Gerardo Hernández, who received the harshest sentence of the Cuban Five — double life plus 15 years — sent the following statement from the U.S. prison in Victorville, Calif., May 3 after learning that René González won his fight to return to Cuba. Translation is by the Militant.
He could have used the same pretexts as those who rapidly decided to plead guilty and cooperate with the authorities. After long years of separation, he finally had Olga and Irmita here with him, and had been able to enjoy the newborn Ivette for just four months. What to do? Stick to his principles, leaving the three of them alone in a strange country and face again years of separation? Or “negotiate” and give them what they asked for in exchange for a pardon and a new life? In his mind there was never a doubt, nor was there a moment of hesitation in his conduct.
Prosecutors knew they had very little against him, and tried to get him out of the way with offers. It bothered them that he sang “El Necio”* and they were enraged. No one saw him cry when they separated Olga from the girls and threw her into a cell. He must have done that in silence, as we all did because of the indignation and pain we felt when we heard the news, but we never noticed that he showed the slightest sign of discouragement. He served every day of his sentence with dignity, and came out with his head held as high as when he went in, but yet he still had to suffer the loss of his brother and his father in solitude.
Today we learned that René is in Cuba to stay. Today each one of the Five is a little more free. Part of us is walking through the streets of that island with him, and we can almost breathe the air, and get tan under its sun.
Someone asked me if we will now say that we are not five, but four; that would be a mistake! We are five and we will continue to be five! If today we have to continue the fight it is not only for the other four, but for René as well, because we know him, and we know that he will never be really free until we’re all back in the homeland. The difference now is that this battle, which for the Five will continue until the end, from this day on has a new standard-bearer.
Congratulations René! Your four brothers celebrate with you, proud!
HLVS [Hasta la victoria siempre! — Ever onward to victory!]
* “El Necio” (The Stubborn Fool) is a 1992 song written by Cuban musician Silvio Rodríguez about remaining steadfast in support of Cuba’s socialist revolution in face of the deep economic, social and political crisis precipitated by the abrupt loss of foreign trade after the collapse of the USSR. It was seen as a defiant response to those, particularly outside the island, who were warning that the revolution was on its last legs and that its supporters should give up the fight and accept a capitalist future in Cuba.
Getting to know René González, ‘an experience that changed my life’
Fellow prisoner Roddy Rodríguez recounts friendship with 1 of ‘Cuban 5’
revolutionaries framed up by US gov’t
Who are the Cuban Five?
‘Free the Cuban Five’ Rally at the White House,
Saturday, June 1, 1 p.m.
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