Friday, March 30, 2012


This political prisoner Friday at Scission we take a peek at the case of the Cuban 5 and in particular, Antonio Guerrero.

The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Rene González Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort. They are sons, husbands, brothers, poets, pilots, college graduates and artists. Three of the Cuban Five were born in Cuba and two were born in the United States. Also three of them fought in Angola, during the war against apartheid. They are currently serving long prison sentences in the United States.

Workers World reports;

The Cuban Five — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González — heroically penetrated and surveilled paramilitary elements in south Florida who have planned and executed bombing and other terrorist attacks against Cuba. Appeals by the government of Cuba to the U.S. government to act to stop the attacks were ignored. In contrast, admitted and convicted counterrevolutionary bombers like Luis Posada Carriles are feted in Miami today.

The Five were convicted after articles written by well-known journalists paid by the U.S. government inflamed anti-Cuba public opinion. René González was released from prison last Oct. 7, but has been forced to remain in Florida for an additional three years of supervised release. The U.S. denied entry visas for his spouse, Olga Salanueva, throughout his 13-year imprisonment and even after his release.

On March 19, after much public pressure, Miami trial judge Joan Lenard approved González’ request for temporary two-week travel to Cuba to visit his gravely ill brother Roberto. The other four remain unjustly imprisoned, including Gerardo Hernández, who is serving two life terms plus 15 years. In November 2002 Hernández’ mother died in Cuba. He could not attend her funeral and the U.S. government did not even suspend its constant refusal to grant entry 
Antonio was born in Miami one year before the Cuban Revolution.  He returned to Cuba with his parents who were in exile at the time before he reached the age of one.  As reported by The Cuban 5

On September 12, 1998 Antonio was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty-three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.
He remains locked up today although his sentence has been reduced to seven years. 

Antonio has not wasted his time while in prison haveing tranformed himself into a quite good painter.  He already was a publicshed poet before his arrest.

The following jis from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.

Tony Guerrero: My daily routine
by Tony Guerrero
Mar. 27, 2012

Dear Friends:

Marianna is different from Florence. I've already told you some of these differences, although it is still a federal prison like the others with its strict regimen, its limitations and its tensions.

But I want to explain to you how my daily routine is, on the one hand to respond to so many concerns from friends about this theme and also so you understand why it is so hard for me and my brothers, to respond to all your messages and letters.

At six in the morning the cell doors open, on the weekends they open half an hour later.

I habitually wake up about 5:30am, by my body's alarm clock.

When they open I try to occupy one of the places to use this (email) service. But I am not the only with that intention and many times there is already a line of several people before I can finally sit down to read and respond to the most urgent messages. I don't have much time because between 6:30 and 6:45 they're already calling out for breakfast in the prison dining hall, and each dorm has 10 minutes to get to the hall.

I return from breakfast and between one thing and another, it's already time to go to my job, which begins at 7:45 am.

I have to be there until 10:30, when the second round of classes ends.

Once everyone returns to their dormitories, we're called to the dining hall, dorm by dorm, depending on how we ranked in a weekly inspection to check for cleanliness. My dorm is almost always among the last 4 out of a total of 8.

In that space of time I try once again to read and respond to the messages that continue coming to me during the day. Generally there is a line of several people, because everyone returns at that hour.
We return from lunch after 11 am.

At 12:30 pm begins a general movement to the recreation. That movement is very stable here, one of the main differences with Florence. I always go out at that time, because it is the opportunity that I have to be able to work on an artwork, and to do some type of exercise in the yard, or at least to get some fresh air. Normally, I spend almost two hours in the area where I work with my pastels and paints. And the rest of the time I spend in the yard.

I return close to 3:30 pm. At that time they lock us in the cells for the general count at 4 pm.

They open around 4:20. Once more, people line up for this service and I try to read what mail has arrived and to respond to some.

It is important to clarify that, because of the system of regular mail that they've established, it is necessary to print out a label for each person that you write. That is, you have to give the data and address; then they allow you to print 5 labels a day. In our case where it is possible for us to receive 100 letters monthly you can imagine how much time we have to dedicate to this requirement.

Starting at 5 pm or a little before, the dormitories begin to go to the dining hall for dinner. Here, another difference with Florence is that after one eats, one can go directly to the recreation area without waiting for the 10-minute movement at 6:30 pm.

I always eat and then go to that area, to take advantage of the rest of the evening on my artwork. Of course, people who know you come and want to converse with you awhile, but I try to go directly to my artwork. I can work until 8:15 pm, in the area that I mentioned is designated for what is called Hobby Craft. It is not a big area, but one makes one's space. Unfortunately, even though there is a note on the door that says: FOR PARTICIPANTS ONLY, for those of us who do have some type of works, everyone has access to the room and it is hard to find the tranquility that should exist in an area where one paints.

I almost always return to my dorm after 7:30 pm. Once again I find a little group waiting to use this email service. I also have to get in line for the telephone. We are almost 140 persons, and everyone is in the dormitory.

Around 9:30 pm they lock the doors. Of course, in that space of time before they close, I take a shower.

Sometimes there is someone who wants to play a game of chess with me, if there is a table available, but there are only three tables for games; one is for poker, another for dominoes, and the third another game of cards.

Oh, I forgot to mention that when I return at 3:30 pm they usually hand me my mail. I try to read as many letters as possible when they lock us in, but when there are more than 20, like today, it is impossible.

When they lock us in, my cellmate is already in bed. I wait sitting for the 10 pm count, and read what I can, but I don't do it for long out of respect and in some ways because I am tired. As I said, I am up at 5:30 and this cycle is repeated, the exception being a family visit, or if some incident occurs which luckily is a rare thing here.

Perhaps some may think that 4 hours of painting a day is a lot, but I tell you it is nothing. Especially with the conditions that I have tried to explain, which is not even that amount of time, and dealing with those who come to converse with you and ask all kinds of questions. I admit, I like to paint, to do my pastels. I try to improve in a self-taught way. I establish commitments with projects that motivate me. It is unusual for me to watch television, how can I with this routine? And something I haven't mentioned and which demands dedication and time: READING, so much of what we receive, like the information that comes to us through different means.

Well, I believe I have extended myself a great deal.

I don't say all this so that you stop writing us. Your letters and messages are a constant source of support, of happiness, hope and love, as well as showing everyone that we have many friends who love and support us. I just need to explain this so you understand me or all of us a little better when we don't respond. In Florence I lived from lockdown to lockdown, locked up in a cell and I had more time to respond to letters promptly. I haven't stopped doing it, but I find myself delayed in doing so, when it is possible, thanks to the support and dedication of my mother most of the time, above all with letters from Cuba.

Well, now I close with five strong embraces.


Tony Guerrero Rodríguez
FCI Marianna.
March 27, 2012

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