The release of the Cuban Five heroes is the victory of the struggles of working class solidarity and a testimony that a common purpose and unity of the struggles of humanity can triumph over adversity.
The comment was uttered by former South African Ambassador to Cuba, Justice Pitso, who is part of the delegation accompanying the five men and their entourage on visit to the country.
The five men – Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Laba?ino, Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando González and René González – and their delegation touched down in Polokwane on Sunday for a jam-packed programme that included private engagements with Premier Stan Mathabatha and representatives of the provincial government and alliance partners as well as a meeting with members of the Cuban society resident in the province. One of the highlights of their visit was a public lecture at the University of Limpopo late afternoon before an early morning departure on Monday.
During a media conference at the Premier’s guesthouse outside Polokwane at around mid-day on Sunday, Mathabatha invited them to enjoy a peaceful and pure environment in Limpopo which embraces the concept of ubuntu.
On behalf of the five, Fernando González said they were honoured to be in South Africa and also in Limpopo. Since their arrival they had visited various historical places in the country and had many opportunities to talk to South Africans, he said. The 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter was also on their itinerary. They were looking forward to the day in Limpopo and were thankful for the warm welcome, he indicated.
In conclusion he expressed gratitude, also to the people of Limpopo, for the contribution to the struggle for their liberation.
The media conference, not only attended by journalists but also delegates from the previous meeting and family members of the five, concluded with a photo shoot of Mathabatha and the Cuban Five. It ended in somewhat of a chaotic encounter for the media when adamant individuals wanted to secure photos with their heroes.
The men were reportedly arrested in Miami on 12 September 1998 and indicted by the US government on 25 counts, including conspiracy to commit espionage. They were subsequently sentenced to imprisonment, giving rise to ongoing demands for their release. Fernando González and René González were apparently released in 2011 and the beginning of 2014 respectively. In December last year a prisoner swap between the US and Cuba took place, ensuring the release of the remaining members of the group.
Story: YOLANDE NEL