Let Cuba Live Committee Statement on US/Cuba Relations
December 17, 2014
The Let Cuba Live Committee of Maine welcomes President Obama’s announcement today of renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Let Cuba Live has long advocated for the return of the Cuban Five political prisoners, and we are happy to hear that the remaining three have now been released. Rene Gonzalez, Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero have been incarcerated in US maximum security prisons during the past 16 years, an injustice which has gained worldwide censure.
The Cuban Five are models of humanity — heroes, providing an example for the next generation of Cubans and for people of all the world who seek justice and peace. We are grateful to the Cuban Five for their courage, strength and steadfastness, and we salute their families and the Cuban people for their endurance and for keeping the faith throughout this struggle. Our appreciation and thanks are extended to President Castro, to President Obama and to Pope Francis for finding a solution and securing the safe return of the Cuban Five.
President Obama has indicated that normalization of relations between US and Cuba would be of benefit to the Cuban people. While this is true, any real benefit will be seen when the US ends its economic strangulation of Cuba, aka the embargo, and also removes Cuba from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.
Following the establishment of diplomatic relations and end of the trade blockade, we look forward to US/Cuba negotiations to return control of territory in Guantanamo to Cuba. We anticipate that the US and Cuba will work together in efforts to combat Ebola and other disaster relief, and the US will respect Cuba’s sovereignty as it does with its other partners.