A Grievous Wrong Has Been Done to 5 of Our Cuban Brothers: Such Good Men Are Hard To Find

A Grievous Wrong Has Been Done To 5 Of Our Cuban Brothers:  Such Good Men Are Hard To Find
©2014 by Alice Walker

It was an odd sensation in London recently to be part of an International Inquiry into the case of the Cuban  (or the Miami) Five. (Two have recently, after serving 15 year sentences, been released).   Since their arrest I have followed the case.  It has been a sad one, though these men, who have been growing old in prison, and were placed there basically for being good and courageous people, muster all their energies, whether in “the hole” for months or out of it, to stand upright for their families and their nation.  They are remarkable humans.  For me, it was especially moving to meet and to embrace the mother of one of the men, whose sentence is two lifetimes plus fifteen years,  and to tell a daughter, who was six or so when her father was taken away, that there are those in the world who were never misled by the propaganda;  and that of course I would be there beside her on International Women’s Day as she talked about her years of growing up without her father.  He, meanwhile, beaming love and guidance through letters and scarce phone calls, in an effort to be present in her and her baby sister’s life.

Sometimes the willful harm humans do to each other is unfathomable.  Perhaps we are created to be the complex, sometimes cruel and sadistic beings some of us are. Perhaps as the lawyers and judges and Miami mafioso sit down to bright dinners at tables ringed by the laughter of their own children and grandchildren there is a moment of feeling pleased that evil has been done to those they hate: that they have not only succeeded in maligning them,  but have succeeded in locking them away.  If this is true, it is a misguided notion of power.  For true power causes things and people to grow, to flourish, not to wither.  It rules, if rule it must, with an open heart and hand.  It would be ashamed to deprive children of their fathers, to make a political point. 

One of The Five, Rene Gonzalez, was released last year and lives in Cuba. Fernando Gonzalez was released last week.

Video by Gloria LaRiva



“Recently there was the opening of the George Bush library down in Texas and our president, our current president, Barack Obama, actually said in his speech that George Bush was, quote, a good man.  I couldn’t believe my ears because Bush is someone who has done so much destructive work on the planet including causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, five hundred thousand of them children.  So I was thinking about, you know, who are the good men that I know or have heard of or think about and the Cuban Five are, in my opinion, very good men.  They are good men because they decided . . . it never even occurred to them, not to use any kind of violence to counter the violence against Cuba that was happening when people came to bomb hotels and try to make Cuba unable to basically remain stable.

They came to Miami to look into the perpetrators of violence against Cuba.  They uncovered lots of information of just who was doing the violence and they turned this information over to the FBI and then lo and behold the FBI did nothing about the actual perpetrators of violence. They arrested instead the Cuban Five and these people, these men, are all people with families, they have children, they have wives, they have mothers and it is very difficult, as an American, a North American, to bear the fact that they have now been in prison for over 10 years (now over 15 years).

 It is unconscionable, it is obscene and it is actually crazy because who would think to demonize and imprison people who were simply trying to protect those same children, mothers, grand-mothers, parents, of the people on the island.

This kind of selfless caring is what the world desperately needs; it needs people who are fearless in their concern for the safety of those around them and of their whole country. So the Cuban Five should not only be released from prison but there has to be some kind of restitution; there has to be some way to show that we know that our country has been wrong on this issue and that we are really and truly regretful of our behavior which is so unbecoming of anyone who understands or believes in justice.”  Alice Walker




Por Alice Walker
Translation to Spanish by Cuban poet Manuel Verdecia 

Fue una sensación extraña formar parte recientemente en Londres de una

investigación internacional sobre el caso de los 5 cubanos (o los 5 de

Miami). Dos de ellos, tras cumplir quince años de condena, han sido

liberados. He seguido su caso desde el momento de su arresto. El mismo

ha sido doloroso, aunque estos hombres, que han envejecido en la

prisión, donde se les puso básicamente por ser personas bondadosas y

valientes, concentran toda su energía, bien sea en el “hueco”

(calabozo) durante meses o fuera de él, para mantenerse firmes por sus

familias y su nación. Son seres humanos extraordinarios. Para mí,

resultó especialmente conmovedor abrazar la madre de uno de ellos,

cuya condena es dos veces de por vida más quince años adicionales, y

decirle a una hija, que tenía alrededor de seis años cuando se

llevaron a su padre, que hay gente en el mundo que no se dejan

confundir por la propaganda y que, por supuesto, yo estaría allí, a su

lado, en el Día Internacional de la Mujer mientras ella hablara de sus

días en que crecía sin su padre. Mientras él enviaba amor y consejos a

través de cartas y escasas llamadas telefónicas, en un esfuerzo de

hacerse presente para ella y para la vida de su hermanita.

A veces, el daño deliberado que los humanos se infligen unos a otros

es imprevisible. Tal vez hemos sido creados para ser las criaturas

complejas, a veces crueles y hasta sádicas, que algunos somos. Quizás,

mientras los abogados y jueces junto a la mafia de Miami se sientan en

deslumbrantes cenas en mesas rodeadas por la risa de sus propios hijos

y nietos, haya un momento en que se sientan complacidos de haber hecho

daño a aquellos que odian; en que sientan que no solo los han

calumniado sino que han logrado encerrarlos. Si esto es así, es una

noción equivocada del poder. Pues el verdadero poder hace las cosas y

las personas crecer, florecer y no marchitarse. Gobierna, si debe

gobernar, con el corazón y la mano abiertos. Se sentiría avergonzado

de privar a los hijos de sus padres solo por un asunto político.

Uno de Los Cinco, René González, fue liberado el año pasado y ahora

vive en Cuba. Fernando González salió de prisión hace quince días.

The site below contains the transcript provided.  https://youthandeldersja.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/alice-walker-on-the-cuban-five/