19 de abril de 2019
English - News

Cuban Five recall moment of arrest in US, 20 years on

Havana, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Gerardo Hernandez looks at his watch and says: "20 years ago, at this precise moment, we were being interrogated in an FBI detention room."

Havana, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Gerardo Hernandez looks at his watch and says: "20 years ago, at this precise moment, we were being interrogated in an FBI detention room."

The 1998 arrest of Hernandez and four other Cuban intelligence officers in the United States deepened the rift between the two countries that only started to subside in 2014, with the thaw in relations between Washington and Havana.

"We were asked to betray our principles, our ideas, and that we work for the other side. But what we did for a living we did not do it on a whim nor for adventure. We were protecting our people," Hernandez told EFE on Wednesday.

When someone mentions "the Five" in Cuba, everybody knows that the person is referring to the men captured in the US on Sept. 12, 1998, and later convicted and imprisoned.

Cuba has insisted that the only goal of its intelligence network was to prevent terrorist attacks planed by Cuban exiles against the island and its government.

Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero became the "five heroes" and the focus of a struggle headed by the late Fidel Castro to release them.

Two were eventually released after they completed their sentences, while the other three were pardoned in 2014 by the Obama administration as part of the negotiations to normalize relations between the two countries.

That deal also included Cuba's release of US State Department subcontractor Alan Gross, who was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for subversive activities on the island, and of a Cuban-born US spy who spent nearly 20 years in a Cuban prison.

On Wednesday, four of the Cuban Five attended a moving event in Havana to mark the 20th anniversary of their arrest.

The guests of honor listened to songs written to commemorate their lives and watched a video about what became an international campaign to ensure their release.

Now, nearly four years after returning to Cuba, their lives have drastically changed: two are members of parliament since April and nearly all of them have official posts.

Hernandez is vice-chancellor of Cuba's foreign service academy, Fernando Gonzalez heads the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Labañino is vice president of the Cuban Association of Economists, Rene Gonzalez is vice president of the Jose Marti Cultural Society, and Guerrero is a top official in the Ministry of Construction.

"The most important point is that we all continue to be soldiers. Soldiers of this revolution, soldiers of Fidel, soldiers of (Cuban President) Diaz-Canel and of our larger homeland that is Latin America," Labañino said.


Histórico de noticias
Pentagon: no change to US stance on North Korea after new weapons test

Washington DC, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Acting Secretary of Defense of the United States, Patrick Shanahan, said Thursday that neither the Pentagon's "posture"...

Trump tried to control probe, Barr says no obstruction, Mueller to testify

Washington, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump tried to influence Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the...

Long lines once again in Caracas, this time for humanitarian aid

By Barbara Agelvis.

Thousands of Peruvians bid farewell to Alan Garcia

Lima, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Thousands of Peruvians gathered on Thursday to say their last goodbyes to former President Alan Garcia, dead at 69 of a...

Mexican hamlet marks 500 years since Cortes came ashore

La Antigua, Mexico, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- In legends, in ruins and in the natural exuberance of the ceiba trees, the legacy of Hernan Cortes lives on in this...

Mexican gov't foils attempt by Cuban migrants to get to capital

Mexico City, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government on Thursday foiled an attempt by 300 Cuban migrants to reach this capital while keeping thousands of...

AG Barr says Trump did not commit obstruction of justice

Washington, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Attorney General William Barr said Thursday ahead of the release of the special counsel's report on Russian interference in...

Brazilian inmates' creations to hit runway at Sao Paulo Fashion Week

Sao Paulo, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- A score of male inmates at one of Brazil's maximum-security prisons have been hard at work for months on creations set to...

Congress calls Mueller to testify on May 23

Washington, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, on Thursday called Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who had...

Special counsel finds that Trump tried to control investigation

Washington, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump tried to influence Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the...

US Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke of Texas campaigns in Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Alexandria, USA, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Wednesday condemned racism in the highest positions of power in the...

US government strengthens sanctions on Cuba

By Ivonne Malaver.

Peru in shock over suicide of ex-President Alan Garcia

Lima, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The death Wednesday of former President Alan Garcia after he shot himself in the head as police arrived at his home to arrest him...

Firefighters battle wildfires in 18 Mexican states

Mexico City, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Ninety-five wildfires of different sizes are burning in 18 Mexican states and the authorities are attempting to control them...

US announces new sanctions on Venezuelan Central Bank

Miami, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The United States government will impose new sanctions on the Venezuelan Central Bank, which is the institution that is "keeping...

Peasants in Mexico seek alternatives to growing opium poppies

Chilpancingo, Mexico, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Peasants in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero who have long subsisted by growing opium poppies want to get out...

Uruguay theater bus presents comic reenactment of Paysandu history

By Raul Martinez

Guaido's envoy occupies Venezuela's OAS seat for first time

Washington, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Gustavo Tarre, the envoy appointed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, on Wednesday for the first time occupied Venezuela's...

Mexican gov't has cut p.r. spending by 50 pct., president says

Mexico City, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government published new guidelines for communications on Wednesday, with public advertising spending being cut...

Migration north of broad-winged hawks makes stopover in Colombia

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

US to allow lawsuits against foreign companies operating in Cuba

Washington, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the US government would invoke a measure for the first time that allows...

Former Peruvian President Garcia dies from self-inflicted gunshot

Lima, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Former President Alan Garcia died Wednesday at a Lima hospital while undergoing surgery after shooting himself as Peruvian police...

Trump vetoes congressional resolution to end US involvement in Yemen war

Washington DC, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States vetoed a resolution Tuesday passed by Congress calling on the US to withdraw military...

EU urges companies to counterattack US lawsuits on Cuba

Havana, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- European Union authorities on Tuesday committed themselves to protecting the interests of businessmen from the bloc in Cuba and...