HE could have taken advantage of the same pretexts used by those who very quickly decided to plead guilty and cooperate with authorities. After long years of separation, he finally had Olga and Irmita at his side, and was able to enjoy the newborn Ivette for barely four months. What to do? Hold firm to his principles, leaving the three of them alone in a foreign country and once again confront years of separation? Or ‘negotiate’ and give them what they asked in exchange for a pardon and a new life? There was never the slightest doubt in his mind, nor the slightest vacillation in his conduct.
The prosecution lawyers knew that they had very little against him, and tried to get him out of the way with offers. It pained them that he sung “El Necio” [The Fool, Silvio Rodríguez] to them and they vented their anger on him. Nobody saw him weep when they separated Olga from the girls and threw her in a cell. He would have done it in silence, as we all did out of indignation and pain when the news hit us, but we never noticed in him the least weakening. He served every day of his sentence with dignity and came out with his head held as high as when he went in, but would still have to suffer alone the loss of his brother and his father.
Today we heard that René is in Cuba, to stay. Today, each one of the Five is somehow freer. Part of us is walking through the streets of the island, and we can almost breathe its air, burn ourselves with its sun.
Somebody has asked me what we will say now that we are not five, but four! Error! We are five and will continue being five! If today we must continue the struggle it is not only for the other four, it is also for René, because we know each other and know that he will not really be free until we are all back in the homeland. The difference is that this battle, which will be for the Five to the end, now has a new standard-bearer.
Congratulations René! Your four brothers are celebrating with you, with pride!
¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
Victorville Penitentiary, California
May 3, 2013