United States: New cruel punishment for jailed Cuban

On October 7, Rene Gonzalez will be released from a United States prison in Florida after serving a 15 year sentence. Gonzalez is one of the Cuban Five — five Cuban men jailed in the US for infiltrating right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist groups to defend the security of the Cuban people.

The US government is now trying to stop Gonzalez’s immediate return to his homeland after his release. In the most cynical and mean-spirited fashion, a US court is extending his punishment by making him spend three years on probation in Florida.

Seven months ago, his lawyer presented a motion asking the court to modify the conditions of his probation for humanitarian reasons so that, after his release, he be allowed to return to Cuba to reunite with his wife and his family.

On March 25, prosecutor Caroline Heck Miller asked the judge to deny the motion. On September 16, Judge Joan Lenard rejected the defence motion, saying the court needed time to assess whether the prisoner would be a danger to the US after his release.

It was not enough for the US government to make Gonzalez complete his full sentence to the last day, nor to repeatedly deny his wife the right to visit him in prison.

The prejudice of the Miami community against the Cuban Five was denounced by three judges of the Eleventh Circuit of the Atlanta Court of Appeals on August 27, 2005, where it was recognised who the terrorists were, which organisations they belonged to and where they resided.

To make Gonzalez stay a further three years of supervised “freedom” in Florida, where a nest of international terrorists that publicly express hate for the Cuban Five is to put his life in serious risk.

We are calling for the US government to allow Gonzalez to return to Cuba and reunite with his wife and his family as soon as he gets out of prison.

[Abridged from site of the International Committee to Defend the Five. Send email protests to President Barack Obama; and US attorney general Eric Hodder, AskDOJ@usdoj.gov.]