Yesterday, the President of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén received the five Cuban anti-terrorists who were unjustly imprisoned in the United States.
The leader held a private meeting with Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, who arrived in the country accompanied by various family members, after a visit to Nicaragua where they attended events commemorating the 36th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution.
”You are messengers of hope and the dignity of the peoples of Latin America. We have a lot to learn from you. Know that your story will continue inspiring our people to keep the ideas of justice and freedom alive,” stated Sánchez Cerén on receiving the Five.
According to the President, the experience of these men “symbolizes the victory of life over terrorism and death, they are an example of dignity and love for the homeland which fills all Latin Americans with pride.”
Sánchez Cerén also welcomed the new chapter being opened in relations between Cuba and the United States which represents “a sign of understanding and respect for the sovereign equality of states and the people’s right to self-determination.”
Gerardo Her nán dez, speaking on behalf of his compañeros, stated that being able to share with the Salvadoran people “is a triumph of solidarity and unity,” rooted in the fundamental message that “when one perseveres and remains true to their principles, although the victory might be slow in coming, it always arrives and just ideals and loyalty triumph.”
”We, the Five, are of course inspired by the example of resistance and struggle of our people, our Revolution, but we also draw inspiration from the example of struggle, sacrifice and resistance of the Salvadoran people,” he stated.
Participating in the private encounter were First Lady of El Salvador, Margarita Villalta; Minister of Foreign Relations, Hugo Martínez; Presidential secretary for technical issues, Roberto Lorenzana; and Minister of Governance, Franzi Hato Hasbún.
Before the meeting, held at the Presidential Palace, the Five – as they are known – thanked the Salvadoran people for their solidarity and support.
The Five were arrested in 1998 in Miami, where they had been monitoring anti-Cuban terrorist groups, which have killed and injured thousands of people, and caused substantial material damage in Cuba.
In 2001, after a biased trial, full of irregularities, denounced by personalities such as former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the Five were sentenced to long prison terms.
The struggle for their release sparked a global movement which received support from solidarity organizations including groups from the U.S., governments, personalities such as Nobel Prize winners and international associations, in addition to important sectors of the Salvadoran population.
Of the Five, René González and Fernando González returned to Cuba in 2011 and 2013, respectively, after completing their sentences in full.
The three remaining anti-terrorists were released and returned to Cuba on December 17, 2014, within the context of the initiation of the process toward the re-establishment of diplomatic relations announced by Presidents of Cuba, Raúl Castro, and the United States, Barack Obama, that day.