All will be released without exception, in coming weeks, said Cuban National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcón in a July 20 interview with a Brazilian daily. According to the Spanish news agency EFE, Alarcón suggested other prisoners not convicted of violent crimes may also be released.
The Cuban leader answered the cynical misrepresentation of these individuals as political prisoners and prisoners of conscience by imperialist governments, the big business media, and human rights groups. They are not dissidents persecuted for their political views, Alarcón said. They are persons charged with crimes and with working for foreign powers that want to destroy our country. They had taken funds from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
As we go to press, 11 of these prisoners have been released and are already in Spain. Twenty others have agreed to fly directly from prison in Cuba to Spain.
According to supporters and family members of the prisoners, Madrid is withholding aid to help them find decent living quarters there. The wife of a prisoner still in Cuba said U.S. officials told her it will not be possible for the prisoners to go directly to the United States, and that entry applications would take time to process.
Meanwhile, in early July Washington carried out a swap with Moscow of 10 personsall but one Russians by birthwho had been arrested in the United States and charged with being spies for Russia. The 10 were exchanged for four Russians jailed by Moscow on charges of spying for Washington.
Despite these developments, the U.S. rulers continue to hold behind barsnow for nearly 12 yearsfive Cuban revolutionaries: Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González. Arrested by U.S. authorities in September 1998, they were framed up and convicted in 2001 on charges including failure to register as agents of a foreign government and conspiracy to commit espionage. They were given sentences ranging from 15 years to life. Hernández was also falsely accused of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years.
In truth, the five had been gathering information on counterrevolutionary Cuban-American groups that operate from South Florida with Washingtons complicity and have a history of violent assaults against the Cuban Revolution.
Now that the Cuban government is releasing the 52 remaining prisoners convicted in 2003, both the U.S. government and Cuban counterrevolutionaries are squealing like stuck pigs. This unforeseen blow to their human rights demagogy and deceit is well deserved.
Emulate the revolutionary leadership in Cuba! Take the moral high ground too. Join the growing worldwide campaign demanding Free the Cuban Five!
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