Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez: State Department of US, Please Grant the Wives Visas
by Casa de las Américas (Casa)
The Department of State is prohibiting entry, from Cuba to the US, to two of the wives of the Cuban Five. These women want to visit their husbands incarcerated in US prisons. Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene Gonzalez, and Adriana Perez, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, are law abiding and productive citizens of Cuba who simply want to visit with their respective husbands. Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez are two of five men referred to as the Cuban Five. They are political prisoners serving two life sentences and 98 years collectively after being railroaded by the FBI in its continued hostility toward Cuba. They were arrested on September 12, 1998. They were falsely charged with espionage conspiracy and were convicted in Miami on June 8, 2001.
These five Cuban men never committed espionage nor did they conspire to do so, their actions were not directed against the US. Instead, their mission was to prevent Cuban exile terrorist organizations in Miami from carrying out attacks on Cuba. They wanted to monitor the activities of violent Cuban exiles that were planning violent actions against innocent people in Cuba. They were trying to prevent further brutal acts against Cuba and save innocent lives.
In 1959, after the US backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown; Batista’s repressive police and army torturers took refuge in Miami. With Miami as their staging ground, they organized, planned and carried out numerous sabotage and terrorist acts against the people of Cuba. To date, the attacks have killed 3,478 Cubans. Reports of these acts are not widely publicized in US media.
Anti-Cuban terrorists placed bombs in various hotels ‒ in one instance killing an Italian tourist. A bomb was placed in the Havana airport. Bombs were placed in buses to and from the airport. The Cuban government protested these terrorist activities to the US, but to no avail. They protested to the United Nations, and they recognized that Cuba had the right to defend its sovereignty.
Cuba’s numerous appeals to Washington to stop terrorist attacks from various Miami based groups were repeatedly ignored. This is why a group of concerned Cubans in Miami infiltrated the terrorist organizations: to do what the US government could not do given that these terrorists are connected to and protected by an elite group of extremely wealthy right wing Cubans that live and control the politics of Miami and oppose all attempts between the US and Cuba to normalize their diplomatic relations.
Olga has not seen Rene since August 16, 2000. In April of 2003, the Department of State denied her a visa, invoking section 2112(f) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Repeated requests to obtain a visa to visit her husband have been denied.
Adriana was subjected to cruel and unjustified treatment when she attempted to visit Gerardo on July 25, 2002. Upon Adriana’s arrival at the Houston Airport, she was detained by the FBI for 11 hours, isolated, deprived of her passport, photographed, fingerprinted and illegally interrogated before she was sent back to Cuba without having seen Gerardo. The FBI offered absolutely no explanation to support their decision. Thereafter, time and again, she has been denied a visa from US authorities, to visit her husband.
While the cause for the case of the Cuban Five has inspired a worldwide movement, these men have remained imprisoned for nearly 14 years. In the case of Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernández they have also been denied family visits. Besides the fact that their right to a fair trial was denied because it took place in Miami, their right to have family visits has also been denied.
Recently, a conference was held at Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC with Danny Glover as the featured guest speaker. The objective of the forum was to bring light to the case of the Cuban Five as well as the inhumane act on the part of the Department of State of denying visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez who simply want to visit their husbands. Many well-known celebrities have joined in the efforts of informing the rest of the nation of this great injustice. These include Bonnie Rait, Susan Sarandon, Benicio del Toro, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, Pete Seeger, Ry Cooder, Chrissie Hynde, Haskell Wexler, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, Ed Asner, Mike Farrell, and others.
It is time to correct this wrong and this great injustice. By signing this petition directed at the Department of State, you join in the effort of allowing Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez to obtain visas for them to visit their husbands incarcerated in US prisons.
Editor’s Note: According to its website, Casa de las Américas (Casa) is a New York-based organization of Cuban emigrants who support the revolution. Beginning in 1955, the July 26 Committee was established in NY for the purpose of supporting the armed struggle that was taking place in Cuba against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Shortly after the triumph of the revolution in 1959, the Committee was renamed Casa Cuba, which later became Casa de las Américas.