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Who Are the Cuban 5

Fernando Gonzalez Llort

Fernando Gonzalez Llort

Fernando Gonzalez was released on February 27 from a Federal Prison and was taken to an immigration prison. He returned to Cuba the next day on February 28, 2014.

Born in the City of Havana on August 18, 1963, Fernando Gonzalez graduated with a summa cum laude in International Political Relations from the Higher Institute of International Relations of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987. He is married to Rosa Aurora Freijanes.

From 1987 to 1989 he participated as an internationalist combatant in the war of liberation in Angola and against apartheid.

On September 12, 1998 Fernando was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty-three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.

His trial, held at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, under Case No. 98-721-Cr-Lenard(S), began on November 26, 2000 and concluded on June, 8, 2001, in Miami, Florida, home to over half a million Cuban exiles. Miami is a community with a long history of hostility toward the Cuban government – a record that a federal appellate court in the United States later described as a “perfect storm” of prejudice, precluding a fair trial.

Following his conviction, on December 18, 2001 he was sentenced to 19 years of imprisonment for the charges of General Conspiracy, Conspiracy to act as a non- registered foreign agent and False Identity.

Initially, Fernando was sent to a prison with fewer restrictions, but he was reclassified and sent to Oxford Federal Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, with far more difficult incarceration conditions. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and the authorities at Oxford FCI never registered his mother and wife on the official list of visitors he is allowed, because they don’t recognize his true identity.

In September 2007, Fernando was moved to FCI Terre Haute in Indiana.

In June 2008, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict and the panel ratified the sentences of Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez.  In the cases of Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, and Fernando Gonzalez, they were sent back for re-sentencing in the same court that convicted them in Miami.

The Court of Appeals overturned his sentence, on December 8, 2009 he was re-sentenced to 17 years and 9 months.

After the re-sentencing Fernando was transferred to a low security prison in Safford, Arizona.

Fernando is ending his complete sentence on February 27, 2014

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