Miami Five are being denied visitors rights
Campaign News | Wednesday, 17 November 2004
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The Miami Five - five Cubans who have been wrongfully imprisoned in the US for alleged crimes they did not commit - are being denied family visits in a flagrant breach of their constitutional rights.
The US Free the Five Committee, which campaigns on their behalf, has launched a letter writing campaign to win visiting rights for them.
Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, and Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández, have been denied entry into the United States by the U.S. government several times. As a result they are not able to visit their husbands in prison.
Little 6-year-old Ivette, daughter of Olga and René, is also not able to visit her father, although she is a U.S.-born citizen. Adriana has not seen her husband Gerardo for more than six years. Olga and Ivette have not seen René for more than four years.
The mothers, wives of the other Cuban Five brothers, and other relatives, have also had to wait excessive periods of time to receive entry visas from the U.S. government.
For example, Mirta Rodríguez, mother of Antonio Guerrero, was only last able to visit her son November 2003. It is one year since she has seen Antonio.
Rosa Aurora Freijanes, wife of Fernando González, has only been able to see her husband three times since his imprisonment six years ago. Magali Llort, mother of Fernando, has not been granted an entry visa from the U.S. since she last saw him in February, despite applying for a visa months ago.
Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of Ramón Labañino, and the children, Ailí, Lisbet and Laura, have been able to visit him only four times in six years. Their last visit was February.
The new U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has the authority to grant entry visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Pérez, as well as to speed up the process of visas for the other family members. It is necessary to let him know that thousands of people are aware of the Five's case and the denial of family visits.
The US Free the Five Committee is asking all supporters to immediately send letters to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, to call on him to grant Olga and Adriana entry visas, and to speed up the pace of approval for family visits.
A sample letter is reproduced below:
Hon. US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20530 - 0001
Dear Attorney General Gonzalez,
I respectfully request that you grant entry rights into the United States to the following individuals who are Cuban citizens and live in Cuba in order to be able to visit their husbands currently incarcerated in US prisons:
· Olga Salanueva Arango, wife of Rene Gonzalez, reg. # 58738-004 who is currently in FCI Edgefield, South Carolina and
· Adriana Perez O’Connor, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, reg. # 58739-004 who is currently in USP Victorville, California
The two women, upstanding and productive citizens of their country of Cuba should be able to visit their husbands on humanitarian grounds. People in the United States and around the world are aware of their situation. There is no justifiable reason to keep the families separated.
I have read about their situation and believe that the women do not pose a security risk in any way to the United States.
The US Supreme Court, pursuant to the decision of Overton vs. Bazzetta, June 16 2003, held that the state cannot interfere with the right of children and spouses to visit a prisoner.
Ivette Gonzalez, the youngest child of Rene Gonzalez, although a US-born citizen, has not been able to see her father for over four years. She is only six years old. As long as her mother, Olga Salanueva, is prohibited entry into the United States for visits with her husband, Ivette is also denied visits with her father.
The court states in Overton, “It is reasonable to ensure that a visiting child is accompanied and supervised by those adults charged with protecting and serving the child’s best interests.”
I am also concerned about the lengthy delays in the granting of visas to family members of the other prisoners who are part of the same case known publicly as “the Cuban Five”. The men are Ruben Campa # 58733-004, Luis Medina # 58734-004, and Antonio Guerrero # 58741-004.
I hope you will review this matter favourably and grant entry visas into the United States for the five men’s family members and help keep the families together.