Adriana Pérez speaks with La República about the Cuban Five

This interview with Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five, is almost three years old, yet it has never been translated into English until now.  It is a critically important interview for understanding exactly how the U.S. government has engaged in extraordinary punishment tactics beyond the absurdly harsh sentences meted out to the Five in 2001.  It is also important for understanding how their punishment has been extended to their families, for the crime of solidarity with one another.  Finally, it is a remarkable expression of that very solidarity.

Adriana Pérez: “Cuba delivered information to the FBI about terrorist organizations and the United States arrested the five who’d obtained it.

Adriana_Hernandez_Nordelo_Cp_0062Saturday, October 21, 2006
Julio Castro & Javier Parra for laRepú

Translation by Machetera

On September 12, 1998, five Cuban citizens were arrested in the United States.  It was said that they were spies, terrorists at the service of the Cuban government; that they were infiltrators who were working against U.S. national security.  They were blamed for a series of crimes that later were proven to have no legal basis whatsoever, not even remotely connected to the real story, which was that they were trying to prevent the terrorist actions of various anti-revolutionary groups in Miami, obtaining information that Cuban security later passed to U.S. FBI agents in order to prevent the possible disasters which might be caused by these violent groups.  The five are: Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, René González Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort.  This has come to be known internationally as the case of the Cuban Five.

Today, after having suffered many years in prison, threats, torture, isolation, separation from their families, an unjust trial without the least guarantee of due process, they are still to be found in prison.  A three-judge court of appeals panel ruled the entire process invalid because of the lack of due process guarantees, and revoked the plentiful life sentences weighing on the Five.

The case was remanded to the superior court, with 12 judges, for re-sentencing.  Much of the proof in the case remains classified and off-limits to the defense.  But the process could continue for many years.*

The wife of one of prisoners, Adriana Pérez, who has gone eight years** without seeing her husband, granted an interview to laRepú, while in the residence of the Cuban ambassador in Madrid, where she was visiting.  This woman’s fortitude, combined with the determination of her cause, as well as the conviction about the injustice that has been done, is astonishing to those who hear her, but she’s very clear about it: she will go to the very end, and we wish to bring part of her story to these pages.  But what is more remarkable still, is the solidarity she expressed with the other family members of the Cuban prisoners: at no time did she wish for Gerardo, her husband (who has a greater number of sentences hanging over him than any of the others), to personify the punishment that all of them are experiencing.

First of all, welcome to Spain, and thank you for receiving us and granting this interview.  We’re from laRepú and we’d like to talk about the Cuban Five.  You’ve known Gerardo for some 20 years, right?  Where are you from?

I’m from Havana, just like he is.  Actually all of the Five are from the capital, but they’ve come to be known throughout all of Cuba and the world.

What are your professions?

I’m a chemical engineer, with a Master’s degree in food products, and Gerardo has a degree in international relations, however after everything that happened during the 1990’s, he had to give up his work and his profession in order to dedicate himself to seeking out information about these terrorist groups located in Miami.

What accusations exist right now against your husband?

We ought not to speak only of those against Gerardo, because there are a variety of charges that were made against all five – the five Cubans who worked in South Florida looking for information on the non-governmental terrorist groups located there.  Without any proof whatsoever, they were charged with conspiracy to first-degree murder (the charge that was only leveled against Gerardo) for the mid-flight downing of the light aircraft in 1996, planes that had been flying through Cuban airspace since 1995.  In a sovereign act to defend its airspace, the Cuban government decided to down these aircraft.  This was after multiple notes were sent to the U.S. government, letting them know what was going on, and that we would take measures if it did not stop.

And Gerardo, simply speaking, he’s the only one with this charge against him, a charge which materialized several months after he was arrested (they were arrested on September 12, 1998).  In the first complaint there was no mention of a charge of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.  It came later, in May of 1999, and this is when the case took on a marked political character.

After this there are other cases – Gerardo is not responsible for this because furthermore, it was never proven that he intended to inform the Cuban government about the flight of these airplanes, nor that he shot the missiles, in other words, that he was an active participant in the decision which the government took.  It’s nothing more than a way to punish the Cuban government and its people, through Gerardo, by this charge which led to him being condemned to two life terms plus 15 years.  This is the charge of conspiracy to commit espionage, which Gerardo, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero share – they also have life sentences for these charges plus a variety of years for the rest of the charges.

