The fight for the release of the Cuban antiterrorists who are still held in US prisons has brought together all religious people here beyond any possible differences, Reverend Pablo Odén Marichal said.
In an interview with Prensa Latina, Marichal, who is the coordinator of the Cuban Interreligious Platform, noted that religions proclaim love, peace and justice, concepts that were taken up by Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez in their fight to defend life.
“Their struggle has been against terrorism, which is the biggest threat that exists today against peace,” the reverend pointed out.
That is why, they decided not to sit to discuss differences, “but to agree on working on a task for peace and for human beings and we joined around this common goal in the Cuban context”, so that Hernandez, Labañino and Guerrero can return home.
Marichal stated that injustice has gone on too long, as the 16th anniversary of the arrests of the Five on US territory will be marked soon.
During the interview, he also referred to the recent publication of a letter from the Interreligious Platform joining the growing clamor from the US ecumenical community, which demands change in the White House’s policy on Cuba.
He recalled that the letter, signed by Cuban religious leaders, was made public on June 11, during an event to support the Five in Washington DC.
We have made a proposal to the National Council of Christ’s Churches in the United States and the World Church Service to work together in common matters, he added.
In that regard, he made emphasis on the demand for the elimination of the (economic, financial and commercial) blockade of Cuba, imposed by the US government for over 50 years, a demand that has been supported by a majority in that country.
Other issues are “terrorism and to talk about the elimination of the barriers that separate the two peoples, in a dialogue without conditions, based on respect and equality as the Cuban government has repeated,” he pointed out.
Marichal was one of the panelists who participated on Wednesday in an Internet forum dedicated to Hernandez, Labañino and Guerrero, under the auspices of the Cuban Association of the United Nations and other civil society organizations.
The forum, called “We Want Them at Home Immediately”, was held on June 26, which was declared by the United Nations General Assembly on December 12, 1997, as the International Day in Support of the Torture Victims.
Web surfers from several countries, including Italy, Switzerland and Brazil, expressed interest in US President Barack Obama’s prerogatives to release the three Cuban antiterrorist fighters who are still in prison.
They also discussed the need to increase political pressure on Washington by boosting the solidarity movement.
According to Graciela Ramirez, coordinator of the International Committee for the Release of those men, a form of subtle torture was applied on the Five in general during all these years, not only affecting them but their families as well.
Aili and Laura, the two daughters of Ramon Labañino, answered questions at the interactive online forum.