Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters unjustly held in the United States, said that with the definitive return to Cuba of Rene Gonzalez, “each one of the Five is a little more free.”
“Parts of us wander through the streets of this island with him, and we can almost breathe the air, and bathe under the sun,” Hernandez said in a message sent from the Victorville federal penitentiary in California.
After learning that on May 3, Judge Joan Lenard accepted a modification of the terms of supervised release for Gonzalez, allowing him to remain in Cuba in exchange for his renunciation of U.S. citizenship, he said “Rene arrived in Cuba to stay.”
He recalled in his note that Gonzalez “could have used the same reasons of those who very soon decided to plead guilty and cooperate with the authorities.”
Prosecutors knew that they had very little against him, and tried to get him out of the way with offers. “It bothered them that he sang the song “El Necio” (The Fool), and so they got tough on him. No one saw him crying when they separated Olga (Salanueva, his wife) from the girls and they threw her into a cell,” he said.
But “we never noticed even minimal despair from him. He fulfilled with dignity every day of his sentence, and came out on October 7, 2011, with his head held as high as when he went in, yet he still had to suffer the loss of his brother and his father in solitude.”
Hernandez, who is serving two life terms plus 15 years, said that someone asked him whether the Cuban Five would “now say that we are not five, but four,” to which his reply was that this would be a mistake: “we are five and we will continue to be five.”
Considered Heroes by the Cuban people, the Five, as Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez are internationally known, were detained on September 12, 1998 in the city of Miami, confined for 17 months in punishment cells, and sentenced in December 2001 after a rigged trial full of irregularities.
The mission that brought them to U.S. territory was to monitor and report actions that violent Cuban-American extremists have planned, organized, and executed from southern Florida against the civilian population of the Caribbean country. These terrorist actions have cause nearly 3,400 deaths and injured more than 2,000 over the last 50 years.