HAVANA, Cuba.- Rene Gonzalez, one of the five Cuban anti-terrorism fighters unfairly sentenced to long prison terms in the U.S., arrived in Havana Friday noon in a private and family visit.
A press release issued by Cuban authorities explains that after serving 13 years of unfair imprisonment, Rene was recently released on probation for three years, as an additional punishment, during which he must stay in the U.S.
On February 24, Rene had issued, through his attorney, an emergency motion to the Southern Florida District requesting authorization to visit his seriously ill brother in Cuba.
Almost a month later, on March 19, Judge Joan Lenard, who has been in charge of the Cuban Five case since the beginning of the judicial process, accepted the motion, allowing Rene to travel to the island for 15 days, on a series of conditions: obtaining the required travel permissions from the U.S. government, turning in a detailed itinerary of the trip including his localization and contact information in Cuba, and maintaining systematic communication with his probation officer. Likewise, the judge made it clear that the terms of the supervised release will remain unchanged and that he must return to the U.S. exactly two weeks after his departure.
The decision of authorizing Rene’s trip comply with the terms established for his supervised release which allow him to travel to Cuba with the prior approval of his probation officer or the judge.
Even the U.S. government, which has rejected every motion issued by Rene requesting permission to either return to the island either permanently or for a temporary visit to his ill brother, recognized that his probation terms don’t prevent him from traveling to Cuba.
On March 7, 2011, the District Attorney’s Office had stated that the terms of Rene Gonzalez’s supervised release do not prevent him from traveling to Cuba and that nothing stops him from asking his probation officer (or the Court, if rejected by the latter) for permission to travel to Cuba to visit his wife, elderly parents or other relatives.
In the motion issued by his attorney, Rene stated that he will observe the conditions established for the visit and that he will return to the U.S.
“Despite the conditions imposed, our people, with profound respect, welcomes Rene to the Homeland and will not stop fighting for his definitive return along with his four brothers,” reads the note.