_ Sinay Céspedes Moreno
Holguin, Cuba, Nov 18 (Prensa Latina) "I have no doubt that one day soon the Cuban Five will return home, they will be finally exonerated and free," asserted Geoffrey Bottoms, a British Catholic priest.
Bottoms is one of the 11 delegates from Britain to the VII International Colloquium for the Release of the Cuban Five and against Terrorism that is being held in this eastern province since last Wednesday.
Since 2002 he started cooperating for the release of The Cuban Five, as Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez, are known wprldwide.
In an interview with Prensa Latina, the Catholic priest explained that nearly 10 years ago, he read an article about the injustice committed against these anti-terrorist Cuban fighters imprisoned in U.S., and he decided to write letters to them.
"They wrote back to me and we exchanged quite a few letters. I asked them if they would like me to visit them and they all said yes, so they sent me forms," he explained.
As a result of that process, he was allowed to visit Gerardo, Ramón and Fernando, but was not allowed visiting Rene and Antonio.
Visibly proud, Bottoms recalled that he first met Gerardo and saw him five times. Later he saw Ramón three times, and in 2008 he met Fernando just once.
He commented that the first time he tried to see Ramon the authorities of his prison did not allow him to enter because it was during the U.S war against Iraq and they considered the priest a threat to national security.
But Bottoms did more than that. Now he is in charge to spreading the cause of The Cuban Five within the Cuban Solidarity Campaign, an organization with five thousand members committed to the cause of these antiterrorist fighters.
He stated that during the whole year they do different programs to inform the British people about the unjust trail and the harsh sentences they are serving, of up to two life imprisonment plus 15 years.
The main activity is a candle vigil the members of the Campaign have done annually for six years outside the U.S. Embassy in London to demand the release of The Cuban Five.
On this occasion, the vigil will be on December 1st with the participation of Magali Llort and Mirtha Rodriguez, the mothers of Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero, respectively.
For next year they are making arranges for an art exhibition which will be called "Beyond the Frame" that will include works by Cuban artists, including Antonio and Gerardo.
In this way we hope to promote the cause of Cuba and the case of The Cuban Five and involve many more people to join the campaign. We will convey our message through art, he said.
Bottoms gave special importance to the work they do to break the wall of silence imposed by the major newspapers and TV channels in his country. To fight that, whenever they have the chance they post articles on The Guardian, The Observer and The Morning Star.
They also leave some room to work with young people through the National Union of Students.
Besides, the 30 local groups existing around the country have public meetings, salsa nights, and use the local radio and TV to talk about the case and hold rallies in the streets to campaign nationwide In London, specifically, the organization works very closely with members of Parliament which are sympathetic to Cuba and The Cuban Five, so that, having legislators involved, means that they can reach the top levels of government.
In Bottoms´ opinion, these colloquiums are very important because they bring together activists from all over the world, who share experiences and activities, thus strengthening their links.
He said the forum is also big hope for the relatives, who see that all these activists are in Holguin to learn more about the case and plan ways to make progress in the campaign and make it more effective.
"I always believe that truth and justice will prevail. The Cuban Five represent the heroic history of Cuba, the principles and ideals upon which the Revolution was founded; that another world and the new man of which Che Guevara spoke are possible. They are an example to our struggle for a better world," he concluded.