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Monday, September 12, 2011

Ricardo Alarcon: The U.S. Government Should Immediately Release the Cuban Five

Havana, Cuba, Sep 12.- “Regardless of the historic conflict between Cuba and the United States, the U.S. Government should immediately and unconditionally release the Cuban Five,” said Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly (Parliament).


On the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez —internationally known as the Cuban Five—, the Trabajadores weekly published on Monday an exclusive interview with Alarcon, who said that Washington should comply with international regulations regarding the war on terrorism.

“The colossal injustice against the Cuban Five had only one explanation: the interest of the U.S. authorities to protect and support anti-Cuba terrorist groups that operate with impunity from the United States,” the top legislator noted. “They openly said it during the unjust trial against them in Miami and it is written in the accusation against them and in the court’s record,” he added.

As to the situation of Rene Gonzalez, who is to be released on October 7, Alarcon pointed out that his lawyer has requested Judge Joan A. Lenard to allow Gonzalez to return immediately to Cuba to join his family. “Forcing him to stay three more years in the United States is another undeserved punishment,” the president of the Cuban Parliament highlighted.

In this regard, Alarcon said that the additional special condition of “supervised freedom” that forbids Gonzalez to visit specific places that are known to be frequented by terrorist individuals or groups is the most outrageous evidence of Washington’s complicity with the terrorists that live in Miami.

The legislator also referred to the difficult prison conditions to which Gerardo Hernandez is submitted. In addition to the excessive nature of his conviction –he was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years—, he is denied access to documents that are essential for his defense and his wife is denied the right to visit him in prison.

Alarcon pointed out that the U.S. government recognized in May 2001 that Hernandez could not be found guilty on the count of ‘conspiracy to commit murder’ and it is written in the official records in the hands of Judge Lenard and the Atlanta Court of Appeals.

The Cuban Five were arrested in 1998 and given harsh sentences for monitoring anti-Cuba right-wing groups in South Florida that were planning and carrying out terrorist actions against the Caribbean nation. (acn).