By Laura V. Mor on June 29, 2018
It was 2009 and the Cuban Five were serving their sentences after 11 years of being imprisoned in the United States, unjustly accused of conspiracy to commit espionage and other insignificant crimes. Their families and the Cuban people were fighting for their freedom along with thousands of committees and individuals around the world.
Year after year the International Colloquium for the Freedom of the 5 was held in the eastern city of Holguín, where hundreds of solidarity activists from different parts of the world attended to support the just cause of fighting for their freedom.
It was during the 2009 Colloquium that anti war activist Cindy Sheehan gave her most precious treasure to the mothers of the Five; a necklace. It was the last gift her son Casey gave her before he was killed during the U.S. imperialist war in Iraq. It was an emotional moment as Cindy bestowed Casey’s necklace, in a mother to mother pact, to Mirta Rodríguez (mother of Antonio ) Magali Llort (mother of Fernando) and Irma Sehwerert (mother of René) promising to retrieve it after the Cuban Five were free.
That historic day came on December 17, 2014 when Gerardo, Antonio and Ramón arrived in Cuba after 18 months of intense negotiations between Cuban and U.S. authorities. René and Fernando were already back in Cuba after having served their full sentences. They were waiting for the others along with the joy of 11 million Cubans and thousands of men and women around the world who embraced this struggle as their own.
Recently at a reunion during Cindy’s return to Cuba, Mirta emotionally explained, “The demonstration of the strength of our children and their love for the homeland made the moment of their return come true.” She went on to say, “now it sounds easy to say16 years but it was a very hard struggle and we thank all those, who like Cindy, stood with us and were an indispensable part of this long road to liberation”.
“What can I do?” Cindy asked herself when she visited Cuba for the first time and learned in depth about the judicial and media manipulations committed against the now heroes of Cuba. And “to explain that these five Cubans are political prisoners without reason in the United States” was the answer to her own question and the beginning of her unwavering commitment.
“I gave them this neckless without any hope that the government of the United States would do something, but I had faith in the Cubans,” said Cindy remembering that day when all the mothers became one.
Today, with the Five free and adjusting into Cuban society, Cindy was able to embrace them, the mothers and recover her son’s precious necklace.
Attending the reunion were the children and adolescents of the socio-community project Soñarte of the Cotorro, organized by Irma Sehwerert, mother of René. There were artistic performances to honor and celebrate together with all those present, including the Five Anti-Terrorist Heroes.
“Everything we did, all the effort, was worth it,” Cindy said, looking down at Casey’s necklace once again in here hands. Such a moment symbolized for her the strength one gains by fighting for a just cause and encourages us all to commit to other causes with that same determination.
Source: Resumen Latinoamericano Cuba bureau, translated by Resumen Latinoamericano, North America Bureau