Sunday, September 25, 2011

No normal Cuba-U.S. ties without release of 5 Cubans: official

No normal Cuba-U.S. ties without release of 5 Cubans: official 2011-09-25 10:04:05

HAVANA, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Normal relations between Havana and
Washington are "unthinkable" without the release of five Cubans jailed
in the United States for spy allegations, said Cuba's parliament leader
Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada on Saturday.

Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez and
Antonio Guerrero, known as the "Cuban Five," were arrested in Florida in
September 1998 and convicted to long sentences for spying.

Alarcon said that Cuba considers the five people as "heroes" and that
"they were only monitoring the anti-Castro exile groups based in
Florida, without any intention of harming the U.S. security."

Alarcon also criticized the decision of a U.S. judge impeding Rene
Gonzalez to return home after his sentence expires on Oct. 7. The judge
ordered him to live in the United States under supervision for another
three years.

Alarcon called on U.S. President Barack Obama to "end this injustice by
releasing the five."

The case of the "Cuban Five" and the imprisonment of U.S. contractor
Alan Gross by Cuba for supporting anti-Castro groups are two main
obstacles to the resumption of normal relations between the two nations.

Cuba and the United States severed diplomatic relations more than 50
years ago, although they have maintained interests offices in each
other's capital since 1977.

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