On behalf of the former National Committee to Free the Cuban Five — today, the Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee — we send a warm greeting to all the compañeras and compañeros gathered today at the headquarters of ICAP, on this 20th anniversary of the beginning of the resistance of Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René, when they were arrested by the FBI for daring to defend Cuba from U.S. sponsored terrorism.
Despite the 13 to 16 years of terrible and unjust imprisonment, the legal offensive that was arrayed against you Five, the abuse of your families by the U.S. system, especially the denial of visits to Adriana and Olga, you brothers never gave in, never gave up.
And all of Cuba was at your side, with Fidel at the front, the same as during the struggle for the return of Elián.
The heroic resistance of the Five gave the international Cuba solidarity movement the continuous inspiration to organize and fight for their freedom.
We started our National Committee to Free the Cuban Five in late June 2001, after the letter of the Five to the people of the United States explaining their anti-terrorist mission, was published in Granma on June 17, 1998.
In forming the committee for the Five, we contacted Cuba solidarity groups within the United States and in other countries. The response was tremendous. When we wrote to the Five announcing our committee, it was a joyous moment when we received their letters in return. This is how our fight began.
What was most essential in the struggle for their freedom was the permanent support of the Cuban people for their brothers, the international solidarity and collective work, the formation of hundreds of committees worldwide, all with their creativity and actions in every possible sphere.
By imprisoning the Five, the United States tried to punish the Cuban people for defending themselves against terrorism. However, with the Cuban Five’s perseverance and that of their mothers, wives, children, other relatives and people of Cuba, victory was inevitable. And what a glorious day, December 17, 2014, when the U.S. government was forced to release the three who remained in prison and all Five were home in Cuba! ¡Resistir, resistir y vencer!
Thank you Fidel, for not only guiding Elián home, thank you for uttering the word that become a slogan for the Five: ¡Volverán, they will return!
Thank you to compañero Ricardo Alarcón for being a political guide of all those years, and on whom we all depended for your leadership in that battle.
Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, René and Fernando, that early morning 20 years ago, when the weight of the empire tried to crush you, Washington thought it had won. They were wrong one more time, because they did not know who you are, courageous sons of your homeland.
Congratulations for your victory!
Long live Fidel!
Long live Raúl!
Long live the Cuban Revolution!