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Miami 5 return to Cuba

18 December 2014

The 2014 May Day demonstration in Santiago de Cuba, with placard of the Miami 5 (centre, right) held up by trade unionists. Photo Workers.

The Miami 5 have returned to Cuba in a huge victory for Cuban workers and their allies around the world. On 17 December, the remaining three of the Miami 5 were released after 10 years in a US prison. Their crime? Fighting US-sponsored terrorism against Cuba.

Cuban Americans based in Miami launched a bombing campaign in the 1990s, planting devices in hotels in a bid to destroy Cuba’s budding tourism industry. They belonged to groups associated with the Cuban American National Foundation, funded by the FBI and CIA. The Miami 5 were brave Cuban agents – Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González – who pretended to flee to Miami to penetrate the groups such as ‘Brothers to the Rescue’, Alpha 66 and the F4 Commandoes.

They succeeded in penetrating Brothers to the Rescue, which flew over Cuba dropping propaganda and planned to attack Cuban military bases, infiltrating to the very top of the organisation. They could and did warn Cuba of the counter-revolutionaries’ plans. Their sole purpose was to stop terrorist attacks.

The five were arrested in 1996, charged with espionage and conspiracy to murder and given very long sentences. The trials were condemned by the United Nations, and they became heroes of the Cuban people. René González was released in 2011, and returned to Cuba after renouncing his US citizenship. Fernando González was freed in February 2014.


Everywhere on the island were placards demanding the return of the five heroes. Their families travelled the world to campaign on their behalf.

The release of the final three was a result of this campaign, and was justified by the release by Cuba of Alan Gross, who worked for USAID, which was attempting to implement US policy to bring about regime change on the island.

Isolated in the United Nations and throughout Latin America, President Obama was forced to concede more than their release. He promised to establish diplomatic relations and end some parts of the blockade. He even claimed credit for inviting Cuba to the 2015 Summit of the Americas, without mentioning that many Latin American and Caribbean countries were prepared to boycott the summit if Cuba wasn’t invited.

Truly, a magnificent victory for the working class.

• For TV footage of their return, see here.