We might speak of the other lesser charges, such as the use of false identity (in fact the use of false identity was only pressed against Gerardo, Ramón and Fernando, because René and Antonio, as U.S. citizens, could use their own real identity).  There’s no doubt that this is a mechanism used for ones own protection and the protection of one’s family, in light of the work that was being done.  And although it is against the law to use a false identity, none of them used it to cause harm to the United States, nor to any other government (something that ought to have been a mitigating circumstance, but they were not even allowed that).

As for the other charges against the Five such as that of being “unregistered foreign agents,” it’s impossible to believe that if Cuba had experienced these terrorist actions for so many years, and because of who these organizations were, who belonged to them and how they behaved, while the U.S. government never did anything, that in the end, as Cubans, we had to find men such as these to protect us from these kinds of actions, it’s impossible to believe that upon registering with the U.S. Government they’d be able to do their work guaranteed.

In fact, as was proven in June, 1998, Cuba made contact with the FBI, in Havana itself, and delivered quite a few reports to agents from the Bureau, giving them information about all of these organizations (names, locations, how they operated, what their intentions were, everything they’d done…) and yet, expecting that we could count on the U.S. Government to put an end to these actions, we were told in fact that in a few months they would provide an answer.

The answer arrived, effectively, it wasn’t the answer we’d hoped for, since they did nothing to stop these actions, and instead a search for those who might have given this kind of information to Cuba was made.  In fact, they monitored the actions of the Five, they took them away to prison, and still there’s something very important here: although this conversation took place with the FBI, and at no time were the sources of the information revealed, the FBI decided to put these five men in prison, but always with the consent of the U.S. Congressional representatives in Miami.  However, there are public statements from the FBI head in Miami at that time, who said that it had been very difficult to convince those at the upper levels of the FBI to arrest these five men, because there was no evidence whatsoever that they had done anything against the security of the United States. However, the response was to take them to prison, solely at the request of the Congressional representatives and the community located in Miami.

Nevertheless, isn’t it possible that they may have obtained evidence of the participation of various U.S. government agencies in these actions (perhaps this is just a hypothesis) or was it more a case of the local authorities in Florida who were involved in this?

We are talking basically about these organizations located in Miami (Brothers to the Rescue, Alpha 66 – a group with a large number of well-documented terrorist actions against Cuba – Grupo Democracia, and another group of non-governmental organizations).  However, there’s a great contradiction here as well, because these are organizations that supposedly do not correspond to U.S. interests, yet many of their members sit at the side of the President himself.

They are people who have acted with the U.S. Government’s approval, who promote armed action against Cuba, who avail themselves economically of the funds of this [Bush] administration…so it might be thought that they are not all that independent from the North American government.  It might also be thought that if Orlando Bosch or Posada Carriles, who are also to be found in U.S. territory and Bosch who is responsible for the downing of the Cubana airliner in 1976 is authorized to live freely in Florida, we are facing the sure knowledge that they are sheltered and protected by the U.S. Government.

Were these groups always with the U.S. Government or were they more likely to undertake these actions under the Bush administration?

We can say that they’ve always been together with the U.S. government.  We’re not just talking about terrorist actions from the decade of the 1990’s, but actions that go back more than 40 years, since the triumph of the revolution.  However, in the ‘90’s these terrorist actions began to increase because of the economic situation Cuba was experiencing after the fall of its socialist partners.  It was a method that was undertaken to do away with the revolution, with the system, however, these actions reached a peak during this period, and as a result we had to count on these five men who had to give up their tranquil way of life as professionals in Cuba in order to seek this kind of information, since we’d not managed to get the U.S. government to protect Cuba.

We could talk about a number of actions, but not just actions initiated against Cuba: they were actions against any kind of Cuban organization, even those outside Cuba, and we could talk about the Letelier case, the Chilean foreign minister when Allende was in power, who was killed in one of these terrorist actions, when he went out with his U.S. secretary.  We could talk about different bombs placed at Cuban embassies in a variety of countries, including the United States, where there were also actions taken against groups who were friendly to Cuba, and happened to be in U.S. territory.  In all, the terrorist actions were not only against Cuban territory, but against any kind of friend of Cuba or any kind of organization that pertained to Cuba.

Returning a bit to the subject of the Five, and more specifically to Gerardo’s case that touches you in a closer way: when he was arrested, where were you, were you in Havana?

