After 16 years of unjust imprisonment in US jails all of the Miami Five are now free and at home with their families in Cuba.
+ Fidel meets the Five (3 March 2015)
On Wednesday 17 December 2014, Cuba and the United States announced that a prisoner exchange would take place which would see Antonio, Gerardo and Ramon released and back home in Cuba.
more info on the Miami Five here http://www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk/miami5/
Rob Miller, CSC Director said: “This is the right thing to do. It is truly wonderful news for the Five, their families, all those who have campaigned to see this day and above all for the Cuban people.
We now hope that this will see the end of 50 years of the failed policy of aggression and blockade and the beginning of a new era of friendly relations between two countries and two peoples.”
In addition to the release of the remaining members of the Miami Five President Raul Castro and Barack Obama announced the beginning of normalisation of Cuba-US relations.
“We have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations, but this does not mean that the main issue has been resolved, the blockade that generates economic losses and humanitarian problems in our country must stop,” said Raul Castro.
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign thanks the thousands of supporters in Britain and the world who have campaigned tirelessly for the release of the Five and an end of the blockade.
Fidel meets the Five
3 March 2015
Fidel Castro described himself as being “happy for hours” on Sunday 1 March, when he met with the Miami Five for the first time since all the men were finally freed form US jails in December. In a letter which was published in the Cuban media on 2 March, the former Cuban President described how they had talked about the many years of injustice they suffered and the “wonderful stories of heroism” he had heard.
The full text is reproduced below:
I received them on Saturday, February 28, 73 days after they stepped foot on Cuban soil. Three of them had served 15 long years of their youth breathing in the damp, foul smelling, repugnant air of yankee prison cells, after being convicted by venal judges. The other two, who also attempted to stop the empire’s criminal plans against their homeland, were also sentenced to various years of brutal imprisonment. The very same investigating bodies, completely devoid of the most basic sense of justice, participated in their inhumane incarceration.
Cuban intelligence services had absolutely no need to track the movements of a single U.S. military team, as they could observe from space everything that moved on our planet through the Lourdes Radio Electronic Exploration Centre, located to the south of the Cuban capital. This center was able to detect any moving object thousands of miles from our country.
The Five anti-terrorist Heroes, who never did any harm to the United States, worked to anticipate and prevent terrorist acts against our people, organized by U.S. intelligence agencies which the world knows more than enough about.
None of the Five Heroes carried out their work in search of applause, awards or glory. They received their honorific titles because they didn’t seek them out. They, their wives, parents, children, siblings and fellow citizens, we all have the legitimate right to feel proud.
In July 1953, when we attacked the Moncada barracks, I was 26 years old and had far less experience than that which they demonstrated. If they were in the U.S. it wasn’t to harm that country, or take revenge for the crimes being organized there and the explosives that were being stockpiled to be used against our country. Attempting to stop this was absolutely legitimate.
The first thing they did upon arrival was greet their families, friends and people, without neglecting for a minute the rigorous health checkup.
I was happy for hours yesterday. I heard amazing tales of heroism from the group presided by Gerardo and supported by them all, including the painter and poet, whom I met while he was building one of his works in the Santiago de Cuba airfield. And their wives? Their sons and daughters? Sisters and mothers? Was I not also going to receive them? Well, their return and joy must also be celebrated with the family!
Yesterday, I immediately wanted to converse with the Five Heroes. For five hours this is what we did. Fortunately, yesterday I also had enough time to request that they invest part of their immense prestige in something that will be extremely useful for our people.
Fidel Castro Ruz March 1, 2015
|Original story from Granma International
|See more photos from the meeting on our Flickr site