Olga Salanueva speaks at emergency meeting to demand that the UK Government allow her husband to visit Britain

Oct 9, 2014 by

Olga Salaneuva, the wife of René González, first of the Miami Five to be released spoke at a packed emergency meeting held at the British House of Commons on 10th September. René González was due to address the meeting but following the initial refusal of the British government to allow him entry into the UK to testify at the Commission in March, he was again denied a visa, despite an invitation from 29 MPs. Participants at the launch meetings undertook to campaign to pressure the UK government to reverse the visa ban. People were shocked to learn that France, Portugal, Spain and Belgium have all granted visas to René González, who has been received respectfully in each country.

The meeting also saw the launch of the Report from the International Commission of Inquiry into Cuban Five which was also launched simultaneously in both London and Havana as events were staged around the world to mark the 16th anniversary of the arrest of the Miami Five. The packed House of Commons meeting was co-hosted by Jeremy Corbyn MP and Baroness Angela Smith attracted campaigners, diplomats, parliamentarians, celebrities and lawyers.

Olga Salaneuva, the wife of René, who addressed the House of Commons meeting, stated that

“The government of the United States has colluded with the Courts to violate US law.” She said, “Key charges were never proved and yet three very long sentences were handed down in what we can show are political cases.”

The Report was presented to the meeting by Professor Sara Chandler, one of the Commission Coordinators and Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society. She went through the key elements of the report highlighting the illegal detention, the unjust trial, human rights abuses, witness testimonies and the detailed legal findings of the Commissioners. She called on people to visit the website www.voicesforthefive.com, the campaigning hub that coordinated the Commission of Inquiry which regularly posts updates on the case.

In Havana, the report was presented to the Tenth International Symposium of Solidarity with the Cuban Five, attended by some 300 delegates from 50 countries. The official film of the Commission ‘Justice in London’ was shown, and Rob Miller, Director of Cuba Solidarity Campaign, updated delegates on the latest visa denials and said

“It is frankly an outrage that by denying René González the visa to visit Britain our own UK Government involves itself in this ongoing injustice perpetrated against the Five. The fact that the Commission of Inquiry itself was a legal exploration of the circumstances surrounding the arrest and convictions of the Five, and that the principal witness to that inquiry was himself banned from attending because of the unfair conviction, is an absurdity that can not be in the public interest or indeed in the interest of truth and justice”

In a 44-page magazine format, written in English and Spanish, the outstanding success of the Commission and its associated events is recorded in the Report. It presents in full the concluding statements of the three presiding judges Yogesh Sabharwal, Zak Yacoob, and Phillippe Texier who called upon President Barack Obama to grant “unconditional pardons” to the Five and to release “immediately and unconditionally” the three who remain in prison.

The Report also records highlights from the Commission proceedings with special mention made of the testimony from Angela Wright of Amnesty International which focussed on the unfairness of the trial and, recognising the urgency of the case, pledged to continue to appeal for justice.

The Miami Five should be pardoned and the three Cubans remaining in US prisons should be immediately freed according to a new publication which contains the opinion of three of the world’s most distinguished judges. Their judgement followed two days of intense examination of the evidence at the highly successful International Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five held in London in March. According to René González, the first of the Miami Five to be released, this recently published report will be invaluable in advancing the growing international campaign for justice for the Five.

The Miami Five were arrested 16 years ago on conspiracy-related charges arising from their activity in monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups whose terrorist actions against Cuba have resulted in nearly 3500 deaths since 1959. When the information the Five gathered was passed to the FBI in 1989, it was the Five who were arrested and given harsh prison sentences, while the perpetrators remain free on Miami streets.

The Report is illustrated with numerous photographs bringing to mind the intensity of these days of concerted activity – from the concert and dramatic readings performed at London’s prestigious Barbican Centre in front of an audience of 2000, two panel discussions, an exhibition of the paintings of Miami 5 prisoner Antonio Guerrero, as well as the closing dinner. Also featured are words from special guests such as novelist Alice Walker, Cuban Five family members, former US Attorney General Ramsay Clarke, and former President of the Cuban parliament, Ricardo Alarcón.

The success of the Commission would not have been possible without the broad support it enjoyed, more than evident in a list of the internationally renowned personalities drawn from many countries who endorsed this initiative including actor Emma Thompson, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, international fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and writers such as John Le Carré, Günther Grass and Fernando Morais. Nor would the Commission have been so successful without the broad sponsorship from trade unions, law firms, funding organisations and other groups and individuals who each are thanked individually in the Report.

Report and full testimonies of all the witnesses available at the website Voices for the Five which was instrumental in organising the Commission of Inquiry: www.voicesforthefive.com/commission

If you would like a hard copy of the report posted to you please contact

voicesforthefive@gmail.co,

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