Well, although Gerardo is my husband, it’s very difficult for us to speak individually.  In fact, the Five have performed as though they were only one.  In fact, there’s no doubt that not one of the Five chose a plea bargain, demonstrating their principles, their strength and the unity that they had from all points of view.  Therefore, it’s very difficult for us to speak of just one, even when he happens to be my husband.

But yes, effectively, we were here in Cuba, not just me, but also the rest of the family members [of the Five], except for René’s wife who had been living with him in the United States.  I lived in Cuba, and I didn’t know what kind of work Gerardo was doing, because of course, it was the kind of work that had to be completely discreet and quiet in order to achieve the objectives that we really needed.

When we found out about it, of course it was a very hard blow.  We understood at that moment that they’d been arrested as part of a network that had dedicated itself to seeking information, but the press didn’t report it that way: they were always called spies, something that was already a punishment even though they’d not gone to trial, and none of the Five was accused of spying.

Three are charged with conspiracy to commit espionage.  In fact, to commit espionage they would have had to complete a number of requirements such as obtaining information of a military character, classified information, in order to make an attempt on the security of the country, and none of them had that mission nor did they manage to obtain that kind of information; everything was public information, of a public nature, from these organizations, not from the government.

So for us it was an extremely hard blow, and starting from there we had to begin to figure out what the U.S. government’s objectives were with this arrest, where there was no kind of attempt against the security of the country, and yet the fact that the defense attorneys tried to change the venue for the trial made us realize that we knew we were not going to get any kind of refined legal proceeding, since holding a trial in Miami broke every kind of rule for legal procedure, considering that it is the most hostile city in terms of Cuba/U.S. relations.

In fact, it is there where these organizations are located and it is extremely difficult to find an impartial jury, people who in one way or another don’t have some kind of link with this terrorist mafia, because it has huge economic power, and controls many of the businesses located in Miami.

In fact, it was proven that after a very long trial (one of the longest in U.S. history) a verdict of innocence was not obtained, although the evidence presented proved the innocence of these five men.

The jury, after seven months of trial, without asking a single question, without having any doubts, made the unanimous decision to find all the Five guilty of all the charges.  And we knew from the beginning that it would be impossible to obtain justice in Miami.

It seems that the court in Atlanta went the other way and asked for the trial and sentences to be annulled, as well as a dismissal of the charges weighing on the accused.  Where are we now?

We’re really in the appeals stage, which began when they were condemned in December of 2001.  Since under U.S. law there is no certain limit for pronouncing a judgment or decision in respect to this process, we haven’t obtained a fair resolution up to now.  In 2005, a panel made up of three judges from the Atlanta circuit, issued a favorable, just, professional, ethical verdict, annulling the trial because it had not been held in the best possible venue.  They also revoked the life sentences for all of them, and we are looking at a request for a new trial in another place.  But the prosecutor chose to appeal, taking the case to a full panel of twelve judges in Atlanta.  Another year passed.  These judges only reviewed the decision surrounding the venue, and in a surprising decision on the arguments, revoked the decision of the three judges, asking for a review of the entire process by the three judges.

The purpose of this is to prolong the process, to prevent us from going to the Supreme Court inasmuch as it was returned to the three judges.  It could take years until the judges (who are now really only two since one is ill and on leave) make a decision, but furthermore, then the case could go to a variety of procedural stages.

So now they’ve already been in prison eight years for unproven charges.  The psychological element continues to be important, since the psychological torture against the Five has not ceased, even though they were condemned to long sentences.  The political context of the Bush administration continues to be quite hostile, and the way that the U.S. government has remained silent is very intentional, because without a doubt, the voice of these five men was one of trying to denounce the policy of protection for terrorism which the U.S. had given these organizations who’d acted against Cuba for so many years.

This is a manifestation of the hypocrisy, the moral double standard of the U.S. government, which is also proven even now in the Posada Carriles situation.  It is also proven in the fact that after 9-11, these men could be condemned to these long sentences.

What we’re seeing then, is that in the most democratic country in the world, there’s no democracy, since the legislative and judicial powers are obeying the pressures of political leadership.

In fact this is clear to those who can read and document it, but we shouldn’t forget that the current press is subordinate to U.S. interests and it writes and issues the information that these interests want the readers to have, and as a result, it’s impossible for a majority of the people, even those with an elevated cultural level, to know these facts.

This is why we’ve had to take on this person to person work of informing people about this situation (and others, but for us, essentially, that which refers to our families).

