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Havana. October 3, 2014
“16 years of imprisonment have passed during which our friends have expressed their maximum commitment to Cuba, and put their professional and family life second to this constant struggle, Alicia and Bill form part of this selfless friendship”, Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) said on awarding the Friendship Medal of the Republic of Cuba to Alicia Jrapko, coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Five in the United States and her husband, Bill Hackwell, photographer and member of the organization.
During the ceremony, relatives of the three antiterrorists still incarcerated in U.S. prisons, read messages sent by Antonio, Ramon and Gerardo to mark the occasion in honor of their brother and sister, as they called them.
Gerardo wrote that it was not easy to summarize the work of two lives completely dedicated to this most noble cause in such a brief note, or to express with mere words what being able to count on brothers and sisters such as these has meant to the Five.
Alicia Jrapko stated that this long struggle has only been able to maintain itself for so long because it is supported by a government and a people who are respected and admired by people of goodwill across the world.
“Cuba is solidarity instead of selfishness, love in place of hate. That’s why wherever we are we defend the cause of the Five, the result of this wonderful work. We will continue to host all the conferences and to knock on all the necessary doors,” Jrapko explained.
Bill Hackwell declared that the medal, more than an honor, demonstrates that the wave of solidarity which has marked his way of life will be victorious.
René and Fernando González, Decorated Heroes of the Republic of Cuba; Ana Teresita González Fraga, vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Josefina Vidal, director for the United States department at the foreign ministry; Graciela Ramírez, coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and relatives of the Five Heroes, all attended the ceremony.