Socialist Cuba has won some major victories today. It has been announced that the last three of the “Cuban five”, which remained until today in US prisons, have been freed in exchange for American USAID spy Alan Gross.
The three Cuban heroes; Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero will join their families for the holidays after more than 15 years in jail. They will also join Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez who were released in 2013 and early 2014. These five men had infiltrated a group of anti-Cuban terrorists in Florida in the late 1990s. The US government proceeded to jail them for espionage, despite their work in uncovering plans for attacks against civilians in Cuba, and their willingness to share this information with US authorities. Attacks against Cuba, largely planned by groups operating on US soil with the complicity of the US, have led to the deaths of around 3,500 Cubans since 1959.
In an address delivered at noon, Cuban President Raul Castro gave more details about this victory and ongoing negotiations with the US government. He started his speech with the acknowledgement that Cuba has been “loyal in defending all the principles of our independence war” since the revolution of 1959. Raul mentioned that in 2001 Fidel Castro had promised the return of the Cuban 5 to Cuba, and that today was a realization of the goals of this long struggle. Raul expressed gratitude to the “hundreds of committees and solidarity groups, governments, institutions and personalities” that had struggled in their “efforts for liberation” of the Cuban 5 heroes. Millions of people around the world have participated in demonstrations, conferences, petitions, letter writing and more to demand the release of the Cuban 5.