Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio were released today and messages of joy and congratulations are streaming in from all over the world. They are finally back in their homeland with their families and the people of Cuba. Today they received the much waited embrace from Rene and Fernando after so many years of unjust imprisonment.
Today we are reminded more than ever what Fidel said in June 2001..."The Five are a quintet of giants... I only say one thing, they will return!"
This day is a triumph of truth and the fruit of the heroic resistance of each of them, of the Government of Cuba, of the Cuban people and the international solidarity movement.
Not only has 16 years of imprisonment ended but their release opens the real possibility of initiating a new era in U.S. Cuba relations. The solution today was arrived at with the mediation of Pope Francisco and the political will of both governments.
As today's release was happening a letter put together by the European Coordination of the Free the Five Campaign, the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 in the Arab World and the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 was in its final preparations calling for Obama to allow the remaining 3 to return to Cuba to be with their families for the holidays.
The letter is signed by well-known men and women from all over the world including 9 Nobel laureates, the President of El Salvador Salvador Sánchez Cerén together with parliamentarians, religious and labor leaders, lawyers, intellectuals and actors and more. (See the letter).
Fortunately this is the first time, in this long battle that has spanned 16 years, that it is not necessary to send a letter of this kind but we are sending it along to you as part of the testimony and beauty that the international solidarity movement has with the Cuban 5.
We embrace all the committees and friends of the Five who in unity fought tirelessly through all these years.
Our work is not over and we urge everyone to channel all that energy that was used to push for the release of the Cuban 5 into the effort to end the genocidal blockade against Cuba in its entirety. We must remain united to continue in our quest for a better world filled with dignity and justice.
We embrace you all with joy and love on this historic day,
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5