PRESS RELEASE MPS and union leaders urge government to grant visa to René González

Campaign News | Saturday, 9 August 2014

Len McCluskey condemns Gonzalez ban to UK

Biggest trade union calls on British Home Secretary Theresa May for 'discretion in this case'

British MPs and union leaders have urged the British government to reconsider its decision to refuse an entry visa to René González - a Cuban man who spent 13 years in a US jail for trying to defend his country against terrorism.

González is one of the Miami Five, five Cuban men who were arrested in Miami in 1998 for infiltrating US-based terrorist groups responsible for attacks against Cuba.

González, the first of the Miami Five to be released, was due to speak at meetings in Liverpool and London from 8-10 September to mark the 16th anniversary of their arrests. Despite an invitation from 29 British MPs to address a meeting in parliament, and from the TUC to address their Congress in Liverpool, the British government refused three legal appeals to overturn their decision to deny him entry to the country.

René is currently in the middle of visits to Portugal and France, both countries having granted him a visa without issue.

Olga Salanueva, wife of Mr González, will speak at emergency meetings in Liverpool and London to protest at the British government’s denial of an entry visa for her husband.

Rob Miller, director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign said:

“It is ridiculous that Rene is able to attend events in Portugal and France this week but is not allowed a visa to come here to meet with MPs. The meetings in Britain will still go ahead with Rene’s wife Olga speaking on his behalf, but it is embarrassing that Britain looks destined to become the only European country to which René is denied entry.”

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union said:

“The British government has ignored an invitation from 29 British MPs for Rene to come and speak at a meeting in parliament. How is this in the national interest? Given the high profile nature of this case and the numerous letters and appeals from MPs for the Home Secretary to show discretion in this case, the decision must be seen as a political one.”

González returned home to Cuba in May 2013 after serving 13 years in prison and 18 months of supervised released in the United States. He was arrested with four other members of the Miami Five in 1998 after infiltrating Florida-based responsible for carrying out terrorist attacks against Cuba. The fairness of their trial has been questioned by international human rights groups including Amnesty International.

Olga Salanueva will speak at the TUC Congress Cuba Solidarity Campaign fringe meeting alongside Len McCluskey on Monday 8 September at 5.45pm. She will also speak at a public meeting in Liverpool at Jack Jones House on Tuesday 9 September at 7.30pm and at a meeting hosted by Jeremy Corbyn MP in Committee Room 9, House of Commons on Wednesday 10 September at 6.30pm.


For interviews with Olga Salanueva or René González contact:

Natasha Hickman on 07813 689777

Rob Miller on 07930 693900

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