The African National Congress takes great pleasure in announcing the visit of the Five Cuban Heroes (Cuban 5) to South Africa from the 21st June to the 3rd July 2015. Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez are five Cuban nationals who were arrested in Miami, Florida, on September 1998 and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. In a highly irregular trial in 2001, they were found guilty, even though no evidence was ever produced to prove that they had actually carried out espionage or conspiracy to commit murder, which was a later charge, or that they had conspired in any way to act against the U.S. government or the people of the United States. One of them was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences; two were condemned to one life sentence, and two to sentences of 15 and 17 years, respectively. Four of the sentences were later reduced, not the two consecutive life sentences. Because of the nature of their dangerous mission, of their selfless sacrifice for their nation and because of the injustices to which they were subjected, they were declared Heroes of the Republic of Cuba.
South Africa has the immeasurable honour of being the first country to host the Cuban Five under the theme “Cuban Five Heroes: Tribute to International Solidarity”. The visit, initiated by the Alliance, is intended to be a celebration of the triumph of international solidarity which led to release from unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5. It is further intended to convey and strengthen fraternal solidarity between South Africa and Cuba and the peoples of these countries.
As part of the buildup to the arrival of the five Cuban Heroes on South African soil, the ANC led alliance will lead a march to the USA embassy in Pretoria on Friday, 19 June 2015. The march forms part of our ongoing campaign for lifting of the unjust economic blockade against Cuba and intends to intensify calls for this demand.