Sergio Alejandro Gómez & Livia Rodríguez Delis
DURING a press conference in Havana, René González, one of the five Cuban heroes unjustly convicted in the U.S. for anti-terrorist activities, said, “My commitment to this people is the only possible response I can make to the solidarity, affection and support 11 million Cubans have shown me.”
Accompanied by his family, René affirmed that he considered himself “a Cuban patriot, who identifies with our struggle and our project.” His priority, he continued, will be to join the campaign to free his four brothers.
“Until they are all here, we must continue fighting,” René said, “They are going to persevere, they will not surrender.”
He had but one word for U.S. President Barack Obama: courage. This is the only thing that the President needs to do justice, René believes.
In reference to the international campaign to free the four Cubans who remain imprisoned, René commented, “U.S. society must be reached. The people in that country must know that the U.S. government put us in prison to protect their own terrorists. The people must know that a judge told me terrorism is bad, but that I didn’t have the right to combat it there.”
Addressing his difficult years in prison, he said that he very much appreciated the thousands of letters he received and laments not having been able to answer each and every one. He commented that the dignity and status afforded to those who were fighting for justice, by the prison population, also helped.
“Each of us,” René said, “confronted this test with our own resources. I exercised and read. Tony is communicating all the time; Ramón has his sports; Fernando is studying and Gerardo has that sense of humor which allows him to rise above any tragedy.”
René also shared his impressions of the Cuba he has re-encountered. He recalled that during his visit last year, he was joking with some young men in Cotorro (Havana) and said that the streets have more potholes. “But the people have the same essence and that makes me happy,” he added.
A journalist asked about his grandson, Ignacio René, Irmita’s son, “A baseball player or a pilot?”
René responded immediately, “If it’s up to me, I’d say pilot, because I’m terrible at baseball.”
Renunciation of U.S. citizenship process initiated
“I’m very happy to be in Cuba, with my family and my people, to rejoin the society I belong to,” René said after initiating the process of renouncing his U.S. citizenship at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, with his attorney Phillip Horowitz.
“I have many mixed emotions about the process. My father died; I came to see him and in these circumstances, this opportunity arose, but we’ll continue to move forward.”
The anti-terrorist arrived at the Interests Section, also accompanied by his family, and was received with demonstrations of affection and support from residents in the area, who noticed his arrival. In reference to the specifics of the process, René explained that this is technical procedure, which he initiated by completing the necessary application to renounce his citizenship and that he was treated professionally by the Interests Section staff.
“I will subsequently be provided with a Loss of Citizenship Certificate from the Department of State and, once this happens, I will no longer be a U.S. citizen. I will be a proud Cuban citizen,” he added.
He indicated that the process should be complete by May 16, within the period designated by Judge Joan Lenard when she accepted his request to modify the terms of his probation, allowing him to remain in Cuba, in exchange for renouncing his U.S. citizenship.
According to the judge’s stipulations, on May 23, René must present a report on his status and a copy of the document certifying his loss of citizenship to the court. From the bottom of his heart, the designated Hero of the Republic of Cuba reiterated the necessity of continuing the struggle to free his four brothers,
“It is an injustice and a crime that they are imprisoned. We must continue to fight, because their families and the Cuban people need them.”