Miami Five record message of thanks for Britain
Campaign News | Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Members of the Miami Five met with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and supporters in Havana in November to celebrate the court ruling on René González’s visa victory, which will hopefully allow the Five to visit Britain soon.
In a recorded message René González welcomed the court decision and said that the Five were looking forward to coming to Britain.
“I believe that the victory that we achieved in the courts is a reflection of all the support that we received from Britain … We are looking forward to going there and to thank you personally to thank you, to show our appreciation and our gratitude”.
CSC and the British trade union movement played a significant role in campaigning to free the Miami Five, who were released from prison on December 17 2014 by Barack Obama as part of the rapprochement between the US and Cuba.
They had been behind bars in the United States for 16 years for trying to prevent terrorist attacks against Cuba from US-based groups in Miami.
René González said, “We owe a big part of our release to the British people who campaigned for our freedom.”
Following their release, the Five have been to dozens of countries across Europe, Africa and Latin America. However, the UK Home Office denied René a visa to Britain; the only country to refuse entry to the Five. Following November’s victory in the Court of Appeal, René, and hopefully all of the Five will be visiting Britain with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign soon.
CSC Director Rob Miller, who met with the Five in Havana, said: “Our government in Britain was unique in banning the Five from visiting, but we won an historic victory against our Home Secretary Theresa May, against all the odds. Nobody thought we’d win that case; we were up against the state, the Home Secretary and the existing law, so to overturn that visa decision was an historic victory and a joyous moment”.
Gerardo Hernández, the leader of the Five, thanked the British people for their support whilst they were unjustly imprisoned and looks forward to celebrating with friends and supporters when they visit. “The country that we received the most amount of mail from [in prison] was from Britain, and that says a lot”.
CSC is currently discussing a visit for 2016 with the legal team in the UK and with the Five themselves. Campaign groups and Trade Unions involved in the campaign for the Five's freedom are asked to contact CSC office to get involved with a programme that will ensure a wonderful and fitting celebration.