Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
17 December 2014
The Communist Party of Ireland welcomes the release of the final three of the Cuban patriots held in the United States since 1998: Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino. Their release has been agreed as part exchange for the American citizen Alan Gross, who was imprisoned five years ago in Cuba for espionage. Two compatriots of the prisoners to be released, René González and Fernando González, were freed earlier after completing their sentences.
Alan Gross was tried and convicted of crimes against the Cuban state after he was caught smuggling computer and telecommunications equipment into Cuba while working as a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development.
The release of the last three of the five Cuban patriots is part of the beginning of a possible improvement in US-Cuban relations. A number of positive steps have been agreed, including the re-establishing of diplomatic relations, broken off by the United States in 1961. Restrictions imposed by the US government on travel between Cuba and the United States will be eased, and Cubans living in the United States will be allowed to send money back to their families.
These positive developments are a result of the growth of the global solidarity with the Cuban Five and the campaign for their release as well as the demand for the lifting of the blockade of Cuba imposed by the United States fifty years ago.
The US government has been increasingly isolated throughout Latin America and its political grip has been severely weakened with the advance of new democracies in that continent, which no longer tolerate American dictates, in particular regarding economic and political relations with Cuba.