The National Network on Cuba is overjoyed that the 3 remaining members of the Cuban 5 have been released from United States prisons and have returned to their families and homeland. The NNOC has proudly joined people around the world in demanding the release of the 5 for the 16 years of their unjust imprisonment.
We applaud the efforts and share the happiness of each person who participated in a demonstration demanding freedom for the 5, who attended an educational event, who raised the issue in their communities, who called and wrote to elected officials, who wore a “free the five” button. We especially share the happiness of the families of the 5 and of the Cuban people who never rested in their fight for this long overdue victory.
The recent focus on Cuba including today’s release of the Five, the upcoming Summit of the Americas, exposure of USAID’s nefarious efforts to subvert Cuban society, and the Cuban medical missions fighting Ebola, present an opportunity for all of us committed to Cuban solidarity. We must now increase the demands that all aspects of the blockade be lifted, that Cuba be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and that the Cuban right to self-determination and sovereignty be respected.
See Also From DemocracyNow!
Obama Announces Historic Restoration of Diplomatic Ties with Cuba
President Obama has announced the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in more than half a century. In a historic address Wednesday, Obama announced the shift would include the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana.
President Obama: “First, I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations that have been severed since January of 1961. Going forward, the United States will re-establish an embassy in Havana, and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba. Where we can advance shared interests, we will, on issues like health, migration, counterterrorism, drug trafficking and disaster response.”
Cuban Five, U.S. Contractor Alan Gross Released From Prison
The softening of U.S.-Cuba relations also came with the release of prisoners in both the United States and Cuba. Cuba released Alan Gross, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on humanitarian grounds. Gross was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years for smuggling in illegal technology for opposition groups. Cuba also released a top spy identified by Newsweek as Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, a former cryptographer at Cuba’s Directorate of Intelligence who worked secretly for the CIA. In exchange for Trujillo’s release, the United States has freed the three remaining members of the Cuban Five — a group of Cuban intelligence officers arrested in the United States in 1998 and convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. They say they were not spying on the United States, but trying to monitor violent right-wing Cuban exile groups responsible for attacks inside Cuba. We will host a roundtable on Cuba after headlines.