Havana, Cuba, Mar 19.- Irish peace activist Mairead Maguire, co-winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, recently issued a statement in support of five Cuban antiterrorists who remain unjustly held in the United States.
Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, and Gerardo Hernandez —internationally known as the Cuban Five— were unjustly incarcerated in 1998 for trying to prevent terrorist actions organized by anti-Cuba extremist groups in South Florida against the Caribbean nation.
After a long and biased trial, they were given unjust and excessive sentences ranging from 15 years to two life terms. Hernandez, Guerrero, Labañino, and Fernando Gonzalez remain in prison, while Rene Gonzalez was released on parole in October 2011, but he was forced to stay in U.S. territory for three years.
According to Wikipedia, Maguire co-founded, with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, the Community of Peace People, an organization dedicated to
encouraging a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Maguire and Williams were awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize. She has criticized the Israeli government’s policy towards Gaza, in particular to
the naval blockade. In June 2010, she went on board the MV Rachel Corrie as part of a flotilla that unsuccessfully attempted to breach the blockade.
The Cuban News Agency reproduces the full text of her message in support of the Cuban Five, published by the website of the Embassy of Cuba in Ireland:
“The Cuban Five and their families have suffered too much already as a result of the arbitrary arrest of the Five in Miami in 1998 followed by a flawed trial and unjust sentences. Family and prisoner visiting rights are constantly abused especially in the case of Gerardo Hernandez and his wife Adriana Perez who have not seen each other for almost 15 years as U.S. authorities will not issue a visa for Adriana to travel to the U.S. to visit her husband in prison. While incarcerated Rene Gonzalez was also deprived of visits from his wife Olga Salanueva for the same reason. Even though Rene is now out of prison, he has to serve his three year supervised probation period in Miami without the company and support of his wife because of the denial of permission to Olga to enter the U.S.
”The Cuban Five’s mission in Miami was a peaceful one. They were trying to put an end to the sabotage and aggression carried out by terrorist groups against Cuba from U.S. soil.
”In the name of peace, I call for an end to the suffering of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Gonzalez, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino and their
families. They should be released immediately and permission should be granted by U.S. authorities to allow Rene to return to Cuba to see his
gravely ill brother, Roberto Gonzalez.”
Nobel Peace Laureate