Campbell: Release Cuban Five, lift Cuba blockade
September 24, 2010
Campbell: Release Cuban Five, lift Cuba blockade

Chairman of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Committee in Support of the Cuban Five, Parnell Campbell, QC, has made an appeal to United States President Barack Obama to release the men from prison, and to lift the economic blockade against the Spanish speaking Caribbean country.{{more}}

Campbell, speaking at a conference hosted by the local Cuban embassy two weeks ago to mark the 12th anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of the Cuban intelligence officers, called on the president to make use of his executive powers under the United States constitution to free them and lift the economic blockade that has been imposed on the country since 1960.

“I do hope that if it doesn’t happen sooner, it would happen during President Obama’s second term.”

“But if he succeeds in getting a second term and ends that second term without freeing the Cuban five and I’m still alive, I will regard it as an extremely disappointing state of affairs, and my confidence in him would have evaporated.”

The men: Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez were convicted on more than 20 charges, including espionage, conspiracy to commit murder and other illegal activities in the United States.

The trade embargo was imposed after Cuba nationalized properties owned by US citizens and corporations.

Campbell acknowledged that all legal avenues to free the men have been exhausted, and said that the release of the men was now a moral question of the highest order.

“The question is whether the greatest country on earth as has been proclaimed, to summon the moral strength firstly to cease the cruelty of a continuing and unjustified economic blockade that poses no threat to anyone… because I cannot believe that the United States of America will persist in an injustice against the cries of humanity and let that injustice go unaddressed.”

“There has been an outpouring of condemnation by persons all over the world calling on the US government to do what is right and free the men.”

Campbell, who disclosed that he was a fan of the United States 44th president, the first president of African American descent, said as a mark of respect he had closed his legal chambers for Obama’s January 20, 2009, inauguration.

“I have his photo in my office.” Campbell added.

The lawyer said the decision to release the men is also a political one that he hoped would be made in his lifetime.

“It is the same faith I entertained when we were struggling for the release of Nelson Mandela and were protesting in various councils against the apartheid system… I entertain the same faith that many of us will live to see the Cuban Five freed,” Campbell said.

Earlier this month, President Obama renewed the embargo for yet another year, “in the national interest of the United States.”