TUC Congress passes motion to campaign against visa denial of Rene Gonzalez
Campaign News | Monday, 15 September 2014
Followingthe decision of the British government to deny Rene Gonzalez a visa to visit Britain this month, the British trade union movement unanimously passed a motion pledging to protest at this decision during their annual Congress held from 7-10 September in Liverpool last week.
Rene, the first of the Miami Five to have been released, was due to address the TUC Congress in person on Wednesday 10 September, but instead was forced to record a video message for delegates after his visa was denied for for the second time this year.
Rene is one of the Miami Five, five Cubans arrested in Miami in 1998 for trying to stop terrorist attacks against their homeland. He was denied a visa on the grounds that he had spent more than 4 years in a foreign prison. Yet despite the fact that the government can show discretion in certain circumstances, the fact that 29 MPs had invited him to speak at a meeting in parliament was ignored by the government during the legal appeal at this decision.
The motion was moved by Ivan Monckton from Unite and Kevin Courtney from the National Union of Teachers. The full text of the motion is reprinted below, and a film of all the speeches, including the video message can also be found on the link at the bottom of the page.
..............TUC Congress Emergency Motion 3......................
René González denied a visa to visit Britain
Congress notes that:
- 29 Members of Parliament have invited René González, the first of the Miami Five to be freed, to visit the UK this week.
- he was due to speak to our Congress in Liverpool as well as at a meeting at the House of Commons.
- the British government have denied a visa to René González
- despite three legal appeals including a Judicial Review on Friday 5th September the courts have refused to overturn the decision of the Home Secretary.
Mr González has received visas to visit other European Union countries including France and Portugal meaning that Britain appears to be the only member state continuing to punish him and the campaign for the freedom of the remaining three members of the Miami Five.
We therefore urge Congress to:
- protest this decision in the strongest possible terms directly to the Home Office and ask them to grant a visa to René González, a Cuban man who spent 13 years in a US jail for trying to defend his country against terrorism
- work with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and others to ensure that this ban is overturned and that René González is allowed to visit Britain as soon as possible.