Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Statement of the YCLSA on Release of Cuban 5
17 December 2014

The Young Communist League of South Africa [uFasimba] celebrates with the people of Cuba, internationalists around the world and communists globally the release of the three remaining members of the "Cuban 5".

Comrades Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero of the Cuban 5 were released earlier today and flown back to their homeland. Two of the other members of the Cuban 5, Rene and Fernando Gonzalez, were released in 2012.

The release of the Cuban 5 comes after years of consistent campaigning by Cuba, its supporters around the world and the YCLSA locally in South Africa. The YCLSA has joined regular protests at the USA Embassy with other progressive formations led by the Friends of Cuba Society (FOCUS) and supported by COSTAU, Nehawu, ANC Youth League, the South African Communist Party [SACP], BDS South Africa and others. In fact, at our recent 4th National Conference held at the University of the Western Cape, the YCLA as part of our commitment to internationalism adopted a resolution to intensify our campaigning efforts in support of the release of the Cuban 5.

Our South African parliament in August this year, adopted a resolution calling for the Cuban Five to be freed. Our progressive ANC-led government has a strong friendship with Cuba dating back to the country`s support of the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa. We have doctor exchange programmes with Cuba, benefiting from the county`s medical expertise. South Africa and Cuba also recently celebrated 20 years of diplomatic relations. Indeed, Comrade Nelson Mandela was a very close friend to former Cuban president, Fidel Castro and Palestinian freedom fighter, Yasser Arafat.

Cuba with a population of just over 11 million people has been at the forefront of solidarity with the oppressed worldwide. Fernando Gonzalez, a member of the Cuban 5 who was freed earlier this year, had fought against the South African apartheid regime in Angola. Cuba has cut off all relations with apartheid Israel. The country has also sent over 400 doctors to Ebola hit West Africa this year.

We welcome the announcement of relaxing of diplomatic sanctions against Cuba by the USA but demand that the immediate and full lifting of the unjust economic embargo against Cuba imposed by the USA. As the YCLSA we will work tirelessly until Cuba sees an end to the punitive measures taken by the USA simply for standing up against the capitalist and imperialistic USA. Finally this incredible injustice is coming to an end.

The Cuban Five are five Cuban nationals who were unjustly imprisoned in the United States after being arrested by the FBI on Sept. 12, 1998 and convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami in 2001, in a political prosecution by the U.S. government.

They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.

Issued by the National Secretary of the YCLSA, Mluleki Dlelanga, on behalf of the National Committee

For more information contact:

Khaya Xaba
YCLSA National Spokesperson
Cell: 074 5 204 204

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