During the International Symposium for the Release of the Cuban Five and against Terrorism recently concluded in Holguin, the wife of Rene Gonzalez, Olga Salanueva, agreed to answer some questions regarding the three-year sentence of‘supervised release’ imposed against her husband after he served his entire 13-year sentence.
"Now Rene is in a larger and more dangerous cell as it is the U.S. territory itself. We should all remember the essence of this case, the Five went to the United States to monitor terrorist organizations that are supported by the government of that country. Judge Lenard told Rene he was to remain away from the places where terrorist acts against Cuba are organized. The conditions of his “supervised release” put him in a very dangerous situation.
Inside the belly of the beast...
"Rene does not want to join that society because he does not belong there. Rene is a Cuban citizen who wants to return to his home. Rene does not have his family there, his whole family lives in Cuba. My daughters and I were deported by the United States government. I have been denied a visa to visit him. So, that is a punishment.
"It's a parole, they hold him in a place where his life is at risk. Now, he should take care of himself. Rene does not even have access to the rights of everyone who comes out of prison: the care of his family or a medical examination.
"Hence the importance of this symposium, because we cannot accept this injustice. We cannot accept the idea that Rene stays in the U.S. even a day longer because by accepting this, would be to accept injustice, and accepting the injustice against Rene, would be to accept what comes next. Because this is a message given to us by the United States government: hatred and cruelty against the Cuban Five has not ceased. The U.S. judicial system has no provision to end this injustice. And so we have to further increase the demand for their release in this symposium, which is the meeting place of all those friends from Cuba and the world in solidarity with the cause that have joined this struggle. We have a duty to stand together and establish new ways of raising awareness among people and put an end to this injustice.
Do you think the Holguin Symposium has evolved towards achieving these objectives?
Yes, the symposium was a great idea that emerged in the province of Holguin. It was first just a meeting of solidarity... just a few people knew about this meeting. Today we can say that the symposium is the most important solidarity meeting for the liberation of the Five held in the country. It is not just known as the Symposium for the Freedom of the Five, this event is known worldwide as the Holguin Symposium. There is no doubt that this event is now an important part of the efforts for the release of the Cuban five.
What legal recourse is left for Rene at this stage of the process?
"The five Habeas Corpus have been presented. The prosecutor has given an answer to the government and to Rene, Gerardo and Tony, but there are still two notifications pending. We will have to wait for the judge's reply.
"Through the Habeas Corpus, Rene is legally connected to the case, because on the contrary he would be separated from the case, so this is why Rene’s Habeas Corpus is also important, although the results would not change his current situation, but the judge left his statement, denying the motion for Rene’s return to Cuba.
"That's what the lawyer will do within a set period of time. She says that Rene has to spend time in the United States to supervise his behavior in that society. Something absurd. But she also says that Rene is a villain, a bitter person who has not repented and therefore it is necessary for him to stay there. A very contradictory reason.
I want you free ...
We think that this is like an open door to increase solidarity and to put an end to this unbearable situation for Rene. Rene is trapped. He feels much more ineffective than in prison and also runs more risk in terms of his physical and legal safety. Anything that Rene does could put him back in the same situation as before. And we cannot allow that.