Cuba: A major change in the US policy of Cuba is crucial

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez issue a statement on December 17, one year after the historic announcements by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama and the return to Cuba of the five Cuban heroes who served unfair prison sentences in the United States.

In his statement the minister said that some advancement has been made in bilateral relations.

The reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the reopening of embassies in the two countries on July 20 were preceded by the withdrawal of Cuba from the US list of countries sponsors of terrorism.

Aside from the meetings of the two presidents and the two foreign ministers, other high-level visits have taken place, while the dialog between the two sides confirms the convenience for the two parties and for the region of expanding cooperation, the minister said.

Air and aviation security, maritime and air search and rescue, the fight on the traffic of narcotics, illegal migration, trafficking on persons and migratory fraud, are areas in which bilateral cooperation has been expanded.

New opportunities for common benefit are opening in environment protection, law enforcement, port and maritime security and health, the minister noted.

However he said, in the economic and commercial field scarce tangible results appear. The measures adopted by President Obama, though positive, have been limited in scope and have not allowed further advancement. In order to revert this trend, the US President should use his executive powers, expand the reach of the measures that he has already taken and adopt new ones.

Better than the announcement of a new policy, a major change in the US policy of Cuba is crucial, which does not discard the historic and legitimate claims of the Cuban people, the minister stressed.

In order to enjoy normal relations, the United States must unconditionally eliminate the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

We cannot speak of normalization as long as the territory illegally occupied by the US naval base in Guantanamo is not returned to Cuba and other policies from the past are not eliminated, which harms Cuba´s sovereignty.

The minister said that Cuba has reiterated its willingness to keep advancing towards the improvement of relations and the expansion of cooperation in issues of mutual interest.

There are and there will be differences in many areas, but responsible coexistence on the basis of respect and equality is necessary to build a different relationship in the benefit of the two nations and their people. This will be the best contribution for current and future generations of Cubans and Americans and for the whole region, the minister concluded.

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The Liberation of Five Cuban Heroes: the Day Justice Triumphed

The return to Cuba, a year ago, of the antiterrorist Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero supposed the ending of the struggle of an entire people for the freedom of Five men, heroes of their Homeland.  

Hernández, Labañino, and Guerrero, next to René González and Fernando González (best known as the Five) were arrested by U.S. authorities in 1998 and sentenced, in a faked process, to top-heavy incarcerations for alerting of violent actions planned by terrorist groups from Florida against Cuba.

This fact was the beginning of a long and difficult battle for freedom of five exceptional men who despite the hardships of prison, never gave in to pressures, or injustice, neither betrayed their ideals.

This sparkled a struggle for more than a decade for the liberation of these men who embarked in that mission with the goal of protecting their homeland from the terrible effects of the scourge of terrorism.

For that reason the words of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution were heard then asserting on, June 23, 2001: The innocence of those patriots is complete. I only tell you one thing they will Return!

And indeed, they returned. First it was René, later Fernando: in both cases, after completing their respective sentences they set foot in Cuban soil to receive homage and the love of a thankful Cuba. The cause of the Five had become the cause of an entire town and drew solidarity from all over the world.

However, happiness was not complete, as it was recognized then: three fight brothers were missing, René and Fernando said, and the relatives of the Five knew it, and all Cuba felt it.

Hence the magic of December 17, 2014 when a new stage was announced in the United States - Cuba relationships and Washington recognized that it had clearly failed in its hostile politics for more than half a century against Cuba and finally the three heroes who remained prisoners were set free and could return to their island.

The news became official during the Cuban president's memorable television address.

In his address, Raul Castro reminded Fidel Castro's promise and he said in a happiness shared by 11 million countrymen: arrived today in our Homeland, Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio.

When Raúl Castro welcomed them, he expressed the gratitude of the entire country and the Five - finally together - ratified their fidelity to Homeland and showed their will to keep on fulfilling the tasks the Revolution assigns them.

Later on, in February, the antiterrorists would be awarded with the Playa Giron Order, the title of Hero of the Republic of Cuba (distinction they already had since 2001) and they would fulfill a dream: the beloved meeting with the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

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Cuban Filmmaker and Team Celebrate Goya Nomination

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