Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos

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Canadian Solidarity Brigade Meets with Family of Cuban Five

May 20, 2010
Reprinted from ACN

HAVANA, May 17 (acn)—The Ernesto Che Guevara Solidarity Brigade from Canada met on Monday in Havana with the families of the five Cuban political prisoners incarcerated in the US.

The Canadien brigadistas exchanged with Magaly Llort, mother of Fernando Gonzalez, Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene Gonzalez and Mirta Rodriguez, mother of Antonio Guerrero at the Casa de la Amistad on ways to increase the international campaign in favor of the release of the Cuban Five, as they are known internationally.

Vice President of the Cuban Friendship Institute ( ICAP) Basilio Gutierrez highlighted the important role of the Ernesto Che Guevara Brigade in Canada in the fight for the release of the Cuban Five. The regular demonstrations held in front of the US embassy in Vancouver and other Canadian cities are important to continue pressure on the Obama administration on the case.

During the exchange, Canadian brigadista Dave Dobbs, member of the National Solidarity Network asked about the current legal status of the case of the five anti-terrorism fighters.

Tamara Hansen with Irma González and Elizabeth Palmeiro, two other relatives of the Cuban Five, in Vancouver, 2006

Olga Salanueva said that the legal possibilities are practically at its end. She said that international pressure will be the only way for Fernando, Rene, Antonio, Ramon and Gerardo to be freed. Olga added that after 11 years of the unfair process, they have realized that the only way out is for international solidarity to continue to pressure Barack Obama into signing a presidential order for their release.

Olga who has continuously been denied an entry visa into the US to visit her husband in a flagrant violation of US and international laws, stressed that President Obama will do it on a voluntary basis, but he will need to feel the pressure from within the US and the international community.

Mirta Llort told the brigadistas that it is ironic how the US talk about human rights when the State Department has repeatedly denied entry visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez to visit their husbands in prison.

She stressed that Adriana's case, whose husband was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years, is an extremely sad one because they are a young couple who have not been able to have a child. "But in their case, this dream will never come true unless Gerardo is released."

On behalf of the over 30 brigadistas, Co-President of the Canadian National Solidarity with Cuba Network Tamara Hansen said that they will continue to work in favor of the release of the Cuban Five to break the silence on the case and will increase pressure on the Obama administration until the Cuban Five are back home with their families.

The Ernesto Che Guevara Solidarity with Cuba Brigade arrived in Cuba last April 28th and have carried out voluntary work in the agricultural sector and have visited places of interests.

Fernando Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Gerardo Hernandez were arrested in 1998 after infiltrating extreme right wing groups in southern Florida in an attempt to prevent terrorist actions against the Cuban people. In an arbitrary and biased trial in Miami the Cuban Five received unjust sentences for fighting terrorism.



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