We also shouldn’t forget that these five men, when they were arrested, were interrogated for many hours without being able to rely on any kind of legal assistance.  They were taken to solitary confinement for 17 months, when the law suggests that this kind of confinement is only for people who have committed infractions or offenses within the jail, and that it may not exceed 60 to 90 days.

Therefore, the defense attorneys could not (and still cannot) have access to all the evidence that the prosecution had, since only 20% of the evidence was declassified.  During the solitary confinement, the Five had to go down to a tiny very closed space to go over the evidence.  But they were not allowed to take notes about what they read, which impaired the preparation of a defense.

Nor were they allowed the hour that is typically granted to leave the cell to walk around or go out in the sunshine.  They were isolated without physical contact with anyone, not even amongst themselves.  Some of them, because they had false identities, had no knowledge of their families until three years had gone by.

In the case of René, it was much more difficult, since he’d been living with his wife and his daughters in the United States, since he was a U.S. citizen, and his youngest daughter was four months old when he was locked up.  They didn’t allow them to visit him in prison, unlike the families of other prisoners.  One year later they allowed him to see his daughters, and they were very cruel about it, because they kept him chained to a chair.  His littlest daughter who had never seen anything like it, confused him for a dog, because he was chained, but her mother told her that her father was not the dog, that the dogs in that place were the guards.

It’s very difficult because this girl is now eight years old and has not seen her father since then.  Today she lives in Cuba, and despite being a U.S. citizen does not have the right to see him; it’s a very difficult thing for a minor to face the hostility of incarceration, and she can’t go with her mother since just like me, her mother is forbidden to enter the country because we’re considered a danger to the security of the United States.

How do all of you communicate with them?  Or is there no way to communicate?

Essentially, we’ve communicated through letters.  Letters that, naturally, are censored.  Controlled.  We can also communicate through other family members who are able to travel and carry a message. But there’s something important here.  It’s indisputable that when one is part of a family, it is made up of a couple and the children of that couple.  In Gerardo’s case, condemned as he is to two life sentences, the youngest of all five, we don’t have children.  We don’t have children so that we might say, all right, our common child can be our link.  It’s very difficult to maintain emotional stability in a marriage only through letters.  In a few days we’ll have had known each other twenty years.  And we’ve gone eight years without seeing one another.  More than eight years without seeing one another is very difficult.  That’s why we say that the psychological torture has not ended; it’s never stopped.  To the extent that this man can be pressured with his family situation, it’s to find a point of psychological or physical weakness because by U.S. law, we don’t know when the legal process could end.

In the case of Olga and René, something else has happened, because even Rene’s family was used to blackmail him.  René’s family lived there, as I’ve told you, yet they asked René to sign a plea bargain admitting guilt for the charges or implicating his friends, considering his wife’s migratory status.  In other words, if René had signed – something he didn’t do – his wife would be living today in the United States and René would be free.  They also reminded René that his youngest daughter was a U.S. citizen and that they could take away custody.  Custody of his daughter.  Facing this kind of situation, it’s impossible for his daughter to travel alone to the U.S. because we’d run a tremendous risk.  But two years later, after the trial of René had begun, they reminded him once again of his wife’s migratory status and tried to coerce him into signing.  René refused once again and the response was to take his wife to prison for three months.

But there’s something that I’d like to tell you so that you understand.  His wife lived in the United States from 1998 to 2000.  She tried to visit him on weekends in the Miami Detention Center.  Of course, all her movements were monitored by the FBI and the U.S. government.  However, when René refused to sign in August of 2000, very close to the beginning of the trial which would start in September, his wife was brought to the prison and presented to him, dressed as a prisoner, and still René refused to sign.  Of course this was something that was just too much for the U.S. authorities, that a man, with his family, someone they’d been threatening, who had even been warned, and then finally had his wife brought to him that way, would continue to refuse.  Well, his wife was turned over for migratory processing.

