18 oct. 2011

US Celebrities ask Obama for the Immediate return of Rene Gonzalez to Cuba

Edward Asner, Jackson Browne, James Cromwell, Mike Farrell, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, Peter Coyote, Bonnie Raitt, Elliott Gould, and Others Send Letter to President Obama for the Safety and Immediate Return of One of the Cuban 5, Rene Gonzalez to Cuba.
(Oakland, CA-October 11, 2011) Several concerned US actors and artists sent a letter today to President Obama asking for Rene Gonzalez’s immediate and safe return to his wife and family in Cuba. The letter is part of the Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 campaign.
Gonzalez was arrested in 1998 and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on conspiracy to act as a non-registered foreign agent. On Oct. 7th Gonzalez was released after serving his sentence, but a South Florida district judge denied his return to his homeland. “Not only is the order to serve an additional 3 years of parole in the US extraordinary and punitive, it is the kind of gratuitous insult that further aggravates the unnecessary tension between the US and Cuba. It only adds injury to insult that the separation of this family be extended for another 3 years,” states the letter.
During Rene Gonzalez’s 13 years in federal prison, the US government denied his wife Olga Salanueva, entry visas to visit him. The letter to President Obama points out that if Gonzalez remains in the US, his life will be in danger from organizations whose entire mission is premised on the violent overthrow of the Cuban government. The actors and artists ask President Obama; “How, sir, can Mr. Gonzalez’s safety be ensured in the middle of an environment that generates so much insecurity?”

President Obama recently made a statement that he is open to new relations with Cuba. In the letter the actors and artists responded, “Please know that allowing Rene Gonzalez to be reunited with his wife, daughters and parents in Cuba would be the kind of humane gesture that would set the stage for just such a development.”

Actor Mike Farrell reacting when he heard the news said, “I pray that President Obama understands the injustice that has been done to Rene Gonzalez and others of the Cuban 5 in the name of political gamesmanship.  There is no benefit to the United States in the continued persecution of these men, there is only harm.  Mr. Gonzalez has served a wrongful sentence and should now be allowed to rejoin his family rather than be subject to continued persecution, harassment and serious danger by being forced to remain, during his period of parole, among those who wish him harm.  If political retribution is allowed to pervert the justice system, what hope is there for our society?”

US actors and artists signed on to the letter includes; Edward Asner, Jackson Browne, Peter Coyote, James Cromwell, Hector Elizondo, Mike Farrell, Richard Foos, Max Gail, Danny Glover, Elliott Gould, Si Kahn, Greg Landau, Francisco Letelier, Esai Morales, Michael O’Keefe, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Sarandon, Pete Seeger, Betty and Stanley K. Sheinbaum, Andy Spahn and Haskell Wexler.

Formed in September, 2010, on the 12th anniversary of the incarceration of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez and Ramon Labañino,
Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, sent a letter to President Obama asking for their release. In April, 2011, they sent a letter to President Jimmy Carter commending him for his recent visit to the island, calling for improved relations with Cuba and for the release of the Cuban 5. This campaign, co-chaired by actor and activist Danny Glover and Ed Asner, is part of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5′s projects, which advocate for the release from US prisons and safe return home for these five men, known in their country as heroes for preventing acts of terrorism against Cuba.

10-10-11 Letter to OBAMA
For more information on Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 visit the International Committee’s website at www.thecuban5.org
Media Contact:
Suzanne Thompson (310) 570-5419 suzannethompson55@gmail.com
Alicia Jrapko (510) 219-0092 info@thecuban5.org

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