US limits consular visits to the Miami Five

Campaign News | Thursday, 4 March 2004

Statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry

New infamy against our five heroes prisoners of the empire

IN the afternoon of February 27, the head of the U.S. Department of State Cuba Bureau delivered Diplomatic Note 058/2 to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington. The note states that, with immediate effect, the Department of State only will approve consular visits once every three months to "Cuban nationals" imprisoned in U.S. jails.

In practice, this measure means that the U.S. government has reduced the consular visits to the five Cuban patriots imprisoned in U.S. jails by Cuban diplomatic officials based in Washington from monthly to three monthly.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations denounces this new attack on our five heroes, compounding a long list of aggressions, psychological torture and violations of their most elemental human rights by the U.S. government since the moment they were arrested in 1998.

This action once again reveals the cruelty and irrationality of the U.S. government in its vain attempt to break the indomitable spirit of our comrades.

This decision is in flagrant violation of international law; specifically, the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which clearly establishes in various of its articles facilities that should be granted by governments for unhindered access by diplomatic missions to nationals imprisoned in the country in question.

Among other consequences, this unjust action against our five political prisoners of the empire rules out a visit to our comrades prior to the appeal hearing scheduled for March 10, given that State Department officials have stated that visits for the first trimester of the year have been used up, and thus subsequent visits must be scheduled starting April 1. In this way, the right of our diplomatic officials - likewise acknowledged by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations - to support our comrades has been impeded and, of course, their right to support from our diplomatic mission.

This new aggression comes in addition to the recent refusal by the Department of State to allow Cuban diplomatic officials to accompany our heroes’ relatives when they are in the United States, the repeated denial of visas for Olga Salanueva and Adriana Pérez - the wives of René González and Gerardo Hernández, respectively - and the general delay in granting visas to family members, including several of our comrades’ heroic mothers, who have been waiting for a response from the U.S. Department of State since August and September 2003.

Cuba reiterates that neither these aggressions nor any other infamy will overcome the stoicism, morale and noble spirit of our five heroes, their families and our people.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

March 4, 2004

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