Radio broadcast on MiamiFive
Campaign News | Friday, 4 October 2002
Olga Salanueva Radio Havana broadcast
Olga Salanueva broadcast on Radio Havana Cuba on 12 September 2002.
“PROGRAM INTRODUCTION: Four years ago today, the five Cuban men now incarcerated in the United States for fighting against terrorism, were picked up. Bernie Dwyer brings us the story of one of those arrests told by Olga Salanueva, Rene Gonzalez's wife with comments from Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban Parliament.
REPORTER: Four years ago today, the five Cubans who are now serving maximum sentences in US prisons were picked up by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. The nightmare for Olga Salanueva, Rene Gonzalez's wife started on the 12th September 1998 when she arrived home from work to her house in Miami. She had been worried all day at work because her little four-month-old daughter Ivette had a feverish cold. Her husband Rene was looking after the child.
OLGA SALANUEVA: When I arrived home that night he was lying on the bed watching television with the child lying across his chest sleeping. He told me that she was sleeping there because he did not want to put her into her bed before I could see her. Really it was a beautiful sight because he is a tall bulky person, he weighed much more then than he does now and the child was only four month old, a small baby lying on his chest as if she was in a cradle. I liked it so much that I took a photo.
REPORTER: The couple went to sleep after twelve o'cIock but they were awakened at five o'cIock in the morning by loud banging on the door of their house.
OLGA: Rene put on his shorts and went to the door and asked who it was and they said that it was the police. He came back to the room to get dressed and told me that it was the police and what did they want calling at this hour. Then he went back out and I stayed in the room. Then it seemed that a lot of people entered the house, there was a lot of noise and people shouting and I knew that what was happening was really something abnormal. When I came out to the living room they had already thrown him on the floor with his head outside the apartment, they had his hands behind his back and then they put handcuffs on him. There were various armed persons from the police and the FBI. They were putting him under arrest immediately, when they saw that I had entered the room. They also put me up against the wall and told me to raise my arms. Then they sat me in a chair and I saw that they were taking him away. I asked Rene why it had happened like that. He said that they had asked him if he was Rene Gonzalez and if he belonged to Brothers to the Rescue. They took him away without telling me where. Some of them stayed behind in our apartment. He had no opportunity to say goodbye to the children
REPORTER: The FBI agents finished the search and they took documents, photos and the computer away with them.
OLGA: With that they left. I asked them if there was a telephone where they had taken my husband and they told me they were only going to ask him a few questions and then he would return, but up until today, Rene has not come back.
REPORTER: On Sunday 13th September 1998, Olga Salanueva received another visit from two federal agents who informed her that Rene and some others had been detained and the following day they went brought to court and charged. The process had begun. From then on, the five companeros were imprisoned and received the most unjust and humiliating treatment. They refused with dignity and on principle to make a pact with the attorney general. For 17 months they were confined in the so-called 'hole'. Three of them could not have any contact with their families. The result of this was that it was impossible to maintain communication with their lawyers and to prepare their defence.
The jury selection started on the 27th of November of the year 2000, and the last sentence was pronounced on the 2nd December 2001. The process violated not only the US constitution but international human rights. Leaving aside what happened in Miami, a city characterized by the intransigence and intolerance of the anti-Cuban organizations .......
The media started their campaign of pre-judging the five before the trial even started. The irregularities and the violations were pointed out including the lack of an impartial jury and due process, cruel isolation conditions, lack of relation between the judge's instructions and the verdict of the jury. Equally they were sentenced for spying without any evidence and without endangering anyone in the United States, which are violations of the doctrines of state and of sovereign immunity.
A [Cuban] comrade was accused and in a totally unjust manner, arbitrarily, falsely - an abominable thing - of murder in the first degree, without proof, without any element of justice.
Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban Parliament, adds:
ALARCON: Three were accused of espionage and the other two of the terrible crime of being agents from a foreign country that is from Cuba, without having registered as such. On the streets of the US there were persons who were found guilty of this crime who only had to pay a fine to get off. However, on the insistence of the government and the judge, they applied, the maximum sentence to Rene Gonzalez, 15 years in prison followed by supervised freedom where he is prohibited to associate with or visit places where he knows there are terrorist groups.
The worst sentence was handed down to Gerardo Hernandez, for murder with intent against the terrorist group Brothers to the Rescue.
If Gerardo Hernandez had been interested in doing anything to endanger one of these people nobody would have known anything. It was actually Rene who was infiltrating those groups. However, they couldn't accuse Rene because he had absolutely no intention of endangering those individuals, being a pilot.
Rene Gonzalez could have made a pact with the attorney general to obtain a shorter sentence. He did not do that out of honour and principle. Because of this he was viewed as a threat and they denied him the right to be visited by his wife and little Ivette who is only four years old. We keep calling on them to respect the rights of the five Cubans.
Meanwhile the US launches war and threatens the whole world in its supposed opposition to terrorism, in Cuba it works because it knows the truth about these five who sacrificed their lives to combat terrorism on the front line.