Last Saturday, July 7, Cuban officials authorized by the Department of State to make a consular visit to Gerardo were unable to do so, on the alleged argument that the memorandum from the governor of Victorville Penitentiary in California approving their entry into the prison, was not available in reception. This argument particularly stands out given that, aside from the authorization procedures for the visit completed by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington with the Department of State, Gerardo himself had reconfirmed with prison authorities that everything was in order.
Additionally, on July 9, Martin Garbus, one of Gerardo’s defense lawyers, who had organized a legal visit to review with him documents related to the current collateral appeal process, was unable to do so, on the same pretext that the that the memorandum from the prison governor was not in reception. Garbus was finally able to see Gerardo, thanks to the fact that his name was on his visitors’ list, but given the conditions of the type of visit he was authorized, which was not of a legal nature, he could not take into the prison the documentation that our hero needed to read and sign, or meet with him in appropriate conditions.
This is not the first time that such events have taken place. They have occurred systematically at each key point of Gerardo’s process. Just to cite a few examples, in 2010, during the collateral appeal preparatory phase known as habeas corpus, on two occasions the prison authorities denied Gerardo visits from his lawyer Leonard Weinglass and deliberately delayed giving him his legal correspondence, which prevented him from having an active part in reviewing it. In March of 2003, Gerardo was placed in solitary confinement prior to the lodging of his direct appeal.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces this new obstructionist maneuver on the part of U.S. authorities, directed at obstructing Gerardo’s appeal process, thus depriving him of one of the few rights he has as a prisoner in the United States.
Gerardo has been placed in solitary confinement on various occasions without any justification whatsoever, has experienced recurrent problems with his personal and legal correspondence, his wife Adriana has not been granted a visa to visit him and neither have they been able to conceive a child. During his long and unjust incarceration on fabricated charges for crimes he did not commit and which were never proven, his rights have been repeatedly violated.
Cuba will continue denouncing these outrages before the world and will not give up its undertaking to achieve the return to the homeland of Gerardo and his four brothers unjustly incarcerated and held in the United States for close to 14 years.
Havana, July 12, 2012