SHORTLY after noon on March 30, Hero of the Republic René González Sehwerert, one of the five anti-terrorist Cuban fighters sentenced unjustly to long prison terms in the United States, arrived in Cuba for a private family visit

Having completed his 13-year sentence, René is currently on parole and required to remain in the U.S. for an additional three years.

This past February 24, he submitted, through his lawyers, an emergency request to the South Florida District Court, seeking permission to visit his seriously ill brother in Havana.

Almost a month later, on March 19, Judge Joan Lenard, who has been in charge of the case since its inception, authorized a 15-day trip, subject to several conditions. René was required to obtain all necessary clearances and licenses required by the U.S. government to travel to Cuba, and to submit a detailed itinerary of the trip including flight numbers, routing, location and contact information in Cuba. Additionally he must report telephonically to his probation officer. The judge’s order made clear that the conditions of his supervised release have not changed and he must return to the United States within two weeks from the date of his departure.

The decision to authorize the visit fully conforms to the parameters established for his supervised release, which do allow for travel to Cuba, if approval is granted by his parole officer or the Judge.

U.S. government attorneys, who have opposed René’s petitions – both those seeking to return definitively to Cuba, as well as those requesting permission for a short visit to see his gravely ill brother – acknowledged that there is nothing that prohibits him from traveling to Cuba in the terms of his parole. On March 7, the Attorney General’s office stated that the terms of René’s parole do not prevent travel to Cuba during this period, emphasizing that nothing prevents him from seeking permission from his probation officer (or the court, if the officer declines) to travel to Cuba, to visit his wife, his aging parents or others.

In the request submitted to the Court by his lawyer, René indicated that he will abide by the conditions established for the visit and will return to the United States.

Despite the conditions imposed, the Cuban people, with deep respect, welcome our beloved René to the homeland and reiterate that we will not waver in the struggle for his, and his four brothers’, definitive return.


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