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Vol. 72/No. 45      November 17, 2008

Service Employees Int’l Union urges
U.S. visas for wives of Cuban Five
The Service Employees International Union has called on the U.S. government to grant visas to the wives and family members of five Cuban revolutionaries who have been unjustly held in U.S. jails for 10 years.

“I write to urge you to grant entry visas to the U.S. to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Pérez, as well as the families of the five U.S.-held Cuban prisoners Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, René González and Fernando González,” wrote the union’s president, Andrew Stern, in a July 7 letter to President George Bush.

The Cuban Five, as they are known, were arrested in 1998 and convicted in a 2001 frame-up trial on charges of “conspiracy to commit espionage” and in one case, “conspiracy to commit murder.” They received harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to life. The five had been keeping the Cuban government informed about rightist groups that have a long record of carrying out bombings and armed attacks against Cuba from U.S. soil.

Salanueva and Pérez, wives of René González and Gerardo Hernández respectively, have been repeatedly denied visas to travel to the United States to see their husbands.

Stern noted that Amnesty International has singled out the case for special mention. “We share Amnesty’s concern … that the long-term, permanent denial of visits from their immediate families has caused substantial hardship to René González and Gerardo Hernández beyond the penalties imposed,” the letter states.
Related articles:
‘Cuban Revolution gains importance in midst of world economic crisis’
UN resolution condemns U.S. embargo of Cuba
San Francisco students discuss Cuba and Africa  
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