National Union wishes remaining members of Cuban 5, some after more than 15 years of unjust detention, a happy reunion with their families.
Ottawa (17 Dec. 2014) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is welcoming the announcement that the US government has released the remaining 3 members of the Cuban 5, allowing them to return to their families. The White House announcement came along with the news that American citizen Allan Gross would be returned from Cuba and that the Obama administration was moving to normalize diplomatic relations with Carribean country.
"This is great news," said National President James Clancy. "The National Union has supported the cause of the Cuban 5 for a number of years. After more than 15 years of unjust detention, it is time these men are all returned to their families."
Cuban 5 were jailed after defending their country from terrorist attacks
The case refers to five Cuban men imprisoned in the U.S. for defending Cuba from terrorist attacks. The five were convicted in a U.S. Federal court on June 8, 2001, in a politically charged environment. The U.S. government claimed that they were engaged in espionage on U.S. military bases and were a threat to “national security." However, in the 14,000-page court transcript, no proof of espionage was ever produced — a fact openly admitted by the prosecution.
The five Cubans were involved strictly in monitoring the actions of terrorist right-wing groups in Miami who were responsible for the deaths of over 3,500 Cuban people.
Previously two members of the five, René González and Fernando González, were allowed to return to Cuba. On Wednesday, December 17, 2014 the remaining three, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, and Antonio Guerrero, were released.
Obama administration moving to normalize diplomatic relations
The news of the release of the Cuban 5 was accompanied by news that President Barack Obama was moving to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions on the nation. This represents an important shift in policy and represented what he called the end of an "outdated approach" to U.S.-Cuban relations.
Obama said that the U.S. will re-open an embassy in Havana and will also allow some travel and trade that had been banned under a decades-long embargo instated during the Kennedy administration.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE