World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Cuban Five Are Now All Free

Cuban Five Are Now All Free

by Julie Webb-Pullman


Cubans - and many others around the world - are jubilantly celebrating the return to Cuba on Wednesday of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero, the final three members of the Cuban Five to be released from US prisons, in a prisoner swap for US spy Alan Gross.

Cuban President Raul Castro said in Havana that the release of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters was the culmination of a respectful and reciprocal dialogue, without detriment to Cuba's national independence and sovereignty.

In a simultaneous address in the United States, President Obama announced the release of Alan Gross, who arrived back in the United States on Wednesday morning with his wife.

At the same time, both leaders announced a normalisation of relations, including re-establishment of diplomatic relations and an easing of US economic and travel restrictions on Cuba.

However, the complete lifting of the 50 year blockade requires US Congress approval.

During his announcement, Obama said that isolation has not worked, and it is time to try a new approach.

The release of the five Cubans is the outcome of over a decade of work by solidarity groups throughout the world, and diplomatic efforts from within and outside of Cuba.

The farcical trial and abuses of process that characterised the treatment of Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González from the moment of their arrest were roundly rejected by the Cuban and international public, as well as by legal groups and Nobel laureates - and even the UN Committee on Arbitrary Detention.

At last, President Obama has used his Presidential powers to serve justice.

The release of the Five and the normalisation of relations has resounded around the world.

The Vatican released a statement saying that Pope Francis "wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history."

We can only hope that the US Congress follows suit, and ends the crippling economic blockade that has caused such hardship and suffering to the Cuban people.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Recent Upheavals Inside Iran

In the fortnight since the Internet got switched back on in Iran, the ferocity of the crackdown on the recent demonstrations has become evident. Reportedly, hundreds of people have been killed, thousands wounded and thousands more have been arrested. More>>

ALSO:

UN Emissions Report: World On Course For Climate Spike

Even if countries meet commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world is heading for a 3.2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise over pre-industrial levels… More>>

ALSO:

Pacific: Tongan PM 'Akilisi Pohiva Dies, Aged 78

A constant thorn in the side of the monarchy and nobility, Mr Pohiva's lifelong battle for representation had seen him fired from the public service and charged with sedition... More>>

ALSO: