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-Isaac Saney, CNC Spokesperson, December 17, 2019-

On December 17, 2014 Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, and Gerardo Hernández returned to their beloved Cuban homeland and were finally reunited with their families and the people of Cuba, after spending over 16 years held unjustly in U.S. prisons for defending Cuba against U.S. backed terrorism. They were also reunited with their comrades Fernando González and René González, who had also been wrongfully imprisoned by the empire. Together these five heroes defiantly faced down U.S. imperialism.

On December 17, 2014, bowing to international opinion and acknowledging its inability to defeat the Cuban Revolution, the United States government, under then President Obama, in addition to freeing the Five Heroes, agreed with the Cuban government to reopen embassies. This restored formal diplomatic relations between the countries, which Washington had ruptured in 1961. While, the Obama policy represented a new - and perhaps more subtle - way of achieving U.S. imperialism's ultimate goal of eliminating the Cuban Revolution, the world rejoiced at this change from Washington’s previous bellicose pronouncements. The international community hoped that relations between the two countries would be normalized and that a most regrettable page in the relations amongst the nations of the Americas had been finally and permanently turned.

However, under the regime of Donald Trump, we have witnessed a return to the policy of overt and ever escalating hostility and aggression against Cuba. Washington’s illegal, immoral and genocidal economic embargo – tantamount to a blockade - of Cuba has been intensified, together with its ongoing campaign of subversion. The U.S. economic war against Cuba continues unabated, with the objective of negating and extinguishing Cuba’s right to self-determination and independence.

Nevertheless, the fifth anniversary of the freeing of the Five Cuban Heroes is an historic victory not only for Cuba but for all those who struggle for justice, human rights and dignity. It illustrates what can be achieved with unbending revolutionary integrity, epitomized by Fidel's declaration in 2001, ¡Volverán (They Will Return)!

The Five Heroes are ineluctably and organically bound to the deepest aspirations of the Cuban people. Their fidelity to principle, their resilience reflects the unbending commitment to justice, dignity and independence that has characterized Cuba since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959. This commitment to humanity is mirrored in more than 2,000 Cubans who gave their lives to defeat the racist apartheid regime in South Africa and the tens of thousands of Cuban medical personnel and educators who have served and continue to serve around the world, battling in the global trenches against disease and illiteracy.

On the occasion of this fifth anniversary of this historic victory of the Cuban Revolution, the Canadian Network on Cuba, on behalf of the Canada-Cuba friendship and solidarity movement, extends our warmest and most heartfelt greetings to Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González and René González, and to the Cuban people, the Cuban government and Cuba’s revolutionary leadership.

Today, the Cuban people continue to renew their Revolution, a living example that it is possible to build societies based on social relations of genuine solidarity and social love. We are confident that the Cuban people will continue to prevail, overcoming all the challenges and difficulties they face.

As the Cuban people confidently march forward, the Canadian Network On Cuba reaffirms its commitment to strengthen and deepen the ties of friendship and solidarity between the peoples of Canada and Cuba, resolving to do the utmost to defeat the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, end Washington's ongoing campaign of subversion and ensure the return to Cuba of the illegally occupied territory of the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay.

They have Returned!
¡Viva la Revolución Cubana!
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