She had permanent residency in the U.S., however she ended up being deported in November of 2000 when there were only a few days remaining before the trial.  Since then, she has lived in Cuba.  She’s not been able to visit him because every time she’s asked for a visa, it has been denied for a variety of reasons.  They’ve denied her for being a supposed terrorist, for being a danger to the security of the United States, for being a possible intelligence agent for the Cuban government.  However, it’s noteworthy because both of us have been denied with the same arguments at different stages, however I never lived in the United States.  But Olga, who lived there for two more years after her husband’s arrest, at that time wasn’t a danger for the security of the United States.  Why, if she was deported on migratory charges is the U.S. government today condemning her with these charges which didn’t even appear when she was arrested?  It’s pressure.  It’s mistreatment.  And in my case, the same.  I never even lived in the United States, I never even entered that territory, because the one time they gave me a visa they didn’t allow me to enter.  I got as far as the airport, they detained me in the airport, they went through all my papers, they took all my physical identification, I was interrogated by the FBI and after 11 hours they sent me back to Cuba, without having been able to continue to California, where Gerardo was awaiting me.  They didn’t allow me to speak with the Cuban consul in Washington, they didn’t allow me to call any attorney, and up until today I continue to be denied for various reasons.

But look carefully at what happened in 2005.  In August of 2005, the decision from the three judge panel came out, a decidedly favorable decision, and in October I had my interview to request a visa.  For the first time, in the interview itself, they gave me an answer.  Normally, the families of the Five have to go through a different process than everyone else who goes to request a visa.  Normally, after a long period of paperwork to request an interview, which may not be granted for many months, when one does the interview, they give you an answer.  In our case we are always ordered to wait, all of us, for an answer from Washington.  In October of 2005, at the same little window where the interview took place, they said I was a possible immigrant to the United States, something that is pretty funny really, because it’s impossible to think that I would ever go to live in the United States.  For me, my only interest in traveling to that country is to be able to make my family visit to my husband who is condemned to two life sentences.  However, at that moment I began to be a possible immigrant to the United States.  But in November of that same year, Olga Salanueva’s interview came up, and that was the month when she would have gone five years since her deportation, and according to U.S. law, you are allowed to present an appeal to revoke the condition as deportee, or get the consent of the State Department so that you can enter the U.S.

Well, with Olga they were even more cruel, telling her that at that time, they would have to evaluate the case, and they asked that she make another visit to the Interests Section at a time of their choosing so that they could give her an answer on the analysis they’d made.  Of course this created certain hopes, although we already knew the intentions of the U.S. government, and practically a month later, the response to Olga was resounding: negative, without the possibility of ever returning to request a visa for the rest of her life.  This of course, is condemning Olga to not seeing René for many years, until he completes his sentence.  René is sentenced to 15 years and has already completed eight.  Well, the U.S. government intends for them to complete their sentence, in his case and that of Fernando who has 15 and 19 years, they may leave prison.  But what will happen with the three who are condemned to life sentences?  What will happen then with Gerardo who would need three lives to complete his sentence?  Two life sentences plus 15 years until we could see one another.  But is it written somewhere that they would have to serve the additional sentence of not seeing their families, their wives, their children?  It’s not written anywhere, and that’s why we say that neither the violations of human rights, nor the torture against these men has ceased.

We could speak of other cases.  In Fernando’s case…Fernando is also a Cuban, Fernando had a false identity, so Fernando’s prison does not acknowledge Rosa Aurora, his wife, and Magali, his mother, as such, and in order to visit him, after obtaining a visa from the United States, there are no guarantees that upon arriving at the prison they’ll be able to enter, because in order to do so they need to have additional permission from the prison.  What’s going on with Antonio Guerrero?  Antonio Guerrero is in a maximum security prison, however, for his mother to be able to visit him whenever she’s been there, there are no guarantees either that they’ll be able to see one another every time she is allowed to come. Antonio was moved to another prison when his mother came to visit.  They gave her no notice that her son would be transferred and she wouldn’t be able to see him.  She had to return to Cuba and wait practically 18 months in order to return once again to see her son, who was going to undergo an operation he’d requested many months before.  However they waited to transfer him until his mother arrived.  And then they didn’t operate on him until another month after the transfer.  What was the intention?  To deprive him of a family visit.

In Ramón’s case, same thing.  His wife traveled with her three daughters, two from their marriage and the oldest from Ramón’s first marriage.  However, in this last visit, Ramón was in lockdown because there were infractions within the prison which had nothing to do with him, but as the saying goes, the saints pay for the sinners and everyone was punished equally: no family visits, no letters, no contact with anyone, not even with their attorneys, and he was subjected to this between February and July of this year.  His wife could only see him a couple of times, on visits that were very restricted, and this is what they’ve been doing to all the families.

