More than 100 Personalities from 27 Countries Launch an International Commission for the Right of Family Visits on Behalf of Family Members of the Cuban Five Held in U.S. Prisons
December 11, 2007
On top of the unjust sentences being served by the Five Cuban anti terrorists imprisoned in the United States, another punishment has been added to them and that is the denial of regular contact with their family members. During 2007 the US government has granted visas only to two of the family members of these five men. For 18 months these families have been waiting for word about when and if they can travel to visit their sons, fathers or husbands.
The most extreme situation is that of the wives of René Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez. Olga Salanueva and Adriana Pérez respectively have not been allowed to visit them for 7 and 9 years. This past September 12th marked the 9th anniversary of the arrests of the Cuban Five and on that day the U.S. Government once again denied visas for Olga and Adriana to visit their husbands in prison. On 8 separate occasions they have applied for a visa and each time they have been denied for a different reason without real justification.
Because of this outrageous and mean spirited behavior of the Bush government concerning these women, the International Commission for the Right of Family Visits has been formed with the purpose of demanding the U.S. government immediately grant of visas for Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva.
The Commission will base its demand on the humanitarian right for families to visit their loved ones in prison based on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention against Torture. This Commission will take into consideration the opinion of the United Nation Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions of May 27, 2005, statements on behalf of Olga and Adriana from Amnesty International, as well as supporting statements from the European Parliament.
Personalities from around the world include Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize from Argentina, Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Prize from Guatemala, Danielle Mitterand, former First Lady of France, and many others. Here in the United States a number of personalities have agreed to be part of the International Commission including Bishop of Detroit, Thomas Gumbleton, Angela Davis, UC Santa Cruz Professor, Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, actor Danny Glover, writer Alice Walker, linguist Noam Chomsky, historian Howard Zinn, former US Congressman Esteban Torres, Wayne Smith former Chief of the US Interests Section in Havana Cuba, and Michael Parenti, author and scholar.
We demand the freedom of the Cuban Five and in the mean time we demand the respect of the basic right of their families to visit them. Denying prisoners the affection of their loved ones is another form of cruelty and torture.
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five