Guardian publishes article by Miami Five hero's wife at end of successful tour of Britain

Campaign News | Wednesday, 7 December 2005

British daily publishes comment piece by Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene Gonzalez

London 7 Dec: The Guardian Newspaper today published an opinion piece by Olga Salanueva which brought to a successful end the tour of Britain by Olga and her 7 year-old daughter Ivette. A farewell rally in Scotland was the concluding event of an exhausting programme that included meetings with MPs, lawyers and trade unionists interested in the case, as well as major public meetings in London, Manchester and Glasgow.

The visit came at a critical time for the campaign to Free the Five. On August 9th the three judges of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned their convictions and ordered a retrial on the grounds that they could not have received a fair trial in Miami.

<img src="images/gibsonandfamily.jpg" alt="Jeremy Corbyn MP" width="150" height="113" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="left" />Member of Parliament and Chair of the All Party Group on Cuba, Ian Gibson, said

"This case exposes the hypocrisy of the United States' War on Terror. We will do everything that is possible to explain the case to Members of Parliament with the objective of obtaining the liberation of the Five"

In a meeting of prominent Trade Unionists, Olga explained the background to the case and called on British Trade Unionists to help free the five.

<img src="images/jc&sc.jpg" alt="Jeremy Corbyn MP" width="150" height="113" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="left" />Tony Woodley, General Secretary of The Transport and General Workers Union said

"We offer our unequivocal support for the campaign to liberate the five Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the United States"

Over 150 people listened intently at a Free the Five Rally in London where they heard from speakers including Jeremy Corbyn MP and lawyer Steve Cottingham.

<img src="images/rally-platform.jpg" alt="Rally platform" width="187" height="87" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="left" />In an emotional atmosphere the short film "Ivette" was shown for the first time in the UK and the audience heard Ivette herself read a letter from her father Rene Gonzalez.

<img src="images/ivette1.jpg" alt="Rally platform" width="150" height="113" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="left" />Refererring to the original trial Olga said: “We are not going to allow justice to be taken from our hands, we are not going to let the same thing happen as happened in Miami four years ago. We need to ensure that the postbag of the prosecutor is full of letters protesting about the case.”

Olga went on to thank all those across the globe who were fighting for justice for the Five

<img src="images/olga3.jpg" alt="" width="150" height="113" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="left" />“I’d like to give you on behalf of our family and all the family members our gratitude for your interest in the case. Just as for you, for them solidarity is very important.”

Rob Miller, Director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign said

"This visit has given people across Britain the chance to hear first hand about the injustices of this case. The Cuba Solidarity Campaign will re double our efforts to make sure that the US authorities are left in no doubt that the people of Britain expect justice. We will work tirelessly now to get as many MPs, Trade Unionists and prominent people to sign the open letter demanding their immediate liberation."

For all information on the tour please contact CSC at 020 7263 6452

The Guardian article in full is reproduced below:

<strong>Jailed for fighting terror</strong>

The hypocrisy of the US war on terrorism is revealed by its treatment of my husband: Olga Salanueva

Wednesday December 7, 2005, The Guardian,3604,1660473,00.html

The United States always says that it is fighting a war against terror. But when it comes to terrorism that is grown in its own backyard, it somehow chooses to forget about it. Worse than that, as in the case of the persecution of the Miami Five, Washington appears to be condoning and protecting terrorists who have been responsible for the deaths of scores of innocent victims.

I am talking about the four-decade-long war of terror that the US government and Cuban emigre groups based in Miami have waged against Cuba - and about my husband René González, one of five Cubans imprisoned in Miami seven years ago for doing nothing more than trying to prevent terrorist attacks being planned against Cuba in the very territory of the United States.

It was in September 1998 that five armed US federal agents burst into our Miami apartment and took René away. It was a traumatic event for our two daughters. This was not the kind of arrest you see in films. There was nothing ethical about it. No one spoke to him of his rights. They had no documents to support their actions and it was not until a day later that I learned that René and the four others had been charged with conspiracy to commit espionage.

My husband is now in his eighth year of imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. He was found guilty in a trial so obviously biased that his lawyers were incredulous that this could happen in the modern-day United States. Without a shred of evidence being presented by the prosecution they were given sentences ranging from 15 years, in the case of my husband, to life in the cases of Gerardo Hernández, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero. Recently, the Atlanta court of appeals revoked their convictions. The prosecution has appealed against this decision and the process may yet take months or even years to resolve. Meanwhile, my husband and his comrades remain in jail.

The Miami Five were treated to bouts of solitary confinement far beyond the limits that other prisoners have to bear and they have been denied visiting rights. A committee of the United Nations has found their treatment to be in contravention of international human rights standards. It is time the United States was held to account for the injustice that has been done.

Not only has my husband been unjustly imprisoned, his family has also been treated appallingly. For neither my daughters nor myself have seen him in five years because the US refuses me a visa to visit him in prison. Our younger daughter, Ivette, is a US citizen by birth, as is René. Yet they are denied a fundamental right that is supposedly guaranteed US citizens by law.

Time and again the United States has arbitrarily denied me the possibility of visiting René. There is no reason to justify this denial. Like Adriana Pérez, the wife of fellow-prisoner Gerardo Hernández, I am suffering as an additional punishment to the unjust sentence imposed on my husband.

Ivette is now seven, and only knows René through the photos produced by the worldwide campaign to free him; she goes through life asking about him and wondering what life would have been like if she had had her father at home. She asks me constantly when all this will end, if her father will ever come home. Ivette is an innocent child who is being vindictively punished.

We demand the cessation of these cruel, dishonest practices - and denounce and refute all the false arguments and lies that the authorities have tried to use to continue punishing these political prisoners, who are in fact fighters against terrorism.

Olga Salanueva, the wife of René González, one of Cuba's Miami Five, is on a campaigning tour of Britain this week.

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