What do you believe the near or middle-term possibilities are for a solution to the liberation of “The Five”?  Could there be some kind of exchange or some kind of modification when there is a change in U.S. administration or is it just indifferent?

We have never considered that the U.S. government’s position and an exchange for “The Five” are comparable situations. Certainly, throughout the history of the various U.S. administrations, the position against Cuba has been the same.  And although these are five men, they’re not just any five men; they are five people who represent the Cuban people and its government.  Therefore, we can’t think that a change in administration would dramatically change the policy against Cuba and against “The Five”.  But if we do trust in something, we trust that the truth is overwhelming, that the truth is in those legal documents.  And that although there has been a great delay in applying the law in a just manner, at some point the moment will arrive when the law will be respected, with its own procedures.  Professional attorneys and judges who are truly ethically committed, such as the three judges we mentioned earlier do exist, who are able to use all the legal arguments in order to apply the law.  But there’s something else we can’t forget either.  We can’t depend only on the law, because the law has been manipulated by the interests of the Bush administration and the interests of the community in Miami.  Only with international support, by the solidarity movements, by jurists throughout the world, is there the possibility of demonstrating support for the ethical response that might be taken by the attorneys, or in this case, the judges.

We have a long road ahead of us, and we can’t say that this case will be resolved tomorrow, because there’s also a huge interest in continuing to drag out the process in order to force these men to remain in prison for many more years, but we are in the appeal phase which still has not concluded; we still have the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court, which doesn’t accept all cases, but this is a case that demands the analysis of the Supreme Court if prior actions failed to resolve it.

We trust that that moment will come, although it may take us plenty of time, and because of that, it’s our desire that a new trial not take place.  It makes no sense that these men would go through this all over again, that they would return again to a long process.  However, we are asking for their immediate freedom.  The law has proven it, and the rest of the attorneys who’ve had access to these reports have been able to prove that the trial was plagued with lies, violations and the interests of the community in Miami.  Therefore, in a way, we’d like to see this resolved as soon as possible, but we know the position that has been taken in respect to them, and it’s only international public opinion that can help us see that this case is resolved as soon as possible.

How is Gerardo?

We might say that he has plenty of optimism.  The Five maintain a great deal of optimism and great trust that they will come out of these prisons, and everything they do is with a view to the future, to their return, to living with their families as soon as possible.  But they are very clear about what this means, what their mission is, and they are ready to be in prison for as long as this legal process takes.

We don’t know if their health is good, because of course some of us have not been able to see them, but they haven’t been targeted for medical workups either and what keeps us going is that they are able to maintain their optimism, their physical and mental fortitude, despite all these pressures.  This is what motivates us as their family, to back their struggle and deal with things as well. Knowing that they are innocent gives them a way to defend themselves from all the pressures of prison and the FBI.

Has the support of the Cuban government toward you matched the commitment that these five men have shown?

In fact one could not expect anything any different, because there is a debt to these five men, a commitment to the defense of our security, to the defense of our lives, and for this reason, in 2001, the Cuban people called them “Heroes of the Cuban Republic.”  But they’re not considered heroes of the Cuban republic just for having done what they did, but for the dignity with which they have borne the difficulties of prison and the blackmail to which they were subjected when they were declared guilty, which they resisted despite being threatened with life sentences.

What short, concise message would you like to leave in the minds of our readers?

An important one.  These men are anti-terrorist fighters.  They are men who have dedicated their lives to defending the world from terrorism.  They are men who, out of the necessity of protecting Cuba and the world, had to undertake this action to seek information.  They are men who cannot be abandoned today, because they have dedicated the best parts of themselves to protecting all of us.  Perhaps many of us sitting here today, enjoying the specific advantages that we have, must thank them that we are alive.  It’s important that the world recognize who they are, not just five Cubans, but five Cuban fighters and defenders of the peace of the entire world.

We hope that the press will continue to denounce everything that we have denounced, just as certain international organizations who’ve already had to pay attention to us.  The evidence is quite clear and they have had to make declarations in respect to the violations of human and legal rights.  Let’s hope the press can make up for every day that it has remained tied to the interests of the United States.

*Translators note: Since this interview was published, the convictions of Gerardo Hernández and René González were upheld, and the convictions of Ramón Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González were vacated and sent back to the original district court for resentencing.  In June 2009 the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

** Translators note: By the summer of 2009 Adriana Pérez’s visa application had been denied nine times.

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

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