fight has been to bring the truth about The Five to the U.S. - a truth which has been silenced, above all kept from the U.S. public. This event is important because this is an opportune moment to be heard by the White House. Millions of people are calling for resolution of the case and, to put it in astrological terms: the stars are aligned more than ever, due to political and historic reasons which are occurring right now.
We hope that the event will surpass the others and we will succeed, because we have organized ourselves well, have generated much support, and are well prepared. We want the city of Washington to feel the call for freedom for Gerardo, Antonio and Ramón, and that the U.S. government finally listens, and acts accordingly, to free our three compañeros.
After the events in Washington, what other activities are planned?
The most important thing is to organize to get the message to U.S. society. Other solidarity events in Cuba and other countries are planned, but the most important one is in Washington, this month of June. The most important thing is to unite a bit more, focus all the energy which has been generated towards other cities in the U.S., because only the solidarity of millions of people will open our compañeros’ cells.
We will continue to organize these types of activities to call attention to the issue, but once this event is over, we will be preparing for next year’s event because our interest is in systemizing the work.
The political discourse among the tenants of the White House is changing, we understand the reasons behind these efforts, but the important thing is that it changes. This is an opportune moment for the government to receive our message, which is why we must systemize the work.
Could you please send a message to the solidarity movements and committees calling for the freedom of The Five around the world.
First gratitude, secondly admiration, because these movements work in difficult conditions. In Cuba there exists a Revolution which has sown in the people, and in society, a feeling of solidarity, but in other countries this is unthinkable, with the predominance of individualism and selfishness. In this context, amidst these limitations, compañeros have remained in solidarity with Cuba, with The Five and this is worthy of admiration. I think they are extraordinary people and therefore deserve our respect and gratitude.