issued demanding visas for wives of Cuban militants in U.S.
MALAPANIS, (The Militant)
are urgently requesting your support to help win the right of
Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, and Adriana Pérez,
wife of Gerardo Hernández, to enter the United States for the
purpose of visiting their husbands, who, as you know, are
wrongfully imprisoned in the U.S.," says a July 8 appeal
by the San Francisco-based National Committee to Free the
Five. "Olga and Adriana were recently denied entry visas
for the third time."
appeal asks for letters to that effect to be sent to
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Homeland
Security Director Thomas Ridge, and Attorney General
five men—Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino,
Fernando González, René González, and Antonio
Guerrero—are Cuban revolutionaries serving
draconian sentences in U.S. prisons on frame-up
charges brought by the U.S. government. The Cuban
Five, as they are known, had been carrying out an
internationalist mission to gather information on
ultrarightist organizations with a record of violent
attacks on Cuba carried out from U.S. soil with
Washington’s complicity. They were arrested by FBI
agents in 1998, charged with conspiracy to commit
espionage and conspiracy to act as an unregistered
foreign agent. Hernández was also charged with
conspiracy to commit murder. They were convicted in
June 2001, given sentences ranging from 15 years to
a double-life term, and sent to five federal prisons
in different regions of the country.
February 28 the five men were thrown into solitary
confinement after an order by the Justice Department
charging that the extensive solidarity they had
received in the form of correspondence and the few
visitors they were allowed made them a
"national security risk." An international
campaign of protests was launched against this
unsuccessful attempt by Washington to break them.
They were released from the "hole" a month
later. They are now in the process of appealing
their convictions and sentences.
July 25, 2002, Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) and FBI agents detained Pérez upon
her entry into the United States at Houston
Intercontinental Airport. She had arrived from Cuba
that day with a visa issued by the U.S. Interests
Section in Havana to visit her husband, Gerardo
Hernández, in a federal penitentiary in Lompoc,
California, whom she has not seen for five years.
After holding Pérez for 11 hours and interrogating
her, the INS—now reorganized under the Homeland
Security agency as the Bureau of Customs and
Immigration Enforcement—revoked her visa and
deported her to Cuba.
last year U.S. authorities also revoked a visa they
had issued to Salanueva. The action stopped
Salanueva and her daughter from visiting René
González, who is imprisoned in Edgefield, South
Carolina. Washington had deported Salanueva to Cuba
during her husband’s trial.
they wait for the appeals of the cases of the Cuban
Five, which could take years, the families should
not be denied the right to stay together,"
reads the July 8 appeal by the Committee to Free the
Five, which is among the U.S. groups organizing the
campaign to release the five men.
demanding that visas be granted to Pérez and
Salanueva can be sent to Secretary of State Colin
Powell, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520, tel:
(202) 647-4000, fax: (202) 261-8577; Homeland
Security Director Thomas Ridge, Washington, DC
20528; and Attorney General John Ashcroft, 950
Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001,
tel: (202) 353-1555, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
part of this effort, we reprint below a June 23
letter that Olga Salanueva and Adriana Pérez sent
to Mary-Alice Waters, president of Pathfinder Press.
write you as two Cuban women who have been unable to
communicate with our husbands because our entry into
the U.S. has been prevented. Our husbands have been
imprisoned in U.S. jails since Sept. 12, 1998,
receiving long prison terms for being fighters
name is Olga Salanueva Arango, wife of René
González Sehwerert, sentenced to 15 years in
prison, with whom I was living when he was arrested.
Since that time our family has been subjected to
humiliation and to blackmail against my husband.
This treatment has been utilized as a form of
psychological torture against him.
November 2000, faced with my husband’s refusal to
plea bargain in exchange for his family’s
remaining in U.S. territory, I was arrested and
jailed for three months, separated from my
daughters, and deported to Cuba.
repeated occasions the U.S. government has denied my
request for a visa so I could visit my husband. In
this way they have prevented us from seeing each
other physically, and they have prevented
communication between René and our young daughter
Ivette González, who is five years old. The child
was four months old at the time of the arrest. For
that reason, the only face of her father she
recognizes is that in photographs. She does not even
remember the feeling of a fatherly embrace and kiss.
other case is mine, Adriana Pérez Oconor, wife of
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, who is serving two life
sentences plus 15 years.
time I’ve requested authorization to enter the
United States to visit my husband, the government of
that country has denied it to me. On the first
occasion, it reached the point where they granted me
such authorization, letting me travel as far as
Houston. There they detained me for 11 hours,
submitting me to a humiliating interrogation, and
forcing me to return to Cuba without being able to
fulfill the objective of my visit, which was to
visit my husband, who was anxiously awaiting my
visit to the jail.
human being who is imprisoned has a right to be
treated with dignity and with the appropriate
respect for his rights. Among the most elementary of
these is the right to receive visits from his
closest family members such as his wife and young
children. These cannot be denied him as a form of
torture and as an additional punishment.
know that in you we have a friend who has shown
warmth and support for our people and for all just
causes. For that reason, we come to ask for your
support and collaboration in denouncing this inhuman
violation of our rights. For any information on the
case, or to communicate with us, you can contact us
of your understanding and support,
Olga Salanueva Arango and Adriana Pérez Oconor
case in violation of international regulations
the case of the five Cuban patriots (Gerardo Hernández,
Antonio Guerrero, René González, Ramón Labañino and
Fernando González) their human rights are still being
Double life for fighting terrorism
May 3,the President of the Friends of Cuba Society in
South Africa, Father Michael Lapsley, spent three and a half
hours visiting one of the five Cuban political prisoners
languishing in United States prisons.
OF THE FIVE
the order came from Washington
gave the order to isolate the Five in the “holes” of their
respective prisons all of a sudden and a few weeks prior to
the presentation of their appeals – at a time when they
needed to consult with their defense lawyers more than