Colombian human rights activist Piedad Cordoba expressed her solidarity and commitment to the cause of five Cubans who were unjustly sentenced and imprisoned in the United States for their activities to stop terrorism.
“Cuba’s pain is our pain, Cuba’s joy is our joy,” said Córdoba during an homage to Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and René González, held in Colombia at the building of the new Congress.
The Cuban Five, as they are internationally known, were arrested on September 12, 1998 and given long sentences in 2001 for monitoring the actions of anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in Miami, Florida.
In a trial plagued with irregularities and held in a highly biased Miami court, the Cuban Five —Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González— were given harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to consecutive life terms plus 15 years.
The five Cubans were working to uncover information about terrorist activities being planned and carried out against Cuba by ultra-rightwing organizations based in southern Florida with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people.
When they turned their information over to authorities they were arrested and have been in jail ever since.
A United Nations Working Group reviewing the case determined that the trial did not take place in a climate of objectivity and impartiality, which is required in order to conclude on the observance of the standards of a fair trial.
The UN report also charges that the Cuban Five were wrongfully held for seventeen months in solitary confinement after their arrest, and that their lawyers were deprived of the opportunity to examine all of the available evidence before the government invoked the Classified Information Protection Act.
Córdoba said that this is a political case and condemned all the injustices and human rights violations committed against the Cuban Five and their families. “We are here because this is also painful for us.
Your dignity, the dignity of the Cuban people, brought us here today,” told the former representative to Rosa Aurora Freijanes, Fernando González’ wife.
Addressing a wide cross section of people, Córdoba spoke about how the Cuban people have raised to defend their brothers imprisoned in the United States, something that is an example to follow and that regrettably doesn’t occur in her country.
“The concerns of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and the leadership of the country, and all Cubans is a sign of the unity and commitment of this people that they have and will never abandon their children.”
“We will accompany then wherever needed. There is a group of Colombians who love and admire Cuba for the example it sets.” The leader of Colombians for Peace also said that Cuba is still a symbol of dignity in America.
Following her words, Córdoba and Rosa embraced in a moving gesture accompanied by loud applause in tribute to the Cuban Five, who, to all Cubans and decent people around the world, are considered genuine heroes.
Rosa thanked the solidarity and support in the name of the Cuban Five, their families and their people, who Rosa said admire and respect Córdoba and here great courage and humanistic work. “If only the Cuban Five could come home soon to thank you and all the other supporters.”
Also present at the activity were the Cuban Ambassador in Colombia Iván Mora, the vice president of the Colombian Senate, Alexander López, politicians, activists and friends of Cuba.
Rosa, who is visiting Colombia, has met with several local authorities, and representatives from social movements.